INTRODUCTION 1. 1 Background Thanks to the stressful lives that we all lead today, there is a growing concern about being healthy and fit. Despite a phenomenal technological advancement made by the modern day medical science, the concerns about deadly and seemingly incurable diseases like AIDS, cancer, neurological and cardiac disorders, etc is on the rise. Good health has become a rare commodity and although people have the means to lead a comfortable and an affluent lifestyle, very few have the kind of health and well being needed to enjoy this lifestyle.
Mankind has made numerous advancements, but the one thing that it has not been able to cope with is learning how to avoid falling sick and staying healthy. The ironical part is that man has the theoretical knowledge about how to stay healthy, but still ignores and compromises with his knowledge by indulging in stressful activities and not sparing any time for recreation, exercise, fresh air or rest. As they say, everything comes for a price and so does vibrant good health. A great deal of self-control and diligence is required to achieve a healthy body and a healthy mind.
It is amazing to observe that most of the modern medical science discoveries were prevalent even thousands of years back and can be found in the health principles laid down in the Bible. It is a fact that the ancient Hebrew was well versed with the ‘modern day medical science’ laws of health and well being. The Bible reveals numerous ancient health keys which provide valuable insights into ways of avoiding a lot of illnesses and disease. The health laws mentioned in the Bible show ways of avoiding diseases which are contagious or lifestyle driven, epidemics, plagues, venereal diseases, cerebral and cardiac disorders, and even cancer.
There is a lot of emphasis on the physical self in the Bible. It mentions that we all humans were created in the “image of God” and that God, after creating us with physical bodies, also gave us the ability to heal physical bodies. As per the Bible, human beings, despite being multifactorial, are an integrated whole and it is this wholeness and integration of these multiple factors which results in good health. It is a fact that the Eternal’s purpose for humans is to be healthy. However, unfortunately, many of us, even those who are supposedly true believers, are unhappy with their bodies and keep abusing them.
There are others who are obsessed with ‘health food’ and survive on a daily dosage of numerous vitamin pills and food supplements, which claim to be ‘natural’ and organic. There are many Biblical notions, which inform the modern day medicine. We will try to examine some of these notions through this paper. Interestingly, the Bible only stresses on adopting a healthy way of life, which prevents sickness and says little about the remedies of sickness. An attempt will be made to find out what exactly is the Biblical view of health and what are the principles laid down in the Bible for healthy living.
CHAPTER 2 2. 1 Definition of health As per WHO (World Health Organization), health is defined as “a state of well being (physical, mental as well as social) and is not just the freedom from disease or infirmity. ” However, as per the Bible, such perfect health and state of wellbeing exists only in the Garden of Eden (pre-Fall) and in heaven. Despite any kind of technological advancements in medical science, disease and death are bound to occur (until Christ returns) because of the Fall. Therefore, the WHO definition, howsoever nice it might sound, is impossible to be achieved.
So that leads us to the question that what is the Biblical definition of health. The Bible describes health as “that state of a person (including physical and mental) in which he or she is reborn, is obedient to all commandments of God, and utilizes the best possible medical science as per the Biblical understanding”. A greater insight into this definition: 1) A person. The Biblical definition uses the word ‘person’ because it is based on the fact that health is a completely individualistic matter, and varies from person to person.
Depending on one’s individual physical and mental abilities, meaning of ‘health’ varies from person to person. Factors like regular exercise, a balanced diet, intellectual stimulation and development, medications, use of physical therapies and other modalities all determine the ‘health’ of a person. People who are basically healthy and free from any major disease or disorder just need a balanced basic diet and regular exercise to remain healthy whereas those with severe genetic disorders need regular physical and medical interventions in order to remain ‘healthy’. 2) Reborn.
As per the Bible, the entire mankind has been divided into two groups, the saved and the unsaved (Matthew 25:32-33, for example). It also states that a person who is rebellious towards God (Romans, for example) is unhealthy, either in mind or in body. An unbeliever’s body, as per the Bible, cannot be made a temple of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19-20)? 3) God’s commandments. The Bible lays down many instructions which are all clubbed together and termed as ‘Commandments’ (John 14:15). “Commandments” do not just refer to the Ten Commandments but are instead all of God’s instructions to His people.
Psalm 119 throws light on the many synonyms used for “commandments. ” The Bible gives a choice for medical ethics by mentioning “It is for you to choose life and health or disease and death. ” (Exodus 15:26. ). It lays down instructions of being chaste before marriage and sexually faithful to one’s partner after marriage. These instructions, if followed truly, can help eradicate all STDs (Sexually transmitted diseases) like HIV/ AIDS, etc. 4) Make best possible use of the latest medical science available. “Best medical science” refers to medical practices which are in accordance with Biblical notions.
The notions are based on biblical as well as scientific ethics since God is the Supreme ruler of both the spiritual as well as the physical universe. CHAPTER 3 BIBLICAL VIEW OF MAN 3. 1 Concept of body, soul and spirit ‘Creation’ is the beginning story of the Bible, “In the beginning God created”, and God liked what he created. He started by creating a huge garden and endowed it with atmosphere, light, water, land and numerous heavenly bodies. He then went on to create ‘life’ in the form of a variety of creatures thriving in water, land and air. (Genesis 1:9, 12, 18, 21, 25).
After this, God went on to culminate His creation with people. “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over” (Genesis 1:26). The huge Garden of Eden was created for Adam and Eve (“them”), after which physical beauty was created by God. It was then that He blessed his creation with nourishment (vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, fats, etc- all in the form of food that tastes, smells and looks good). It is important to pause and think for a while about the purpose that God had in His mind before creating all this. What was the reason behind bringing all this into existence?
God was pleased with what he created and was as joyous seeing His creation as we are watching aquariums, zoological and botanical gardens. He created this Garden of Eden, a “biosphere,” to charm the physical senses. Human existence was the ‘will’ of God (Revelation 4:11). Humans were created differently because God chose them to be different. He took soil with his own hands, gave a ‘human’ shape to it and then “breathed life” into his nostrils and lo, man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7). Eve was also formed and shaped in a similar way by God.
