DQ What do the four parts of the Christian biblical narrative (i.e., creation, fall, redemption, and restoration) say about the nature of God and of reality in relation to the reality of sickness and disease?
Good post. Bioethics is a subfield of ethics that concerns the ethics of medicine and ethical issues in the life sciences raised by the advance of technology. The issues dealt with tend to be complex and controversial (i.e., abortion, stem cell research, euthanasia, etc.). In addition, bieothics usually also involves questions of public policy and social justice. As such, the complexities of bioethical discussion in a pluralistic society are compounded. There have been several different approaches to bioethical questions put forth that have to do with the theory behind ethical decision making (Fathallah et al., 2020). Three positions have been prominent in the discussion principalism (also known as the four principle approach), virtue ethics, and casuistry. For this lecture, it will be useful to outline principalism and to describe the general contours of a Christian approach to bioethical issues
The Christian narrative gives Christians a guide for understanding the world and many of the things they encounter through life. Christians base all of their beliefs on the Bible, which tells the story of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration of humans as God’s most beloved creations.
Christians believe that “creation” is the concept that God is the creator of everything. (Hoehner, 2020) God created everything, but he created humans alone in his image, therefore giving us all value and worth above all other creations. God loves every human uniquely and equally, and we should treat each other as such, loving and helping each other. No human should harm another in any capacity, and human life begins at conception. Humans must honor God by following his word and doing what he tells us to do, which includes the command to “love thy neighbor as thyself” Lev 19:18 (King James Version, 1769/2017)
“The fall” in the Christian narrative refers to when Adam and Eve, the first humans, disobeyed God and caused the seperation between God and humans known as sin. Because of this first sin, disease, sickness, suffering, and death befell all humans. These concepts are spiritual as well as physical, as sin causes the spirit to wither and die, and spiritual death is perhaps the more severe and feared consequence of sin. (Hoehner, 2020)
Christians refer to “redemption” as the salvation from our sins that God provided for us through His son, Jesus. Jesus was born as a human, he faced many of the temptations we do, but he remained pure and sinless. He was crucified even though he did nothing wrong, as a permanent sacrifice to pay for the sins of all humans, and he rose from the dead after three days in a tomb. Christians believe, at a basic level, that all you have to do to be saved and guaranteed eternal life in heaven is repent for your sins and accept Jesus into your heart as your lord and savior. This sacrifice fixed the severed ties between God and humans, repairing the damage sin does to our spirits. God loves us and wants to be with us for eternity, so he gave his son to save us.
“Restoration” in the Christian narrative is the renewal of heaven, earth, and humans to a state of being free from sin, suffering, and death. Christians believe that Jesus will come to Earth again and God will create a new heaven and new earth and call all those who are saved to be with Him for eternity.
Any healthcare worker, but especially a Christian one, should strive to relieve pain and suffering while treating every patient as a valuable, loved human who deserves the best care. We should also empathize with our patients, because even though we may not know exactly what they’re going through, we can listen to, advocate for, and care for them. Christians find hope and comfort in God’s love, and that gives them strength to face many difficult situations.
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Hoehner, P. J. (2020). Biomedical ethics in the Christian narrative. In Grand Canyon University [GCU]. Practicing Dignity: An introduction to Christian values and decision making in healthcare. (ch.3). https://lc.gcumedia.com/phi413v/practicing-dignity-an-introduction-to-christian-values-and-decision-making-in-health-care/v1.1/#/chapter/3
King James Bible. (2017). King James Bible Online. https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/ (Original work published 1769)
Creation: God is the creator of everything that exists, and there is a clear distinction between God and His creation. God is involved in every aspect of His creation, directing and guiding all things for his purpose and design. God is not dependent on his creation, nor is creation necessary to God. His creation was intentional; everything exists for a purpose. God gave all human beings dignity and value that must be protected in every stage of life, in health or sickness from the womb to old age.
Fall –Adam and Eve went against God’s command and ate the forbidden fruit creating the original sin. This is the separation from God and his creation, bringing disease, sickness, suffering, and death. This was not part of God’s original design. Gods’ good creation always exists, and humans use science and technology to distort the good gifts that have become false hopes of the ideal human condition.
Redemption: Jesus sent his son to die on the cross for our sins to be forgiven and made right with God again. The brokenness and separation that resulted from the fall are restored. God has power over suffering, illness, and death and provides miraculous healing and recovery.
Restoration: With the death of Jesus on the cross for our sins came the promise of restoration, eternal life, there will no longer be pain, suffering or illness. “The goal of the biblical narrative is a new creation” (Hoehner, 2020). After death, believers await the resurrection of their bodies and eternal life with God.
Hoehner, Paul J. (2020). Biomedical Ethics in the Christian Narrative. In Practicing dignity: An introduction to Christian values & decision making in health care (1st ed.), https://lc.gcumedia.com/phi413v/practicing-dignity-an-introduction-to-christian-values-and-decision-making-in-health-care/v1.1/#/chapter/3
I read your post on the nature of God and the existence of illness and it was fascinating. I enjoyed how you detailed them in categories which made them distinct and easier to follow. I agree when you say God is independent of His creations and that everything exists for a purpose. I also concur with you where you state that disease came to exist when Adam and Eve sinned and this was not part of God’s original design. Redemption indeed came to exist when Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and was a sign that death, illness, and suffering were overcome. Restoration is the final process where man is granted eternal life free from suffering, illness, and death. Your post is really enlightening.