Hospice Patients Alliance: Patient Advocates





Man and Woman, Marriage and the Family




(Part of the Ethics of Life Series)



by Ron Panzer

September 8, 2012

Part Two of Three



How the father and mother behave within their marriage, how they relate to each other and their children is supremely important to the children and to their future. When the father loves God deeply, God's love dwelling within him overflows into his relationship with his wife so that he treats her tenderly with great respect and humility. When the mother loves God deeply, that divine love also spills over into her relationship with her husband, so that she treats him tenderly with great respect and humility. Each forgives the other for any wrongs done, and renews the loving relationship in the family environment.

A child raised within such a loving atmosphere witnesses that way of respect for others and witnesses the reverence for life involved in each relationship. He grows to respect others and to lovingly treat them with respect as well. Within the loving family environment, there is no place for any mistreatment, oppression or exploitation.

Those who object to marriage and family as being "oppressive" simply do not understand that it is not marriage or the family that are wrong, but man and woman who have both gone astray through their self-pride, selfishness, refusal to forgive all, and through their stubborn insistence on asserting their self-will.

Thinking only of themselves, man and woman have too often betrayed each other, turning the family environment into a breeding ground for mistrust, hurt and isolation. Without God being central in their lives, their relationship cannot be fulfilling or beneficial as the dear Lord intended. Any alternative to God's just and perfect plan for man and woman through marriage and family is only bred out of bitterness and hatred. It will certainly lead to even more disappointment and grief.

Any alternative to God's plan for man and woman through marriage and the family is a breeding ground for the culture of death, just as much as a loving marriage and loving family environment is the soil in which the culture of life is grown.

We, proud man and woman, think we can invent a better way than God's perfect way. From the beginning of our lives to the end, we want so many things. Looking out upon the world as a young child, we see and desire, we cry out and get or soon forget with some distraction. We have what are called "the eyes of Adam" that desire whatever is before us, whatever we don't have, and especially what we cannot have.

We want that which is forbidden as well as everything that we already do have. In reaching out for that which is forbidden, we choose a defiant, unforgiving, and arrogant way that is disobedient to God's law. We end up willing to sacrifice nothing at all, and therefore leave the path of sacrificial love that He demonstrated. It seems such a small thing, but it leads to terrible suffering, horrific violence, death, and a hell on earth: war. As the philosopher Aristotle, said,

"A small mistake in the beginning leads to a great error in the end."1

All of us, as proud and rebellious man, think, "It's just a small thing ... disobeying God just once," and then just a little bit more, and again and again and again. This is how habitual tendencies to consciously choose, and will to do, that which is not good are created. This is vice. This is the nature we all share. We are self-centered like an infant, desiring, grabbing, impulsive, short-sighted, and thinking only of ourselves. We disobey our father and mother, disobey the rules, disobey the law, and choose to do that which is not right.

Man has this choice: will he choose to consciously live and freely will to do what is right, what is in harmony with the moral law, and thereby live a truly human life? Or, will he choose to defy God's just and divine law and will to do the wrong thing, thereby living in bondage to his desires, impulses, and emotions, and inviting terrible suffering?

Though we as children desire so many things, it is our loving father and mother who must bring us back again and again to the right path, who shield us from harm, show us the way that will bring goodness into our lives and into the lives of those we will serve when we ourselves are grown. They show us how to live with true human freedom, using our power of reason to choose to conduct our lives in a way that fulfills the moral law and pleases God, our eventual spouse, and our children to come.

By cultivating right reason and self-control within their children, parents help them to live consciously and rationally so that they will to do that which is in harmony with the ethics of life, that which is truly right.

"Train a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it."    - Proverbs 22:6

Do you remember your own childhood experiences? Think back to those early memories of your experiences and how they affected your later life. How parents act has a tremendous impact on the children in their lives. If they are faithful, loving and just, the children are blessed in so many ways. If the parents are not, so much suffering and so many challenges face those children. God has placed within children the natural desire that their mother and father stay together, even when they fight, so that the family is preserved.