While God’s words were enough for the rest of the creation, human life needed his personal and direct actions. Once Adam and Eve were formed, God “kissed” them to life. It is evident that God was very impressed by what he created and He exclaimed “very good” (Genesis 1:31). It is also clear that God wanted closeness with His new creation and wanted them to know him well and to love Him dearly. He wanted friendship and fellowship with his creation, a friendship involving one’s heart and soul, inner strength of the body, mind, spirit and emotion. God also willed that His people should know and understand him well (Jeremiah 9:23, 24; John 17:3). .
2. Inestimable value of humans in God’s sight God, while creating His children, valued them and cared passionately and intensely for them. God often spoke to Adam and Eve and continued to care for them even after they disgraced God and themselves after the Fall. The very fact that God incarnated himself into ‘human form’ shows His extreme love for His creation. Numerous events, during God’s short life, are clear evidence of his undying love for His creation. 3. 2. 1 Fellowship with us – Concept of child-ness We were created to have fellowship with God and to bring glory to His name with joy.
The deepest passion of us humans is fulfilled by worshipping Him and by realizing that the LORD is God and it is the God who created us all. We need to understand that we belong to Him and we are the sheep of his pasture (Psalms 100:3). “For in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). God also wished that all beings of His creation should be holy “Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy” (Leviticus 19:2). The only way to become ‘holy’ is by coming in close fellowship with Him and by living “in, through and with Him”. God wanted us to be holy in order to experience the heavenly joys and the love of God.
Unfortunately, a number of people today have turned away from God and do things their own way (Isaiah 53:6). Such people sin against God and seek imaginary Gods. However, God’s love remains unwavering even towards such people who start disbelieving in him. (Hosea 2:19-20). For those who understand and realize God’s goodness and love, everything else fades away and seems fake, impotent and destroys humanity (on a spiritual, emotional, social as well as a physical level). “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed, nor there one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed–I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “that I am God . . . the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise. ” Isaiah 43:10-12, 21. 3. 2. 2 Relating to others – The concept of “we-ness” God did not create individuals, instead created “them, as a couple” (Genesis 1:27). As soon as He created Adam, He knew that it was not good for man to be alone and so, immediately created Eve, “a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18).
Eve was created from Adam’s side and was created as an equal to Adam. She was neither superior nor inferior to Adam and was created to be Adam’s “helper”. After creating Adam and Eve, marriage was created by God to give an identity of ‘we’ rather than ‘me’ in them (Genesis 1:26). Physical relationship and marital sexuality leading to intimacy and procreation were willed to be a part of marriage (Genesis 2:24-25). God wanted His people to stay together, have common interests and live like a community. He wanted each of us to love each other and serve humanity.
He believes that any act of kindness done for others is in a way, being done for the King. How we conduct ourselves in society, how we treat our fellow human beings and whether we are self centered or not, all these facets are taken very seriously by Him. 3. 2. 3 Caring for others: Essence of human life God has gifted us with a beautiful earth, lovely surroundings and tremendous natural resources to enjoy. However, to fully enjoy these gifts, we have to care, fend and rule for it. We are supposed to enjoy God’s gifts by improvising upon them with our physical labor and creativity.
He wants His creation to be a reflection of our tastes (Genesis 1:26, 28; 2:15; Psalms 8:6). Both Adam and Eve were blessed with creativity, with the ability to procreate and the ability to convert objects into beautiful, useful valuable things, and thus, generate wealth. God wanted that Adam and Eve should use these gifts for the betterment of society as a whole and to help the needy (Leviticus 23:22; Leviticus 25:25; Luke 12:33). He wanted that all of us should live for others, care for others and spread his light of love. He wanted us to be generous (Proverbs 22:9; 2 Corinthians 9:7). .
3 Gifts of God: He has blessed us with innumerable gifts, the three most important of these being: 3. 3. 1 The power of choice: We have been blessed with perfect bodies and a mind with tremendous capabilities. We have been blessed with the power to directly communicate with God. We have been blessed with the power of knowing others, of loving others and sharing intimacy with our soul mates. We have been blessed with one of the greatest marvels, the human brain which has the capacity to learn, remember and forgive. They lived in His presence, daily communicated with Him face to face.
Experiencing the intimacy God designed in their marriage they explored “knowing” with tenderness and growing love. Their intelligent minds, created to learn everything about His creation, though disciplined by their wills explored all of creation with an exploding curiosity. God gave them the “freedom of choice”: He restricted what they could eat. They could choose to obedience or disobedience. Following the fall, humanity never lost its freedom to choose (Deuteronomy 30:19; Joshua 24:15; Romans 6:13, 14). 3. 3. 2 The gift of community Humans were created to be community animals.
We have to live in harmony with the community; else we might lose our individuality and humanity. The Church, a form of community, has the scripture as its basis for all ethical decions. Without community, each of us will interpret the scripture as per our wish and will try to justify all our behaviors. We might also lack responsibility and stop caring for others and start leading self-existent lives. This will take us to lead a meaningless life and will leave lonely. The have-nots (like the poor, the orphan, the disabled, etc. ) are benefited a lot from communities.
The ‘have-nots’ get a share of the earnings from those who are blessed with wealth, health and the sanity to help others. With each morsel that we share with the have-nots, we get a feeling of contentment and get closer to God. (Deuteronomy 15:10-11). 3. 3. 3 Temple of the Holy Spirit Our physical bodies are God’s abode since He has promised to never leave us alone. He resides within us at all times. (Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5). God is with us. Our bodies are like a temple where the Holy Spirit resides. (1 Corinthians 6:19). The human being is an entity with different aspects, namely a physical body, a mind that can think and a spirit.
