HEALTH IS WHOLENESS: SPIRIT, SOUL, AND BODY - A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE

The premise of this article is that; from a Christian, Biblical perspective, God made all things good in their initial origin. (Gen. 1-2) In other words He did not make junk. Also each living organism reproduces after it's own kind (Gen. 1:11-12, 21-25.

In his physical body man himself was somewhat of a secondary creation in that he was made up of material already created which the Bible cites as the "dust of the ground".

"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being" (Gen. 2:7).

In Genesis chapter 3 we find the sales pitch of the oldest profession on earth. The serpent, Satan, conned Eve into partaking of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Subsequently, mankind suffered from the fall and lost the privilege God gave him to have dominion over the earth.

The goal of salvation is to restore man to wholeness that was lost in the fall with Adam and Eve. God wants man to be whole or integrated. In some sense the body will not be restored until the end of the age and then it will be glorified just as Jesus' body took on immortality. Never the less, God wants man's spirit quickened, his soul renewed, and his body healed.

1 Thes. 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. (The Holy Bible, New King James Version)

As in mathematics an integer is a whole number and not a fraction or divided into parts. Since the fall man has been somewhat fractured or corrupted. He tries to be independent and do his own thing when it comes to his behavior. He likes to make his own solutions to the problems that beset him in his earthly existence.

We speak of a person as having integrity when they can be trusted or relied upon to do the right thing. This is about moral virtue and in it involves the restoration of the mind to soundness. First Chronicles 4:9 speaks of Jabez as being more honorable than his brothers. Being honorable is an aspect of integrity. (The Prayer of Jabez has become the theme of a Christian best selling book and the testimonies of some people who have put this prayer in practice can be read at the Breakthrough Series archives.)

Furthermore, God expects mankind to be good stewards of what He has given them. This includes doing our best to take care of our lives - spirit, soul, and body. There is a synergy involved. God expects man to cooperate with him. Some of man's problems are corporate or due to what man has done to his environment over the history of his existence on planet earth. Man tries to solve one problem and often creates a cluster of others, i.e., the manufacture and use of DDT is an example. DDT accummulated in the tissue of living organism and followed up the food chain and subsequently health problems developed most notably in some birds. Even now birds are looked upon as a sign of health in the environment. I'm not speaking of some conspiracy theory where someone is trying to make bucks at someone else's expense. A British scientist-writer, Charles Percy Snow developed a theory concerning man's problem solving ability which in effect said that the more complex the problem the more problems the solution created.

To a great extent, God created our bodies to heal themselves as well as an immunization system to protect these bodies from disease. The various layers of skin are also an example of God's protective mechanism.

The WESTERN WORLD has seen an increase of DEGENERATIVE DISEASES since the end of the 19th. century. Heart attacks and strokes from CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE as well other degenerative diseases like arthritis, diabetes, allergies, etc. have increased since the advent of DIETARY CHANGES toward more REFINED FOODS as well as modification of fats and oils through processes such as hydrogenation. There also has been a significant decrease in the essential Omega 3 fatty acids in the American diet. This could happen in a number of ways. It is likely that the eggs and flesh of chickens that range fed had more Omega 3 content earlier in Americas history. The yolks of eggs from range fed chickens are an orange rather than the yellow of the eggs you buy at the supermarket. Consider the alternative to today's food supply chain in the United States. At the turn of the 19th century the USA was well on its way to becoming the largest industrial nation in the world, the proportion of the population involved in producing the food and fiber was much greater. Even today it is not unusual for nearly 80 percent of the population of undeveloped countries to be working at a subsistence level to produce their food and clothing, two of the three basic necessities. In the USA several million people produce the food and fiber for the remaining 270 million. While this industrial agriculture is one of the reasons for such a high standard of living for the rest of the population, i.e., they don't need to be preoccupied with putting food on the table, the American farmer often has difficulty succeeding economically because of the low farm product prices and the high capital equipment cost required to maintain the extremely high level of productivity. Concentrated animal production, i.e., pigs and chickens, also create other problems such as the difficulty disposing of animal waste. In Maryland and other states this results in the pollution of streams, rivers, and the Cheasepeake Bay. The high nitrogen content promotes algae growth that suffocates the underwater grasses of the bay, damaging the ecosystem for crabs, oysters, and fish. Then again the rivers are a source of household water for the rest of the population. In Frederick County, Maryland river water from the Monocasy and Potomac Rivers supply over 80 percent of the supply.

