There are immutable laws governing the entire universe which act upon everything and everyone. Ignorance of them does not suspend or annul their effect. Painful penalties are reaped when they are broken; health and happiness result when we are in harmony with them. Health is not an accident nor is disease. There is a cause for every effect! It is not the purpose of this booklet to give specific diet or therapeutic treatment for illness, but to give you understanding and awareness of these basic, living laws of radiant health. DID YOU REALIZE that some thirty million Americans are yearly spending time in a hospital — 1,350,000 on any one day? Did you know that nearly half of all Americans, about 100 million people, suffer with at least one chronic disease or disability? And the shocking truth is that seven out of ten persons over forty-five are afflicted with at least one chronic condition. A fantastic thirty million Americans have some stage of coronary-artery disease—thus making them candidates for heart attacks. In the U.S., heart disease now kills about 750,000 people annually. In Britain, heart disease is now the biggest killer, causing one out of every three deaths. Forty years ago, the rate was only one in eight. Now it kills 150,000 Britons annually. Where do you fit in? Are you bubbling over with health, energy and enthusiasm? Are you free from all aches, pains and sickness? Do you enjoy the kind of vigorous, dynamic health that makes it seem good to be alive? Or are you among the millions who are just half-well? Christians are called to be a "light" —an example to others. They are called to help and serve others. And they are called to be leaders — preparing to rule with and under Jesus Christ in the World Tomorrow. But they simply cannot do this effectively if they are sick most of the time.
There Is a CAUSE for Sickness
People do not just happen to get sick. There is a CAUSE for every effect. And there is a definite cause for all sickness, disease and physical suffering which is so common in this modern world. God does not intend for us to be sick. In III John, verses 1 and 2, God inspired John to write to an elder in the Church. "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health...." We know that God inspired all Scripture for our instruction (II Timothy 3:16), and so this scripture applies to all who would obey their Creator. God wishes us to be in health! That is His will. Why, then, are so many sick today? In a nutshell it is because there are physical laws that regulate our bodies. If you break these laws or if they are accidentally broken, it is a transgression of law (I John 3:4) — and it automatically exacts a penalty. The penalty is pain, sickness — or possibly even death. Through breaking physical laws, Britons and Americans are becoming the most overfed and undernourished peoples in history. A report from the United States Department of Agriculture showed that one American household in every five eats a nutritionally "poor" combination of foods by the department's standards. Only 15 percent were in this category in 1955 when the previous survey was made. Surprisingly, families in the upper-income groups, as well as in the lowest, were found in the nutritionally "poor" diet category. The downturn in nutritional value was attributed largely to a national turn away from milk and milk products, fruits and vegetables. While Americans have been eating less of these foods, they have been eating more fried foods, more ready-made baked goods and drinking far more soft drinks. A similar report from Britain reveals that 48 percent of British families — about twenty-seven million people—have an average intake of nutrients which is below the level recommended by the British Medical Association.
People NEED Exercise
From Australia, health expert Dr. John Bloomfield reported: "If I picked out any one hundred people in Sydney, I doubt if any could be called fit by European standards." He said that Australians had not worked their bodies for thirty years, when they began coming to the cities to live, and deluded themselves that they were a physically fit nation and tempted heart disease and hardening of the arteries by playing a strenuous sport only once a week. Back to the U.S., famed nutritionist Jean Mayer said that soft living has left the American male in "absolutely miserable" physical shape. He cited the "shocking" mortality rate from heart disease and laid most of the blame on too little exercise. In addition to indicting physical inactivity, Dr. Mayer says the other leading causes of heart disease are a high-fat diet, too much weight, cigarette smoking, excessive coffee intake and too little sleep. Based on thirty years' experience in treatment of pulmonary diseases, Dr. Lincoln Stanley, coordinator of the Veterans Administration Central Office, estimates that up to 50 percent of the adult male population of the United States is afflicted by some degree of emphysema. A recent report stated that, despite an outlay of two billion dollars for cancer research in the past thirty years, the rate of Americans who died of cancer rose 23 percent in , that time. A record 339,000 Americans died of cancer in 1971. Almost 900,000 Americans were under treatment for cancer in the same year—another all-time high. The National Cancer Institute Director, Dr. Kenneth M. Endicott, said "Seventy to eighty percent of cases of lung cancer could be eliminated if people stopped smoking." Can we begin to understand that the kind of food we eat, beverages we drink and air we breathe has a GREAT deal to do with our physical health? Can we realize that poor food, bad air, poor sleep and lack of exercise are causing a tremendous amount of the physical impairment that is affecting most of the English-speaking world today? The CAUSE of sickness is the breaking of physical laws set in motion to govern the operation of our human bodies. These laws are just as real as the law of gravity, and the penalty for breaking them is just as sure.
