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Is organ donation biblical?

by Stephen Davey

Tatsiana asks, “What does the Bible say and how does God feel about blood and organ donation? Is it wrong to give or receive blood or organs?

While I love providing guidance on issues like this, I don’t want to fall into the trap of speaking with God’s authority on an issue He never spoke about in Scripture.

There is no mention of blood or organ donation in Scripture because doctors didn’t have the tools to perform those procedures back then.

The first blood transfusion took place in the late 1900s and the first successful organ donation occurred in 1954.

I cannot answer this question with the definitive authority of God’s Word, but I do want to provide some helpful guidelines, using Scripture, to help you make a godly decision when it comes to these issues.

1. Our bodies are a temple of God.

Paul wrote, “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you. … So glory God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). This verse gives us clear direction about behavior that could damage our bodies—our temples. We can apply this verse when it comes to the Christian’s attitude toward bodily mutilation, or smoking and addictive drug use. But there’s no clear command here about what to do with our bodies when we can help others without doing permanent harm to ourselves, either through giving blood and organs during our lifetime, or through giving vital organs after we die.

2. We honor God by helping the poor and sick.

At various points during His earthly ministry, Jesus commanded His disciples—and us today—to care for the poor, sick, and needy. There is no verse saying that giving of your own body to help the sick would be immoral, especially considering how Jesus gave up His own body for us when we were in need.

3. We will be given new, eternal bodies one day.

While we should treat our earthly bodies as temples, we must understand that we don’t need a whole, healthy body when we die in order to inherit our eternal bodies in heaven.

The Bible gives no command about the state of our bodies here on earth after we die. God does not command burial or cremation, nor does he condemn giving your earthly body to scientists and doctors for medical research or organ donation.

In matters like this, where the Bible does not have explicit instruction, the best we can do is follow the principles and values and morality that God has given us, and apply them as best we can to any situation.

Human life is sacred. When we use our bodies to save the life of another, I believe God will be pleased. That gift will show the sacrificial love of God and will emphasize the value God places on all human life.

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