How would George interpret his suffering in light of the Christian narrative, with an emphasis on the fallenness of the world?

Introduction

The realities of death and suffering as human beings are a bitter part of life. The nature of death is greatly affected by different worldviews and affects the acceptance that individuals have about death and suffering. The Christian worldview is different from bioethics and explains suffering, pain, and death. The worldview views biological processes and technologies related to death, such as euthanasia, differently. This paper will analyze George’s case study and his suffering and how it relates to the Christian worldview. George is diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that has signs and symptoms that are inevitable. The disease is likely to lead George to an early grave due to muscles’ failure to perform their functions. George is opting for the possibility of the end of life planning through the use of euthanasia. This paper will discuss the ethics of such a decision as per Christian worldview and identify different ways George could make sense of his suffering and pain.

Suffering with an Emphasis on ‘Fallenness’ of the World

Suffering and the fallenness of man go hand in hand, as taught through the Christian doctrine. The suffering of man was due to his sinful nature, as seen in the book of Genesis. In the beginning, God and man had a great relationship, and man lived happily in the Garden of Eden, enjoying God’s creation and without any pain or suffering. However, Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating the fruit from the tree that was forbidden, thus leading to the beginning of pain and suffering (Brettler & Levine, 2019). God chased the man from the garden and cursed him that he would have to toil to eat and that he would have to go through pain and suffering in his life. Pain and suffering are therefore related to the sinful nature of man.

George could, therefore, relate his suffering to the original sin of human beings, as seen in the book of Genesis. Man’s sinfulness and the curse from God could help George understand his suffering as a human being. God declares that sin is the main reason that man will suffer and feel pain, and as we keep sinning, we all fall short of the glory of God, just like our fore-parents Adam and Eve. The human being is a corrupt race full of sin and therefore suffers as a result. The consequence of human disobedience to God was catastrophic and led to suffering for the human race. George could, therefore, see his suffering as a punishment from God and view it as part of the life of every human being.

Suffering in Light of Christian Narrative

Many individuals often suffer in one way or another. The suffering can be mental, physical, in relationships, in marriages, and the quality of a person’s health. George is suffering physically as his health is likely to deteriorate to a point where he becomes a slave to his body. According to his healthcare providers, it is a matter of time, and his muscles will be paralyzed, preventing him from carrying out most muscle functions such as talking, eating, and even breathing without being dependent on other people or technology.

The hope of the resurrection is a way through which George could respond to his suffering. In relation to the book of Corinthians, Paul teaches Christians to always remember the resurrection of Jesus amid suffering and pain (1 Corinthians 15). He talks of four key ideas that give those that are suffering hope. Paul talks about the resurrection of Jesus after he died for the sins of everyone in the world. He stated that many disciples and people had witnessed the resurrection of Jesus and that after being in the grave for three days, Jesus had risen again. The teaching is important in Christians’ lives as it reminds them of the reality of the resurrection. The resurrection was prophesied throughout the Bible, and it did happen. It is often easy for people going through pain or under shock and suffering to forget or doubt anything they believe in. People who are suffering often forget that their suffering could be for God’s glory and often question God on why they have to suffer. Thus, the resurrection could teach George that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel after the suffering. He would know that suffering and even death would lead him closer to God and that in death; he would end up in a better place.

Because of the resurrection of Jesus, George has hope in the resurrection of the dead as taught through the Christian world view. The resurrection is a way through which Jesus conquered death and suffering. In the same way, George would be able to concur his suffering through the resurrection of the body and the accession of a healthy new body to heaven as promised to believers of Christ. The hope of the resurrection changes the focus from now to the future. It shows that suffering and pain are temporary and that facing death can be transformed from an earth-bound person to a heaven-bound individual. George would, therefore, transition his focus from the current suffering and focus on Christ and his defeat over death, pain, and suffering. Thus, the resurrection will give him hope for change and a feeling that the suffering will soon come to an end. The gospel’s glorious hope shows George that he is in a transition in his suffering from this life to the next life.