God has been interested in the physical health of His people from the beginning. The Old Testament is full of directions and laws concerned with maintaining health. And an honest and careful study of the New Testament will show that in apostolic times Christianity was a definite WAY OF LIFE (Acts 18:26; 19:23) — including an understanding and practice of basic health principles. The Apostle Paul commanded the Christians at Corinth: "Glorify God in your body" (I Cor. 6:20). He said that we are "bought with a price"—our bodies belong to God. We "1" should therefore glorify God in our physical bodies by using them as He intended, and by obeying the physical laws He has set in motion. Using the health principles revealed in God's Word as a guide, and utilizing the results of man's observation and research into the subject, we can learn the definite laws which govern our physical health. By really understanding and obeying these laws, we can build the kind of radiant health which will enable us to live the kind of full, active, and joyful lives that God intended. There are reasons for feeling and being only half alive. The mounting rate of sickness, suffering and death clearly shows that this world has lost the way to health—the way to live. We need to learn how to really live. What, then, are the physical laws which affect our bodies-our lives-so much?
1) Food and Fasting
The body is formed entirely from the food we eat. Yet the average person has very little knowledge of what he really ought to eat to build a strong, vigorous body. Many of the products commonly called foods are of little or no value in sustaining, nourishing or building the body. In fact, it has been proven by tests that they do actual harm to the body. They clog the digestive system, aggravate it and become a real burden for the body to eliminate. In many cases, they act as poisons—not foods! The basic thing to remember in selecting foods is to be sure you eat natural foods which have not been corrupted or perverted in man-made "food" factories, and that you learn to have a balanced diet containing all the elements your body requires to sustain and build health. Take care that your food is properly prepared so as not to destroy the body-building elements. Avoid the starchy, greasy, sugary, and spiced-up concoctions which may taste good at the moment, but which contain little nutritional value and will, in time, wreck your stomach. It is beyond the scope of this booklet to give you specific dietetic instruction, but remember the principle that your foods should be natural foods—as the Creator caused them to grow or be formed in nature. These will include genuine whole grain breads (without poisonous preservatives added) and whole grain cereals, fresh fruits and fresh vegetables—or vegetables cooked at low temperatures so as to preserve their nutritional value, lean meats cooked without grease or fat, and dairy products. Few people fully realize the detriment caused by such "refined" or "improved" products as white bread, when these are substituted in place of the natural products that were intended as food. Man's effort to improve upon the creation has FAILED. The more you intelligently study the food question, the more you will realize this. So eat a balanced diet of the natural foods that have not been perverted by the hand of man. And learn to prepare all foods so as not to destroy their nutritional value. Under the heading of diet, we should also consider the health value of water. Drinking water—and plenty of it—is one of the greatest aids to eliminating body poisons and keeping the entire system clean. It is an aid in preventing or overcoming constipation—that source of so many bodily ills. So drink water daily—preferably between meals, but never use it to wash food down. The total intake of all fluids—milk, soup, fruit juices, water —is generally a recommended six to eight glasses daily, or more for those who work in the sun. Greatly restricting one's diet is known as fasting. An animal, when sick, will frequently refuse to eat. It loses all appetite. Governed by its instincts, it fasts until it is well — a sure cure provided by nature. But what about humans? Doctors and dieticians agree that we humans are in the habit of eating far more food than our bodies require. If food is eaten in excess of bodily needs, it is bound to produce a clogging up of the vital processes; for if it is not needed, it is invariably harmful and becomes productive of causes which lead to sickness and disease. A great number of sicknesses are caused by the presence of poison in the bloodstream. Greatly restricting one's diet enables the body to cleanse itself of the accumulation of the products of an imperfect diet. As food intake is retarded, elimination proceeds rapidly and the body is truly "house-cleaning" itself. For many, many common sicknesses such as colds, headaches, fever and stomach distress, such a procedure is often effective.
