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Joe Mcintyre

This paper was written by Joe Mcintyre.

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Joe McIntyre is the President of the International Fellowship of Ministries.


Originally published in Refleks 1-1 (2002). Included by permission.

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Articles > Charismatic Theology > Healing In Redemption

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Hebrew View of Life

 

George Eldon Ladd tells us that in the OT concept of Life, “There is no antithesis between physical and spiritual life, between the outer and inner dimensions in man, between the lower and higher realms. Life is viewed in its wholeness as the full enjoyment of God’s gifts.”[ix] Ladd goes on to mention physical prosperity, productivity, a long life, bodily health/well-being and physical security as aspects of Life as the OT portrays God’s will for his covenantally obedient children.

 

Commenting on the Hebrew concept of life, the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament states, “The OT speaks of life as the experience of life rather than as an abstract principle of vitality which may be distinguished from the body. This is because the OT view of the nature of man is holistic, that is, his function as body, mind, spirit is a unified whole spoken of in very concrete terms. Life is the ability to exercise all one's vital power to the fullest; death is the opposite. The verb  "to live" involves the ability to have life somewhere on the scale between the fullest enjoyment of all the powers of one's being, with health and prosperity on the one hand and descent into trouble, sickness, and death on the other.”[x]

 

This is not the way many Western Christians view life and spirituality. The controversy over healing and prosperity in the Church today certainly underscores this conflict. Whatever may be said about the motives and styles (and exegesis) of some who preach healing and prosperity, it must be acknowledged that the Scriptures show God to be concerned with all aspects of our life. Our tendency to downplay healing and God’s promises for productivity and physical blessings is not derived from a truly Biblical worldview. It is quite possible for these areas to emphasized in a balanced and healthy way. While an overemphasis on these truths is unbalanced, an underemphasis on them in not fully Biblical.

 

 

Covenant Thinking

 

Physical healing can be shown to be something Semitic people (in general) would have sought in their covenant relationships with their gods. Since blessing and cursing in all areas of life was attributed to some deity, pleasing or appeasing the ‘gods’ was an important part of their lives. When the God of Israel told the Jews that he would care for them in all the areas of life, he was claiming his superiority over all “rival” gods. To claim less would have been to acknowledge inferiority to the pagan gods who claimed the power to bless and to curse. This may seem simplistic to us, but, as Ladd suggests, “a profound theology underlies it. Life… can only be enjoyed from the perspective of obedience to God and love for him.”[xi] Their cultures already saw life as the outworking of covenant issues, so the God of Israel entered into covenant with them and promised to be the source of every blessing. In this way he was “weaning” them from the temptation toward polytheism to look only to him.

 

Our dualistic view of life causes us to separate the spiritual from the physical and we think God thinks like us! To think as a Hebrew seems carnal to us. Perhaps God really cares about things like our health!

 

Part of the difficulty may be the question of priorities. Certainly in the eternal scheme of things, our spiritual well-being is more important than our physical health or happiness in this life. No one would question this premise. Yet, while holding to this priority of values, can one also deeply care about other issues? Indeed, does God deeply care about the other issues of our lives? The Biblical witness seems to say he does. And further that he has made provision for it.

 

If our presupposition is that the spiritual dimension is God’s primary concern it will be very difficult to boldly approach him about the other areas of life - even if we have promises in his word that cover those other areas. Our Greek worldview tells us that this life is basically evil and should not be blessed. Someday we will “escape” this flesh and real life will begin in heaven. While it is certain that life in heaven will be wonderful, it is doubtful that we will need to claim God’s covenant promises there. They are for here and now.

 

This over-prioritizing of the spiritual is not the teaching of Scripture. The bodily resurrection is a necessity because man was created to inhabit a body. The body is important in the eternal scheme of things. And it’s a lot easier to get things done in this world with a healthy body!

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | Footnotes

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User Contributed Comments

Julius k.Campbell
Saturday 06th of August 2005

Yourmessage on Divine healing is abousolutetly 100%right keep on the good of God the father and ourLORD JESUS CHRIST.Ithank God for giving you HIS Spirit of wisdom and revealation knowledge of Him. Keep on the good work for the LORD JESUSCHRST he reward in heaven . God bless you. AMEN! Your fellow worker in the LORD. Healing evangelist.


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