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Bioethics and the Christian Life -- A Guide to Making Difficult Decisions
by Dr. David VanDrunen
© 2009
(Crossway Books: Wheaton, IL)
All rights reserved.
[Answer 14 of 20 questions correctly to receive
13 hours of Continuing Education credit.]


PART 1: Foundations of Bioethics

Chapter 1: Christianity and Health Care in a Fallen World (p. 23-37)

1. The author advocated which approach to ethics?
a. "Christian Bioethics Only", such as represented by John Frame in Medical Ethics, in which society-wide bioethical questions are to be solved only by applying biblical principles.
b. "Secular and Christian Bioethics Identical", in which Christianity serves to illuminate and reinforce the natural law values that are common to every one.
c. "Secular and Christian Bioethics Radically Different", as represented by H. Tristram Englehardt, who believed that traditional Christianity through its teachings about life, grace, and union with God is radically distinct from the secular bioethics that rest only upon the bare will of individuals consenting to live with one another.
d. "Secular Bioethics and Christian Bioethics Distinct but Legitimate", in which Christians should participate in the mainstream healthcare system and contribute to its bioethical debates, while recognizing that their belief in the Scriptural teachings such as the image of God, suffering, death, resurrection, and God's grace in Christ will shape their individual and communal views of bioethics.

2. Christians should pursue medical progress and conversations with non-Christians about bioethics because
a. God ordained a system of human justice not as the sole possession of those who believed in Him but as the common possession of the human race. So not only did God call out a people for Himself from the world and promised them salvation from their sins, He has also ordained that all people, whatever their religious convictions, must live together as divine image bearers entrusted with bearing children, building cities, planting farms, making music, forging metal, and securing justice against wrongdoing.
b. Community hospitals, medical schools, insurance companies, and medical practice groups are legitimate expressions of the common cultural task that God bestowed upon the human race as a whole, the task of protecting life and promoting its flourishing.
c. Creation in general and the human conscience in particular (natural revelation) make known to all human beings crucial things about God and His moral will for them. So natural revelation provides a way for Christians to engage in meaningful moral conversations in the public square with those who do not acknowledge the authority of Scripture.

d. All of the above.

Chapter 2: Theological Doctrines (p. 39-67)
3. The doctrine of God's sovereignty teaches that not only does God know all things -- past, present, and future -- but He also has planned and ordained all things, from the greatest events of history to the most obscure. How are we, then, to understand how God, being holy, all-powerful, and good, can allow many evil things to happen?
a. Although God does permit evil things to happen, and even uses them to accomplish his overall purpose, He is not the source of evil. Instead, He is the origin of all good things (James 1:13-18).
b. God's sovereignty does not cancel out human responsibility. All human beings are accountable for their moral conduct. But neither Romans chapter 9 nor the book of Job provide a philosophical explanation for the two doctrines of God's sovereignty and human responsibility, probably because there are things about God's greatness that transcend our small, finite understanding. Job's example is instructive for us -- At the end of the book of Job he humbles himself and demands no more explanation from God.
c. People can take great comfort knowing that God's sovereignty, even in illness and suffering, always works for the good of His people (Romans 8:28). He does not allow His people to be consumed by suffering, and in every moment of temptation He provides the way of escape (I Corinthians 10:13).
d. All of the above.

4. What does it NOT mean for human beings to be "made in the image of God"? (Genesis 1:27)
a. People are rational and intelligent and morally responsible for their actions.
b. All people have been created in God's image, though this image has been greatly marred and corrupted by sin.
c. People who sin in major ways no longer bear the image of God
d. All people should be treated with dignity and honor.

5. For Christians, what is the benefit of the death and resurrection of Christ?
a. God declares Christians justified and righteous before Him. (Romans 5:18-19)
b. Christ now lives to sympathize with and aid Christians in all their suffering, since He suffered and was tempted as a human as well. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
c. Death does not have the final say for Christians, since they will live with God forever (Luke 11:25).
d. All of the above.

6. For Christians, which is NOT true about suffering?
a. Christians can expect to be fully delivered from the sufferings of this world only when Christ returns, and not before then. (Revelation 21:1-4)
b. Today, Christians, if they have enough faith, should expect God to frequently perform miracles of healing. (Matthew 4:23)
c. Christians must enter the kingdom of heaven "through many tribulations." (Acts 14:22)
d. God usually does not reveal the precise reasons why each Christian suffers. The book of Job is an example, where God refrains from explaining Job's suffering. Rather, He simply contrasts His greatness with Job's smallness (Job chapters 38-41).
e. God uses the suffering of Christians to help them become more like Christ in His character (Romans 8:29).
f. Throughout all the suffering of Christians, Christ promises to never leave them (Hebrews 13:5).

Chapter 3: Christian Virtues (p. 69-94)
7. Through which virtue does a Christian trust not his or her work but only the work of Christ, and therefore is declared righteous by God?

a. Faith

b. Hope
c. Love
d. Courage

8. Which is NOT true about the Christian virtues?
a. The New Testament primarily speaks of a Christian's hope in what could happen in this world, such as healing from sickness, rather than in what will happen in the world to come, such as one's resurrection to eternal life
b. Scripture emphasizes love more as actions done for the good of others rather than good feelings one has.
c. Scriptural courage is the determination to do what is right according to the will of God while resisting the temptation to avoid what one fears.
d. Contentment, in contrast to grumbling, envy, and covetousness, is submitting to and finding peace with God's will for our condition in every circumstance of life. This virtue can exist alongside Christians' attempts to alleviate suffering.
e. A Christian who approaches a bioethical problem with wisdom will try to understand the precise nature of the problem, the available remedies, and the likely consequences of those remedies.

