Health Care Can’t Save You
When I think about how healthcare is perceived wrongly, it’s not so much that we pursue health as if healthcare is not good. It is good. We think wrongly when we think it’s too good.
If we put all of our hope for health on the offerings of medicine and combine what medicine has to offer with our heightened expectations for healthcare, it can be a very difficult, disturbing mix. That sometimes leads us to think we can actually relieve the human condition of the human condition! We combine the promises that medicine makes and have a view of health and human nature that’s not true—with our own heightened expectations for what medicine can offer us.
Then it turns into a form of salvation, which is a wrong view of pursuing health. Medical science can help us greatly to fight sickness and resist death, but it really is not able to help us to live faithfully and fully. Nor is it able to help us to prepare for death or die well.
I would argue that anytime we get better, God deserves the credit.
Though we put so much hope in health and healthcare, why is it that we wait for the doctor to tell us that there’s nothing else to do before we decide to prepare for death when based on our Christian hope in the resurrection we should be prepared for death a whole lot sooner than that?
Giving God the Credit
We allow into our thinking an infiltration of our culture’s separation of super nature and nature. We don’t give God the credit or allow God’s goodness to be fully available to us because we separate it out. If we get better by natural means, that’s expected, that’s what should happen, God’s not involved. It's only when he steps in supernaturally.
If I have pneumonia, and I go to the doctor and get an antibiotic, and my pneumonia gets better, it’s easy to think that my healing was purely natural. And then I actually expect to get better and get angry when I don't. But, then, I don’t give God any place. This produces a God of the gaps—gaps which grow increasingly smaller in a technical world that’s becoming more and more proficient at providing cures.
I would argue that anytime we get better, God deserves the credit. I sometimes look back on historical references because they had a more complete view of things. There was a surgeon in the 1500s named Ambrose Paré. Some would call him one of the fathers of surgery. As he was treating war wounds, he came upon a concoction. It was a combination of rose oil and egg yolk, and he put this on the wounds, and they got better. There's actually a science to this that explains why those wounds were healing.
He said he dressed the wounds, but God healed them. I think that same sentiment should remain with us today. Whenever anything good happens, it's God who deserves the credit, whether it’s by natural or supernatural means.
- Our Health and Salvation (Bob Cutillo, MD)
- What’s Your Motto? (Bob Cutillo, MD)
- Body Image, Health Care, and the Incarnation (Bob Cutillo, MD)