Contentment and Bioethics

David VanDrunen’s helpful book on bioethics has a great section on Christian virtues.  One of them is contentment, which has much to do with ethics in general but also bioethics more specifically.  VanDrunen explains.

“The virtue of contentment is crucial for bioethics in large part because bioethical questions usually emerge as a result of dissatisfaction with our current state of affairs.  Bioethics concerns things that we desire but lack (such as children or health) and concerns the difficult moral questions that arise from possible solutions.  Given our discussion, the Christian’s first responsibility in such circumstances is to learn contentment in whatever condition she experiences (such as infertility or illness), accepting that God may not will to relieve her from it.  Then, from this perspective of contentment, the Christian should consider morally permissible ways to remedy her condition.  I would argue, moreover, that true contentment may significantly alter our perspective on the dilemmas we face and it may even persuade us, at times, that remaining in our undesired condition is the most ethically satisfying decision.”

The quote can be found on page 90 of Bioethics and the Christian Life by David VanDrunen.

shane lems

1 thought on “Contentment and Bioethics”

  1. Nice … That’s a really good reminder. I remember when I was writing about Physician Assisted Suicide a few years back, it drove me to wrestle with the role of suffering, not simply in the Christian life, but as even as it is related to the ordo-salutis. Though we all suffer to different degrees in this life, in Rom 8:17, Paul is clear that our suffering is a sharing in Christ’s own suffering, which is also part of our sharing in Christ’s glorification. It doesn’t make suffering fun, but it does help us to see that even this is used by God for his glory!


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