PART 2: The Beginning of Life

Chapter 4: Marriage, Procreation, and Contraception (p. 97-117)

9. Which is NOT a teaching of the Bible concerning marriage?
a. God created marriage for the mutual help of a husband and wife.
b. God created marriage for couples to bear children.
c. God created marriage so believing parents can have children who will become believers.
d. It is better to be married than to be single.
e. God created marriage to prevent sexual immorality.

10. The Bible would support a couple considering all of the following factors in delaying to have more children EXCEPT
a. waiting to reduce their burden of debt.
b. trying to maintain a lifestyle that kept pace with their peers or neighbors
c. saving for their children's future.
d. increasing their skills in disciplining children effectively.

Chapter 5: Assisted Reproduction (p. 119-145)
11. The first thing a Christian couple should do when they discover their infertility is to
a. start saving money for expensive fertility treatments.
b. ask God to develop contentment within them, finding peace in the midst of their infertility, whatever the outcome
c. consult with a competent physician about possible fertility treatments.
d. ask God what they did to deserve this suffering.

12. What is the author's position concerning third-party options for overcoming infertility, where “third party” means having a third person as sperm donor or egg donor or surrogate mother?
a. Although the Bible does not explicitly prohibit third-party options, they can potentially do damage to natural biological family relations. So Christian couples should therefore exercise the greatest caution before proceeding with third-party options.
b. All third-party options should be avoided because they are equivalent to committing adultery.
c. All third-party options result in family anger, jealousy, and discord, as demonstrated by the biblical story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar.
d. The Bible specifically promotes third-party options in Deuteronomy 25:5-10 which is about a surviving brother's obligation to marry his dead brother's widow.

13. Which husband-and-wife option for overcoming infertility does the author OPPOSE?
a. Artificial insemination (AIH) of the husband's sperm into his wife's body.
b. In vitro fertilization (IVF) in which only one embryo created from the husband's sperm and his wife's egg is nurtured throughout the entire pregnancy.
c. In vitro fertilization (IVF) in which multiple embryos are created from the husband's sperm and his wife's eggs and only one or two are nurtured throughout the entire course of pregnancy and the rest are destroyed.
d. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is which only two or three embryos are created from the husband's sperm and his wife's eggs and then implanted into his wife's body.

Chapter 6: The Human Embryo (p. 147-168)

14. What biblical evidence is there for people to hold a high view of the unborn child?
a. King David refers to his existence in his mother's womb in Psalm 139:13 “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.”
b. God was intimately at work in David's mother's womb to “knit” and “intricately weave” David together (Psalm 139:13-16).
c. The power of the Holy Spirit impregnated the virgin Mary with the eternal Son of God, Jesus, who also became an image bearer of God at the moment He was conceived as a human embryo. Luke 1:35 “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy – the son of God.”
d. All of the above.

15. The author believes that human personhood begins at
a. fertilization, which causes a radical transformation in which two entities, a husband's sperm and a wife's egg, genetically different from each other and unable to survive without each other, combine to form a genetically unique living human entity that is capable of developing into a full-grown human being.
b. birth, because a baby ceases to exist in the mother's body and no longer depends fully upon it for sustenance.
viability, when a fetus would be able to live outside the mother's womb.
d. around the 20th week, when the fetus' nervous system is fully integrated, because then it potentially has the capability for rational activity.

16. The only instance in which the author believes abortion is justified is when
a. a woman becomes pregnant through rape.
b. tests performed while the baby is in utero show that the child will be severely handicapped.
c. the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother
d. a young woman becomes pregnant and has no financial resources.

PART 3: The End of Life

Chapter 7: Approaching Death -- Dying as a Way of Life (p. 171-193)

17. Which best represents the Christian view and experience of death?
a. Death is a horrible experience that should be fought and delayed at all costs. Therefore, the best death is one is sudden and involves no extended period of pain and suffering.
b. Death is a natural process that should be accepted, not feared.
c. Death is an enemy that produces sorrow and grief, but it has been defeated by Christ's death and resurrection.
d. Death is a biological experience that produces denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance.

18. Which is NOT true?
a. When Christians visit someone who is dying, they should prepare something to say that would be comforting. Otherwise, their visit will probably not be encouraging.
b. The primary purpose of a living will is to provide instructions about whether a person wishes to receive life-sustaining treatment when in a permanently unconscious or terminal condition.
c. The power of attorney for health care enables a person to name an agent who will have legal authority to make necessary healthcare decisions for him when he is in an incapacitated state.
d. It is wise for each person to execute a will, to have a life insurance policy as a way of providing immediate financial relief for dependents, and to put their financial assets in a trust.

Chapter 8: Suicide, Euthanasia, and the Distinction between Killing and Letting Die (p. 195-212)

19. There are three exceptions to the commandment "You shall not kill." Which is NOT one of them?
a. administering capital punishment to someone who committed murder.
b. killing one's enemy during a war.
c. defending one's own life or another's life.
d. ending one's life because of extreme depression.

Chapter 9: Accepting and Foregoing Treatment (p. 213-238)
20. The author would support an elderly person discontinuing any more chemotherapy treatments for cancer in which of the following situations?
a. The person knew that continuing with chemotherapy only offered a very small chance of recovery, and the person wanted to have more meaningful interactions with family members which she did not have while undergoing treatments.
b. The person discontinued the painful chemotherapy treatments in order to focus more upon God and holy living, hoping to be an example to the rest of his family.
c. The person discontinued the expensive chemotherapy treatments in order to leave more of a financial estate to her family, and to forego the extreme suffering brought on by the painful treatments.
d. All of the above.