How Belief in the Resurrection is Incompatible with Today’s Definition of Death
But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If...
Organs are complex collections of tissues that work together as a unit to perform a particular function. The heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys are examples of organs. Organs are dependent on a continuous supply of oxygen and nutrition from the circulatory system. Take away their blood flow, and they very rapidly become non-viable and begin to decompose, making them unsuitable for transplantation.
The medical definition of “tissue” is a group or layer of similar specialized cells that together perform a specialized function. Examples would include skin, bone, cornea, and adipose (fat). They decompose much more slowly in the absence of blood flow and may be harvested from a biologically dead donor.
This discussion brings up the question: when is somebody dead? Historically, elapsed time without breathing or a heartbeat marked medical and legal death until 1968. In that year, doctors at Harvard medical school proposed “redefining” irreversible coma as death. They did this for several reasons, one of which was to increase the supply of organs for donation by simply calling people in an irreversible coma “dead”. People in irreversible coma have beating hearts and breathing lungs (sometimes on a ventilator), so their organs are kept in good shape for harvesting.
Most people recognize that human beings possess an immaterial essence, a “soul” or “spirit”, in addition to their physical bodies. The definition of death also includes an understanding that the person’s immaterial part has somehow been separated from their physical body and has departed. The historical definition of death allowed for this, but the revised definition does not. We maintain that people in an irreversible coma are spiritually still present in their physical bodies, and that harvesting their organs is an act of murder against these vulnerable people. Even more horrifying is that often these procedures are performed without the benefit of anesthesia, so that these people may be awake and aware during the harvest surgery, but unable to move due to the use of paralyzing drugs.
Life is a narrative built on history and rooted in guiding authorities—it’s a story. In 1968 doctors at Harvard Medical School took the first step to redefine death, not based on the biological facts of life, but on a narrative that would permit the harvesting of organs from people in a coma with objective signs of life. In 1981 the new story was codified as federal law in the Uniform Determination of Death Act (UDDA). Christians who believe life starts at conception are often unaware of how the modern account of death undermines their pro-life convictions and the Creator's story revealed in the Old and New Testaments.
"This is a long overdue book. I have been warning people about the horrors of "organ donation" for decades. I am so relieved that these wonderful, professional people have given us this tool to help inform everyone about the truth - there is no such thing as "Brain Death." Thank you from the bottom of my heart."
"When I considered being an organ donor I was under the assumption that once I was pronounced “dead” (all my organs shut down INCLUDING MY ENTIRE BRAIN”and my body dead and cold) that then I would certainly share any parts of my body that may help someone. I was wrong. You must educate yourself so that you too can make a clear decision."
"Be prepared to be challenged: Well-written, biblically based treatment of a misunderstood topic among many Christians...
The author is to be commended for taking on a subject most of us would prefer to ignore."
"The authors of Harvesting Organs & Cherishing Life do not oppose organ donation and transplants; instead, they propose a view that does not violate the Law of God. Their abundant and verifiable examples of the dark side of organ harvesting will be repulsive, even horrifying to some. Their explanation of human death not only corrects the modern brain death error but exalts the victory of Jesus Christ over death. You cannot read this book and remain indifferent to the authors’ arguments."
~Jeff Pollard, General Editor of Free Grace Broadcaster and Pastor of Mt. Zion Bible Church
"And we cannot raise our voices if we are not informed; thus, we must all be aware of the grim reality behind what could happen when a person is declared 'brain dead' but is not truly dead."
First, go to your local Department of Motor Vehicles and remove your consent to donate from your driver’s license. Remove any consent to donate from your healthcare power of attorney and living will.
The 2006 update to the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act (UAGA) now mandates that individuals who refuse to donate must explicitly state so.
"If family is not 'reasonably available', that is to say, able to be contacted by an organ procurement organization without undue effort and willing and capable to act in a timely manner consistent with existing medical criteria necessary for making an anatomical gift, and there is no documented evidence of the decedent's choice not to donate; the administrator of the hospital 'shall make an anatomical gift of the decedent's body or part.'" (UAGA C.26.6-85)
The halovoice.org website has a Downloadable Wallet Card that you may use to legally protect yourself.
In addition, we recommend you alert your physician to your wishes and have your refusal to be an organ donor recorded in your electronic medical record.