CHAPTER 4 Concept of Body, Spirit ; Soul 4. 1 Monochotomous or Dichotomous 4. 1. 1 The common view held by Carnalists is that Man is a single natured being, i. e. Man is monochotomous in nature. 1. All the groups clubbed under “carnalist” have the same opinion about the nature of Man. These different groups, viz : Jw’s, Christadelphians,Adventists,etc. all believe that Man is a single natured being. 2. They believe that Man is completely made up of ‘matter’ and that he will cease to exist apart from the body. 3. They teach man is composed wholly of matter and cannot exist or function apart from the body. . Carnalists believe that although man is completely made up of matter, but it is the ‘spirit’ which instills ‘life’ in it. Spirit and soul are the essence of a human body and instill energy and breath in it. Just like a computer shuts off as soon as power is switched off, similarly life or a human body ceases to exist as soon as the ‘soul’ leaves the body.
4. Just like a machine, when broken into pieces, stops functioning because its ‘life force’ leaves it; similarly a man dies when his ‘life force’ leaves him. 5. They do not believe man has any existence or consciousness after death: No life after death! . They believe that Jesus did not exist for the three days he was dead. 4. 1. 2. Biblical view: Dichotomous nature of man As per the Bible, man is a dual natured animal. It states that : 1. Both matter (body) as well as non-material like soul and spirit form Man. Thus comes the notion that man is dual natured. 2. It further goes on to state that Man indeed is a trichotomous being with body, soul and spirit being its three components. 1 Thess 5:23 3. It states that just like bone, blood and marrow define the ‘physical half of man’, soul and spirit define the ‘spiritual half of man’. . Although different in meaning and form, Soul and spirit are often used interchangeably in literature. Lk 1:46-47 4.
1. 3. Arguments in favour of dichotomous (dual) nature of man: 4. 1. 3. 1 Definition of the word ‘death’: 1. Carnalists believe that death is the termination of all movement, awareness and realization 2. It is not viewed as total destruction or complete non-existence as per the Biblical view. Instead, it is viewed as a separation. It is viewed as a separation between two things, viz: o Physical death: Where body separates from the soul: Eccl 12;7; Gen 25:17; Jas 2;26 Spiritual death: Where man, due to his sins or unholy deeds, separates from God:Gen 2:17; Isa 59:1-2; Lk 15:24; Mt 8:22; Eph 2:1,5;1 Ti 5:6 3. Bible describes ‘Hell’ as a 2nd spiritual death, with the first one being at the point when we first sin and get separated from God. On judgment day, we are again brought in close contact with God and it is then that the wicked are sent to ‘Hell’ and are forever separated from God. 4. 1. 3. 1 Definition of the word ‘soul’ 1. Carnalists believe that man is a soul and so are all living creatures. : Gen 1:30; Job 12:10 2.
The Bible describes ‘soul’ as that invisible part which is unique from physical life: Mt 10:28 4. 1. 3. 2 Definition of the word ‘spirit’ Carnalists believe that the spirit of man is his breath, which is his life force. They perceive it equivalent to electricity which runs a machine and believe that it is something non-conscious o The Bible describes ‘Spirit’ as : ? A material thing like wind ? Breath ? Essence of God ? Dread ? Endurance ? Humble and quiet ? Kindness ? Ardent ? an intelligent conscious entity ? separate from the physical body ? God ? “He” and not an “It”: ? An Angel ? As a Demon 4. Spirit, Soul and Body – the Tripartite nature of Man Man is made up of three distinct components – spirit, soul and body; and thus, is a tripartite being.
He can come in contact God with his spirit. The emotions, the subconscious and conscious minds, are all controlled by the soul. A man’s nature, his natural thinking and personality are shaped by his soul. The human body is the entity through which humans relate to others in the world. The human body is the physical component of man whereas the soul and spirit are the invisible, yet important components. The spirit of a man is eternal and cannot be destroyed.
Man first came into existence by God’s breath (spirit) and is a living soul (Genesis 2:7 KJV). Man is a tripartite being and so, each part has an effect on the other. A healthy body will be a home for a vibrant spirit and an upbeat soul. It is believed that it is a man’s spirit which sustains him during illness and sickness. God has equal interest in all three components of humans. He advises us to have a healthy body, a clean soul and a holy spirit. He wants our mental as well as physical and emotional development , our companionship with God and healthy social interactions for us.
God wills a sanct spirit, soul and body for us all. We should be clear that God is not the same as “the Universe”. Instead, he is the Creator of the universe. God is not someone away from us. He is very much here, within us. He wants that we offer our spirit, souls and bodies to Him. We must make a continuous effort to reach closer to God in body, mind and spirit. 4. 3 God’s Will for our physical self There are very clear three wills of God mentioned in the Bible. In order to attain perfect physical, spiritual and emotional health, we must try to strictly follow these three wills of God: 4. 3. 1.
Sexual Purity ‘Sexual immorality’ is something which God totally detests and wants us to abstain from it completely. God wants us to practice safe, healthy and holy sex, one which is sanct and not driven by lust. (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5,7,8). The Bible is ver clear about the importance of sexual purity to achieve a perfect communion and companionship with God. Acts like masturbation, fornication, adultery and sodomy are strictly not allowed. Anything that we do with our bodies does impact our soul and spirit, and so, in order to keep our soul clean, we must notindulge in sexual immorality. 4. 3. 2.
Physical Health God wants all of to have healthy bodies, free of disease and ailments. Sickness occurs when there is a disconnect between God and us and when we start placing greater trust on ourselves rather than on the Lord. 4. 3. 3. Physical Fitness God wants us to stay fit by exercising regulalrly. The Bible says that our bodies, if not exercised well, will betray us when we need them to be alert and fit. Unfit bodies also lead to a low self esteem, unattractive physical appearance and depression.
4. 3. 3. 1 Physical Beauty: Most of the female characters in the Bible (Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Esther, etc. were recorded as physically beautiful women. Men are obviously more attracted to women who are physically beautiful, everything else being the same. Those who are physically beautiful attract a lot of temptation to be immoral. The Bible states that we must look our best but not put a lot of effort in trying to change the look that God has bestowed us with. It mentions that physical beauty is temporary and a lost cause, whereas spiritual beauty and an attractive personality are permanent and have eternal value. Howsoever physically beautiful a person might be, there are bound to be some imperfections.
