God Is Creator and Redeemer-Lord over Life and Death
Man's Value Is Based on Creation and Redemption
Because every person is created in God's image (Gen. 1:26) and has been redeemed by Christ, every individual is of value, unique, and irreplaceable regardless of age, position, occupation, race, gender, or other attributes. God wishes us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves
True love for our neighbors is to help them when they are in need and to encourage them to live according to God's Word and support them in their endeavor to do so. It also includes warning them of the dangers of living contrary to the will of God (Lev. 19:17; Eph. 5:11; 2 Tim. 4:2).-(LLC Position Statement, Section 2, Item 4)
God Is Lord over Life and Death
As knowledge increases and technology advances, man strives to take decisions of life and death into his own hands. This manifests itself, for example, in the prevention of conception, the termination of pregnancy, some kinds of gene manipulation, efforts to clone humans, and euthanasia. People have forgotten that God is the Creator and upholder of all, Lord over life and death. He alone has the power to create life and take it away (1 Sam. 2:6; Job 10:12; Ps. 139:13-16). He has not authorized man to control life. The duty of medicine is to protect life, alleviate suffering, and promote and maintain health while respecting humanity.-(LLC Position Statement, Section 2, Item 5)
God Is the Creator
In the first book of the Bible, we find these words, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Gen. 1:26,27). God gave life to the first humans. “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen. 2:7).
Thus, we believe that every person is created by God and in God's image. Just as He gave life in the beginning, God is still the giver of life. In the first article of the Apostles' Creed, we confess, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.” In explaining this, Martin Luther wrote, “I believe that God has made me and all other creatures…”
God Is Love
The Bible tells us that God is love (1 John 4:8). God's love for all people was especially revealed in the sending of His Son. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). The redemption work of Christ was done for all mankind. Thus, the price that was paid for sin was exactly the same for every person. From this we can understand that every individual is valued the same by God.
Outward differences such as race, gender, age, appearance, position, or occupation do not affect our value before God. Every person is of value and is unique and irreplaceable. God also calls to His kingdom without regard to these outward differences. Apostle Peter learned this in his visit to the house of Cornelius and said, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” (Acts 10:34,35). Apostle Paul says of the believers, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).
As God loves all people, He also wishes us to love our neighbor. When the Pharisaic lawyer questioned Jesus about what is the great commandment of the law, Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matt. 22:37-39).
How do we love our neighbors as ourselves? We do this by helping others when they are in need, by speaking the truth of God's Word and encouraging others to live according to His Word, and by supporting those who endeavor to live according to His Word. This also includes warning others of the dangers of living contrary to the will of God. (Lev. 19:17; Zech. 8:16,17; Gal. 4:15, 6:10; Eph. 4:25. 5:11; 2 Tim. 4:2)
God Is the Giver and Taker of Life
As already noted, God is the Creator and the giver of life. (Ps. 127:3; Ps. 139:13-16; Job 10:12; 1 Sam. 2:6). God also numbers our days (Heb. 9:27; Job 14:5). People have forgotten that God is the Creator and upholder of all, Lord over life and death. God alone has the power to create life and take it away.
Man, in his pride, can begin to think that he is in control of his own life. Man attempts to take these matters of life and death into his own hands. This includes decisions regarding life and death themselves. This manifests itself, for example, in the prevention of conception, the termination of pregnancy, some kinds of gene manipulation, efforts to clone humans, and euthanasia. Apostle Paul writes of the time when man would exalt himself as God. “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God (2 Thess. 2:1-4).
God has not given authority to man to control life. Even in our time of great scientific and medical advances, God is the Lord over life and death. The words of Samuel are still true, “The Lord killeth and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up” (1 Sam. 2:6).
The duty of medicine is to protect life, alleviate suffering, and promote and maintain health while respecting humanity. Over the centuries, medical practitioners have taken an oath known as the Hippocratic Oath, to reaffirm their commit- ment to medical ethics. While such oath-taking continues as a practice in medical schools, the trend has been to “modernize” the oath away from the principles of the original. According to a 1993* survey of 150 U.S. and Canadian medical schools, for example, only 14 percent of modern oaths prohibit euthanasia, 11 percent refer to a deity, 8 percent foreswear abortion, and a mere 3 percent forbid sexual contact with patients-all principles held sacred in the classical version.
In these matters, we hold to the timeless teachings of God's eternal Word, remembering that His Word, like Jesus Christ, is “the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Heb. 13:8).Jim Frantti
*Orr, R. D., N. Pang, E. D. Pellegrino, and M. Siegler. 1997. Use of the Hippocratic Oath: A Review of Twentieth Century Practice and a Content Analysis of Oaths Administered in Medical Schools in the U.S. and Canada in 1993. The Journal of Clinical Ethics 8 (Winter): 377-388