A Bible-Based Approach to Health Care: Something Ails You? You Might Be Possessed by a Devil
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At least one New Testament story suggests that orthopedic problems can be caused by demon possession, which would suggest exorcism as a solution. And there was a woman who for eighteen years had had a sickness caused by a spirit; and she was bent double, and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, He called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your sickness.” And He laid His hands on her; and immediately she was made erect again and began glorifying God.
Psychiatry and Neurology: more exorcism. Psychiatric and neurological problems in the Bible are attributed to demons, which unlike the monsters of modern horror movies, almost always cause symptoms we would recognize today as medical syndromes. In the Old Testament, such accounts are rare, and an evil spirit may be sent by God himself. But in the New Testament, demon possession becomes a prominent theme. Demons can cause muteness, epilepsy, and abnormal strength; they can inhabit animals and more than one can inhabit a single person. Typically, fortunately, they leave when commanded to do so, either by Jesus or by a Christian in the name of Jesus.
Preventive Care: worship, worship, worship. Rather than nutrition, exercise and sunscreen, biblical preventive care focuses primarily on pleasing God or at least avoiding his wrath. In no uncertain terms the writer of Deuteronomy reminds readers who is in charge. There is no other God beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal. (Deut. 32:39).Righteousness has great health rewards: Worship the LORD your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span (Ex. 23:25-26). But on the other side of the equation are illness, injury and hemorrhoids. The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed ( Deuteronomy 28:27).
Above All: Patience. Ultimately, the trump card in biblical health care is the promise of Heaven, with incorruptible bodies that experience neither hunger nor thirst, sickness nor death. In one prophetic vision, the writer of Ezekiel describes a utopian version of the Promised Land. In it, a great river flows, providing an unending bounty of nourishment—and medicine: By the river on both banks (shall be) every type of tree fit for food. Their leaves shall not wither, and its fruit shall never cease. Every month it shall renew its fruit, for its waters spring from the Temple itself; And its fruit shall be fit to eat, and its leaves (shall serve as) medicine.” Ezekiel 47:12
The dream of beauty, sufficiency, and wholeness conjured by Ezekiel is enough to make even an old skeptic like me a little wistful. If only dreaming worked, and mandrakes and dove blood and prayers. Then we wouldn’t need contraceptive coverage – or the rest of Obamacare for that matter.