It is these imperfections which remind us that we are fallen and that we must be on the lookout for something superior and more eternal than physical beauty. Appearance should not become an obsession for anyone. The Bible also states that we will look better in our resurrected bodies (Romans 8:23). It advises us to focus on eternal things like spiritual and emotional strength and beauty rather than on temporary assets like physical beauty. However, this does not mean that we should ignore our physical self while makign an effort to be more spiritusl. 4. 3. 4 God’s Will for Our Souls
God wishes a noble and a clean soul for all of us. He wants us to concentrate on truth, nobility, purity and praise by meditation. These are God’s gifts to mankind and our minds should always focus on Jesus and have the voice of the Word of God. God wants us to meditate on any of these assets so that our sunconscud minds are fed with them. This leads to happiness and bliss. It is best for man to pursue all noble acts related to his particular life calling from God. “As a man thinks in his heart, so he is” (Proverbs 23:7). Disciplining themind is not easy and requires a lot of effort.
However, the results are simply amazing and so, the effort ought to be made. Discipline of the mind surprisingly starts with Physical discipline. 4. 3. 4. 1 The Spiritual Life Although the mental capabilities of men differ from each othe with some being strong willed and some not. However, each one of us needs the Lord’s love and kindness for a continual, happy and a healthy life. The bets way to receive God’s love and his companionship is by continuous prayers, controliing one’s desires and quietening one’s soul and having the patience to wait upon God.
Medittating by continuous repetition of a single word or a small text from the Scripture is an excellent way to purify our soul as well as spirit and is the easiest way to achieve proseprity and to succeed. (see Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:1-3). Psychologically too, it is a proven fact that repeating a single phrase uses a number of brain parts and develops them, and thus, it gets completely imbibed in our minds. 4. 3. 4. 2 The Inner Witness of the Human Spirit It is believed that the inner voice which we get to hear when we are in trouble, is the Spirit of God.
However, it is not fair to expect God’s voice to immediately answer our queries always. This happens only with those who are truly spiritual and are in an attitude of waiting upon God. Others often turn to prophetic guidance from fellow beings when in trouble. This is a good way of strengthening the purpose of God in our lives but doesn’t initiate the process of our getting closer to Him. It is better to be in conversation with one’s inner witness of his We will do better, as Christians, if we learn to listen to the inner witness of our own spirits which have been regenerated.
This inner spirit is believed to be God’s light of love which searches the inner most depths of our hearts. (Proverbs 20:27). Your spirit knows things that your mind does not. The Holy Spirit guides and enlightens our human spirits by speaking to it and mostly, all answers to our queries come through our regenerated spirits in conversation with The Holy Spirit. 4. 3. 5 Neurological Mental Illnesses More than 20 million citizens of US and many more worldwide are suffering from a variety of mental diseases like psychoses, depression, schizophrenia, emotional-mental problems and neuroses.
These diseases still remain a mystery to the modern medical science with The National Association for Mental Health admitting in clear words that very little is known about the causative factors of these mental illnesses and these can be prevented only when we get to know the causes better. The Bible mentions very clearly and warns that people who break His commandments and laws will have to bear disastrous results and will have to suffer from mental ailments. “The Eternal will strike your minds with madness, blindness, and dismay, till you grope at noon like a blind man in the dark, and fall into disaster” (Deut. 8:28-29, Moffatt). Bible refers to madness as craziness, insanity and becoming a maniac and states that the only way to achieve a sound mental health is complete obedience of His laws. “Great peace have they that love thy law” Psalms (Psa. 1 19:165). In order to have a long, healthy and a peaceful life, a complete surrender before
His will and obedience of His laws is the key. (Prov. 3:1-2). God simply wants us to spread our love to others, be concerned about others well being and in return, promises to throw away anxiety, fear, depression and all negative feelings from our lives. Matt. 22:3640). Instead of being selfish and self centered, He wants us to reach out to as many people as possible and contribute in a positive manner to the betterment of our society. He wants us to develop a continuous flow of outgoing love which will also result in our emotional and mental well being. Feelings like jealousy, depression, low self esteem, anxiety, etc will get wiped away as soon as we develop this flow of outgoing love. Our health is very much impacted by the way we think, the way we perceive things and the way we conduct ourselves in society.
The more the number of positive thoughts in our mind, the healthier we will be emotionally as well as physically. All mental ailments start with negative thoughts in our mind and the only way to avoid such negative thoughts to enter our minds is by loving and caring for others and keeping ourselves occupied in spreading love and kindness. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). Someone who truly loves others and is concerned about others will be always cheerful, joyous and will radiate positive vibes wherever he goes.
Even the Modern medical science of today agrees that being happy and cheerful is the best way to counter mental ailments. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine” (Prov. (17:22). Chapter 5 Biblical Laws of Health The Bible states a number of ‘Direct Health Laws’ as well as some ‘clear health principles’, which we must understand and comply with, in order to achieve perfect health. The direct Health Laws as mentioned in the Bible are as follows: (1) The human body that we possess is not our own. Instead, it is the temple of the Almighty, abode of the Holy Spirit.
This health law is the most basic and forms the foundation for all other health laws. Unfortunately, it is also the most ignored or misunderstood health law. Since it is God’s creation, we have no right to do anything that we wish with our bodies. He created the human body with great care and love, and so, we ought to glorify Him in both our body and spirit. I Corinthians 6:19-20. This Law simply states that the human body is God’s gift to us and so, we must use each and every part of it for glorifying the Eternal! 2) Law of Flesh foods: Clean and unclean Describing the various categories of flesh foods, this Health Law is very important and again, very basic to achieve good health. The Bible clearly states that not all land or sea animals or birds or fish are in the ‘edible’ category. Some of these creatures are not supposed to be consumed ever and in order to stay healthy and Holy, we must avoid eating these flesh foods. Genesis 7:1-3. (3) Law of categories of food not to be eaten The Bible lists some categories of flesh which should not be consumed.
These categories are (a) any creature which dies of itself, Deuteronomy 14:21, (b) any kid of any animal who is being nursed by his mother, Deuteronomy 14:21, Exodus 23:19, (c) any animal which is bleeding or has not been cut properly, Leviticus 17:10-16 and (d) fat, Leviticus 3:17. (4) Law of moderation: Another important law which is almost completely ignored in affluent societies is the one which states that we must eat as well as drink only in moderation. We have not been created to become drunkards or gluttons; Proverbs 23:20-21, 25:16.