2) Cleanliness and Dress
It has been said that "cleanliness is next to Godliness," and, while this saying didn't come directly from the Bible, the principle is certainly correct. In order to teach ancient Israel the habit of cleanliness, God, through Moses, instituted many regulations commanding the people to bathe or wash their clothes after coming in contact with likely disease carriers. We should certainly keep our physical bodies clean. Regular care of the skin, hair, nails, and teeth and freedom from perspiration odor are essential to cleanliness and contribute to health. Waste products are eliminated through the pores of the skin, and regular bathing is always important. Keeping your person, your clothes, and your living quarters clean will not only aid in promoting vigorous health, but will tend to keep your thoughts on a higher level of productivity and accomplishment. Untold physical impairments are caused by the wearing of tight, ill-fitting, or unsuitable clothing. Clothing should afford proper protection from the weather, and should be loose-fitting and comfortable. The wearing of extremely tight girdles or corsets by women often results in the cramping of vital organs, and the weakening of muscles and tissues in the abdominal and pelvic areas—often causing physical distress in later life—and sometimes resulting in the inability to have children normally. It just doesn't pay. Also, shoes that throw the whole body out of line often cause harm not only to the feet, but to the entire body. Another common fault among women is wearing unnecessarily tight-fitting shoes, which cause bunions, corns and ingrown nails.
3) Sunshine and Fresh Air
Occasionally exposing a portion of the body to the sun's rays is beneficial. The sun's rays which provide the greatest benefit to health are the ultraviolet rays. These rays activate the body's natural sterols to produce the needed calciferol and related coenzymes which aid in the utilization of phosphorus and calcium. Try to spend as much time out of doors in the open air and sunshine as you can. Remember that there is danger in sunlight if the body is exposed too long before it is conditioned to the sun. So, in acquiring a tan, you should proceed cautiously. At every opportunity, step outside and take a deep breath of pure, fresh air. After all, breath is the stuff life itself is made of. Breathe deeply to be healthy. We breathe to get oxygen into our systems, for without oxygen we would quickly die. Every vital process in the body depends on oxygen for its performance. The more you breathe pure, fresh air, the more pep you will have, the brighter will be your color, the more alert you will be, and the better posture you will have. Most of us take in enough air to sustain life, but not enough to live it vigorously.
In this day of push-button gadgets and automobiles, millions of people are only half the physical specimens they ought to be because of a lack of exercise. Notice a crowd of people some time. Observe the various sizes and shapes—the fat people, the overfed businessmen, and then others who have no more meat on their bones than a scarecrow. Am I talking about a need for huge, bulging muscle ? No, not at all. But nearly everyone today does need an intelligently planned program of exercise. Exercise stimulates deep breathing and increases blood circulation. It aids in the expelling of poisons from the system, and tends to produce "normalcy" m all bodily functions. While work leaves one tired and sometimes enervated, proper exercise is of remarkable assistance in building up energy. The body IS often recharged after systemic calisthenics, and this form of exercise can include all of the muscle groups of the body—whereas regular work or games often neglect many of these, while overtaxing others. Especially for young people, games and sports naturally afford an enjoyable opportunity to get needed exercise. But these should be supplemented with calisthenics or some form of exercise at home as one grows past that stage in life and tends to neglect physical exercise. Remember that exercise ought to be a regular thing. Walking and hiking are excellent forms of exercise for people of all ages and occupations. But vigorous young people should supplement even these with some form of activity which directly utilizes the arms, shoulders, and torso. Medical and physical education authorities now realize more than ever the importance of running, swimming, cycling, brisk walking and other similar forms of exercise which condition the heart, lungs and blood vessels of the body. Before doing anything violent, it is important, of course, to be sure your heart will take it and be under the guidance of a reputable physical trainer or physician. But most "non-walking" people in our Western world—clear up into their forties and fifties—would benefit immeasurably by a controlled program of cycling, swimming or especially jogging in proper balance. This type of "conditioning" is not something new at all. It has always been the basis—or at least part of the basis — of the training and conditioning program for most sports. Football, basketball, baseball and track coaches have always had their players "take their laps." Boxers have always done their "roadwork." Swimmers also "take their laps." It has now been scientifically and medically demonstrated that this type of training increases the efficiency of the heart, the lungs and the number size of the blood vessels at carry the blood to the body tissues, saturating the tissue throughout the body with energy-producing oxygen. The training effect from this type of exercise will tend to relax the individual, help banish many of his tensions It will enable him t stress of daily living better. It will even help him sleep better, and get more work done, with less fatigue. And it will definitely help prevent heart disease. Few of us in this degenerate age are inclined to get too much exercise. Yet we do need a proper amount to build the kind of abundant, radiant health we should all enjoy. Building a strong, supple, graceful body does require effort. But it is eminently worthwhile—especially in this day when we are inclined to let machines do everything while our own bodies stagnate.