In some of the references that follow (see SOME HEALTH RESOURCE LINKS at the bottom of this page.) there are demonstrated links between the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids and the occurence of cardiac disease, i.e., Japan has a ratio of about 3:1; the Mediteranean countries a ratio of about 5:1, and the USA a ratio of about 20:1. These "food choices by Greenland, Japanese, Mediterranean, and American populations" result in body "tissue proportions of omega-6 in the body's 20- and 22-carbon highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA) near 30%, 50%, 60%, and 80%, respectively. These surrogate clinical outcomes are biomarkers associated with cardiovascular mortalities of 20, 50, 90, and 200 per 100,000, respectively" (see Lancet 1999; 353: 1547-1557 and Ann. Rev. Nutrition 1991; 11: 41-60).

To be more emphatic on the issue, particularly for atherosclerosis, in the report to the 72nd Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association the following was mentioned:

Dr. Nissen's group (Steven E. Nissen, MD, Cleveland, Ohio) evaluated 300 transplant donor hearts that were harvested from young people who had died traumatically. These hearts were then analyzed with intravascular ultrasound to assess the degree of atherosclerotic heart disease. The results of this study showed coronary atherosclerotic disease in a large number of young people: 17% of patients less than 20 years of age, 60% of patients between 30 and 39 years of age, and 71% of patients between ages 40 and 49 had coronary artery disease. Dr. Nissen concluded that the patients who die of a plaque rupture when they are 45 years old probably have had the disease since they were teenagers. He called these results a 'wake-up call for America.'" (Source: 72nd Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association, November 8, 1999, "Evaluation by Intravascular Ultrasound").
While Dr. Nissen's group was focused on the arteries of the heart, clinical studies have shown that the degree of atherosclerosis is not uniform for all the arteries in the body. What are we to make of this? Obviously lifestyle changes are in order for Americans.

People need to be concerned with the "Nutrition Facts" labels on food products. The trans fatty acids are to be included with saturated fats in the future. The Food and Drug Administration will be requiring that these fatty acids be included in he labels with saturated fats. These include Omega 3 and 6 polyunsaturated as well as monounsaturated fatty acids that have been partially hydrogenated. They are listed in the ingredients as partially hydrogenated oils such as "partially hydrogenated soybean, cottonseed, etc oils". They are called "trans" (across to the other side) as opposed the "cis" (on the same side - Latin root) because the chemical form has been changed by moving hydrogen atoms to the opposite side of the fatty acid molecule. Food suppliers have modified these fatty acids in order to increase shelf life. Dr. Mary Enig has stated the following:

"Four decades ago several researchers tried to alert the medical community and the consuming public to the possible dangers of a high intake of trans fatty acids from the partially hydrogenated fats. Three decades and two decades ago some of the same researchers and some new researchers tried to alert the Congress and several government agencies to the concerns they had about ties to heart disease and cancer from consumption of these partially hydrogenated vegetable fats and oils." Source: Google search for the latest news on trans fatty acids and coronary heart disease (This is an over kill, but the point should be well taken.) related article by the National Institute of Health article.
There is also a good article on foods for health by Jean Carper titled "Mixed up about nutrition?" that addresses some of the health and nutrition issues. It offers a good, simple starting point. It will soon be in the archives. Other Jean Carper articles are already in the archives.

Since there is an educational process in view, here are some links on what happens when humans eat food or take supplements and medicines. If you have problems with some of the technical terms, read between the lines or try using the Dictionary, Merck's Manual (Home Edition), or the Healthfinder (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services).

For those with more interest in human metabolism, physiology, etc. go to selected links on Human Metabolism If you are not ready now, come back later.

