(This is the twenty-third in a series of health articles that are designed to help you gain a deeper appreciation for God’s amazing handiwork of the human body and a better understanding of how it works and how it can be better maintained by simple methods. George McDaniel is my father-in-law, and has been a registered nurse for many years, which, along with much research, has taught him many useful health principles. I pray that you are being blessed by these articles. Editor)
In our discussion of health, we have studied the essentials to good health using the acronym, NEW START. So far we have dealt with the subjects of nutrition, exercise, water, sunshine, temperance, air and rest. These seven areas relate to the health of the physical body. This month we are going to investigate the spiritual aspects of health and how they relate to overall health.
Man is a unity, not a dichotomy. This means he can?t be divided into two separate parts: a mortal physical body and an immortal spirit. Genesis 2:7 tells us, ?And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.?
As soon as the inanimate dust received the spirit of life from God, man?s heart began to beat, the lungs began to function, the muscles began to move, the brain began to function; the man could now interact with the environment. He could see, hear and feel; his mind began to work; he could process information, think, remember and socialize with his Creator and with other created beings.
Everything that makes us what we are came about as a result of God putting into non-living dust the spirit of life from Himself.
True health involves every aspect of our being: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social. A disruption of any phase of a person?s wholeness brings disease, and this disease involves the whole being. Treating the physical body alone usually involves only alleviating symptoms. Every facet of human nature is interrelated. The mind has a profound influence on the body, and what affects the physical also affects the mind and social relationships. True healing involves the whole person.
This concept is important, not only because it promotes total health but also because it opens our understanding to some of the most troublesome problems humans suffer. It gives us insights into the question of life and death. The fear of death is very real and we have many subtle ways of denying this reality.
Perhaps the most important motivator in human behavior is one?s attitude toward death. The terror of death and non-existence is seen in all cultures and civilizations. Primitive cultures express this terror openly. More sophisticated cultures express this fear in subtler ways. But deep in everyone?s heart is this anxiety when he faces the thought of his final destiny. In order to escape this anxiety, most cultures have chosen several ways to deny death. Most religious philosophies deny death by immortalizing the soul or spirit. Unfortunately, the roots of this denial are found in ancient philosophical views of the dualism of human nature, and not in divine revelation. Death is not the continuation of life, but rather its cessation.
In the last 30 to 40 years, many writers have become interested in experiences related by people who have supposedly died and then were revived. Many of these people claim they floated up out of their bodies and were able to see the medical personnel working to revive them. They then were drawn into a dark tunnel and went swiftly along it toward a light. They emerged into the presence of a being of great light and love. Many report also seeing friends and loved ones there who have died. They are told they can?t stay, but have to go back to the world; eventually they will be able to return, but not now. They then go back and awaken in their bodies.
These people have experienced what is called ?clinical death.? They have no heartbeat and no spontaneous respiratory efforts. Physiologically, they have not died. Their body and brain cells have not died. None of these meet the criteria of death experienced by Lazarus in John 11:39. Martha said to Jesus, ?Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.? God is not going to give anyone an experience contrary to what is written in His Word. The only conclusion I can reach is that such experiences are demonic visions given to deceive those who have them and those who hear of them.
One of the great hazards of denying death is that it opens the door to the occult and lays the groundwork for misinterpretation of parapsychology. (Parapsychology is the study of occult or psychic phenomena such as telepathy, clairvoyance and extra-sensory perception. It also would include the study of after-death experiences.)
Spiritism, worship of or communication with so-called spirits of the dead, is nothing new. It is as old as recorded human history. It is found in all cultures, from very primitive to highly sophisticated. It extends from voodoo rituals of devil worship in Haiti and Africa to presidents, prime ministers, and other heads of countries, who consult with their spirit guides before making major decisions. These practices are more widespread than is generally known.
Just what is the answer to death? If it is not the curtain that separates reality from the spirit world, what is it? If it is not the gateway to eternity, just what is it? The Bible tells us that death is like a sleep. See 2 Samuel 7:12, 1 Kings 1:21, Job 7:21, Job 14:12, Psalm 13:3, Daniel 12:2, John 11:11, 13, 14, 1 Corinthians 11:30, 15:51, 1 Thessalonians 4:13, 14.
