When Does Life Begin and End?

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A few years ago, I had the privilege of taping a series of DVDs on different issues related to life with Dr. Tommy Mitchell and Dr. David Menton. I knew when we decided that life would be the theme for this year’s Answers for Women conference that Dr. Mitchell had to address issues surrounding the beginning and ending of life.

Dr. Mitchell earned his undergraduate degree in cell biology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and his MD from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He is board certified in internal medicine and had an active medical practice in his hometown of Gallatin, Tennessee, for 20 years before joining AiG as a speaker over 11 years ago. Dr. Mitchell had this to say about his upcoming presentations:

It is my great privilege to be participating in this year’s women’s conference. I have been looking forward to these presentations since the schedule was announced.

The conference will be focusing on life issues. As a physician, particularly in my work with critically ill patients, issues of life and death were a daily concern for me. I have all too much experience in dealing with hard decisions, quite often making these choices in real time. I am praying that I will able to share many of these experiences to give the conference attendees some insight regarding the complexity of these issues.

I will be presenting both beginning-of-life issues and end-of-life issues.

My first topic is When Does Life Begin? This may seem obvious to many people, but it is anything but straightforward. And it is very important. If we as Christians are to take a strong, consistent stand against abortion, we must be able to deal with this. After all, there are really two issues here. When does life begin, and when do we become human? To many people, these “whens” are not the same. Are we fully human at the time of fertilization, or do we become “fully” human at some later point in development? If we are not fully human at the time of fertilization, is abortion acceptable before the point we become “fully” human?

And exactly how do we decide these “whens?” I contend that science cannot adequately determine this for us. We must turn to God’s Word for our answers here.

I will conclude the conference by dealing with end-of-life issues. These are very difficult topics to discuss, but are nonetheless just as important as the beginning-of-life issues.

Euthanasia has been discussed more and more the public arena in recent years. Its proponents often appeal to quality of life issues (among other things) to justify its more widespread implementation. After all, if people can’t have a good quality of life, then why shouldn’t they have the right to end their own life? But is their life really their own? We must have a clear, biblical approach to this problem.

How about a simple question, such as how do we define death? Frankly, that’s not really such a simple question. By the way, what exactly is “brain dead”?

What about Do Not Resuscitate orders? Does a Christian have the right to refuse medical treatment?

It is my prayer that I will be able to shed some light on these difficult and complex issues.

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I know these issues can be controversial, but at the Answers for Women conferences we don’t shy away from addressing hard topics. We must give biblically based answers to these issues of life and death because the lives of so many hang in the balance.

Be sure to register in the month of February to be entered into our drawing to win fantastic fair trade goodies.

Keep fighting the good fight of the faith!

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