Disease, The Fall, & Christ

Written by Victor Stanley Jr.

Theology & Culture

In a story written by NBC News’ Maggie Fox the ongoing Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa is said to have been preventable. Officials from the CDC told Congress that money should been invested in building up a modern health care system in West Africa. Director of the CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases Dr. Beth Bell said that “If even modest investments had been made to build a public health infrastructure in West Africa previously, the current Ebola epidemic could have been detected earlier, and it could have been identified and contained.”[1] The Obama administration is now working to get Congress to approve funds for a military led initiative to contain the disease, and to also help establish a health infrastructure in the region.

While I believe that we should do everything in our power to help those who are sick, impoverished, and lack some of the blessings that we as Americans sometimes take for granted, one comment made by Dr. Bell intrigues me, and seems to butt heads with theology. Dr. Bell made this statement: “While this tragic epidemic reminds us that there is still much to be done, we know that sustained commitment and the application of the best evidence and practices will lead us to a safer, healthier world.”[1] Again, this is admirable, and I do believe that we should work to make the world ‘safer and healthier’, but as a Christian I also realize this one truth, we live in a fallen world. As a result of the Fall not only did we become corrupted by sin and separated from God, but the creation was also subjected to frustration.[2] Disease, sickness, pain, and death are all a result of the Fall, and as Christians we must keep this in mind as we combat these things.

While the secular world believes that through modern science and medicine we can completely eradicate the world of all sickness and health problems, as believers we know that this will not happen until this world passes away, Christ returns, and God creates a new Heaven and Earth. We must continuously have compassion and empathy for those who are suffering, and work to heal their suffering, but we must also remember that suffering can only truly be cured through the redemption of the soul by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, who will one day free creation from the effects of the Fall.[3]

[1] http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/ebola-virus-outbreak/we-could-have-stopped-ebola-cdc-expert-says-n204841

[2] Romans 8:20

[3] Romans 8:18-25

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