Bible Study: God Alone Has the Right to Initiate and Terminate Life

Woman with Bible

Read the Following Passages:

Deuteronomy 32:39 See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one on deliver out of my hand.

1 Samuel 2:6 The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up.

Genesis 4:1 Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.”

1 Samuel 1:20,27 So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the LORD for him…I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him.”

Psalm 90:3 You turn men back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, O sons of men.”

Psalm 31:15 My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me.

2 Kings 5:7 As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his Leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!”

Genesis 9:6 Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.

Deuteronomy 5:17 You shall not murder.

Discussion Questions:

1. What power does God claim to have over life and death?

2. Discuss the role of birth control in light of God’s authorship over creating life.

3. If God reserves for himself the right to end life is he a murderer?

4. In light of God’s right to take life, what part do we have in the decision-making concerning medical treatment for the ailing?

5. In the Old Testament God ties two biological events together as one. What two events?

6. In light of Luke 18:15 and Luke 1:41 how can we understand the New Testament attitude about when life begins?

7. In the context of Genesis 9:6 what is significant about God’s words concerning taking man’s life?

8. How did Luther summarize God’s teaching about the protection of human life?


ANSWERS TO DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

1. What power does God claim to have over life and death?
God reserves himself all authority over life and death. He causes life to begin and he causes it to end.

2. Discuss the role of birth control in light of God’s authorship over creating life.
The practice of birth control for the Christian is a practice of stewardship. In protecting the life of the mother a couple may choose not to have more children. Other factors may play into it where, in upholding other Biblical principles, Christians may choose to practice birth control. But, as with all activities of stewardship, it is acknowledged that God’s plans may be different. He causes those on birth control to still have children. He also causes those who desperately want children not to. In another Bible study, it was emphasized the importance motive plays in all of this. The first motive is to do and accept the will of God.

3. If God reserves for himself the right to end life is he a murderer?
God does kill people. But, as the author of life it is his right. He is not a murderer for murder is the unjust taking of life. Death comes to all people justly as the consequence of sin.

4. In light of God’s right to take life, what part do we have in the decision-making concerning medical treatment for the ailing?
When we make a decision at the end of life we are not deciding who lives and who dies. God does that. Christians recognize that they are stewards of resources and lives. As such, they will make decisions not as the owners of money and lives, but as stewards of God. They will make decisions that reflect God’s will. For that reason, as it is not the will of God for us to take a life we will not make decisions that will cause the end of life.

5. In the Old Testament God ties two biological events together as one. What two events?
Time and time again we see the Bible addressing conception and birth as a unit. The Old Testament recognized life as existing in the womb and continue outside of the womb. An excellent example of this is Psalm 51:5 (Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me). Not only is human life discussed at the point of conception, but it is acknowledged that at the point of conception there was accountability for sin. God only holds people accountable for sin — not part of a person’s body or a blob of tissue.

6. In light of Luke 18:15 (People were bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them.) and Luke 1:41 (When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb.) how can we understand the New Testament attitude about when life begins?
The word baby was used in both instances to describe life outside and within the womb. In fact, the Greek word used in both instances is the same. The New Testament Christian was like his Old Testament counterpart in acknowledging life as existing at conception as well as in the womb.

7. In the context of Genesis 9:6, what is significant about God’s words concerning taking man’s life?
In that section God authorized man to take all life on earth, plant and animal, — but he was not to take human life. In fact, human life is so unique and special that to take it requires a forfeiture of a human life. It should be noted that in a number of areas god does authorize the government to serve as his agent in taking life at times of war and in exercising capital punishment.

8. How did Luther summarize God’s teaching about the protection of human life?
Meaning to the Fifth Commandment: We should fear and love God that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and be a friend to him in every bodily need.

Note that the total of God’s Word, as summarized by Luther, points out not only a prohibition against murder, but a calling for us to act to protect others. Our motive for doing this was Christ acting to protect us forever by his own sacrifice. We then reflect his love in the work we do in Christian Life Resources and in protecting all life in general.

PRAYER:

Dear Heavenly Father, we praise you as the creator, sustainer and finisher of life. Forgive us for presuming to be masters over our own life and death. Send your Holy Spirit to instill faith in our hearts so as to trust and accept your decisions of life and death. Teach us all to cherish life as your gift and death as your decision to take your children home with you in heaven. We ask this in our Savior’s name. Amen.

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