Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Healed by Faith or Medicine?

When a person goes to a doctor, is that a lack of faith in God?

You have heard it said that disease is not from God...it is a result of The Fall (Adam & Eve's/mankind's initial choice to go their OWN way instead of God's way). It is fair to assume that God's ultimate desire is for His creation to be in perfect harmony with Him and itself...for example, no disease.

And some folks believe the treatment for all disease should be, therefor, leaving it up to God to restore a person's body to perfect health.

So, is it evidence of a lack of faith when someone goes to a doctor in hopes of getting rid of a physical ailment?

I really appreciate an ancient insight I recently read, attributed to Saint Basil of Caesarea (329-379 CE), who is thought to have founded the first hospital (from The First Thousand Years, by Robert Louis Wilken):

When [Basil} was a student at Athens, he had shown particular attentiveness in the study of medicine, not only in its practical side, but also in its theory and principles. He had gained enough experience to know, as he put it in one of his letters, that incompetent physicians often make people's illnesses worse. In one of his writings on the monastic life, The Longer Rule, he addressed the question as to whether relying on the 'art of medi­cine' is in keeping with Christian piety. Medicine, he wrote, like the know-how of a farmer or the skill of a weaver, is a gift of God. Because the body is susceptible to illness, God has given human beings the skills to heal illness. 'Just as we would have no need of the labor and toil of the farmer if we were living among the delights of paradise, so we would not require the art of medicine for healing if we were immune to disease.' The work of the physician who heals bodies [swells] to the glory of God no less than the work of those who care for the soul. As the Lord used clay for healing (John 9:6), so also it is good that physicians use the things of the earth for the cure of bodily ills.

Truth is...I don't have a definitive answer to the question "Healed by Faith or Medicine?", but as is often the case when presented with an either/or concerning God, the truth probably lies closer to both/and.

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