Medical doctors in the United Kingdom are raising unsettling moral and ethical dilemmas about birth and death.
Concerning Birth: Fertility doctors in the UK are reportedly working on womb transplant procedures that would allow men to have babies. One Liverpool University doctor said the possibility could “revolutionize reproduction” and help transgender, gay, and straight men “experience the joys of carrying a child.” At least five babies have been born to women in Sweden because of successful womb transplants.
Regarding Death: Doctors now have legal permission to take Charlie Gard, a terminally ill baby, off life support. It all started when doctors at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital decided Charlie could not survive his rare genetic disorder called Mitochondrial DNA Depletion Syndrome. The UK Supreme Court agreed with the hospital, and last week, the European Court of Human Rights denied an appeal from Charlie’s parents who had hoped to take him to the United States for experimental treatment. Charlie remains hospitalized, and the date when life support will be switched off remains unknown.
My point is not to debate what is “right or wrong” in these reports, although I am alarmed by the implications these stories present. Rather, my goal is to reach beyond a simple “right or wrong” answer and ask a question I believe everyone must ask themselves. The question is:
Am I accountable to God for my actions?
Think about it. This question guides behavior. For example, if a person believes he or she will answer to God for their actions, then they are less likely to do something they will dread explaining to Him. However, if a person does not believe he or she is accountable to God for their actions, then they are more likely to do whatever they want.
By their own admission atheists, who don’t believe in God, say they are accountable to their fellow human beings and themselves. (Pew Research shows about one-third of atheists say they look primarily to science for guidance on questions of right and wrong.)
Back to birth and death: I admit we who are Christians hold incredible views about birth and death. For example, we believe Jesus Christ was born of a virgin. We claim He died and rose again. Also, we believe everyone will one day answer to God (Romans 14:12). Sadly, not all of us remember this daily, but it would benefit us if we did.
Since Christians like me believe Jesus could come back to earth at any moment (Matthew 25:13), and He will judge the living and the dead (2 Timothy 4:1), we want to live in a way that will make Him proud when we get to see Him.
The last verse of the book of Judges describes a time in Israel’s ancient history when: “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). These words remind me of our culture today. If the trend continues, we should steel ourselves for more troubling news.
So, what about you? Are you accountable to God for your actions? If so, how will it affect your life today?