Sunday, 30 November 2014

The Human Journey – Thinking biblically about health

Many people today hold to an atheist worldview – they believe that God doesn’t exist, that human beings are just clever monkeys, that morality is largely a matter of personal choice and that death is the end. 

Within this framework medical technology can become simply a tool to improve life’s length and quality without regard to any overall meaning and purpose. If we want it, and can do it, and it seems to improve our life and health then why not?

By contrast the Bible teaches that God does indeed exist, that he has clearly spoken and acted in history in a way that leaves us in no doubt about his character and intentions. He has created human beings to know him and love him.

Death is not the end at all but rather a gateway to two radically different futures – either to enjoy eternity with God in a new and perfect world, or to be excluded from his presence forever.

Under this scheme history is indeed ‘his story’ – a ‘divine drama’ worked out according to God’s will and purpose.

My new book, the Human Journey, aims to equip Christians to think biblically about health and healthcare. But it sets these issues in the greater context of God’s design for man, the universe and everything – his great plan of redemption to unite everything under Jesus Christ.

The book starts by sketching out the grand ‘metanarrative’ – the overarching great storyline of the Bible in which all our individual little stories make sense. This big story makes sense of all that follows.

But then I focus down on issues at the interface of Christianity and health under eight big themes – each accompanied by a key question:

·         Humanity - What does it mean to be human?
·         Start of Life - When does life begin?
·         Marriage and sexuality - What is marriage for?
·         Physical health - How should I live?
·         Mental health – Am I supposed to feel like this?
·         End of Life – How should life end?
·         New technologies – Are we playing God?
·         Global health – Who is my neighbour?

The overall aim is to establish a biblical framework to help Christians think about health, both to make better personal healthcare decisions and also to help their churches incorporate healthcare expertise more effectively into pastoral life and ministry.

While the book can be read alone, it is accompanied by a set of videos and a study guide for small groups, expanding on each chapter. It’s intended to be shared and discussed within the context of the Human Journey course. To help readers explore the issues I touch upon in more depth, there are also a host of articles and further resources on the Human Journey website.

My desire is to see people excited about the whole Bible, more amazed about Christ’s great work and all that it means and more confident about how to bring God’s word and healthcare together. So I have deliberately packed this book full of biblical references.

If you finish it more grateful for all God has done and is doing, more hungry to mine the depths of Scripture, more passionate about serving Jesus and more equipped to think, speak and serve for Jesus Christ then it will have achieved its purpose.


4 comments:

  1. Good luck with your initiative Peter. We need a well publicised push back against the now, largely prevalent atheist world view, as presented by the media. The problem is that without dedicated media channels it is difficult for us to get our message across.

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  2. A biblical approach to health would comprise prayer and nothing else.

    A biblical stance on marriage would result in the execution of any woman who was not a virgin when she stood before the altar and took her vows.

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