There has been much concern about cholesterol in the diet and in the blood lipids by health professionals. About 80 percent of cholesterol is produced by a persons own body. Diet is not the major contributor of serum cholesterol. While it may not be appropriate to call health professional activities an overfocus on cholesterol, some researcher have now found that inflamation in the arteries even with normal cholesterol is a major cause of cardiovascular disease. It has been determined that C-reactive protein is a good indicator of risk for cardiovascular disease. While it is not mentioned in the article that is linked below, a balance between Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids and their derivatives in the diet may also be significant in cardiovascular disease as well as other degenerative diseases. Excessive Omega 6 or it's derivatives (particularly prostaglandins derived from arachidonic acid found in grain feed meat) can produce inflamation. For further detail see "Researchers find a new enemy of the heart (not the original link)"

When it comes to eating meat, what is natural? What is the food that God created for our use? Should it include animals treated with antibiotics and hormones? The farmers that choose to avoid antibiotics and hormones are usually called organic farmers because they also feed their animals with foods raised organically. Then at the end stage, the same farmers may choose to feed the animals a lot of grain to fatten them up. This is also an issue in what the consumer has available for consumption. We hear the saying "you are what you eat." It turns out that there is truth in this statement. For information about grass feed meat animals go to The Clearinghouse for Information about Pasture-Based Farming. Roam around that page, find articles, and access them. You don't need to buy into anything "hook, line, and sinker." It is your health and that of your associates. Just take a proactive stance. Weigh things based on the Holy Scriptures.

I have given a number of references and they may not be in not total agreement. What I will say is that food in the Noahic covenant was not limited by kind (vs. 3). For instance, there is no vegetarian program. Blood was not to be eaten (vs. 4). The reason not to kill fellow man was that man was made in God's image (vs. 6). As told in the Bible, all men today are descendant from Noah (vs. 9).

Gen. 9:1 So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. 2 "And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. 3 "Every moving thing that lives ( 2416) shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. 4 "But you shall not eat flesh with its life (5315), that is, its blood (1818). 5 "Surely for your lifeblood (5315) I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man's brother I will require the life (5315) of man. 6 "Whoever sheds man's blood (1818), By man his blood (1818) shall be shed; For in the image ( 6754) of God (430) He made ( 6213) man. 7And as for you, be fruitful and multiply; Bring forth abundantly in the earth And multiply in it." 8 Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying: 9 "And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you…

The foods prepared from refine white flour as well as white potatoes are digested more rapidly and the carbohydrates are converted to a form of sugar called glucose. The body in its healthy state will react by the producing more insulin. Insulin is a growth hormone and too much of it will tend to make a significant part of the population gain weight. Much of this weight is in fat and the storage form of fat is triglyceride. Researchers have tried to determine the reaction in blood glucose to various foods and have constructed information such as what follows:

International Tables of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Values: 2008 - http://care.diabetesjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/31/12/2281 Table A1. Glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) values determined in subjects with normal glucose tolerance: 2008
Table A2. Glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) values determined in subjects with impaired glucose tolerance, small subject numbers or values showing wide variability: 2008.

Another term, metabolic syndrome is a health condition in which many aspects can be corrected with proper diet and regular exercise. (Note that impaired glucose tolerance usually occurs prior to prediabetes and is not a function of age. In prediabetes the capacity of the insulin producing cells in the pancreas have already been compromised.)

Looking from a biblical perspective, what is life? When does life begin? What is life to be like? These are some of the questions, but I am referring to spiritual life as well as physical existence.

John 10:10b I (Jesus) have come that they may have life (zoe 2222), and that they may have it more abundantly (perossis 4053).
Zoe is generally spiritual life in the New Testament. Some definitions are provided from New Strong's dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words where four digit numbers are shown above to give some biblical slant to the topic(s) at a Greek word study related to spiritual life

For the Christian, Jesus life is to be manifested in their mortal flesh. The zoe life is in the inner man (vs. 16). The main focus is on things that are eternal (vs.18).

2 Cor. 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed- 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life (zoe 2222) of Jesus also may be manifested in our body (4983). 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life (zoe 2222) of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death is working in us, but life (zoe 2222) in you. … 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward (esothen 2081) man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
[Note: 2081. esothen from 2080; from inside; also used as equiv. to 2080 (inside):— inward (-ly), (from) within, without. ( New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words) ]

OK, more on the biblical perspective on food.

Rom. 14:2 For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. 3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.
Paul put the topic in the perspective of latter times and perhaps strangely associated food, marriage, deceit, and apostasy.
1 Tim. 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.

