What does the Bible say
about organ donations?

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QUESTION: Does the Bible say organ donations are wrong, either in the Old Testament or the New? Is it against God's will and a sin?

ANSWER: In regard to organs being donated, Jesus gave us a sense of the worth of our body parts in his Sermon on the Mount. In this message he said that it would be better to have an eye or hand (which leads us to sin) cut off and thrown away that to have our whole body be destroyed (Matthew 5:29 - 30).

The apostle Paul, who was taught personally by our Savior, gave us instructions about the uses of our bodies (which, of course, includes our organs) in our service to God. In the 12th chapter of Romans Paul says the following.

1 So then, my friends, because of God's great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him (verse 1, see also 6:13)

Jesus also gave us the following definition of love.

My command is this:  Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:12 - 13)

The donation of a critical part of the body so that others might live would, in my humble opinion, be the donation of one's "life" (the organs must still be alive when donated) to his "friends." For instance, some people donate one kidney to siblings or parents where the tissue match is so close. My research has found no other types of instruction for the disposition of the bodies of those who die.

The argument some give that we should leave this world with the same body we came with is specious.  Within a year after death, the body, except for the bones, is completely decomposed and nothing remains but the "dust" from which it was formed in the first place. 

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It seems in keeping with the teaching of Jesus that if your body parts could save the lives of others, it would be more than selfish to deny the use of parts that you no longer have any use for and which will shortly disappear. Those who are already dead "in Christ" at the time of His return will be resurrected with spirit bodies and none of the flesh will remain.  

The "rest of the dead" will be resurrected with physical bodies, after the millennial reign of 1,000 years by Jesus, but their bodies long before, in some cases centuries and millennia before, were decomposed and scattered to the winds (Revelation 20:5). God told the first man, after his sin, what would happen after death when he stated the following.

In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return (Genesis 3:19, HBFV)

I suppose one could find reasons not to donate an organ upon death. The decision, however, should not be based upon the myth that when resurrected, one's body might be short a few vital parts.

Organ donations are, of course, a personal choice each of us has to make but a good case can be made that allowing them to be used in keeping other people alive, or to allow them to see, or allow them to be more healthy, is better than allowing them to turn to dust.

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What does Bible say
about organ donations?