Is Suicide The Unforgivable Sin?


There have been multitudes and multitudes of news coverage, commentaries, the blog-o-sphere being lit up, of course, publications, etc., etc., on the subject of Robin Williams, so I had decided to just remain silent, but then someone very close to me asked my view on it. Well, to say the least, since there is no simple answer, I just decided to go ahead and blog my response to that question, so here goes.

The question that was asked of me went like this:

"I've seen a lot of controversy over Robin Williams death. What are your beliefs on suicide? Do you believe it is the 'unforgivable sin'?"

There really is no simple answer to that question. To begin with, the only "unforgivable" or "unpardonable" sin, is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, which of course, suicide could fall under that category, to a degree, as being either a way, or even a result, of blasphemy.

The word “suicide” does not occur in the Bible (but, then again, the word "Bible" is not in the Bible, either). Neither are there any laws relating to suicide in the Bible, that I know of. But the Bible does give certain contextual insight into the subject and several examples of suicide, in which none are in a noble or positive light. Some examples include:

• Saul and his armor bearer (1 Sam. 31:4–5). Of course, Saul was in a totally back-slidden condition and out of relationship with God. In that day and culture, it was considered an honor to die along side your king or ruler, so that could explain the armor bearer following suit.
• Zimri, king of Israel, who “burned the king’s house down upon himself with fire” (1 Kin. 16:18), when Tirzah was besieged.
• In the New Testament, Judas killed himself primarily because of his shame and grief at betraying Jesus (Matt. 27:5). How sad, and how curious, that the earthly end of one of the first of the Lord's original apostles should be that of suicide. He could have spent a lifetime of service for God, winning souls and healing multitudes. He could have inherited eternal life and a throne over a tribe in Israel and all the other glories of the redeemed, but he would not pay the price of going back to the ones he had failed. He hanged himself and then fell headlong in the valley below where his bowels gushed out (Acts 1:18). Lightfoot, a theological commentator, says that the devil caught up Judas and then threw him down dashing him to pieces on the ground.

Human life is sacred, since we are created in God’s image (Gen. 1:27 "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." ). God as the Creator has power over all existence. He alone should control life, whether it continues or stops (1 Cor. 6:19 - "... do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?").

My basic answer to the question is "yes", however, the final answer as to where Robin Williams is right now, rest with God. I, nor does anyone else, have the wisdom, knowledge or authority to declare whether he is in heaven or hell.

Suicide, and again, basically speaking, is a selfish and cowardly act. The person is centered and focused on self and are not thinking about those they supposedly love or who love them. They sometimes do not have the courage to face life anymore, hence it is an act of cowardice. That's a general rule of thumb, but then again, sometimes the answer is not so simple.

In fact, it can become very complex. It could be because of some kind of chemical or neurological imbalance or disorder of the brain that causes a person to do something that they would never normally do. I have even seen and heard some good friends of mine who very quickly just jumped to the assumption that he or anyone else who commits suicide goes to hell - period. I do not agree with that notion.

It is very sad that Robin, along with so many others, felt that he had no other recourse, that he felt so overwhelmed he could think of no other answers.

In Robin Williams' case, he was alone. No one was there with him and even if there had been someone there, it is impossible to know what kind of encounter, if any at all that he had with God. No one could possibly know if in the final throes of death, that he may have asked God for forgiveness and mercy. As long as there is life and breath, there is always hope.

His father was Episcopalian, so who knows what kind of seeds that were planted in his early life that may have perhaps come to fruition and influenced what may have been his final heart's cry to God? Then again, his mom was a Christian Scientist, a weird, off the wall cult. So, did any of that influence his thought processes?

There are fundamentally only 2 things that we know:

1.) We know that the absolute only way to Heaven and to God is by and through the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said it Himself in John 14:6 - "Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." I know that sounds intolerant, but that is just the way it is. That is a direct quote from Jesus.
2.) We also know that we don't know what went on in that room with only Robin Williams and the Lord. So, for anyone to just make a concrete judgment in that matter, is still, at best, just sheer speculation. I may even agree that the odds are probably against it, but still, it is left to supposition and assumption.

