Studying Science in Noahide Law
Rabbi Yoel Schwartz (Jerusalem Court for Bnei Noah)
There is value in studying science, especially since this enables a person to recognize the greatness of G-d and to better the creation for the benefit of society. All this is under the condition that it be done in a proper manner and not by unbelievers who want to liberate themselves or take over the world from G-d, which was the first sin made by a man.
1. Healing with the aid of Doctors and Medicines
- As it is stated in Exodus that a doctor should heal, our sages learned that a person who can heal his fellow human being should do so, that a sick person must go to a doctor to be healed. The important point here is that he should not rely on doctors alone, but in G-d who is the true doctor. The person should make an effort to get well.
2. Transplanting of Organs
- This is allowed to save the life of a person as long as the life of another person is not shortened so as to withdraw organs from him.
3. Unnecessary Dangers
- A person should be careful about medical treatment and medicines so as not to fall into unnecessary dangers like a dangerous plastic surgery that can have serious effects on the health of a person. If the dangerous surgery or treatment is being carried out to try to save the person’s life, then it is allowed.
4. The Purposes of Medical Treatments
- The main purpose is to increase the life span of a person and to prevent suffering, to increase fertility, but not to increase the pleasure of a person. It is prohibited to cause abortion without the medical reason of saving the life of the pregnant woman. (As it is not certain that a Noahide is permitted to perform an abortion even in such a situation, one should try to find a Jewish doctor to do it.)
- A doctor is not allowed to stop the suffering of his patient by shortening his life.
5. Medical Experiments
- If such experiments endanger the life of the patient, but there is a chance that it can save his life, it is allowed. However, there is a need for the approval of the patient. It is not enough to request the permission of the family. It is also may be allowed if the experiment might help a terminal patient who otherwise will die. A rabbi who is an expert in Jewish law should be consulted before doing such a thing.
- If the experiment cannot endanger the patient, it is worthwhile to receive the patient’s approval because there might be some side effects, or it might endanger him later.