It is God's intent that man and woman be happy, that they be blessed in marriage, and that they live in harmony with each other within the family and community. Within that loving marriage relationship, the husband or wife is understood to be a partner for life, a gift from God, a giving of oneself to the other, a blessing to be honored, loved, respected and cherished. It is also God's intent that husband and wife become "one flesh" and remain faithful to each other.

The powerful forces of attraction leading to sexual relations between man and woman, reproduction and the beginning of family life are placed within us and are natural and good in themselves. However, surrendering to the influence of these powerful forces without restraint simply leads to lawlessness, a hedonistic chaos and the disintegration of a stable society. Though it may fulfill our desires in the beginning, it leads to wounded hearts, jealousy, violence, and so many other problems. (Proverbs 16:25) For this reason, marriage is the requirement for sexual experience in most cultures.

Sexual promiscuity generally leads to over 25 sexually-transmitted diseases ("STDs"), and tragically, to permanent infertility and/or death in many cases. Many of these STDs result in permanent harm or illness and are currently incurable. About 1.8 million people died from AIDS in 2010 alone. Those who are concerned about the AIDS crisis or the spread of other STDs should realize that virtually all cases of AIDS and other STDs could be prevented if we followed the moral law, if we refrained from taking drugs involving shared needles, and if we waited to have sexual relations within the faithful marriage relationship that God has blessed.

When we see that deadly sexually-transmitted diseases are the direct result of an individual's choice to have sexual relations outside of the faithful traditional marriage relationship, we can recognize that the natural law forbids such practices. While all illnesses are not directly the result of our own behavior or of a violation of the natural law through wrong habits of living, those that are caused by our own behavior can be prevented by following the natural moral law.

Those who still refuse to follow the moral law knowing it will likely cause terrible harm to themselves and possibly many others, demonstrate their unreasonable and stubborn insistence on doing what they wish to do, based on their desires alone. This is just one way we can understand that the culture of death, based upon following one's own desires without restraint, leads to actual death! Following the natural and divine law leads to greater health, greater fulfillment and the life He would have us enjoy.

It is clear that to fulfill His purpose for our lives, we must open our hearts so that we may receive His love. We thereby allow ourselves to be transformed. God uses our relationships in this world to prepare us for these greater blessings. Even the sense of loneliness that we have all experienced is designed to motivate us to reach out and enter into relationships with other human beings and ultimately to reach out to God. He created and intended man and woman to be social as well as sexual creatures. That God intended man and woman not to go astray in fulfilling their nature is evident from His divine law. It is His intent that we be paired together as husband and wife to perfect our love and that, out of this love, our children be born.

The capacity to love is planted within us as a reflection of His love, for we are made in His image. This is not only evident from scripture; it is evident from the feelings we naturally experience. While there are exceptions involving those who are drawn to live solitary lives for a specific purpose, marriage is the natural arrangement for almost all individuals, giving rise to many blessings, especially our children.

Anyone with a loving heart who has been present for the birth of a child will recognize that life itself is the greatest of those blessings. It is a miracle. Those who witness new life will naturally recognize that marriage is a blessing to the husband and wife, to their children, and to the greater community. The new life they receive is a reminder of their love and God's great goodness. The children born of such love experience the gift of life.

Participating in and recognizing the miracle that is life, there is absolutely no question that these new parents would ever seek to kill their own child, whether he is their not-yet-born embryonic or fetal baby, or their child who has already been born into this world. Once parents with loving hearts recognize that a new human life has begun, true reverence for that life begins to awaken within them.

