Making bioethical decisions is quite often a very difficult and tear-filled process. I have come to appreciate David VanDrunen’s help in this area: Bioethics and the Christian Life. As I was looking back at this book recently, I found the following section a helpful reminder to remember as we make bioethical choices. It has to do with the fact that we as Christians belong to Christ, body and soul, life and death (think Heidelberg Catechism Q/A 1).
“The doctrine of the resurrection has a twofold significance. First, Christ’s own resurrection testifies to something amazing about human embodiment, namely, that the eternal Son of God not only took on a human body for a brief earthly life but also bears a human body today and forevermore. If the Son of God is pleased to bear a physical body, then the body should not be despised!”
“Second, our own resurrection – which the New Testament places at the center of our Christian hope – warns us against wondering whether some better, nonbodily future might await us. The reunion of our souls and bodies at the resurrection will not be a disappointment but a cause for great joy, because then we will be holistically restored human persons again in the blessedness of Christ’s everlasting kingdom.”
“…The consequences of this dual, body-soul nature for bioethics are surely significant. For example, the fact that our bodies are an essential aspect of our nature means that physical pain and suffering are real, not to be downplayed or dismissed. What we suffer in the body is truly our own suffering. But the fact that we are both body and soul also reminds us that our present bodies, which suffer and die, are not all that there is. We do not treat the death of the body as the end, for at death the soul continues to live and at the resurrection our bodies will be raised up. Thus, we do not consider the suffering and death of the body unimportant nor do we consider them the end of the story. In facing specific bioethical issues, we must strive to keep this biblical balance in mind” (p. 52-53).