It is a well proven fact that all lifestyle related diseases like diabetes, obesity, digestive abnormalities and coronary disorders are caused due to ‘being overweight’ and under active. (5) Law of faith This Law reiterates that during sickness, we must pray and have trust in God to heal us, James 5:14-15. More than medicines, it is our faith and trust which heals and gives us a feeling of ‘wholeness’ Matthew 9:20-22. (6) Law of Joyfulness As per this law, all of us must have a truly joyful and jovial spirit. Only when we completely understand and follow each word of the Holy Spirit can we attain a state of complete joyfulness. 7) Law of activity The Bible also states that in order to be healthy, we have to have an active lifestyle. It mentions that if our work does not involve much of physical activity, in that case we must indulge in exercise and sports in order to remain active and healthy. Proverbs 6:6-11, 10:4-5, 12:11, 20:13, 19:15, 14:23, and I Timothy 4:7-8. (8) Law of rest This law states that along with eating proper food and having an active lifestyle, it is also important to give adequate rest to our body by taking proper sleep and relaxing the mind. This law comes under both categories of health and spiritual laws.
Psalms 4:8, 127:1-2, Ecclesiastes 5:12. (9) Law of healthy organic food grown in good soil The Bible mentions that good quality healthy food can be grown organically in superior quality soil. In case such foods are not readily available, we must grow it ourselves. Luke 13:6-9, Proverbs 28:19, Deuteronomy 14:22-2. The ideal Biblical society is mainly agricultural in nature. However, today’s society being predominantly ‘Industry’ oriented, it is almost impossible to completely follow Lord’s wish of indulging in agriculture. Nevertheless, we should try our best to procure organic foods. 10) Law of hygiene and fasting This law states that in order to attain perfect spiritual and physical health, it is very important to keep our body hygienic, mind clear of all negative thoughts and go on fasts once in a while to give rest to our digestive system. Isaiah 52:11, II Corinthians 7:1, and I John 3:3. This will cleanse our physical as well as spiritual selves. Cleanliness, it says, is a form of godliness. CHAPTER 6 BIBLICAL VIEW OF DISEASE God, while drafting the original plan for us, didn’t have any mention of diseases, ailments, suffering or even death. (Isaiah 65:25; Revelation 21:4).
However, with the passage of time, with decreasing trust and moral values, we humans have ourselves made such sufferings a part of our lives. 6. 1 State of Spiritual Brokenness The state of brokenness or the state of loss of wholeness is caused due to a variety of factors, the foremost amongst them being loss of trust in God and perceiving one self to be “like the Lord”. Trusting one self instead of trusting God results in obsessive freedom. This freedom leads a person to commit ‘sins’ like immoral acts, inhumanity and selfishness and further leave a feeling of solitude, estrangement, culpability and poor self-esteem.
Such feelings take a person far away from the Lord and completely annihilate the mind, spirit, body and soul. The Bible clearly states that a ‘sinful’ person, although alive in body and blood, is dead in soul and spirit. His physical, social and religious facets become non-existent and eventually the body too, dies. Such state of brokenness is a pitiable sight and it is only complete faith and trust in the Lord that can fix this state of existential brokenness. Following one’s own ways is not the solution to do away with this state of brokenness.
It is interesting to note that most of the common day ailments are not caused just because of the ill person’s behavior. Instead, they are a result of the severance from God due to over indulgence of self and society in certain matters, chronological deviancy and exploitation as well as family and tribal brutality. 6. 2 Existential brokenness and secondary coping mechanisms: Howsoever unconcerned we might project ourselves to be, our heart knows and accepts its state of brokenness during illnesses. It tries hard to heal the suffering by utilizing human defense and coping systems, but they only worsen the situation.
Deadly plagues, numerous ‘natural’ disasters, lingering ailments make the condition of humans pitiful. (Deuteronomy 28:58-61). Instead of seeking the Almighty and following his path, we try to tackle the situation by pursuing pride, indulging in sensual desires and voracity, exploiting natural resources of planet Earth, etc. These further result in poverty and inequity in accessibility of basic amenities like food, clothing and shelter, pollute the environment and infuse contagious toxins into food and water These contagious toxins result in epidemics and endemic infections killing thousands and further complicating the state of brokenness. • Being unfaithful and indulging in unhealthy, unsafe and destructive sexual behaviors results in deadly diseases like HIV/ AIDS, and almost one third of a billion people are affected by such diseases every year.• Widespread morbidity is caused due to over commercialization of food products, unhealthy food preservation methods and biologic intimidation. Severe radiation and stress also results in a variety of diseases and impairment. Immorality, selfishness, loss of ethics, self-hatred and existential solitude result in fear, continuous anxiety and severe depression. • Racism and ethnic violence result in spreading hatred and wasting lives. Most of us today tend to forget ‘God-centered’ spiritual, social and physical laws and are intolerant towards other religions, cultures and mind sets. • High-fat diets, excess of refined foods in our diets and minimal physical exercise result in ‘lifestyle related diseases’ like obesity, hypertension, coronary diseases, diabetes, etc. All the above mentioned factors multiply in numbers as we try to heal them ourselves.
We start trusting pseudo-solutions like consuming alcohol and drugs, using wealth and power, indulging in unsafe and unholy sex, etc. Unfortunately, these solutions, instead of healing, take us further away from God. 6. 3 Attitudes and diseases Disease, as per the Bible, is the missing inherent unity of a person, a loss of state of wholeness and a broken chord from community. It is the expected and inevitable result of a broken fellowship with God. In order to identify the factors resulting in physical dysfunction, and thus, disease, a concept called ‘The health field concept’ has been formulated.
