I continue to think about the pending physician-suicide of Brittany Maynard (remember I already wrote about this situation here). Brittany is a young lady (29 years old) who was recently diagnosed with a ‘terminal’ brain tumor. This is a terrifying thing, I understand what it feels like! But despite the terrifying nature, and the subsequent suffering that attends such a diagnosis, death alone (as life) is the prerogative of the Son, of Jesus alone. He alone has the power to ‘freely’ make the decision to have his life snuffed out for others; this is not the prerogative of any of us, Brittany Maynard included. Look at what Arthur McGill has to say on the topic of death and life relative to Jesus:
Jesus’ death, moreover, is not a fateful fatality like the image of the automobile accident. It does not serve to show how humans, in spite of all their passion for life, can be wiped out in a moment’s notice. By his death Jesus does not represent the enormity of the power of death. On the contrary, he chooses to die. He lays down his life freely and deliberately, and he does so in accord with God’s own will. Jesus’ death is just the opposite of an unexpected, unforseen auto accident. For the New Testament there is absolutely nothing accidental at all about Jesus’ death. It belongs to his conscious purpose; it is grounded in God’s loving will. Far from proclaiming the mutilating power of death (as does a nuclear bomb), Jesus’ death takes death out of the demonic and makes it an event informed by the free decision of this man and by the graciousness of this God.
— Arthur McGill, “Death and Life,” 46
Death is not in control, God is! Death is a relational concept, it is a cutting off from life (who alone is God). In other words, death, in the Bible has never been framed as non-existence; it has always been understood in terms that are relative to life. So that to be dead is to be cut off from life itself. Death is to be in a state that asserts itself in a way that only God can; which is to say that life is always a “received” reality (for example the Son receives His life from the Father, the Father from the Son and the Father and Son from the Holy Spirit). To die, then, is to be “cut off” from this receiving (relationally), but to live is to rise again in the Son, and entrust ourselves into his hands whatever may come. To submit to the will of the Father, that we are not our own but have been bought with a price, the blood of Jesus Christ.
If the above is true, then it is not okay for Brittany or anyone else to choose to take their lives ‘early’, no matter what the circumstances. To do so is equal to putting ourselves in the position that belongs to the eternal Son of God alone; he is the only one in human history who can freely and rightfully choose to die for others that life might come through resurrection.
I continue to pray that Brittany will change her mind, and that if she does not have a relationship with God through the Son, Jesus Christ, that she will deny herself take up the cross and follow Jesus!