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Is Suicide ever morally justifiable?

Are we Body & Soul, or Body, Soul & Spirit,

and does it matter?

Suicide (definition): Webster defines as “the act or an instance of taking one’s own life voluntarily and intentionally especially by a person of years of discretion and of sound mind”

Biblical Clarity on Suicide: Suicide is always sin because God says that murder of self or others is always wrong for three reasons:

  1. Suicide is the sin of murder. God said “Thou shalt not murder” (Ex. 20:13) the 6th commandment. Any disobedience of God is sin.
  2. Suicide is the sin of rebellion. Since we are created by God in His image, and are not self-existent, God alone is the giver and taker of life, suicide and murder intrude upon God’s place as the giver and sustainer of life. Believers are repeatedly described as those who have “hope” (Acts 24:15; Rom. 5:2-5; 2 Cor. 1:10), so to act hopeless is sin.
  3. Suicide is the sin of denial. Most suicides stem from some form of hopelessness and/or guilt. God is the God of hope, peace, and forgiveness. Suicide denies God the opportunity to give hope and peace.

Biblical Examples of Suicide:  Saul & armor bearer (1 Sam 31); Ahithophel (2 Sam 17); Zimri (1 Kings 16:18). There are clearly differences between laying down life for another and taking ones own life

Biblical Forgiveness of Suicide: all sins are forgivable because for the believer all sins past, present, and future have been placed upon Christ (Col. 2:13-14; Heb. 10:14). We also know from Romans 8:38-39 that “nothing” can separate us from God’s love. God is able (Jude 24) to keep any believer from “falling”.

Biblical Warnings against all unbiblical behavior and thoughts: We as believers are to “examine” ourselves (2 Cor. 13:5) and be sure that we are holding onto Christ by faith.

Truths to Stand Upon around suicide: Yes, saints sometimes feel so bad that they want to die (Elijah, David). It is sin to fulfill that desire by taking your own life. The only way sin can be forgiven is in our relationship to Jesus Christ by faith. Saving faith can be so weak that the heart gives way to grievous sin[1].

Biblical Hope even in Suicide: Truly I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness but is guilty of eternal sin. (Mark 3:28–29). Only one thing puts a person beyond forgiveness: blaspheming against the Holy Spirit. But this is not any single act, for Jesus says any sins and blasphemies will be forgiven those who follow him. No. Blasphemy against the Spirit of God is treating the Spirit as dirt by continually and persistently resisting and rejecting this call to repentance until death. No single sin, not even suicide, evicts a person from heaven into hell. One thing does: continual rejection of God’s Spirit. What sort of momentary weakness, what brief cloud of hopelessness can cause someone to take their life remains a mystery. But no one can say this: that their final act is unforgivable. Nor any other act by any of us. For Jesus said: all sins will be forgiven the sons of men if they give up resisting the Spirit and look to Jesus for salvation.

Are people:

  • Body & Soul
  • Body & Soul & Spirit

What is the difference between soul & spirit?

  1. The Bible uses “soul and spirit” almost interchangeably: Heb. 12:23 “spirits just men” are in Heaven; and Rev. 6:9 “the souls” of martyrs are in Heaven.
  2. The Bible describes death as both the departure of soul and spirit interchangeably: in Acts 7:59 Stephen’s spirit went to the Lord; but in the Luke 12:20 passage it says “souls” go to God’s presence.
  3. The Bible describes as both “body and soul” as well as “body and spirit”: Mt. 10:28 Jesus says cast “body and soul” into Hell; but James 2:26 says that the “body without the spirit” is dead.
  4. The Bible describes both the soul and the spirit as able to be defiled by sin: 1 Peter 1:22 “purify souls” and in 2 Cor. 7:1 “defile body and spirit”.

[1] From John Piper, Desiring God website sermons at funerals for suicides.