Suicide is a difficult topic to discuss in the church, but one of the more pressing questions that pastors are often confronted with is, "If a person commits suicide, will that person go to hell?"
Dr. Ravi Zacharias, an Indian-born Canadian-American Christian apologist, tackled this subject recently and admitted that he does not have an "absolute answer" on what happens next when a person decides to take his own life, according to The Gospel Herald.
Zacharias referred to the Bible verse Genesis 9:6, which reads: "Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind."
Based on this verse, Zacharias said it is an attack on God's image whenever a person takes someone else's life or their own.
"In Genesis 9:6, murder is called the ultimate attack upon the image of God. That's what murder is," he said. "So by violating the image of God in someone else, or I violate it in myself, it is the ultimate act of lack of faith, and without faith, it is impossible to please God."
Personally, Zacharias said he wouldn't want to meet the Lord after he has taken his own life. But he wouldn't want to "stand as judge" to families who have lost someone due to suicide. Whatever discussions the church has made on suicide, Zacharias believes God is the only one who can determine a person's eternal fate.
"I cannot stand as a judge and tell the parent of an 18- or a 19-year-old their life has been wasted ... that that's the end and that person is hellbound," he said. "That's not my prerogative in life."
"I would have to leave God as the judge and leave God to work for the peace of a family that has had to live through it," he added.
Zacharias actually attempted to end his own life when he was still a teenager. In a testimony shared with Christianity Today, the apologist revealed that he was a failure in school and received constant beatings from his father because of his poor grades.
He eventually drank poison as "a quiet exit will save my family from further shame." Thankfully, a servant got to him on time and he was rushed to the hospital. There, he received a Bible from Fred David, the director for Youth for Christ, and Zacharias received a new lifeline because of God.