5) Sleep and Rest
Many people, especially students, are inclined to delude themselves with the idea they can drive themselves on in work or play, then "catch up on sleep" later on—and be none the worse for it. Nothing will take the place of regular sleep and rest in its recuperative effects on the human body. Man can go much longer without food than he can without sleep. Sleep becomes unbelievably necessary after long periods of sleeplessness. Sufficient, regular sleep for most adults ranges from seven to nine hours each night. This is definitely not wasted time. It will enable one to be fully alive during his work and play, and to live a longer and fuller life in the end. However, too much sleep is not a benefit. Rather, it is depressing and causes sluggishness and a state of lethargy. We are warned in Proverbs against oversleeping and laziness (Prov. 24:33, 34). In addition to regular sleep, many physical education and health authorities recommend one or more short periods of rest throughout the day to recharge our worn nerve batteries. When the Creator said, "Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work," He was giving a law of health—as well as a spiritual principle—which will never grow old. Both physically and mentally, we need to rest every seventh day—and so God gave the Sabbath rest as a great blessing. Thousands of years ago, God knew and enunciated what many men still haven't found out—that in depriving yourself of sufficient sleep and rest, you will accomplish not more, but less in the end.
6) Avoid Bodily Injury
Over one fourth of Americans—56 million—were victims of accidental injuries in 1970. Each of these accidents needed medical attention or limited the work activity of the victim. Think of the tens of billions of dollars lost in doctor and hospital bills, and of the three billion work hours which were forfeited. This is entirely unnecessary! We have become a nation of reckless, careless people who defile and destroy our bodies not only with perverted foods, drinks, cigarettes and the like—but by carelessly injuring them. There is abundant information available regarding the prevention of accidents. The main thing is that you realize how seriously you should take this problem — and resolve to quit taking physical risks in your work or play. One such careless moment can easily undo and wreck the physical well-being you may have nourished for years. Carelessness just doesn't pay; develop the habit of thinking ahead. Consider the end results of your actions.
7) Build a POSITIVE Mental Attitude
One of the least-understood factors governing health is the profound effect that the mind has on the body. It is becoming increasingly recognized that a large part of the common ailments of mankind are caused—not so much by the body — as by the mind. Ulcers, indigestion, headaches, eyestrain, nervousness, and a host of other ailments are often found to be caused by the mind—not the body. Some medical authorities now believe that over 50 percent of all those seeking medical aid are sick or disturbed because of mental problems. And the startling fact is that emotionally induced illness becomes more prevalent as one goes up the ladder of human responsibility, mental alertness and capacity. Perhaps an alert mind can think of more to be worried about than an ordinary mind can! Strife, fear, tension and anxiety all take a terrible toll in the physical impairments which they either directly cause or aggravate in our bodies. Haven't you known families who engaged in a "freefor-all battle" during every meal? Perhaps they were ignorant of the fact that fighting, nagging, and quarreling at the table is almost certain to cause nervous indigestion and other ailments. Few people today have the sense of contentment and genuine peace of mind upon which good health is predicated. And physical nourishment, exercise and care are not enough. For, as the writer of Proverbs stated: "Better is a dinner of herbs where LOVE is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith" (Prov. 15:17). But the strife, tension, resentments and bitterness which our present competitive society fosters create the exact opposite conditions in the body and nervous system than those which would guarantee good health and mental well-being. Hundreds of years before modern psychiatry "discovered" that carnal emotions help cause many of our bodily ills, the Bible condemned these emotions and provided a cure for them: "The activities of the lower nature are obvious. Here is a list: sexual immorality . .. hatred, quarreling, jealousy, bad temper, rivalry, factions, party-spirit, envy, drunkenness, orgies and things like that... ." Then: "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its emotions and passions" (Gal. 5:19-24). Someday soon, this world will again take literally the teachings of Jesus Christ. Then all people will be happy — for they will live by the laws of love outlined in the Bible. They will base their lives on the Ten Commandments and will learn how to love God their Creator and how to love and serve their fellowman. They will quit fighting, warring, competing and hating. They will learn, instead, to give and to serve. Every person has to continually work at building positive mental habits. As Jesus said, we are to take no anxious thought for the morrow, but put FAITH in God as our Creator and our Father. Do your best to overcome thoughts of hate, strife, and worry. Then, asking God for help, cultivate thoughts of love, faith and joy. For the One who made our minds and emotions inspired Solomon to write, "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones" (Prov. 17:22).