Parents are entrusted with children as a gift to love, to raise, to guide along the ways of life through the moral law and faith in the God who is the giver of that life. Although many women pride themselves as being the givers of life, they did not create their own body or make it capable of carrying a child or of giving birth. Proud woman must humbly acknowledge that her power to give birth is given to her by God, for it is God who creates life through man and woman's bodies:

"the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,
and the man became a living being.    - Genesis 2:7

Science can tell us exactly what minerals and chemicals found in the Earth make up a human body, but they have not discovered what makes a person alive. When man is breathing, when his heart is beating, when his cells and tissues are functioning, these are signs of being alive. However, that which makes us alive is not found in the mere biochemical makeup, biological functions, or the DNA we have in our human bodies. Otherwise, there would be no death. Simply observing or describing the signs of life does not explain what is life.

There is something else, the "breath of life" that God alone gives, that makes a man or woman alive. Without it, no matter what any physician does, there is no life. Yet, physicians have witnessed that the dead can come back to life even in modern times. With all that modern man understands from scientific investigation, the miracle of life is still a mystery. It is the breath of life given back to the dead by God that brings them back (John 11 and Revelation 11:1-12). It is the breath of life given by God that brings life to each of us.

It is understood within the moral law that marriage is about bringing new life into this world. Marriage exists for the creation and benefit of children.

God blessed them and said to them,
"Be fruitful and increase in number;
fill the earth and subdue it. ...."    - Genesis 1:28

For this reason, the sanctity of the institution of marriage is part of many religions. The dear Lord made it clear to all of us that marriage is part of His divine will when he told Eve, "Your desire will be for your husband..." (Genesis 3:16) [emphasis added]. That marriage is a commitment for all of one's life is clear as well: "... a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24).

Becoming "one flesh" means that there is no possibility within God's will that they separate, except through death or infidelity (Matthew 19:9). In their children, they literally become "one flesh." You may notice that loving husbands and wives do act as one. This is because marriage is more than a contract; it is a covenant, ... a sacred promise made by each, the man and the woman, to each other, witnessed by God and by all the other witnesses from the community at the marriage ceremony. As the prophet Malachi declared:

"...the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. ...
she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.

Has not the one God made you?
You belong to Him in body and spirit.
And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring.
So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.

'The man who hates and divorces his wife,'
says the Lord, the God of Israel,
'does violence to the one he should protect,'
says the Lord Almighty."    - Malachi 2:14-16 [emphasis added]

2 pink tulips These are not just words. This is reality. One day, may we all see that the dear Lord is really real, that He truly is our divine Friend and witness to our lives, that He loves us, that He created us, that He blesses us when we follow His law, that He is with us till the end of time! (Matthew 28:20) He desires that our marriages be filled with happiness and joy, and suffering of any sort arises, that we remain faithful to each other.

As we say to each other in the marriage ceremony, in various ways in each culture and denomination:

"I, __, take you, __, for my lawful husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part."

Those who have attended their friends' or family members' marriage ceremonies naturally know deep within that marriage between a man and woman is right. Everyone is so happy to celebrate the beginning of the couple's shared life together, understanding that children may be right around the corner. For those who are already married, attending marriage ceremonies strengthens our own marriage covenant reminding us of the love that brought us together and continues to bind us together.

The beauty of a marriage ceremony reminds us that the dear Lord witnesses our vows to love, honor and cherish our wife or husband. The love expressed by bride and groom inspires us to consider the sacred marriage between the Holy Bridegroom and His bride, the collective body of believers who adore and praise Him, who are clothed in beautiful "fine linen," having given their lives to Him in service, performing the "righteous acts of God's holy people" (Revelations 19:5-9).

Any attack on the sacred covenant of marriage (defined without any doubt by the dear Lord as being between one man and one woman for life) is an attack on God's divine law and religion itself. Why does it matter so much? Marriage and the family are the foundation for a moral society and the culture of life.

Jacob, blessed by God and renamed Israel, gave his son, Joseph, a beautiful robe, because he especially loved him (Genesis 37). Joseph had good character, keen insight, virtue and spoke the truth. This got him in trouble with his jealous older brothers who betrayed him and sold him into slavery. But Joseph's great character made him shine among men, and later, as governor of Egypt, he was able to save his people, his family, from hunger and starvation when famine swept the land. A good, loving husband and father, living with integrity as Joseph demonstrated, gives many good things to his family, as circumstances allow, and finds happiness in their company.

