“Born with a tumor on her liver,” Caitlin has had numerous surgeries and procedures until eventually at five months old, she was added to a waiting list for a liver (HRSA). Shortly after being added the list, her family welcomed news there was a match for a liver for Caitlin by a man named Jeff; they continued with the procedure and received a “partial liver transplant” (HRSA) Since her transplant, she has returned to full health. Jeff’s family says that “Caitlin was the only thing that made sense out of their son’s death” (HRSA). This is just one of the many stories concerning organ donation that has been a triumph and a life saver. To begin with, organ donation (“the process of surgically taking out an organ or tissue from one person and placing it into another person”) is a positive, self-sacrificing action that can be done whether a person is alive or has passed away (Cleveland Clinic). “Transplantation is necessary because the recipient’s organ has failed or been injured” says the Cleveland Clinic. As seen from Caitlin’s story, many recipients are able to live a normal life after being given the contributed organ. In regards to the donor families, donation helps them feel that the loss of their loved one was not useless but for the cause of saving another person and another family from the heartache they themselves have and are feeling.
In addition to organ donation to a human being, many people are willing to contribute their bodies to science, so that scientists are able to perform medical research in order to help a larger mass of people. The Cleveland Clinic also says that some transplants include the “liver, kidney, pancreas, heart, lung, intestine, cornea, skin, middle ear, bone marrow, heart valves, and connective tissue.” In John Wilkinson’s book, Christian Ethics in Health Care, he uses John 15:13 (no one has greater love than the one who gives their life for their friends) to say that when a person gives an organ for the sake of keeping another person alive, there is no higher form of love. Getting down to the ethical side of organ donation, many “people question whether prolonging life, mutilation, and resurrection are morally right” (Christian Life Resources). These all sound like relevant and concerning affairs. People think that prolonging life and resurrection are playing God, that it is not right to let individuals suffer longer than they need to and that it is not right to put the families through the long process of watching a loved one suffer. People also think that mutilation (in this circumstance of helping another being) would prevent an individual from going to heaven because they have changed how God has made their body. However, when put into the perspective of the Bible, the Bible explains how these considerations are actually no issue at all.
First, prolonging life is the making a life that has been possibly shortened by the failure of a human body part. From the biblical standpoint, there are many examples of life being extended such as in Luke 5:31-32 when Jesus says, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick” (Zondervan). Here, Jesus is using doctors and their medicines to help others which is a parallel to His mission of saving sinners. In relation to mutilation, Matthew 5:30 says “if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.
Your hand is only one part of your body. It is better to lose a hand than for your whole body to go into hell” (Zondervan). The significance of this to organ donation is that once an organ has failed a person, the person should do all that he can to save his physical body so that he or she is able to make the decision to save his spiritual soul. A large area of concern for Christians revolves around whether or not bodies need to be whole for resurrection. The Bible addresses this issue when in 1 Corinthians 15:50 it states “the earthly body will not enter into the heavenly inheritance” and also in Ecclesiastes 3:20, “all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again” (Zondervan).
Based on these scriptures, there is no need for a physically intact body to enter the resurrected state because first, we are not taking our earthly bodies to heaven since we will have an eternal body made for us by God and not by man; secondly, our physical bodies are going to decay in the grave because the spirit of God has left and “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (Zondervan).Based on what the Bible has taught and through the examples of scriptures given previously, I believe that organ donation is not wrong but instead a gift for others to use and rejoice over; that God has given us the technology and the skilled surgeons to be able to carry out the donation made to save people. Because of the large amount of division on the ethics of organ donation, I believe that, as Christians, we should bring peace to this situation. To do this, we first should bring knowledge to others about what exactly organ donation is and entails because many individuals do not understand what the process involves. Then, we should explain to Christians that do not support organ donation where in the Bible to find the answers to questions or bring light to what they do not correctly understand. Then, as a Body of Christ, we can all together show others the reasonable explanations as to why organ donation is not a bad thing and nothing to be afraid of.
Throughout these explanations, I hope that you have been able to see that organ donation is truly a good thing to be used for the glory of God. That it is not a thing to be fearful of. And, that hopefully, your viewpoint has changed to a more positive light on the subject.