I saw a beautiful monument in front of a hospital chapel today with a fancy book entitled “The Book of Life.” Great was my curiosity to see what words of wisdom this book contains.
To my surprise it contained names. Lots and lots of names. Some of the names were written as “Anonymous” followed by initials.
Biblically speaking, why would one want to have only his/her initials in the Book of Life?
Any believer should want their name to be spelled in bold letters, including their address, phone number, email, etc… in the real Book of Life!
But it quickly became evident from reading the introduction that this particular Book of Life was a record of those patients who “gave the gift of life” to someone else via organ and tissue donation.
I stepped outside and there I saw another beautiful monument. This one was entitled “The Tree of Life,” and it was made of a steel tree with the names of various organ donors on its leaves.
Organ and tissue donation is a noble thing in the appropriate circumstances, but I found it interesting that two key figures from the Bible (The Book of Life and the Tree of Life) were used in naming these monuments.
It is important for Christian believers to realize that God is the Author of life, and only He can give physical and more importantly spiritual life.
Organ harvesting and transplantation are means to prolong a patient’s life and increase their quality of life in the same way that medications or implantable devices prolong life. No doctor or transplant team can give life; by the common grace given to us by God, they can save a life or prolong a life. This is a critical distinction that must be made when thinking of these situations.
One Legacy is a large organ donation referral and matching service operating in California, and their motto is “Donate Life.” From a biblical point of view, we do not give life, and we do not donate life. We merely apply the common grace found in modern technology.
The decision to sign up for future organ donation is a personal one. I do not believe the Bible prohibits it, but many Christians may disagree, raising the issue of the resurrection body and its totality. One thing is clear to me from 1 Corinthians 15 where Paul writes the doctrine about Resurrection: our glorified resurrection bodies will not be the same as the our decaying physical bodies.
The saints whose bodies were burned to ashes across the centuries and recently in Africa for their faith will have awesome and majestic glorified bodies, despite the fact that their physical bodies were turned to ash for their LORD. The same is true with believers who were consumed by ferocious animals in the Roman arenas.
Our physical bodies with their tissues and organs are a mere temporary tent. Our glorified spiritual bodies will last forever.
A name in a hospital Book of Life is a nice memory.
Our names in the Lamb’s Book of Life… now that is cause for celebration and total obedience to the Savior who wrote them there!