Viewpoint of Mark Cadwallader, Creation Moments Board Chairman
The doctor walked his rounds with a gas mask. And this gas mask was strange looking, to say the least. It was essentially a huge bird beak covering his face with the beak extending out about a foot. The beak was stuffed with fresh flowers and scents so that the bad smells he encountered on his rounds were suppressed.
Bad smell, you see, was thought to cause the Black Plague of the 14th Century which wiped out much of the world’s population, including one third of Europe. Many of the doctors who worked with the suffering wore such an apparatus. This was part of the long-lingering “miasmic theory” of contagious disease. “Bad air” was thought to be the problem. And the theory persisted right up until the late 19th century, through the industrial revolution, when many urban areas suffered horrible outbreaks of cholera and dysentery.
The miasmic theory of contagious disease was closely associated with the idea of “spontaneous generation”. The “bad air”, for example, from sewer gas and garbage fumes supposedly generated vermin, pestilence, and disease spontaneously. Millions of people died from cholera outbreaks and other epidemics because basic principles of water sanitation were ignored – principles that are spelled out in the Bible. The miasmic theory began to decline and germ theory came to dominate after Louis Pasteur – the great Christian scientist – used the Scientific Method to famously disprove the fallacy of spontaneous generation and prove the primary biological law of Biogenesis in 1864.
The Bible says do not drink from stagnant water nor let dead things come in contact with the water you use (Leviticus 11:33-36). It says not to defile yourself with things that die naturally (Leviticus 22:8). The Bible also tells us to wash sores and bodily issues in running water (Leviticus 15:13).
Hospitals of the early 19th century were not places to recover from disease. They were places of death. Incidents of mothers giving birth and then dying from bacterial blood poisoning were routine, for example, and there were frequent outbreaks of blood poisoning in hospital birthing wards. But in 1844, Ignaz Semmelweis noticed this did not happen with midwives or in home births. Turned out it was because midwives were not allowed to perform autopsies, while hospital physicians were – and the physicians did not wash their hands between performing autopsies and delivering babies!
After Semmelweis had his doctors wash with chlorinated lime soap, mortality from blood poisoning was reduced by 99 percent in his ward. Yet the medical professionals of the day ridiculed and refused to accept his practices until after Louis Pasteur proved the germ theory. In fact, many doctors were offended that they should have to wash their hands!
To us today this is amazing. But entrenched practices and pseudoscience can be a real stronghold in people and in society. And even though the Word of God may be clear, mankind tends to elevate his own reasoning above the clear reading of Scripture.
I’ve written previously of the modern tendency to redefine supposedly “archaic” words and ideas found in many translations of the Bible. One such word which gets a lot of ridicule from modern sensibilities are both the Hebrew and Greek words for “bowels” – because from the context of many biblical passages it is clear the term is used not only to describe the lower part of the abdomen and its internals, but to describe “feeling” or “compassion” – a certain psychological or inner sensing and comprehension. So the word is often given a “metaphorical” translation.
For example, the apostle Paul writes about “bowels of mercies” (Colossians 3:12) and “bowels and mercies” (Philippians 2:1). He writes to Philemon in verse 20, “brother let me have joy of thee in the Lord; refresh my bowels in the Lord”. And Jeremiah writes, “My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart” (Jeremiah 4:19). The Song of Solomon says “…my beloved put his hand by the hole of the door and my bowels were moved for him” (Song 5:4).
This kind of language is quite odd for us, but it is the language not only of the King James version but of all translations which translate the original Hebrew and Greek correctly in these passages. The Bible long ago repeatedly stated a truth that has been lost on modern science for many years, and which is only now coming into favor – sort of like physicians washing their hands.
Today we understand that running from the esophagus to the rectum, in the inner lining and walls of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and colon, is what’s called the Enteric Nervous System (ENS). It is becoming known as our 2nd Brain, functioning via the same neurotransmitter hormones as the brain in our heads, and encouraging a whole new field of study called neurogastroenterology.
The 2nd Brain in our gut communicates not only stress, pain, and sadness, but joy, compassion, and love. Yet it only came into the reputable view of science in the 1990s. Once again, the lesson of all this is to put your faith in the inerrant Word of God, not in the changing and vain views of men!
So go ahead and listen to your gut! The Lord may be trying to get something through to you that way. And stimulate it with a little chuckling now and then, too!
Let me close by saying that the human body loudly shouts DESIGN to all those who will listen. This is why Creation Moments – your ministry – continues to spread the truth of biblical creation and the gospel of Christ. God bless you for supporting us financially and with your prayers.