The answer to death is that Jesus Christ died and was raised and all who believe in Him will be raised back to life when He comes again. 1 Corinthians 15 is all about the resurrection of the righteous, but especially verses 20-23 and 51-55. Also 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
All the previous articles have emphasized principles which, if followed, can help us achieve better health and a better quality of life. Following these principles pays rich dividends in health and strength and clearness of mind. We may be able to postpone death, but we can’t bypass it no matter how well we live. We can’t eat or jog our way to a never-ending life. That is why the last principle of health is the most important. It is called Trust.
Trust involves faith. Sometimes our faith receives a shock. Someone or something lets us down. Some persons and some things are unreliable and not worthy of our trust. But it is not our faith that is at fault, rather it is the object of our faith.
Trust is developed by knowledge and familiarity with the object of our trust. Trust strengthens as it becomes more assured of the dependability of the support and service that its object gives us. Trust is one of the first things we learn. It is developed in infancy where the primary trust relationship is between baby and mother. The mother supplies nourishment, love, warmth, clean diapers and comfort.
As the baby becomes familiar with its surroundings, it develops a sense of inner security and trust. The mother, and others with whom it associates comfort, become objects of trust. Its relationships become an inner certainty as well as an outer predictability. Most homes provide an environment where trust can grow and develop. Unfortunately, broken homes, drugs, and abnormal social conditions can scar a child so that he develops basic mistrust. This is a serious handicap and can be remedied only when the child experiences a genuine love relationship.
We all suffer mistrust in varying degrees. This is another way of saying we lack faith. Faith is not a mystical experience that we generate by going to church, becoming religious, memorizing the Bible or by meditation. Faith is a basic experience and an important segment of the foundation of human personality. It is expressed in relationships and character, not in creeds. Faith is always related to love. (See Galatians 5:6.) Love involves commitment, which extends faith and becomes part of it. Faith is patient and enduring and involves appropriate response in obedience. Faith is the one thing that gives us security and a sense of belonging. It is also our greatest potential for healing.
Most of the scientific world, and also much of the religious world, have accepted the theory of evolution. This belief makes man the supreme expression of the forces of the physical universe and diminishes the potential of faith. It limits faith to man and what man can do. How a person can believe man evolved from lower creatures and also believe that he has an immortal soul that goes to heaven when the body dies, is beyond my ability to understand. Obviously such people don?t think these things through. They just accept as fact what some authority figure tells them.
There are many scientists today who see serious flaws in the evolutionary theories. They see in living organisms a property called ?irreducible complexity.? They see evidence of an intelligent mind at work. This new theory is called ?intelligent design.? Many adherents to this belief are not yet willing to believe in the existence of a personal God, but they have been forced to abandon belief in evolution because the facts don?t uphold that belief.
If a person can see intelligent design in the universe, then there must be an intelligent designer. How do we find this being we call God? Zophar, one of Job?s friends, asks the question, ?Canst thou by searching find out God?? (Job 11:7)
In Jeremiah 29:13 God tells us, ?Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.? And Jeremiah 31:3 says, ?I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.?
We need to seek Him, not just with our intellects, but with our whole being. He loves us and draws us to Himself and will reveal Himself to us.
God, who created us and the universe in which we live, is the only One who can meet our deepest needs. He has revealed Himself in His creation and through the prophets. These methods do not adequately reveal His love for us, so He sent His Son to show us perfectly how much He loves us. Hebrews 1:1-3 puts it this way: ?God, who at sundry times and in diverse manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds: who, being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high.?
Only faith, empowered by God?s Spirit, can respond to such a declaration, but once this response is made it is possible to understand Jesus? words in John 17:3, ?And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.?
The essence of the gospel is found in 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4: Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose the third day. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a bridge across the sleep of death and leads to a never-ending life. His resurrection is the promise of life and is an invitation to trust Him now as the one worthy of our admiration and submission. Such trust heals the spirit and many of our physical problems. He is the ultimate substance of reality. Try Him and see.