Value of Life as a Person

Christians believe that human life is sacred and a gift from God. The Christian worldview believes that human life should be protected and respected at all costs. Human beings are created in God’s image, and therefore each life is sacred and has some element of Godliness. Human beings are warned against sins that affect the lives of individuals. The doctrine forbids murder and dictates God is the only one who gives life and the only one who can take it away. Human beings have a divine purpose of existence, and that makes their life precious. The value of life is, therefore, intrinsic as it is derived from God. Therefore, the value of life is not based on the achievements or contributions that human beings make but on the fact that humans are God’s ultimate creation.

Therefore, George should view his life as sacred despite all the suffering that he is going through and worse suffering that he will likely go through. His suffering should not make him conclude that voluntarily ending his life is the solution. As a Christian, he should hold onto his faith dearly and view his life as sacred even through his suffering. George should know that he is still valuable in the eyes of God despite being diagnosed with ALS. Life is a valuable gift, and man’s sinful nature brought suffering (Meilaender, 2020). George should accept the fact that man’s sins are to be blamed for his suffering and that all human beings suffer in one way or another. George should hold dearly onto his life until the last moment when his body and spirit naturally give up, and he moves to the next stage in life.

Religious Perspectives on Euthanasia

The Christian worldview is against euthanasia as a way of ending the suffering of a human being and putting their pain to rest. The main value that supports the view is that every individual’s life is sacred, as it is a gift from God. Human beings are also made in God’s image and therefore require preserving their life and appreciating everything that happens in their lives. The Christian worldview would have to consider various values when deciding the morality of George accepting euthanasia. The first value is that life is a gift from God. Christians believe that God gives all life and that death is part of the processes of life created by God. Therefore, human beings are expected to respect all the processes of life from birth to death (Anthony & Sterkens, 2019). They should not interfere with any process or play god when managing their lives. No human being has the authority to take another life, and neither do they have the authority to take their life whenever they please.

Another value is that human beings are valuable because they are made in the likeness of God. As seen in Genesis, human beings are the image of God. That gives human life an intrinsic value. The view does not mean that people look like God, but it means that they possess characteristics that help them distinguish between good and bad and have the ability to pursue what is good. Therefore, proposing euthanasia is undermining the value of human beings and the value of the life given to them. No one has the right to value themselves or others as worthless, and therefore no one has the right to take their life.

Morally Justified Option for George

herefore, George should view his suffering as part of life, and as long as he is breathing, his life is still sacred. He should, therefore, not opt for euthanasia and wait till death naturally calls him. George should, therefore, continue living with the hopes of triumph over his suffering through death and promised resurrection when Jesus returns. As seen about, life is precious, and George opting for euthanasia would be devaluing life and rendering his life worthless (Ziebertz & Zaccaria, 2019). It would be morally wrong for George to opt for euthanasia under the Christian worldview. Therefore he should let God take control of his life; go through the suffering and pain until his body gives in. According to the Christian Worldview, nothing permits killing any human being at any stage of development.

 

Decision if in Georges Situation

I am a Christian and believe that life is sacred despite the hardship and suffering we all go through. Therefore, I would opt to continue living my life despite the conditions that are likely to follow when ALS fully attacks. However, I would request not to be put under any form of technology that will try to preserve my life. I would not opt for voluntary euthanasia, and neither would I opt for machine-assisted living. I would live my life up to the point where my organs can support my life. After that, I would leave everything else to God. There would be a likelihood of failure in breathing, and that would mean I would die peacefully, not through medical assistance, but naturally succumbing to the condition.

Conclusion

The Christian worldview views the life of a human being as sacred and valuable. That affects how humans interact with the medical field processes aimed at the end of life planning. George shares a Christian worldview and, therefore, should view suffering as part of human life. The resurrection should give him hope of a better life after all the pain and suffering. Therefore, Georges should accept his suffering and not choose euthanasia as a way of ending his suffering. He should fight till the end and uphold the Christian morals of maintaining the value of life and understanding its intrinsic value as a gift from God.

 

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