Today, those who have no faith in God and His wisdom question the value of men, yet God created us, woman and man. Both are needed. Real feminism generates respect for women as mother and wife, and for man as father and husband, as well as for any professional role they each may take. Real feminism encourages them both to use the gifts God has given them, whether as a physician, a scientist, a professor, teacher, or any other field to which they are suited.

Men living without the company of women would merely subsist, like exiles cast into a desert ... living in a dry and barren world. Yet women, living without men would be just as desolate and lonely. Though the anti-God, socialist feminists, would have us believe that men are the enemy and are of virtually no value, a woman without man and a man without woman are like flowers without the rain. A flower cannot live without rain, and man and woman need each other. Man and woman are meant to become one (Matthew 19:1-6), to serve together as lifelong partners.

It is only due to the failure of men and women to live good unselfish moral lives that many are disappointed in the other. Why do many men or women fail to live good unselfish moral lives today? The stability and worth of marriage and the family have been intentionally and systematically attacked. The traditional role of man and woman has been attacked. Many parents do not teach their children about God or the divine and natural moral law. Many do not demonstrate these qualities in their own lives.

Boys have been taught in school that acting like boys is wrong. Rather than allowing boys the freedom to run and jump and participate in more physical activities when it is developmentally appropriate for them, many boys are medicated unnecessarily in the schools and taught to deny their naturally expressive and sometimes restless and active ways of behaving. Boys are subdued to make them more manageable.

Girls have been taught to act more assertively. With man and woman's fallen nature, "more assertively" becomes "more aggressively," even hostilely, in school and elsewhere throughout society. Women in positions of power, just as men in such positions, have been known to abuse that power to victimize others. Girls have been taught in school and through the media to view all men as potential predators, wimps, or "losers," and marriage as "paternalistic." They have been led to view the role women traditionally play as wife and mother as "beneath" or even "oppressive" to a "successful, liberated" woman.

How many women have found out too late (when their "biological clock kicks in" and they can no longer have children) that they really want children as well as a husband. Having bought into the lies of the socialist-feminists, they are arrogantly quick to judge, to condemn and to reject any man with one or another perceived "flaw." They have trouble finding what they believe is a suitable man or a man worthy enough for themselves, because they proudly expect perfection.

The socialist-feminist women do not see that they themselves are hardly perfect. These women may eventually learn a bitter lesson — what they had been taught was a lie! Everything within the culture of death is based upon a lie. Many have been enticed into going against the nature given to them by God and violating the natural order.

People have been encouraged in their arrogance and self-centeredness, encouraged to stray from the path men and women should walk and to reject the God who created us all. Disrespect for women or men who support the moral law permeates the culture of death. Disrespect for men is especially prominent in the media and entertainment world. This is a false portrayal. Although there are some female police officers, firefighters and military personnel, for the most part, when there is a threat at home, in the community or on the battlefield, it is almost exclusively men who willingly go into battle to defend their family, their community, or their country. If it is a sinking ship, it is men acting honorably ("like men") who sacrifice their lives so that the women and children may live.

On September 11th, 2001, when the World Trade Towers were attacked by Al-Qaeda Islamic terrorists and destroyed, it was 343 American fire men who went willingly again and again into the burning buildings to rescue countless stranded men, women and children, giving their lives when the Towers collapsed upon them. These men are universally recognized as heroes, something that all men are expected to be in the culture of life, should the circumstances arise calling them to sacrifice themselves to save others' lives.

Yet, "the typical male portrayed in the entertainment media is clueless, socially inept, irresponsible and immature. He invariably disappoints the women around him and makes thinking people grimace with his callous, self-centered behavior." The typical male portrayed is the antithesis of what a hero would look like. He is the antithesis of what God intends a man to be. In the dominant culture of death today, it is nearly impossible to find positive role models for boys. The socialist-feminist movement has twisted societal perceptions of men into a negative caricature.