You now know the seven basic laws of radiant health. Here they are summarized: (1) Be sure you have a balanced diet of natural foods. Learn the value of drinking plenty of water, of fasting and of avoiding constipation. (2) Remember that cleanliness is vital to good health, and that suitable clothing is also necessary. (3) Derive the maximum benefit from sunshine and fresh air. (4) Plan a program of regular, sufficient exercise. And stick to it! (5) Let your body recuperate from work and play through proper sleep and rest. (6) Take care of the healthy body you are building. Don't wreck your other efforts through carelessness. Avoid bodily injury. (7) Quit worrying, arguing, bickering. Maintain a tranquil mind—a positive attitude. Remember these basic health laws. Strive to apply them in your life. It will take some effort, but the reward of a strong, graceful, vigorously healthful body will more than repay your efforts. Of course, if you have already broken these laws most of your life, you will not attain as great benefits as if you had started early. And in all honesty, we must realize one factor that we have nothing to do with — our heredity, and the fact that some of us have inherited certain weaknesses which may never be fully overcome. But nearly any physical condition can be greatly improved if the right steps are taken. So put your shoulder to the wheel! The renewed zest, enthusiasm and sense of well-being will more than repay your efforts in making the laws of radiant health a veritable way of life. It is God's will. You are commanded: "Glorify God in your body" (I Corinthians 6:20).
Ancient Health Laws-In Effect Today!
DURING the 14th century bubonic plague struck Asia and spread to Russia, Persia, Turkey, North Africa and Europe. Perhaps one third of the European population died in those tragic years. Relentlessly, the plague invaded every city, hamlet or village. Millions lost their lives to the "grim reaper." Panic and confusion were rampant. Death was everywhere. The toll was so great that bodies were thrown into huge pits, mass graves. What led to the incredible spread of the "black death"? Modern science now knows that unclean streets, poor sanitation, and filth were great contributors. In the 14th century, cities in Europe were filthy, laden with garbage. Refuse was simply thrown in the gutter in London and Paris. The Jewish physician Balavignus lived in those times and saw that miserable sanitation was a major factor in the spread of the disease. He instituted a cleanup movement among the Jews. The rats, consequently, left the Jewish ghettos and moved into the "Gentile" sectors of the city. As a result, the Jews' mortality rate from the plague was only five percent of what it was among their non-Jewish neighbors! The general population soon saw the difference, but instead of emulating the Jewish hygienic measures, the people began to suspect the Jews of causing the plague and poisoning wells—and a general massacre was launched. Balavignus himself, persecuted and tortured, was finally compelled to "confess" that he and others were responsible for the disease. How was the black death finally conquered? Declared David Riesman, professor of the History of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania: "Isolation of the sick and quarantine came into use. These practices not only eliminated the plague as a pandemic menace for the first time in history but also led to general laws against infectious diseases, thereby laying the foundations upon which modern hygiene rests" (Medicine in the Middle Ages, p. 260).
Laws of Quarantine
Another plague which prevailed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in Europe was leprosy. England, Sweden, Iceland and Norway showed alarming gains in the numbers of leprosy cases in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. But when the authorities began to institute the quarantine, in the form of segregation of leprosy cases, the plague was again brought under control. In Norway rigid national quarantine was introduced in 1856 because of the widespread severity of leprosy. "Ninety years later the health authorities were able to report that Norway had only five percent of the number of lepers that were there before segregation. Similarly favorable reports come to us from Finland and Sweden, where enforced segregation of lepers had also been instituted," writes D. T. Atkinson (Magic, Myth and Medicine, p. 64). Where did these quarantine laws come from? This same author tells us, "It is most singular that a description of leprosy, as found in the thirteenth chapter of Leviticus, could have been written so long before our time. It is to be noticed that such an accurate description of this dread malady as it appears in the Biblical narrative is not to be found in the literature of ANY NATION for the next seventeen hundred years" (ibid., p. 25-26). Astounding? Why should it be, since the Bible was divinely inspired by the God who created mankind? Speaking of the Biblical laws regarding leprosy, Atkinson states: "The laws of health laid down in Leviticus are the BASIS OF MODERN SANITARY SCIENCE. Moses ordered that cases of leprosy should be segregated, that dwellings from which infected Jews had gone should be inspected before again being occupied, and that persons recovering from contagious disease were not to be allowed to go abroad until examined. The modem quarantine harks back to these sanitary regulations of the Old Testament" (p. 58). Similarly, Arturo Castiglioni in A History of Medicine tells us, "The laws against leprosy in Leviticus 13 may be regarded as the first model of a sanitary legislation" (p. 71).
