Introduction:

1. Many years ago I heard a fellow gospel preacher preach a sermon entitled ªThe Practicality of the Bible.º In that sermon he showed that the Bible contains more than just the plan of salvation, more than just information enabling us to identify the New Testament church, and more than just information informing us about the worship and work of the New Testament church.
a. To be sure, for those who want to go to heaven, such information is of paramount importance; it is not simply important; it is necessary! John 8:32; Romans 1:16; Ephesians 2:16; John 4:24, etc.
b. However, the Bible contains principles and precepts designed to guide us in every relationship of life – in the home, in the work place, and every legitimate realm of activity, including the field of medicine.
2. In this sermon we are discussing ªThe Bible and Medical Ethics.º
a. To be perfectly honest, we don’t generally hear people use those terms (ªthe Bibleº and ªMedical Ethicsº) together or in the same sentence. However, the Bible does speak of physicians or doctors (Colossians 4:14; Matthew 9:12, etc.), and the Bible provides a code of ethics for everyone, including those in the medical field.
Discussion:
I. Definitions:
A. The Bible.
  1. Taken from from biblios, meaning ªbook;º because of its importance it is the book of all books.
  2. It is ªthe book of all booksº because it is the word of God, Hebrews 4:12.
  a. ªGod saidº or ªGod spakeº reportedly occur some 4,000 times in the Bible.
  b. It was given by inspiration of God, 2 Timothy 3:16,17; 2 Peter 1:21.
B. Medical.
  1. ªOf or having to do with healing or with the science and practice of medicine,º World Book Dictionary.
C. Ethics.
  1. ªThe study of standards of right or wrong; tht part of philosophy dealing with moral conduct, duty, and judgment.º (ibid.).
  a. ªEthics is concerned with Morality,º (ibid.).
II. Bible Ethics (or Bible Morality) is the Best!
A. The Bible is the Word of God, Hebrews 4:12.
B. God Cannot lie, Titus 1:2.
C. God’s wisdom is as much above our wisdom as the heavens are above the earth, Isaiah 55:8,9.
D. God’s understanding is infinite, Psalm 147:5.
E. Bible Morality is based upon:
  1. Love for God, Matthew 22:35-38.
  2. Love for neighbor, Matthew 22:39,40; Matthew 7:12.
  3. Respect for human life, Genesis 9:6.
  4. Honesty and integrity, Eph. 4:25.
  a. Stealing is condemned, Ephesians 4:28.
  5. A wholesome work ethic, 2 Thessalonians 3:10.
  6. Outward and inward purity, 2 Corinthians 7:1
  7. Respect for the marriage relationship, and the family that issues from the marriage relationship.
  a. Genesis 2:18, 24; Ephesians 5:31,32; Matthew 19:6.
III. Medical Ethics:
A. Includes all the above.
B. More specifically, proper medical ethics should:
  1. Acknowledge that God is the Creator and Sustainer of life, Genesis 1:27; Acts 17:28.
  2. Recognize that man is unique, made in the image of God, Genesis 1:27.
  3. Serve each patient according to his need, Matthew 7:12.

  4. Be honest with the patient, Revelation 21:8.
C. But Doctors (Physicians) in today’s world are faced with more challenges than ever before.
  1. Challenges, in part, because of the great strides that have been made in the medical field.
  a. In some instances, they are able to keep the body alive after the brain is ªdead.º
  b. In many instances, they are able to keep the body alive, but only with the aid of feeding tubes, intravenous feeding, and much sophisticated equipment.
  2. Challenges, in part, because of the secularization of society – a society that has legalized abortion, a society which in time will probably legalize euthanasia, a society which is thinking more favorably about cloning, and a society in which many are clamoring for stem cell research, including the use of embryonic stem cells (in which life is produced and then destroyed in order to produce body parts for the ill).
  a. In the remainder of this study, we will focus primarily upon such issues as abortion, euthanasia, cloning, and stem cell research.
IV. Abortion.
A. Is the life in the womb a Human Individual?
  1. God created three basic classes of life, each class reproducing after its own kind – plants, animals, and people (Gen. 1:11,12, 20-25, 26-30; 5:1-5).
  2. In which of these categories should an unborn baby be placed?
B. Is the life in the womb simply a part of the mother’s body, or is it distinct from the mother?
  1. The original human cell consists of 46 chromosomes, 23 from each parent. At no point in the pregnancy does the mother contribute any new cells to the child.
C. Bible Terms for the Unborn:
  1. Genesis 25:21,22, ªThe children struggled together within her…º
  2. Job 3:11, ªWhy died I not from the womb? Why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly?º
  3. Job 3:16, ª…as infants which never saw light.º (Same as aborted babies).
  4. Luke 1:36, ªshe hath also conceived a son in her old age…º
  5. Luke 1:43, Elizabeth addressed Mary as ªthe mother of my Lordº (before Jesus was born).
  6. Luke 1:41, ªthe babe leaped in her womb.º
  7. Luke 2:12, ªYe shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger D. Why Abortion is wrong:
  1. A child is to be loved, not killed, Titus 2:4.
  2. It involves the shedding of innocent blood, Deut. 27:25; Prov. 6:16,17
  3. It violates the golden rule, Matthew 7:12.
  4. It De-Values Human life, Genesis 1:26-28; Genesis 9:6
  5. It reflects a lack of natural affection, 2 Timothy 3:3.
  6. It encourages more sin, 2 Timothy 3:13.
  a. Every time a woman gets an abortion, by her example she encourages others to commit the same sin, and further helps to desensitize society to the evils of murder.
  7. It brings heartache, shame, and regret, Proverbs 13:15.
e. Euthanasia.
  I. Definition.
  1. ªAn Easy death or means of inducing oneº (Webster).
  2. ªThe act or practice of painlessly putting to death persons suffering from incurable conditions or diseases.
  B. The Past versus the Present.
  1. Previously life was considered sacred. Dignity and Value are inherent in life.
  2. In post-modern culture, all absolute standards are removed, including the belief that life is sacred. The focus is now on the quality of life – not the sanctity of life.
  C. Different Forms of Euthanasia.