Wherever we may find a true hero today, it is when men or women act within the moral law and affirm the culture of life. True heroes are men and women who demonstrate good character, honesty, decency, courage, perseverance, strength, loyalty, and faithfulness — all characteristics that are encouraged within the culture of life.

The one thing the culture of death lacks, the culture of life has in abundance! Heroes! Whether we consider modern-day heroes or those great inspiring men and women of history who, though imperfect, were led by the dear Lord to save, inspire, or protect others, there are many heroes in the culture of life. Consider Joseph, son of Israel, who became governor of Egypt; Moses, who gave God's law to the people and led them out of captivity; Joshua, who brought the people into the land; Ruth, who demonstrated great loyalty and faith; Esther, who saved her people; Daniel and David; and the greatest Hero, the dear Lord Jesus. Consider fathers and mothers. Dads and Moms are heroes to their children. Just ask them!

There are so many stories of heroic figures in the holy scriptures that one could spend a lifetime studying and learning from their examples. Young boys and girls hearing about the exciting lives of these heroes can only be inspired to become strong, independent thinkers and leaders and to live wonderful lives of service in their own lives. Young boys and girls raised by a loving, kind, strong Dad and Mom naturally look to them as their own heroes.

Those who seek to impose a socialist, anti-God worldview have good reason to realize that studying these heroic examples threatens to expose the hollowness of what they "sell." So, they mock religion, make jokes about it, encourage doubt and disdain for religion however they can. They suppress biblical education and homeschooling wherever they take complete control. They also have good reason to understand that strong, good fathers create strong good children who think for themselves and reject the culture of death. So, they discourage the role of strong fathers. They discourage the traditional family. Leaders of the culture of death fabricate their own "heroes" by propping up counterfeit idols in a culture that never fulfills and leaves the people lost and in despair. Many of these supposed idols are later found to be addicted to drugs or alcohol, to have broken marriages, to commit crimes, or even to commit suicide.

Those who promote the culture of death have chosen to distort what it means for a man to "be a man," and what it means for a woman to "be a woman." Though it is so obvious to those whose eyes are open to His wisdom, many stubbornly refuse to admit that man and woman are not the same. Just as all men are "equal" in the sight of God, yet each is unique and differently equipped in terms of abilities and gifts, men and women are "equal" in the sight of God, yet each is unique and differently equipped in terms of abilities and gifts he or she brings to others. In parts of the world where violence, war or natural disaster threaten their very lives, women do not even begin to think that their men are worthless!

It is the hen who tends to her eggs and later chicks. It is the rooster who defends both of them and attacks those who pose a threat to them. Fathers and mothers give their lives in service to their children, but in different ways. It is right that it is this way. The family experience is part of God's plan for man's redemption and salvation, and the marriage covenant is the foundation for that family. In addition to the well-known covenants made between God and man, covenants between men were considered unbreakable, binding upon all members of the family, tribe or nation involved, forever. They united two different individuals, or groups, so that each could benefit the other.

The union of man and woman in marriage for life brings together the complementary qualities of each so that God's purpose is fulfilled. Traditional marriage and family life is the practical laboratory in which the dear Lord awakens man's ability to love. Contrary to the eagerly accepted bogus conclusions of Margaret Mead (about Polynesian societies where free sex is supposedly the rule), traditional societies with various religions found in most parts of the world solemnly affirm that marriage is between one man and one woman. Men and women who marry in those societies are expected to remain faithful to each other and to raise their children to know and follow the natural moral law.

Those who seek to re-define marriage, really seek to destroy the institution of marriage blessed by God, to destroy the traditional family and culture, and to prevent biblical religious values from making any meaningful contribution to society. That there are marriage relationships that are not in harmony with God's will — where the husband and wife sadly do not love each other, and where one or both even oppress the other — does not negate the moral norm and the ideal of a loving, lasting marriage.