Sanitation and Hygiene
The Old Testament contains many injunctions which relate to health. If the world would have obeyed them, its disease toll would have been drastically cut. Until the close of the 17th century, hygienic conditions in cities were generally deplorable. Excrement and filth were often dumped into the streets. Flies, breeding in the filth, spread and carried disease to millions. However, the principle of burying excrement and filth was given by the Scriptures over 1400 years before Christ. God told Moses and the children of Israel: "Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad: and thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee" (Deut. 23:12-13). Says medical historian Arturo Castiglioni, "The regulations in Deuteronomy as to how soldiers should prevent the danger of infection coming from their excrement by covering it with earth constitute a most important document of sanitary legislation" (A History of Medicine, p.70). Castiglioni declared, "Study of Biblical texts appears to have demonstrated that the ancient Semitic peoples, in agreement with the most modem tenets of epidemiology, attributed more importance to animal transmitters of disease, like the rat and the fly, than to the contagious individual" (ibid., p. 71). Three thousand years later, when the bubonic plague devastated Europe, this knowledge had generally been lost. Some blamed noxious fumes in the air; others attributed it to the stars; some thought it was caused by a conjunction of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn; yet others blamed the Jews, and many blamed God. Generally, the world did not wake up to the importance of hygiene and cleanliness until about the end of the 18th century. Yet vital principles of sanitation and cleanliness were expounded by God to Moses almost 3,500 years ago! The Biblical laws of cleanliness, washings, and purification were not all merely customs or rituals. They protected the camp of Israel from the dangers of contagious diseases and deadly plagues! States Dr. D. T. Atkinson, "In the Bible greater stress was placed upon PREVENTION of disease than was given to the treatment of bodily ailments, and in this no race of people, before or since, has left us such a WEALTH OF LAWS RELATIVE TO HYGIENE AND SANITATION as the Hebrews. These important laws, coming down through the ages, are still used to a marked degree in every country in the world sufficiently enlightened to observe them. One has but to read the book of Leviticus carefully and thoughtfully to conclude that the admonitions of Moses contained therein are, in fact, the GROUNDWORK of most of today's sanitary laws. As one closes the book, he must, regardless of his spiritual leanings, feel that the wisdom therein expressed regarding the rules to protect health are SUPERIOR to any which then existed in the world and that to this day they have been little improved upon" (Magic, Myth and Medicine, Atkinson, p. 20). Unfortunately, even in our modern world people are beginning to lose sight of the vital importance of sanitation and hygiene in combating and preventing illness and contagion. Our modern cities are becoming increasingly congested, polluted, filthy and dirty. Garbage strikes pose serious health problems. Our air is becoming unfit to breathe because of pollution; and our water is becoming increasingly contaminated with industrial chemicals, urban wastes, and a host of modern pollutants unheard of even twenty years ago! Could the continuing decrease of sanitation, and the growing violation of Biblical hygienic and health principles, be contributing factors in the escalating incidence in modern degenerative and contagious diseases around the world? Think about it.
The Bible and Heart Disease
At first one might think it strange that the Bible would have something to say about cardiovascular disease or arteriosclerosis-but it does! In 1970 heart disease claimed 750,000 victims in the United States—it is far and away the number-one killer. Similar statistics could be cited for England, Australia, New Zealand, and other nations. Modern researchers have pinpointed several contributing causes of heart disease including improper diet, overweight, smoking, lack of exercise and nervous stress. What does the Bible have to say about heart disease? Much more than you probably imagine! First, the Bible clearly recommends a balanced life — "moderation" in all things (see Phil. 4:5). It condemns gluttony and overeating (Prov. 23:20-21). Secondly, many Biblical principles condemn smoking and cigarettes as a lust of the flesh which defiles the body. (Write for our FREE booklet You Can Quit Smoking and our FREE reprint "Should a Christian Smoke?") Thirdly, the Bible tells us we should exercise regularly and moderately throughout our lives. I Timothy 4:8, correctly translated, shows that bodily exercise profits "for a little while"—that is, in this life. Fourthly, the Bible admonishes us to avoid nervous stress, anxieties, and worries which can trigger heart attacks. Many scriptures could be cited to prove this. (See, for example, Proverbs 15:13; 17:22; Psalms 119:165; Matthew 11:28-30; John 14:27; Philippians 4:7.) Perhaps the most interesting point of all, however, is the fact that medical science has proved there is a correlation between heart disease and cholesterol in the bloodstream. Cholesterol, a fatty, waxy material which your body needs in limited amounts, is a curse to health when it clogs vital arteries. Diets high in cholesterol may cause the blood to be burdened; excessive amounts collect on the inside of the coronary arteries. Fatal coronary heart disease has been related to diets containing high levels of cholesterol and fat, though other factors are also involved. But what does this have to do with the Bible? Simply this: Dr. Paul Dudley White, the heart specialist who treated President Eisenhower while he was in the White House, once quoted Leviticus 7:23, "Ye shall eat no manner of fat, of ox, or of sheep, or of goat." Animal fats are high in cholesterol. Therefore, Dr. Paul Dudley White asserted, "It is conceivable that a few years from now we medical men may repeat to the citizens of the United States of America the advice that Moses was asked by God to present to the children of Israel3,000 years ago." How could Moses have known? But, of course—it wasn't Moses' words but GOD'S instructions which the Bible records! Here is further evidence that the Biblical health laws "scooped" modern medical science by 3,400 years!
