Is it sinful to donate organs after death and if necessary, even before death? What can we learn from the Bible whether a Christian should or should not donate organs?
The Author of Life
We know from Scripture Who the Author of Life is as Peter said “you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses” (Acts 3:14-15) so God alone has determined who is born and who will die and at what time they will die and be judged (Heb 9:27) so we should be able to know from Scripture whether it is biblical to donate an organ or blood or for that matter, invest their life in a worthy cause. We can’t base our decisions upon human reasoning or logic but we must look at the Bible to objectively see whether it is permissible or even commendable to donate if it means saving someone’s life or not.
The life’s in the Blood
Early in Scripture we can see that the life of human beings and creatures is in the blood as we read in Genesis 9:4 about the restriction against eating blood as it says “you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood” and again in Leviticus 17:11 which testifies that “the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.” The reason we are not to drink or eat blood is because “the life of every creature is its blood: its blood is its life. Therefore I have said to the people of Israel, You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the life of every creature is its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off” (Lev 17:14). Why then would Jesus say “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:53) and “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:54)? Jesus was revealing the coming new covenant where we are to partake in the Lord’s Supper or Communion as a way to proclaim His death until His coming. The bread represented His broken body and the blood symbolized the shed blood of Christ for the remission of sins (Matt 26:26-29).
The power to do Good
If you know what the right thing to do is and don’t do it, to you and to me it is sin. James wrote “whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” (James 4:17). Many people donate blood on a regular basis because we know this saves lives and it does no harm to the person donating it and it is a lifesaver for many people who depend on blood to survive; both accident victims and those fighting serious health issues like cancer. Jesus said “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows” (Luke 12:47) and although this doesn’t mean we can sin by not donating, we can do much good to save lives, as far as it is within our power to do so. Solomon wisely wrote “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it” (Prov 3:27) and so if it is within your power to save lives, then by all means we should do it. What if you were the one needing an organ or blood? Wouldn’t you be grateful for those who donated and by this, saved your life?
I believe we should feel compelled to donate blood and if necessary, even donate an organ for someone if it means that they would die without it. I have a driver’s license that I signed where my organs can be used to help save some else’s life after I die. Why would I need my organs if I’m already in the kingdom? What need do I have of these when I have trusted in Christ and already have eternal life? This is a completely personal choice and we have the freedom to choose to donate and there is nothing in Scripture that would seem to forbid doing such a thing. On the contrary, Jesus said that “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13), although this was talking about a self-sacrificing love as Jesus displayed on the cross, the concept is within the range of this article. We know that “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8) and so “we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1st John 3:16).
Whatever you decide to do is strictly up to you but the most important thing I can tell you is that you should repent today and forsake and turn away from your sins and then put your trust in Christ and you will receive eternal life, if you haven’t done so already. Where you’re going, if you are born again, you won’t be needing your kidneys, your liver, your lungs, your eyes and even your blood because Jesus said “Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live” (John 11:25).
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.