Those who reject traditional marriage or morality often speak of their "human right" to various relationships that are not in line with the divine law, their "human right" to end a pregnancy, thereby killing the life given to them by God, or their "human right" to end their own life or the lives of those they deem unworthy of life. They hide their evil intent behind the appeal to a "human right" when no human right is involved! They assert their right to "equal treatment under the law," yet what they ultimately seek is the removal of the moral law from society and the replacement of that law with laws that condone whatever they wish to do, whenever they wish to do it. They seek to be an authority unto themselves, without God.

That we have all sorts of families today is unfortunate. Single-parent homes with a single father or single mother, families with two fathers or two mothers or more than two of each, families created artificially through surrogate parenting, and so on, only create more confusion for the children and are not the ideal intended by God. Traditional marriage is good for the children, the mother and father as well as society. Nontraditional family arrangements cause many deeply troubling problems for all those involved, even years later when the children grow up.

Of course, there are women, and men, who, through no fault of their own, end up raising their children on their own, and as they struggle to "do it all," they need the support of others around them to help them through the difficult times. The extended family and blessed community of believers is the natural support network for those in need.

Charity truly begins at home, within the family, and spreads outward through extended families and communities to the greater society by the outpouring of God's divine love through us. When we naturally want to and do help others directly, that is charity. For those children who have lost their parents, orphanages and foster homes provide a home. For those married couples unable to have children, adoption agencies offer help so that they can find a way to experience the blessings of parenthood while providing a home to the orphan. Out of the suffering of each arises the wonderful opportunity to love!

To engage in a sexual relationship (other than within the marriage covenant) with a member of the opposite or same gender is not a "human right." To medically-kill the elderly, vulnerable, disabled and ailing is not a "human right." To medically-kill the embryonic or fetal human being, is not a "human right." Even though these actions are quite common in society, and many have done one or more of these, they still are violations of the divine law and are wrong. Even though these may seem right to those who are only thinking of their own immediate concerns, we must realize what the consequences of these actions are, both immediately and in the long-term, for all the individual human beings involved and for society as a whole.

Human rights are not respected unless the moral law given to us by God is respected. No respect for that law exists when a perverse culture of death has seized the reins of authority in society. Those who have embraced the culture of death directly deny God, rebel against His divine law, and act to deny the right of many to live.

just before dawn Yet, each of us is and continues to exist and be a human being in this moment just as God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is and continues to exist and be God in this ongoing moment.2 We are because He is, because He caused us to be and created us with the essential human qualities we all share. It was His will that we exist.

If we are to fully participate in the culture of life, we must become aware of our existence as man, present consciously before our awesome God, our Creator, and the awakening awareness of that life and relationship is what the culture of death seeks to destroy.

The dear Lord said, "I am the way and the truth and the life ..." (John 14:6). There is no life outside of Him, so the attack on life is a direct attack directly on Him (Matthew 25:45).

What more basic human right exists than the right to live, to be and continue to live as a human being and not be killed by others?

No matter how idealistic, naive, or "good-hearted" some of those who assert "rights" contrary to the moral law may seem, they will ultimately (and already do) cause immeasurable suffering and destruction of life. Any "rights" they assert based upon human government can be taken away by government at any time.

Authentic human rights come from God our Creator, not from government, society or from any leader. They are, as the American Declaration of Independence states, unalienable and cannot be taken from us, though we may have to fight to enjoy them.

The dignity of man is found in living as He intends us to live. That intent is discovered as we open ourselves to the way of sacrificial love:

Sacrificial love can be as obvious as the choice to allow a child to live, to be carried to full term and be born, and then to care for that child lovingly.

Sacrificial love can be as obvious as the choice to forgive our husband or wife, our partner for life, for any disappointments that arise through the years and to continue to love.