Bible Dietary Laws
Proper diet is also important in the prevention of disease. In Leviticus 11 we read of important dietary laws which God gave His people. Among other things, He forbade them to eat the flesh of pigs or swine, rabbits, or shellfish (Lev. 11:6, 7, 9-12). Were these laws merely ceremonial, ritualistic, and therefore, abolished today? Not at all! Writes Dr. Louis Lasagna, "Many of these make good medical sense .. . The prohibition of hare and swine as sources of food certainly must have diminished the incidence of disease, in view of the capacity of these animals to transmit tularemia and trichinosis, respectively. The transmission of gastrointestinal infections (including typhoid fever) via polluted shellfish or water also testifies to the apparent wisdom of the Hebrews in warning against such sea food and impure water" (The Doctors' Dilemmas, p. 85). If you would like more information on this subject, write for our FREE article "Is All Animal Flesh Good Food?" It will explore the meaning of these vital dietary laws to our present generation. Suffice it to say, however, that Dr. Lasagna's comments on the ancient dietary laws of the Hebrews show that those were indeed wise and good laws!
The Bible Versus Venereal Disease
The fastest-spreading contagious disease in the Western world today is venereal disease. In the United States, someone contracts venereal disease every 15 seconds! Dr. Geoffrey Simmons of the Los Angeles County Health Department predicts that by 1975 the present two million annual cases of V.D. in the United States will rise to five million. But why? What is the cause? Medical authorities frankly admit that V.D. is spread through sexual contact. Homosexuals account for nearly one fifth of the reported cases! As long as there is promiscuity, free sex, and homosexuality, there is bound to be venereal disease.
But the solution to this terrible worldwide curse is as simple as it is ancient: "Shun immorality! Any other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body" (I Cor. 6:18, Moffatt translation). What does the Bible say will happen to those who devote themselves to sexual vice, who dishonor their own bodies? God says: "... their women have exchanged the natural function of sex for what is unnatural, and in the same way the males have abandoned the natural use of women and flamed out in lust for one another, men perpetrating shameless acts with their own sex and getting in their own persons the due recompense of their perversity" (Rom. 1:26-27, Moffatt). The growing incidence of this ancient plague speaks eloquently that the solution is PREVENTION! Thousands of years ago the Biblical standards of morality safeguarded against this plague which blights the lives of as yet unborn generations. There is no safe, reliable "cure" for this disease — except prevention. Why do millions insist on hiding their eyes from this obvious truth? When God created mankind, He said, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be one flesh" (Gen. 2:24). If this one basic, scriptural principle were obeyed, today, the world would see the END of venereal disease. It would be totally stamped out! [Editor's note: Ambassador College has published a free article showing the tragic results of V.D. Write for your copy of "The Silent Epidemic."] The Bible, clearly, is a remarkable book. Its various portions, written from 4,000 to 2,000 years ago, speak authoritatively regarding health and disease prevention. The Bible not only gave LAWS of sanitation and hygiene thousands of years before the world in general stumbled across those laws by "accident," but it also gave other fundamental principles of prevention of disease which the world STILL refuses to face!