In my adult years, I have not given as much priority to discipline that relates to the body versus discipline that relates to the human spirit and the soul (mind). Robert Frost in his book Set My Spirit Free (which is no longer in print) discusses the balance between the spirit, soul, and body. It is my contention that people tend to develop their minds and their bodies more than their spirits. Consequently, their mind or their body has control over the direction of their lives. You have the intellectuals who focus much of their attention on the development of their minds and often will be proud of their intellectual accomplishments. Likewise, there are the people whose focus is on their bodies and will tend to develop athletic skills. They may be egotistical about their physical appearance or other such preoccupations with their bodies. It can even be sexual preoccupation. It is only after one becomes a Christian that they start to focus upon spiritual growth and maturity in Christ Jesus. Renewing of the mind is usually associated with spiritual growth as well. It requires a repentance and change in our life's purpose and pursuit. All of this issue is a matter of priorities rather than benign neglect. Paul lays it on the line when he said:

1 Tim. 4:8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.

Robert Frost also elaborates on this topic. The following is an excerpt from Set My Spirit Free: Spirit, Soul, and Body Interrelationship.

A personal friend of mine, Walter Straughan, has taught a course on healing methods at the National Church of God, Fort Washington, Maryland for many years. He has published a number of booklets that are conveniently pocket or purse sized as well as two books, God Wants You Healed (also see the link to this page for contact and distribution information) that are based on aligning your thinking with the Word of God and receiving the promises for health and prosperity. Outlines of his teachings on Healing Methods, Protect Your Heart, and How To Be Healed From Sickness Unto Death can be found at this site.

More ministries have become interested in healing emotional wounds. One such ministry is Grace and Truth Ministries. Google search for further information on ministries involved in the healing of emotional wounds.

The point of these citations is to show the interrelationship of the spirit, soul, and body of man. People take drugs like Prozac as well as others to control neurotransmitters in their brains which help them psychologically/mentally. We commonly accept the connection between the mind (soul/puchos) and the body (soma). The distinction between the spirit and the soul is not quite as easy.

God created mankind with spirits that can transcend space and time in order to communicate with Him. This is a means of having intimate relationship through fellowship and communion with God. While God's main means of communicating His will to man is through the written Word - the Bible, He also communicates with His still small voice as well as other means. It is part of man's responsibility to become sensitive and yielded vessels so that these channels of communication are open. This means seeking His face, having faith and confidence in Him, staying in fellowship with other Christians in corporate worship and prayer. I have covered aspects of this fellowship and communion in other articles at this site. I don't proclaim to be all knowing, but I believe that we can be in contact with the One who is.

While many of the articles' citations that are referenced in the links are of a technical nature, it is not necessary to understand the a-z of their content in order to get the gist of their meaning. Health professionals typically do not talk to their clients in this language. For practical purposes such as time constraints, they can not educate everyone who crosses their path. It is not that they do not make an effort since the advent of the internet (see Handouts on Family Doctor.) Like the precepts in the Bible, it is the "here a little and there a little" by which we gain knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. We need to stretch our envelopes so to speak, increase our boundaries or our territories. It is part and parcel of being good stewards of our bodies. Obesity is said by some experts to have a more detrimental effect on the body than smoking cigarettes, yet we don't have some kind of warning label at the kitchen or dinner table. The Healthy Body Calculator can help you to establish a good personal weight. The US Federal government is now recommending that people with indexes over 25 percent be tested for pre-diabetes inorder for these people to make the lifestyle changes nessary to prevent full onset of type 2 diabestes. In 2001 the Diabetes Prevention Program was cut short one year early because it was not considered ethical to withhold treatment to pre-diabetics. Body Fat Lab also discusses other important aspects about fat and health. There needs to be balance. There are those that propose either vegetarian or neo-Paleolithic diets. One need not become cultic or emaciated. The Bible allows for the consumption of meat, grains, vegetables, olive oil, and fruits. Various agricultural crops are even symbolically viewed as signs of prosperity and blessings from God.

Joel 2:24 "The threshing floors will be full of wheat, And the vats will overflow with new wine and oil. ... 26 You will have plenty to eat, and be satisfied, And will praise the name of Yahweh, your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; And my people will never again be disappointed."

SOME HEALTH RESOURCE LINKS

The next two links are works underconstruction that I assembled primarily for my own use.

A collection of links to articles on insulin resistance and sensitivity

A glossary of medical and health terms particularly related to diabetes

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