Sunday, April 10, 2016

Could Christians Donate Their Organs?

            The second greatest commandment mandates Christians to love each other. Loving each other translates into donating organs to either a loved one or a fellow neighbor. Or does it?

Biblical Objections to Organ Donation

            Some Christians object to organ donation. Their objection is based on passages such as 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. This passage per se does not pertain to organ donation, but sexual immorality. Moreover, this passage refers to those living whereas the organ donation happens after the death of the donor.

            The resurrection of believers poses a problem for other Christians. If believers will be given glorified bodies at resurrection, they reckon, it is not appropriate to donate organs, for to donate organs would deprive them of that very organ at their resurrection. This thought smacks of gross theological misunderstanding.

            Dead bodies decompose. The Bible teaches us that our bodies will return to dust or decompose (cf. Genesis 3:19).

            There would be almost nothing left of the believers, who have been dead for 50-100 years. Decomposition or loss of our physical body does not impact the health of our glorious body that we receive during the resurrection of believers of Christ. At the resurrection, believers would receive perfect glorified bodies.

            During our existence on earth, certain individuals may possess certain deficiencies in their body parts e.g. absence of a limb or malfunctioning kidney. These deficiencies would not be carried over to our glorified bodies, for our glorified bodies would be perfect.

            Flesh and blood would not constitute our glorified bodies i.e. the glorified bodies would be imperishable. In other words, our glorified bodies would be complete, but would not be a perishable physical or a material body as we have now.  

            Therefore, organ donation would not deprive our glorious bodies during our resurrection in any manner whatsoever and the Bible does not oppose organ donation.

Killing & Deceiving for Organ Donation

            Beware of bioethicists who justify harvesting vital organs before the donor is technically dead. It is perfectly justified to remove organs from a dead person. But it is a crime to kill the living, even if they are irreversibly disabled or unconscious, so to harvest organs.

            These bioethicists use situational ethics to argue that it is perfectly justifiable to kill those who are irreversibly disabled or unconscious. Those who are irreversibly disabled or unconscious, according to these bioethicists, are dead and have no abilities to lose. Hence, they argue that it is not a crime to remove life support a.k.a. kill these “living dead” so to harvest their organs. A classic case in point is terming the anencephalic neonate (a newborn child, or one in its first 28 days, which is bound to die in a matter of a few days) as an organ donor.

            But the Bible teaches us that man’s created in the image of God. This essentially implies that all lives are of equal value. The multimillionaire doctor and the impoverished sanitation worker are equal in the sight and presence of God. A supremely conditioned athlete and totally paralyzed man are both of equal value in God’s presence and sight. Hence, the lives of the unborn human embryos and the lives of the weak and the helpless have equal value in God’s presence and sight, because God created man in HIS own image.

            Therefore, man does not possess the authority to kill anyone, even if he is irreversibly disabled or unconscious. God forbids murder. So organs can only be taken from those who are dead – which is the state of irreversible and complete loss of heart, lung and brain functions.

            Beware of those who deceive the living organ donors.

            The living donor should be free (not coerced) to either consent or decline to organ donation. These donors must be properly informed about the pros and cons of the procedure involved. Such donations must abide by the strict ethical codes of medicine in general (Hippocratic Oath states: “…Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. Above all, I must not play at God.”), so that the donor is not put in harm’s way. The donor must not be under any pressure or duress to donate his organ.

Christians Should Favor Organ Donation

            A few precautions should be mentioned. Sale and purchase of organs should be discouraged in Christianity because such transactions could entail commercialization of human organs. Human organs are not objects of trade - that can be bought or sold at the right price. The poor should not be exploited to offer their organs in lieu of money.

            Yes, Christians should support organ donations. Organ donations of the living donors are legitimate e.g. donating a kidney. But it is unjust to harvest an organ from the irreversibly disabled or unconscious. Organs should be removed from those who are irreversibly and completely brain dead.  


PaulNaveen said...

Thanks a lot Pastor for providing insight on such contemporary things.
I was also wondering whether we can support or not the organ donation. Thanks for the clarification

Raj Richard said...

You are welcome, Paul. Remain blessed.