The Solution to Mental Illness
There are an estimated 20 million Americans who are mentally ill—suffering various forms of neuroses, psychoses, and emotional mental problems. The National Association for Mental Health admits, "We know very little about the causes of mental illness, and until we know much more, we cannot identify any sure way to prevent mental illness." Wrote Dr. Sarnoff A. Mednick in Psychology Today, "We have been working on the problem of schizophrenia, however, for more than 100 years, and at this point it is fair—in fact necessary—to say that we know very little definite about the origins of this disease. Zero" (Mednick, "Birth Defects and Schizophrenia," Psychology Today, Aprill971). When medical authorities admit they don't know the causes of mental illness, or how to prevent it, perhaps we should look to another source — another Authority—for counsel and advice. What about the Bible? Does the Bible say anything about mental and emotional illness? In view of the amazing statements in the Bible pertaining to other modern afflictions, it would be surprising if the Bible didn't say anything about mental illness. God warned 3,400 years ago that if men insisted upon breaking His laws and commandments, and living their own ways, the result would be disastrous. God said if we broke His laws we would be smitten with mental illness—"The Eternal will strike your minds with MADNESS, blindness, and dismay, till you grope at noon like a blind man in the dark, and fall into disaster" (Deut. 28:28-29, Moffatt). The original Hebrew word for "madness" in this verse is shiggaown and refers to insanity. Fully 25 percent of our hospital beds today are occupied by victims of mental illness! What is the solution to the plague of mental illness devastating millions of lives today? If our modern nations would obey God's laws, God would remove these curses which we have brought upon ourselves (Deut. 28:58-62; Lev. 26:40-46). Obedience to the laws of God is the KEY to mental health. "Great peace have they which love thy law," David wrote in the Psalms (Ps. 119:165). God's Law is the way to a long life, happiness and peace (Prov. 3:1-2). God's Law, summarized, is the law of LOVE—outgoing concern for others (Matt. 22:36-40). Love is the fulfilling of God's Law (I John 5:3; Rom. 13:10). Perfect, mature love casts out fear, worry, anxiety, depression, and the negative emotions which can wreck mental health. "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love" (I John 4:18). This kind of love is outgoing concern for the welfare of other people, as opposed to self centered, selfish concern for one's own self It is the attitude of GIVING service to others, helpfulness. Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). This kind of love is the essential key to mental health and emotional well-being. It conquers the negative emotions of jealousy, envy, fear, hatred, vanity, worry, anxiety, inferiority, etc. If a person has true love for others, he will radiate cheerfulness and joy. Cheerfulness and joy are tremendous antidotes for mental illness. Modern clinical evidence supports the statement of Solomon who declared, "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine" (Prov. 17:22). Also see Proverbs 12:25 and 15:13. (Further information on this subject is available in our free reprint titled "How to Overcome Emotional Stress." Write for a copy.)
The Great Paradox
Paradoxically, the world has come to acknowledge many of the health principles outlined in the Bible, but still refuses to acknowledge the Source. Why has mankind generally ignored this source of health information? Why did so many physicians overlook and ignore it for countless centuries, consequently having to learn the hard way about preventing sickness and disease? God's laws were designed to prevent illness — to maintain vibrant good health. But the world only gives lip service to them and ignores their source. What a paradox! It is time we admitted that thousands of years ago when pagan, Gentile nations — steeped in idolatry and superstition — were propounding all kinds of weird remedies and quack cures for illness, there was a nation free from idolatrous superstition, which was taught principles of health and disease prevention which are still valid today! What does this momentous fact mean? Just this: The Bible is no mere book of men—its authorship is divine! Biblical health laws prove — along with the proofs of Biblical prophecy—that the Bible was DIVINELY inspired by the Eternal God! Biblical health laws reveal in plain language the way to AVOID much illness and disease. They reveal how to prevent contagious diseases and widespread epidemics. They show how to avoid a host of modern maladies. Strictly speaking, of course, the Bible is not a "health textbook" or medical manual. But it does lay the FOUNDATION of knowledge, and reveals many health laws which stumbling, groping mankind has required thousands of years to discover—yet all this time these laws have been written in the pages of that Book which is so often ignored or lost in a seldom — perused corner of the family bookshelf. There is a Creator God. He "manufactured" the human race. And He wrote an "Instruction Book" that goes along with His product, and tells how the human body and mind best function. Just as any automobile manufacturer sends an instruction book along with each new automobile, so God gave us an Instruction Book—the Bible — which tells us HOW TO LIVE, how to have robust, radiant health and vitality! The Bible is the foundation of all knowledge, including the knowledge of health. If society will build on its fundamental precepts wisely and soundly, we can avoid the tragedy of increasing sickness and disease. We can begin to eliminate the terrible scourges of modern disease. Biblical laws are the keys to abundant health. They were devised for YOUR protection and well-being. But if you break them, they will break you. Will you begin to obey those laws? Your future health—physically, mentally and emotionally — will depend in large measure on how you answer that question!