Sacrificial love can be as obvious as choosing to live, even though we may suffer, glorifying God till the end.

When we truly love, we honor the human rights of all others and live dignified lives. There is no dignity in suicide or killing oneself. There is no "right-to-die." These are moral evils. We can certainly allow a natural death, but to hasten death for others or oneself is a violation of our duty to live, to properly care for the life He has given us, until He takes us from this world. We cannot know what may result from our own living, whether we interact with others, serve others, or not.

Those who are served and cared for give a gift to those they allow to serve them, helping them to open their hearts and learn the way of loving service to others. Whether it is a husband and wife serving each other throughout their lives or nurses and others serving a patient or any one serving other individuals, love is the greatest virtue. Even saying that, without humility, there can be no true faith, hope or divine love within a person's heart. The one served must be humble enough to allow others to help him, and the one serving must be humble enough to serve the other as though serving our dear Lord Himself.

Humility combined with love becomes sacrificial love, the divine Way. In every aspect of His way of life, humility which is the mother of many other virtues, is promoted. The dear Lord encouraged His disciples to serve others in these ways when He washed his disciples' feet and said, "... you will be blessed if you do them." (John 13:1-17)

Proud skeptics wonder how they could possibly be blessed if they humble themselves and serve others. Skeptics confuse the humiliation they imagine they would feel, with humility that liberates us to act boldly and to feel confident when we serve His will. Only the proud can be humiliated. The humble are strong and are never humiliated, no matter what happens to them, no matter how lowly the task they have to perform, no matter how mistreated they may be. They are not afraid to say, "I was wrong." "I am sorry." "I will change." The dear Lord "... guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way" (Psalm 25:9) [emphasis added].

What are we to do if we are consumed with skepticism, yet want to have faith? The disciple, Thomas, doubted the truth and refused to believe that Jesus had overcome death until he saw the nail marks from the crucifixion in our Lord's hands and feet, put his finger in the wounds where those nails were, and put his hand into Jesus' spear-pierced side.

Lost in a world that is governed by the culture of death, it is understandable that we may doubt as well, but there is a way. If we truly want faith and want to leave our skepticism behind, we need to wait on the Lord, as Thomas did, until He comes to us (John 20:19-29). However long that may be, even if we become weary, we can patiently hope in the Lord. The prophet Isaiah implores us to listen:

"Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.   Isaiah 40:28-31

So, even if it takes years, we must contemplate His life and all He did. We must place our hope in Him. Faith will come to those who persevere, and wait, and seek it with sincerity. Along with faith will come true humility, for we will realize He really is, and is "the everlasting God." We will realize that although we once may have thought we were something great, or could become something great, we are simply man. When we take in the reality that we are simply a man or a woman on this Earth before an infinite God, we will be changed forever. We will think about things differently. We will begin to hear that "still small voice" and rightly consider what God wants in any situation, rather than what we might desire out of short-sighted convenience.

Being humble, we can never take upon ourselves the right to end another's life in order to end the work of caring for another, or for our financial gain, or to "relieve suffering," even if it is our ailing wife or husband, elderly father or mother, or any other human being. Yes, we must relieve the patient's pain as best we can, but God takes each in His own timing through a natural death. We cannot choose to do wrong in order to achieve our goal.

A natural death is one that is unimposed and unintended; it is a death that cannot be prevented with appropriate medical treatment and ordinary medical support.

Providing ordinary care and treatment is a duty of all health care providers. Humbly accepting that ordinary care and treatment, including food and fluids is a duty of every human being. It is only the proud and defiant human being who seeks to kill himself or others, thereby violating the commandment, "You shall not murder."




Next:    "Man and Woman, Marriage and the Family" (Part Three)






Endnotes:


1. Aristotle, "On the Heavens and the World." quoted by St. Thomas Aquinas in
       "On Being and Essence," (de Esse et Essentia) Back

2. St. Thomas Aquinas, " On Being and Essence," (de Esse et Essentia) Back





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