What does the Bible say about itself

Can you go to heaven if you commit suicide?

What's this?

Suicide / suicide

Suicide (from the Latin sui = self and caedere = to kill) is understood to mean the willful suicide of a person. Even if the European Court of Justice has recognized suicide as a human right since 2011, the Catholic Church sees it as a fundamental contradiction to the commandments of God, to God, who is the only Lord of life and death.

What does the scriptures say?

In the Old Testament, blood is a symbol of the sanctity and inviolability of human life. Shedding one's own blood or someone else's blood attacks God's property: “But when your blood is shed, I demand accountability for each of your lives ... For as the image of God he made man” (Gen 9: 5-6) God alone is Lord over life and death, is expressed in the fifth commandment “You shall not kill / murder” (Ex 20:13). It forbids: “Murder and accessory to murder. It is forbidden to kill in war. It is forbidden to abort a person from conception. Suicide and self-mutilation or self-destruction are prohibited. Euthanasia is also prohibited, i.e. the killing of disabled, sick and dying people. ”(YOUCAT 379) The church has always considered suicide to be incompatible with Jesus' commandment to love, which expressly emphasizes self-love:“ You must be the Lord yours God, love with all your heart and soul, with all your strength and all your thinking, and love your neighbor as yourself. ”(Lk 10:27)

The YOUCAT little catechesis

Can you go to heaven if you kill yourself?

Yes you can.

There aren't many comforting messages for the loved ones of someone who committed suicide. But this is one. In YC 288 it says: “Man is responsible for everything he does consciously and with free will. Nobody can be held (fully) accountable for something that he has done under duress, fear, ignorance, under the influence of drugs or the power of bad habits. ”Today we know that there is almost no one who really dies freely goes. The psychiatrist Manfred Lütz said we should pay attention to the words and no longer speak of “suicide” or even “suicide”: “It is an illness that drives the patient to death. Suicide is the fatal end to depression - just as the fatal asthma attack can be the end of illness. No one is to blame for this disease. ”It was high time the church abandoned a resolution that had lasted for 1422 years: In 561, at the Council of Braga (561),“ suicides ”were denied church burial . In 860 AD Pope Nicholas I called suicide a mortal sin; Suicide awaited eternal damnation. Thank God the Church understands people better today in their emotional distress. Objectively speaking, a person must never under any circumstances kill himself; Subjectively, what Pope Francis never tires of emphasizing applies: "Two things are needed most at the moment: mercy and mercy again!"

© Photo by Camila Quintero Franco on Unsplash.

That's one side of the medal

The other side of the coin is the Fifth Commandment; it reads: “You shall not kill / murder!” This command of God is absolute, without any compromise. What it extends to is unfolded in YOUCAT 379. Suicide is still mentioned: “Murder and accessory to murder are prohibited. It is forbidden to kill in war. It is forbidden to abort a person from conception. Suicide and self-mutilation or self-destruction are prohibited. Euthanasia is also forbidden, i.e. the killing of disabled, sick and dying people. ”Today many believe that the catechism should be rewritten. More and more states are allowing the suicide variant euthanasia (= killing people who are suffering at their request) - and if one were to ask in a pedestrian zone: “Isn't it a basic human right to take one's own life? “- one can expect broad approval. Some modern writers even see suicide as a sign of the utmost human freedom: if I feel like it, I can extinguish myself. This type of propaganda is of course really evil, because it could also seduce people who are not mentally stressed into doing something terrible with their lives.

A crazy search for life

Let's look at the drama of an alcoholic for a moment. We know intuitively that it is not a sign of freedom if he drinks himself to death. On the contrary - it is a sign of extreme bondage - as it were, suicide on installments. And it is also not really freedom when a young woman "cuts" herself, disfigured herself, inflicts wounds. Everyone says, “How did it come to this? How unhappy must she be that she is destroying herself? What can we do to help her out of her fatal self-alienation? How can we save them from themselves? ”Someone is desperately looking for life and destroys themselves in the process - how can that be explained?

Deep down inside we have an insatiable longing for happiness and life. Not wanting to be happy - that doesn't work at all. Yes, we (as the philosopher Robert Spaemann puts it in a pointed remark) cannot even want to, not want to want. Life searches so deeply for life in us! In a sometimes addicting quest for life, people risk everything to still the insatiable. Even a person who wants to throw himself off the bridge hopes to become “happy” through this incredible act.

There is still a love when we no longer love ourselves

People are radically in search of happiness. God is more radical. “God loves us far more than we love ourselves,” Teresa von Avila once said. God's interest in my life is a thousand times more fundamental than my own interest in it. I could throw myself away. He never. In the book of Isaiah God says: “Do not be afraid ... I have called you by your name, / you are mine!” (Is 43.1) And a little later it says: “Because you are dear and valuable in my eyes / and because I love you, I give whole countries for you / and whole peoples for your life ”(Isa. 43: 3). Because we are not safe from ourselves, God clears ownership. That God loves us more deeply, cares for us more thoroughly and protects us from ourselves more sustainably than we ever could, is expressed in YOUCAT 383: “God alone is the Lord of life and death. Not even 'my life' is mine. "

However, we should also know: God does not give us life like someone who lends a Ferrari to a novice driver to look for scratches after the joyride with a magnifying glass. He really gives us the Ferrari. We are free to do whatever we want with it. But who will ruin the incredible gift who once understood it as a sign of love?

Nothing protects people who want to take their own life better than the certainty: there is someone who loves me, who needs me, to whom I have a meaning. And if we could not discover God behind Bert Brecht's line of poetry, the line that reads: “The one I love told me that he needs me. That is why I take care of myself / watch my way and fear every raindrop / that it could kill me. "? ∎