I was deeply saddened when I received the news. Although I didn't particularly care for some of the roles he played, basically I was a fan for a great portion of the body of his work. I, like all of America, was first introduced to him as the quirky "Mork from Ork". But, I recognized his comedic genius and acting brilliance with each passing project that he pursued. I really appreciated his spontaneous gifting, which I believe was a gift from God. He may not have used it for God, but nevertheless a gift from God, all the same.

He also, like countless others, was plagued and haunted by a number of things, some known, others unknown. He was open about his addictions and alcoholism and his struggle with depression.

It is a sad thing for anyone to die without God and spend eternity in a place that was originally prepared for the devil and his demons, but is certainly sad to think about one, such as Williams, who gave so much laughter and enjoyment to untold millions, to spend eternity in untold sadness and misery.

The bottom line in all of this is a spiritual deficit. Ecclesiastes, although written by a back-slidden king/preacher, Solomon, still bears some spiritual truths. In 3:11 it says, "He [God] has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He [God] has put eternity in their [human] hearts,..."

God Himself, since creating us in His image, placed eternity in the human spirit. That's why people, for the most part, want to live forever. However, that eternal place in our heart cannot be filled with anything that is attached to this temporal world. It can only be filled by something that is eternal, and that has to be something spiritual. It also has to be the right spiritual thing, or Person, that has to fill that empty place, and that Person can be no one other than Jesus Christ.

Robin Williams, as well as countless others, are classic examples that things of this world, whether money, fame, sex, adrenaline rushes, entertainment, power or anything else associated with this world, will never fill that emptiness. There can only be One - Jesus Christ!

I do firmly believe that if we have a solid relationship - not religion - but relationship with God through the Lord Jesus, barring some kind of brain disorder, suicide will never be an option.

There are volumes that have already been written and no doubt multiplied volumes more that will be written regarding this topic.

My sincere hope is that someway, somehow Robin Williams was able to make that mercy connection with God and in that instant, the blood of Jesus Christ cleansed him in a flash. And if he did, we will meet in Heaven and laugh and laugh and laugh while the endless ages roll. However, only eternity will reveal that.

Pastor Mike

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Comment by Michael Parnell on August 9, 2017 at 5:20pm

Thanks for your insight, Rev. Williams.  I do agree with most of what you stated and in fact alluded to much of it in the blog post.  I do, however, believe there is always some degree or level of accountability to God, in which the gist of the article basically says, it is God who is the judge and has the final word.  I myself, would never presume  to suggest where the person who committed suicide ultimately ends up.  I would always leave that open to the judgment of God.  Thank you for reading and sharing your input.  God bless you!

Comment by Rev Patrick Williams on August 9, 2017 at 12:33pm

Although some cases of suicide is a selfish act, we must remember that many people who are in distress enough to follow through on such an act are not in their right mind when they harm themselves. In many cases they are suffering from forms of mental illness such a PTSD, and other mental disorders which cause them to have a view that is often not sound, and to someone watching would appear selfish. Many are tormented by devils taking on the appearances of mental disorders that hold men and women's mind's captive, causing them to be delusional. In such cases I do not believe they are accountable for their actions.

Comment by Michael Parnell on November 6, 2014 at 11:55am

Thank you Rev. Rob.  Appreciate your input. I agree with you.

Comment by Rev. Lyle Rob H on November 5, 2014 at 5:18pm

Beautifully stated. This is one of the many answers that we as mortal beings currently do not have the answer to, but there shall be the day wen we leave this earth we shall know. Until that time we must encourage others in Christ.

God Bless you

Comment by Michael Parnell on August 17, 2014 at 8:18pm

Thank you Dr. Henry for your encouragement.  I take that as a great compliment coming from you.  Of course, there is much more to be said regarding this particular topic.  We may extend some thoughts on it in the future, as the Lord leads.  Again, thank you for your gracious statement and may God continue to bless you in your leadership of the AOCI.

Comment by Dr. Henry, President of the AOCI on August 17, 2014 at 8:45am

Pastor Mike, this is a well written article on this often mis-understood subject.  God bless you, your family, and your ministry. 

Comment by Dr. Henry, President of the AOCI on August 17, 2014 at 8:30am

Pastor Mike, thank you for writing this timely piece on this often mis-understood subject.  Only eternity will reveal the truth about his eternal soul.  For now, our thoughts and prayers are with his family.  May our LORD bless you, your family, and your ministry.  Blessings to you Pastor Mike.

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