It tries to integrate the various causative factors (both individual as well as societal) which result in disease and ailments. It constitutes of four factors (viz Lifestyle, Human biology, Environment and Health care organizations), each of which are assigned weights based on the disease frequency. a) Life-Style: These are factors and actions for which the person concerned himself is responsible and only he can control them. Sedentary work, no exercise, consuming foods high on fat and cholesterol are all lifestyle related issues which result in as much as 43% of premature mortality. ) Human biology: Consist of basic biological factors like ageing, which are unpreventable and modern medical science doesn’t have any way out for these factors. 27% of mortality is caused due to these factors. c)
Environment: External factors caused due to over exploitation of natural resources, societal norms and culture. These are society driven and not individual driven. Almost 19% of premature mortality is caused due to these factors. d) Health care Institutions: Relate to accessibility and type of resources available to the sick. Almost 11% of premature mortality is caused due to non-availability of required resources. . 4 Addiction and disease Addiction is defined as a vicious, compulsive and a destructive behavior of self despite injury caused to themselves as well as to their care givers. They provide instant respite from any kind of pain or suffering and then, result in a feeling of low self esteem, shame, culpability, solitude and meaninglessness. As soon as the effect of the addiction subsides, the pain and suffering reemerges, often with a greater intensity. This intense suffering again inspires the person to take the help of the addictive agent, and thus is formed a vicious circle.
Since people lose trust in God, their fellowship with Him is completely destroyed and they start seeking the aid of pseudo-solutions. These pseudo-solutions, with time, become addictions and rout our physical, spiritual as well as emotional well being and cause disease and early death. As shown by ‘The Health Field Concept’, almost two thirds of premature deaths are caused due to life style and environment driven factors. Surprisingly the health expenditure figures for these factors are the least because majority of money is spent for intensive care and not for preventive measures. 6. 5 Physical self and human brokenness
Disease, along with having a physical component, also has important emotional, spiritual as well as social components. Physical disease, caused due to a broken companionship with God, results in not just physical pain and abnormalities, but also leads to emotional distress. This emotional distress leads to a person being isolated from community and in a loss of values and ethics. People lose their personal worth and indulge in addictive behaviors like work, intellectualism and religion to regain their personal worth. Some indulge in other addictions like unholy and unhealthy sex, drugs, alcohol, etc to relieve themselves from the pain.
These addictions result in a feeling of guilt, self-worthlessness and shame and the person further suffers. CHAPTER 7 CONCEPTS OF HEALING The Bible clearly states that ‘Healing’ is the job of God since He wants us to be free from disease and suffering. He promises to gift ‘good health’ to those who strictly adhere to all His statutes. In accomplishing the job of healing his creatures, God has appointed His servants through whom a healing ministry is performed. Thus, it was a common practice to consult priests and prophets rather than doctors during illnesses. I Kings 14:1-5 (Ahijah), I Kings 17:17-24 (Elijah), and II Kings 4:18-35 (Elisha).
Numerous years of sin have resulted in immense degeneration of human life by increasing hatred, selfishness, violence and foolishness of mind. Such degraded beings polluted the earth and its atmosphere and wasted plenty of natural resources. However, even now, God has left parts of the “Garden of Eden” on Earth and parts of Him in each person. We remain, as always, God’s objects of love (Genesis 9:6). 7. 1 God wants to re-instate His image The task of restoration is always initiated by God. The revelation of God continues as he seeks a long and trustworthy relationship with people (Romans 1:20; Psalms 138:8, Romans 11:29).
God is the ultimate Healer of all our woes. The path to lead a joyous and peaceful life is shown by Him (Psalms 119:73). God looks out for people with a clean heart, a clear mind and a healthy body. He seeks for us through His kindness, His Spirit, His compassion and His Church. 7. 2 Complete trust in God: Only way to experience wholeness and healing The core of our existence is, and always will be, our companionship with God. Healing requires a full understanding of the ailment, its root cause and the nature of sin behind the cause.
After having understood the causes, the next step is clementing the sins and an effort to restore broken relationships. 7. 3 Various spiritual healing modalities God blessed us with a number of spiritual healing modalities. These modalities are listed below: 1. Prayer: Bible clearly mentions that in case of any illness, be it emotional or physical, the first and most important healing mode should be ‘prayer’. The healers must pray with a pure heart for the ailing and smear them with oil taking God’s name. God promises that if this is done with complete faith, it is His responsibility to ‘raise him up’.
Bible also mentions that a petitioner asking for forgiveness experiences it only after praying with a pure heart for forgiveness of his sins. (James 5:13-15). 2. Confession: Once a sin has been committed and a person realizes that he has sinned and sincerely wants to be freed from the spiritual consequences of the sin, he must first ‘own’ the sin and confess about the same. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The Bible defines ‘sin’ as an act which is done naturally by people when they have more trust on self than on God.
It is not some unusual or rare act done because of some pressing circumstances. Once the person realizes his sin, he must confess to God that his actions were wrong and he himself is the only one at fault. On doing this, the person will immediately experience God’s love and forgiveness and will feel cleaner and purer. God helps us in forgiving ourselves and in cleansing our inner consciousness. To experience God’s forgiveness, all we have to do is accept our sins, go to the people whom we have offended, confess in front of them and try to correct our mistake.
Our hearts must grieve for the suffering we have caused to others and pray for them. (James 5:16). 3. Decree/ Order : a) Baptism: The introduction of a person to ‘Christ’ has tremendous healing potential. This introduction denotes the end of the ‘old self’ and the resurrection of a new life. They start believing that it is not they, but Christ who is living. They are transformed in new people who have complete faith in God. They confess about their past sins and experience God’s forgiveness and spirit. They experience a new power and feel victorious. They feel united with God and experience the state of ‘wholeness’. ) Decree of Humility: This decree is based on the premise that cleansing of our system from all past sins is possible only with unquestioned faith and trust in God and that any other method of cleaning our sins in not effective. Such people, who possess humility, are termed as ‘God’s beloved children’.
