Is Witholding Food and Water Murder?
I was dismayed to read your living will article.
The question is, do we as Bible believing Christians accept blindly modern medicine’s attempts to prolong physical life?
As an RN for 30 years and now an NP, I can unequivocally tell you that medicine does not practice euthanasia. Instead they prolong death.
We all need to embrace the reality that God has determined before the foundation of the world our time to be born and our time to die. Physical death is Adam’s punishment for disobedience, and Jesus gave us all salvation from eternal damnation through His death and resurrection.
My truly Christian patients and families understand this and would not prolong death by keeping their loved ones alive through artificial means (ventilator and tube feedings). For the author of this article to charge a patient’s family with murder if they withdraw physical life support is terribly irresponsible.
DANIELE M., GAMBIER, OHIO
Author’s Response: It is true that our technical abilities have far exceeded our ethical understanding. Too often we do things to patients rather than for them. But to state “unequivocally” that euthanasia is not practiced is simply naive. It happens every day.
In my 20 years of practicing medicine, I have seen physicians grant families’ requests to take patients off life support because it was too terrible for the family members, not the patient. This is my point—one needs to be careful with living wills and who makes the final decisions.
I understand that there is a time to stop useless interventions (see the last paragraph on page 56 in my article). I only argue that these decisions must be made thoughtfully.
Many, many times I had to make decisions of this type. Many times I stood at patients’ bedsides, holding their hands and praying with them as they passed into the presence of their Lord.
Some things are murder. While there are times that withdrawing mechanical ventilation is the correct thing to do, food and water are not medical interventions. Who would not feed a newborn baby? Wouldn’t that be murder? Why is it different for an elderly patient (or for a patient with advanced cancer)?
Answers in Afghanistan
We recently sent a package to our nephew Dustin (a fairly new believer) who is in the army in Afghanistan. He requested some wholesome magazines, and my first thought was of the stack of Answers back issues I save. I sent him about ten issues, and this is the reply we received from him:
“I once believed in an old earth. Now that I’ve been reading Answers magazine it is more clear to me how the earth truly is young. I love when the Bible can be scientifically explained to me. Thank you so much.”
We are thankful for how your magazine is impacting even our military personnel overseas!
JOHN AND GWEN T., CAPRON, ILLINOIS
My four-year-old and I really enjoyed the “Mission: Search and Destroy” comic book style for the body’s war zone. He sat and let me read the whole thing to him. His favorite part was that the neutrophil ate the bacterium. That was too cool for him. He went and told his daddy about it. Since my husband is not a Christian it was wonderful to see how God used a child to witness to his father with boundless excitement!
LISA G., LEANDER, TEXAS
I am confused about Dr. Andrew Snelling’s article “Carbon 14—Understanding the Basics.”
If we have a sample (as Dr. Snelling suggests) that started with 2 million radiocarbon atoms and we find only 500,000 carbon-14 atoms left, does this mean that the sample has undergone a second half-life? Doesn’t this mean the sample would be 11,460 years old, older than the 6,000 years the Bible states? What am I missing here?
MICHAEL F., USA
Editor’s Response: You are right—the example you give would indicate an age of 11,460 years, given the assumptions on which C-14 dating is based. So C-14 dating presents interesting questions for both old-earthers (who find C-14 in fossils supposedly millions of years old) and for young-earthers (who know that the world is only 6,000 years old).
The next and final article in the series will deal with this question. In this issue, Dr. Snelling explored the evolutionist’s problem, and in the next issue, he’ll be writing on the puzzle for creationists.
The fact that C-14 dating, like many other evidences, is a puzzle for both evolutionists and creationists has two important ramifications. First, our security comes from God’s infallible Word, not from science conducted by fallible human beings. Second, young-earth creationists should be humble enough to admit that we, as mere mortals, do not have detailed answers to every question (1 Peter 5:5). God expects us to trust Him in the things that are not known, as we continue learning about God through His creation. We couldn’t learn more about God if we already knew everything!