  1. Voluntary, passive euthanasia – when the attention is turned from curing the disease to making the patient as comfortable as possible.
  2. Voluntary, active euthanasia – sometimes called ªmercy killing.º
  3. Involuntary, passive euthanasia – in which the medical personnel do not go to extraordinary measures to save the patient.
  4. Involuntary, active euthanasia – in which a second party makes a decision about whether extraordinary measures ought to be taken to end a life
D. The Biblical view of Active Euthanasia.
  1. It involves the pre-mediated intent to hasten death.
  2. The Bible condemns murder, Exodus 20:13
  3. Caution: We must distinguish between ªmercy-killingº and ªmercy dyingº (Allowing nature to takes is course by allowing a terminally ill patient to die).
  4. A Grave Danger: The erosion of respect for the sanctity of life.
VI. Cloning and the Producing of Embryonic Stem Cells.
A. Dolly the sheep, the first cloned animal, was born in 1996.
  1. Essentially, cloning is the creation of a life.
  2. In the case of Dolly, after hundreds of attempts, a somatic cell was isolated from an adult female sheep, then transferred to a donor egg in which the nucleus had been removed, and implanted into a surrogate female sheep, which was carried to full term, and Dolly was born. Heralded as a great achievement, even though Dolly soon died.
B. Some delightfully envision a time when humans can be produced by cloning (something which so far has been tried without success). But Why do people want this to happen?
  1. They believe that if a cloning can occur from their own DNA to produce a child, it will be an exact replica of themselves.
  2. The primary reason is to produce embryonic stem cells for gene therapy, and for ªspare partsº to implant into an ill or dying person.
C. What is wrong with cloning?
  1. It is a case of man seeking to usurp God’s place as creator. Versus Psalm 100:3.
  2. It reflects man’s effort to create a human being in his own image. Versus Genesis 1:26.
  3. It is a distortion of God’s plan for the family, Genesis 1:28.
  a. God’s plan called for each child being a combination of the genes of both his father and mother. A cloned child would only have the genetic material of one person.
  4. It cheapens respect for life – it is creating human life with the intent of destroying that life!
  5. It is needless anyway!
  a. Adult stem cells can be taken from bone marrow; also they have been discovered in unbiblical cord blood – thereby eliminating the need to create embryonic stem cells.
Conclusion:
  1. In view of the advances of modern science and medicine, we are living in exciting times. However, in view of the cheapening of respect for human life we are living in perilous times. These times affect us. We talk about ªthe Bible and medical ethics,º but it is possible that we may not realize that ªmedical ethicsº affect the whole of the human family – not just professionals in the medical field. We, as individuals, and as family members, have to made decisions about abortion, decisions about ourselves or our loved one who become terminally ill, decisions which may involve either passive or active euthanasia, and decisions regarding the use of stem cells, and from whence those stem cells are harvested.
  2. I don’t have all the answers, but I do offer certain words of wisdom which can help us in those times of agonizing decisions.
  a. Put God first, Matthew 6:33
  b. Love others as yourselves, Matthew 22:39,40.
  c. Never lose sight of the sanctity of human life!

–Written by Bobby Witherington, Seffner, Florida, August 12, 2007

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