They are sure to be united with God forever and they are humbled by experiencing this unity. c) Lord’s Supper: People participate in Christ’s death by Co-crucifying themselves, thus symbolizing an end to all their past sins. After this, they become free from all shame and guilt (1 Corinthians 11:23-26) caused due to their sins. . Gifts of Healing: The Bible reiterates again and again that the Church, just like the human body, is an organic unity. It consists of various parts but all parts are completely in sync with each other and closely related to each other. Suffering of one part results in a suffering of the entire body (vs. 25, 26). It is God’s greatest wish that all of us be one and be united in our deeds, actions and thoughts. God has gifted few of us with the power to heal and the power to spread God’s love. They are prepared for God’s works of service and unite everyone (John 17:21-23).
However, healers who direct their activities towards a commercial objective never succeed in spreading God’s love and in healing completely. In order to be a spiritual gift, healing has to have a much larger meaning than mere commercial success. Healing must be considered as God’s greatest gift and the practitioners must believe that their power of healing is God’s way of healing through them. They are just the medium between God and the broken. No credit should be taken by the practitioners for healing and instead, they must praise the Lord to have chosen them to be a medium to spread happiness. . Sabbath: The Sabbath relates to Lord’s restorative and healing powers.
The Sabbath brings people into fellowship with Christ and they experience God as their Creator as well as their Redeemer (Exodus 20:8,11; Deuteronomy 5:12, 15). The Sabbath gives immense happiness, rest and tranquility, which help in restoring and healing. The Sabbath is the day for freedom from the bonds of Satan, the day to re-establish fellowship with God. It was made for humans so they could know their Heavenly Father, His love, His healing and His restoration (Mark 2:27-28). CHAPTER 8 Biblical Diet 8. 1 Importance
Almost all of us are in search of a ‘perfect diet’ which can considerably improve the quality of our lives as well as reduce the number of ailments or diseases. A diet which can give us the boon of good health and thus, make us happy is what everyone is looking for. The main objective of a well-balanced diet is to provide vitality, clarity of mind and enhanced appearance. There are zillions of books available in the market claiming to have found ‘the perfect diet’ for perfect health. However, most of these are either contradicted by each other or are too technical to comprehend.
Weight loss being a major concern with people these days, these books although do excellent business, are hardly understood or followed. These books include a number of factors like calorie count, nutritional proportions etc, which are not easily understood by one and all. Instead, what we need are simple, easy to comprehend and trustworthy guidelines which are based on scientific premises. The Biblical diet lays down very simple outlines, which when adopted, can take us to the ‘perfect health’ state.
This is the diet which satisfies all aims of a diet as it provides vitality, clarity of mind and an enhanced appearance. . 2 The Original Diet As per the Bible, fruits and vegetables should be the base food of our diet. Infact, one of the main reasons why God created plant life was to provide a continuous, healthy and a sustainable food supply for humans and animals. All plants thus, are the purest bible foods. The Bible allows us to freely eat herbs and herb yielding seeds, fruits with tree yielding seeds (like apples, papaya, cherries, etc), plant yielding seeds (like tomatoes, lentils, rye, wheat, etc) and plants of the field ( like greens, celery, onions, parsley, etc).
In other words, all fruits, nuts, legumes and grains are the basic component of this diet. Even today’s modern medical science vetoes the benefits of these foods for good health and well being. None of these foods can do any harm or have any kind of ‘side-effect’. On the other hand, food classes like meat, dairy and sugar have done more harm to our health rather than good. Diseases like obesity, cardiac ailments, cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes are all related to the consumption of these food classes. Herbs are a very important component of the Biblical diet.
Herbs, apart from providing nutrition, also help in cleansing our blood and vitalizing our immune system. All of us must try to find out the herbs which are best suited for us. Almost all diseases have a cure based on medicines produced from herbs. A lot of suffering can be prevented with extensive use of herbs in our diet. World over, herbs are regarded as a great source of nutrition and medicinal qualities. Infact, thanks to the invaluable properties of herbs, they were used as currency during Biblical times. However, not all herbs are high on nutrition and medicinal value.
Some like cinnamon, tea, and coffee are irritants and often do more harm than good to our system. For a healthier lifestyle, it is recommended that all of us must have a book on herbs and their medicinal value. 8. 3 Some Restrictions As mentioned earlier, self control is a virtue possessed by few. However, in order to attain good health, having self-control is perhaps the most critical assets required. God has blessed us with the power of choice and also with a mind to distinguish the good from the bad and make correct choices. Diet control is on of the greatest tests of self control.
One who doesn’t have control over his taste buds is in for disaster. Numerous accounts mentioned in the Bible show how the disability to control one’s diet ruins a person. However, controlling our diets is easier said than done because of the huge variety of food available. Food which is good to see, good to eat but is also addictive and unhealthy. Thanks to our highly adaptable nature, we start liking what we eat and so, it shouldn’t be very difficult for us to move over from our regular diets to the Biblical diet. Once we decide whole heartedly to stick to this diet, our pallets will not take long to develop a liking for it.
It might take some time and require a considerable amount of effort, but given the benefits of this diet, we all must make this effort. CHAPTER 9 SUMMARY After studying the various aspects of health, as mentioned in the Bible, the following can be summarized as some of the unique aspects of the biblical definition of health: (1) The basic premise on which this definition is based is that all humans are one and that the entire humankind in united (both within themselves and with their surroundings and community); (2) The Bible defines health as a state of ‘wholeness’ and sickness as a state of ‘brokenness’.
These two states not just relate to the physical self but also include a spiritual dimension; (3) The emphasis in Bible is on ‘Health’ rather than on ‘sickness’; (4) The primary objective, as mentioned in the Bible, should be ‘others health’ rather than one’s on health; (5) It defines ‘healing’ as any act which takes a person towards ‘wholeness’, be it on a physical, social, emotional or a spiritual level; (6) Healers are recognized as people who take others towards this feeling of ‘wholeness’. (7) Three meals must be consumed everyday, at regular intervals. 8) We should avoid consuming any food in between these meals. “Eat in due season”. Ecclesiastes 10:17 (9) Man must eat to live and not vice versa. “Put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite”. Proverbs 23:2 (10) God wants us to work hard for six days and rest for the seventh day of the week. We must stick to God’s plan and accordingly work only for six days.
“Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work”. Exodus 20:9,10 (11) We must keep our bodies clean and hygienic. Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh”. 2. Corinthians 7:1 (12) We must learn to control ourselves. Self control is essential for attaining good health. “Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things”. 1. Corinthians 9:25 (13) Be merry and cheerful. Spread happiness. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine”. Proverbs 17:22 (14) We should never consume fat derived from animals or animal blood in any form. “It shall be a perpetual statue for your generations throughout all your dwellings that ye eat neither fat nor blood”. Leviticus 3:17 15)
We must extend a helping hand to the needy. We should feed the hungry; give shelter to the homeless and clothes to the naked. “Loose the bands of wickedness… undo the heavy burden… deal thy bread to the hungry… bring the poor that are cast out to thy house… When thou seest the naked cover him… Then… thine health shall spring forth speedily”. Isaiah 58:6-8 (16) We must have complete faith and belief in God and we must obey his sayings. “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings… For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh”.
Proverbs 4:20,22 (17) All our actions must be to the glory of God. Whether we eat, drink, work, relax, everything should be done keeping God in mind and thanking him throughout. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God”. 1. Corinthians 10:31 (18) Ailments, suffering, diseases and a state of brokenness are all a result of a distrust of God. People decided to believe in their analysis rather than having faith in God’s instructions, because of which the state of ‘wholeness’ was swept away from most of us. 19) Humans lack the sensibility and sensitivity to distinguish between the good and the bad, because of which the world is now being ruled by evil. (20) Living in this world which is ruled by evil, without the faith and belief in God leads us to numerous problems of varied types (physical, emotional, social, religious as well as spiritual). (21) Acts like sex, consuming addictive drugs or indulging in violent activities are various ways by which we try to overcome or hide our suffering.
These methods, instead of relieving us from our sufferings, cause irreparable damage to our physical self and to our self-respect. (22) These addictive actions lead to a chaos in society. (23) There are some other addictive actions like work holism or religiosity, which are a result of a hunger for power and control. These addictive actions, however, are perceived to be ‘acceptable’ by our society and result in exploitation of environmental resources and of people. (24) Such addictions lead to a feeling of ‘societal brokenness’ and are the primary causes of all human diseases.
The “Health Field Concept” illustrates this relationship between addictions and diseases. (25) ‘Healing’ is not just about curing the physical symptoms. Instead it is also about curing and nurturing the basic cause of the physical symptoms, which is ‘a distrust of God’. Faith in God is the only way to cure a disease from its roots, all other forms of healing are merely superficial and pertain only to the physical self. (26) As per the Bible, there are a number of ways of healing like praying, confessing, giving ordinances, the Sabbath, etc.
Those of us who have complete faith in God and open our hearts to Him let the Holy Spirit show miracles in our lives and take guidance from the Spirit in using these various healing modalities. The word ‘Health’ has the same roots (Indo European) as the words ‘healing’, ‘wholeness’ and ‘holy’. Bible reiterates again and again that being healthy means being ‘whole’ and someone who can make others ‘whole’ is defined as a healer. Those of us who are brought up in a loving and a caring environment perceive ‘wholeness’ as the feeling of belonging to others and to our surroundings and community and not just completeness in ourselves. Health’, thus, should be viewed on a community level and never on an individual level.
Today, with an increasing obsession with health and diseases, it is imperative for all of us to change our focus from ‘curing’ to ‘preventing’. Our existence doesn’t need any more medicalizing and consumerizing. Instead, what it needs is a constructive effort towards preventative medicine and health care. Mankind must find out ways to promote good health which is sustainable by using the environmental resources in a sensible and a responsible manner.
The Bible also echoes the belief that God is the absolute good for all us Humans whereas health is a subsidiary and an instrumental good. Health is our enabler to be joyous and to perform the services which God wants us to perform towards our fellow beings. Health must be sought for God and not as an alternative to God. CHAPTER-10 CONCLUSIONS This chapter draws overall conclusions based on the literature reviewed. As a conclusion, the following are some attitudes and mindsets needed by God’s clinicians: 1. God is the protector of all of us.
Any patient the world over, anyone who is needy or is ill (maybe because of his own deeds or those of others) is a precious child of God. God loves all his children and looks after them. He also expects all His servants (ministers) to spread his love. 2. We were created by God to serve humanity at large. This includes those in need of healing as well as those who minister God’s science of healing. 3. The clinicians created by God will try to spread his love to anyone who is needy, irrespective of his social, economic or financial condition. 4.
These clinicians who were created by God will try to analyze the patient’s condition and try to find out the obvious modalities of brokenness in them. They will thus, try to figure out and thereafter, cure their ailment (which could be physical, emotional, social, religious or spiritual in nature). 5. Once the brokenness or ailment has been identified, these clinicians will try to find out the possible causes behind them, which will include the physical, emotional, social, religious or spiritual reasons. 6. The different causes and symptoms of ailments, when identified, will be treated by God’s clinicians. .
The clinicians will be united in the cause of spreading God’s love, reducing suffering, and curing the various spiritual, religious, social, emotional or physical ailments. We can thus clearly conclude that the Bible is THE SOURCE BOOK for good health and it is time we ceased to overlook it. We must realize and accept the fact that the modern medical science principles were all laid down originally, and in great detail, in the Bible thousands of years ago. We also tend to ignore ‘preventive measures’ and lay a lot of stress on ‘curative measures’.
Millions of dollars are being spent to conduct extensive research to find out a cure for deadly diseases like cancer, HIV/ AIDS, etc, whereas hardly any efforts are being made to educate people about how to prevent these diseases. The Bible repeatedly mentions that the major function of clinicians/ doctors is to educate people about preventive means to avoid disease. The principles laid down in the Bible are all designed with an objective to prevent diseases, contagious ailments and epidemics and to enable all of us to maintain vibrant good health throughout our lives.
However, unfortunately, most of the world tends to ignore and shrug away from these teachings. The growing number of people suffering from deadly diseases is perhaps a result of this ignorance. Undoubtedly, the Biblical health laws were all far ahead of their times and are as much relevant and valid today as they were thousands of years back. The onus is on us to realize this relevance and adopt these principles in our lives to lead a life free from disease and suffering.