The Bible’s answer

The Bible does not specifically discuss euthanasia. * However, what it does say about life and death offers a balanced perspective. Causing death is unacceptable, but there is no requirement to go to desperate lengths to prolong life during the dying process.

The Bible identifies God as our Creator, “the source of life.” (Psalm 36:9; Acts 17:28) In God’s eyes, life is very precious. For this reason, God condemns both taking the life of another and taking one’s own life. (Exodus 20:13; 1 John 3:​15) Additionally, the Bible indicates that we should take reasonable precautions to protect our own life and the lives of others. (Deuteronomy 22:8) Clearly, God wants us to value the gift of life.

What if a person is terminally ill?

The Bible does not condone taking someone’s life even when the person is facing an imminent and unavoidable death. The example of King Saul of Israel supports this. When he was mortally wounded in battle, he asked his attendant to help end his life. (1 Samuel 31:​3, 4) Saul’s attendant refused. However, another man later falsely claimed to have fulfilled Saul’s wish. This man was condemned as bloodguilty by David​—a person who reflected God’s thinking on the matter.​—2 Samuel 1:​6-​16.

Must life be prolonged at all costs?

When death is clearly imminent, the Bible does not require extending the dying process. Rather, the Bible offers a balanced view. Death is our great enemy, the consequence of our sinful condition. (Romans 5:​12; 1 Corinthians 15:26) While not to be longed for, death need not be feared, because God promises to resurrect those who die. (John 6:​39, 40) A person who shows respect for life would seek the best medical care available. Yet, doing so does not require choosing medical procedures that simply prolong a dying process that is nearly complete.

Is suicide an unforgivable sin?

No, the Bible does not list suicide as an unforgivable sin. Even though taking one’s own life is a serious sin, * God fully understands factors such as mental illness, extreme stress, or even genetic traits that may lead to suicidal urges. (Psalm 103:13, 14) Through the Bible, he provides comfort to those in distress. In addition, the Bible says that there will be “a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Acts 24:15) This shows that there is hope of a resurrection for people who have made serious mistakes, such as having committed suicide.

^ par. 3 Euthanasia, or mercy killing, is defined as “killing someone who is very sick or injured in order to prevent any more suffering.” (Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary) When a doctor helps a patient to end his life, this is called physician-assisted suicide.

^ par. 10 The few cases of suicide mentioned in the Bible all involved persons who did not act in harmony with God’s will.​—2 Samuel 17:23; 1 Kings 16:18; Matthew 27:​3-5.