When Adam and Eve sinned, Creation lost some of its greatness and beauty. It is still amazing, but imagine how awesome it must have been before the death of sin entered. Along with that death entered manipulation, evil desires, and the ability to use things in ways that God never intended.
I happen to believe that God gave early humans intelligence and wisdom about healing through natural means. I think of them not as cavemen trying to figure out how to make fire, but more as advanced scientists whose brains and minds had not been decayed by sin to the extent ours is today. So God gave medical means in the natural and He also gave the knowledge and ability to turn those means into healing medicines.
We now have what we call drugs of various types. How we use those will determine much in our life and culture. Over the next few days, I want to look at three ways of using medicine and drugs and what they mean for our natural and spiritual life.
At the outset, know that I believe God heals miraculously without the aid of doctors, medicine, or treatment. I know this is true. God does not need the help of medical equipment to heal immediately from the most serious diseases. But it is also true that He heals through those earthly means.
First, I want to take a look at good drugs used for the right reasons. I do not see anything wrong with using medicines developed in the right way used to solve health issues. God's wisdom using God's creation is a wonderful thing. The apostle Luke was a physician and helped the early Christians in their physical health. He wrote the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. His physician skills were evident in his meticulous records recounting the story of the birth of Christ, His ministry, and the birth early work of the Church. Paul referred to him in the letter to the Colossians in this way, "Luke, the dearly loved physician, and Demas greet you." (Col. 4:14)
At the same time, not all good drugs developed in the right way for the right reason are good for everyone. Some medicines/drugs have adverse effects on certain people. And some good drugs carry risks for everyone who takes them. Some medicines have physical side effects that are negative, like rashes, soreness, etc. Other good drugs have mental side effects that are negative like thoughts of suicide, violence, etc.
It is not unusual for some drugs to cause hallucinations in people. I remember as a child there were some times when I would take cold or allergy medicines and have strange feelings and perspective issues. It would kind of freak me out. That is a somewhat mild side effect. But I know there are some people who have taken good medicines designed to treat a physical problem, but it affected their mind in such a way that they committed suicide, which was totally out of character for them.
Another issue we have today is the way our medicines are designed. It used to be that bark from a tree or some other natural element was boiled down into a medicine. But today we have 'advanced' to the point where we can develop drugs using things that are not natural... like aborted baby body parts. There are some ethical decisions we have to make today that previous generations would not have considered. I believe we have an obligation to ask and discern where our drugs come from. I don't think I should benefit from the evil practice of abortion. I don't want my life to be made better because of the murder of another human being. This is real, and it is the world we live in and are passing along to our children. Taking medicine is not a no-brainer decision.
It is up to the individual (and their family) to consider whether the reward of taking the drug outweighs the risks associated with it. And some of these need serious discussions. In our culture it seems to be the default that a person will automatically take the doctor's advice on using a certain treatment. But following the directive of a doctor should always come after following the leading of the Holy Spirit. Some people and groups believe that we should avoid all medicines and treatments. That may be what they need to do, but I'm not there.
We need not avoid good medicine developed in the right way for the right reason, but neither should we go into it blindly and without thought or prayer. While God is glad that we use the tools He has given us, we must be careful to not put our faith in doctors, hospitals, treatments, or medicines. I'd say it is a good thing to take medicine in line with prayer. Pray before you take something. Pray as you are using it. And pray after you are done with the treatment. The only reason a drug works is because God gives it the power. So it is good to invoke His wisdom and help in the process.
Tomorrow we will look at a bad side of good drugs that has many people trapped.
[Bible quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted.]
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.