This article was last updated on the 8th of August, 2015 by Patrick Carpen.
Sadly, everyday in our world, people take their own lives. This happens for a myriad of reasons. Perhaps the individual is facing a problem for which he or she thinks there is no solution. Perhaps the individual is in a situation out of which he or she thinks there is no way. Perhaps the individual has lost all hope for a brighter future…and the list goes on. You get the picture.
The most prolific cause of suicide however is emotionally related. Humans often take their own lives after being emotionally devastated by the loss of a romantic partner.
But not all humans go down easy. In this regard, human beings may be classified into two classes: those with suicidal tendencies and those without suicidal tendencies. People with suicidal tendencies are those who are likely to take or attempt to take their own lives when they face a particular type of problem, or when they become really frustrated. On the other hand, people without suicidal tendencies will do everything they can to stay alive, no matter how terrible or overwhelming the situation may be. They are often called “fighters”.
Related: The Human Will to Stay Alive
Scientific studies on the matter have led to the theory that suicidal tendency is genetic. That is, it may be passed down from parent to child. In other words, just as there are genes which determine the color of a person’s eyes, so there are genes that determine whether a person is likely to kill themselves. And indeed, it has been observed that offspring of people who killed or tried to kill themselves tend to commit or attempt suicide as well. In other words, both circumstantial and scientific evidence indicate that genetics play a major role in suicide. People with suicidal tendencies are often dubbed as “mentally weak”.
Once, at the age of about 14 years, in high school, my friend Daniel and I were discussing the topic of suicide. He mentioned that people who commit suicide are bound for hell, since they have committed a sin of which they cannot repent.
On another occasion, a good friend of mine, Rayborn Lewis, mentioned that a wise man told him that the spirits of those who commit suicide will be doomed to forever wander in the wilderness of the afterlife.
And while I was a high school teacher, I was having a discussion of the subject with my students and some of them asked if it is true that those who commit suicide are going to hell. I couldn’t answer at the time, but I studied the bible carefully for answers.
So what does the bible really say about suicide? The bible does not make it absolutely clear, but it would be evident that most of the people who commit suicide do not know Christ. Whether they are going to hell or not is a different story. And whether anyone is going to spend an eternity in a literal hell is a debate all by itself.
In the book of Isaiah it is written “cursed is everyone who hangs from a tree”. One well-known case of suicide in the bible was King Saul. He killed himself the day after he was told that God intended to end his life. Another case was during the time of Absalom’s rebellion against his father David. His adviser, seeing that Absalom was ignoring his advice and was doomed for defeat, threw himself backward from a bench and killed himself. Then there is the case of Samson who committed both suicide and mass murder of his enemies by pulling a building down. There is also Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus.
In none of these cases it was clearly stated that the people who committed suicide were going to hell.
If we examine the case of Job however, we will see that Job, in the grip of intense suffering, cursed the day he was born and begged God to end his life. But he did not kill himself. This story indicates that Job, being an extremely righteous man, knew that suicide was ungodly and would rather ask God to end his life than take it himself.