People who think their life has meaning and purpose die later than people with a lower sense of personal wellbeing, according to a .
About 9,000 people over age 65 were followed for eight and half years as part of a study published in the Lancet. Researchers measured their wellbeing by giving them a questionnaire that gauged how much control they felt they had over their own life, and how much they thought what they did was worthwhile. The participants were then split into four groups, ranging from the highest to lowest levels of wellbeing.
Happier people tended to outlive their less fulfilled peers. Over the eight years, just 9% of people in the highest wellbeing category died, compared to 29% in the lowest category. Previous research has , and this new finding adds to the theory.
“There is quite good evidence from studies of people in nursing homes showing that those who have something to do and look forward to tend to be in a much better state,” says study author Andrew Steptoe, director of the University College London Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care. “I think one of the fundamental ideas is that of autonomy and sense control of their life. People can feel life is just rushing by, or once they quit working their purpose can narrow to some extent.”
Steptoe says it’s possible to engineer environments that encourage greater wellbeing, like bringing pets into nursing homes or having residents partake in gardening. Increasing meaning during the day might just increase lifespan, too
The Lancet, Early Online Publication, 6 November 2014
Subjective wellbeing, health, and ageing
Subjective wellbeing and health are closely linked to age. Three aspects of subjective wellbeing can be distinguished—evaluative wellbeing (or life satisfaction), hedonic wellbeing (feelings of happiness, sadness, anger, stress, and pain), and eudemonic wellbeing (sense of purpose and meaning in life). We review recent advances in the specialty of psychological wellbeing, and present new analyses about the pattern of wellbeing across ages and the association between wellbeing and survival at older ages. The Gallup World Poll, a continuing survey in more than 160 countries, shows a U-
Dr.Konstantinos Mouroutis –
Director of New Life Institute-
My dear friends, what is the purpose of life? Why do people live? When people arrive at the final destination of their life’s journey, they ask, “Why did I work so hard? Why did I try to make so much money? Why did I struggle to succeed?” What a pitiful waste of life to die without being able to answer these questions! Many live their lives without understanding life’s meaning or its purpose.
Dear friends, let’s ask ourselves a question. “What is the meaning of life?” Quite honestly, none of us would be able to answer this question so easily. Why is this? Why are we unable to answer what seems to be a simple question? This is because it’s actually impossible to know the meaning of life without first coming to firm grips with our origin, how we came to exist.
Let’s assume for a moment that our existence is explained by the theory of evolution. Bang! There was the big bang. Then, a series of events lead to DNA…then to genes…cells…ameba…and eventually to human beings. Now, how did this all come about? By chance, according to evolution, isn’t that right? But a chance is, by definition, something that just happened without any meaning or purpose. Therefore, to believe in the theory of evolution is to accept the notion that there is no purpose in life. This has grave consequences. Not only do we, as individuals, lose a sense of purpose in our lives, but also, life itself becomes completely meaningless if we were to believe in evolution. According to evolution, we happened to exist, but if it turned out that we didn’t, it would not have mattered.
Without a clear understanding of who God is, we cannot escape this kind of thinking even if we go to church. ‘Why am I here?’ ‘My mom and dad decided to sleep together one day…and here I am!’ This type of thought process can never lead to the discovery of the reason for our existence in this world.
We have learned that genes are essentially letters, and letters have to be created. Letters contain meaning. We human beings are, in effect, a collection of letters. We are not a piece of meat, but a collection of letters.
A gene consists of four bases (a, t, c, g) chemically arranged in varying sequences. A different sequence denotes a different meaning, just like the way it works with the letters. Therefore, we’re not just a cluster of cells, or a lump of protein. No! What we really are is a collection of letters with meaning and purpose! The question is, then, whose purpose do these letters express?
Now, letters (all letters) cannot come to exist by a random chance. They must all be created! Then the answer to the previous question is self-
You see, genes are created to respond differently to various meanings. As we know from Dr. Pavlov’s experiments, when a subject perceives a positive meaning, a positive response is aroused. A negative meaning provokes a negative response. When there is no meaning there is no response. When a dog first hears the sound of the bell “ding,” there is no meaning associated with that sound. And, there is no response. No wagging tails in anticipation of a delicious treat. No happy barking sound. No endorphins to get her all excited. There is no response! None, whatsoever! Without meaning, genes don’t respond. Not until the dog starts associating the sound of the bell to being fed (i.e. giving a positive meaning to the sound of the bell), is she going to start drooling, barking with happiness, and start wagging her tail at the sound of the bell. This is an obvious example of how genes respond to meaning.
Before we get too sidetracked, let’s go back to the subject of the purpose of life. As mentioned earlier, there cannot be true meaning in life if the theory of evolution is correct. But many people do believe in the theory of evolution. Consequently, it is impossible for these to know what the true, fundamental purpose in life is. They each must come up with their own purpose in life. It becomes the responsibility of the each individual to come up with his/her own version of meaning in life. And this is commonly done. ‘My goal in life is this.’ ‘I will accomplish that before I die.’ But quite often, other people’s goals seem very trivial and frivolous. Many times, we catch ourselves thinking, ‘You call that your purpose in life?’ And I’m sure others would think the same way about us. The truth is that the theory of evolution, if believed, would lead all of us down the path of aimless life.
What other theories are there? Well, there is reincarnation. What else? I guess there are many myths and legends in various ethnic groups and cultures that try to explain their origin. ..But none of these theories and myths provides a meaningful insight into the purpose of life.
Let’s take a closer look at reincarnation, which has quite a following around the world. What is at the heart of this philosophy? It is a belief that souls are reincarnated over and over again in an endless cycle. This can only be true if souls are immortal. Thus, to believe in reincarnation is to believe in the natural immortality of the soul. However, to say that souls have existed for all eternity is to reject the idea of creation. Clearly, there is no need to create something that already exists.
So we have the theory of evolution, the natural immortality of the soul, and creation, to explain our existence. Which of these theories are most plausible from the perspective of genetic biology? Of course, it’s the creation! Why? Because we are made of cells, and within each individual cell are the genetic codes written in letters that cannot exist without being created. What, then, is the purpose of life? Can creation tell us what the meaning of life is all about?
You know, I personally believe that to study the Bible, especially the book of Genesis, is to discover the meaning of life. One of you just said that “to live with God eternally” is the purpose of life. I agree with that statement, because it is technically correct. However, the majority of people would not find the statement to be very persuasive. You see, the only people who have walked with God know what it means to live with Him. Otherwise, the statement rings hollow, devoid of any meaning.
Now let’s talk about the meaning of life. Let us turn to the Scriptures. Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Wow, it’s a beautiful verse. How does it begin? “In the beginning….” – this is the starting point. Where is the starting point with the natural immortality of the soul? There is none. The theory of evolution does not supply us with any clearer insight into our origin. Why the big bang out of the blue? No one knows. “In the beginning…” Only God, the creator, can provide such a definitive beginning.
What did He begin? The work of creation from nothing! “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” This verse contains the real “big bang!” There is an incredible amount of power bottled up in this verse. One minute, there is nothing, and in the next, there are the heavens and the earth. What a powerful beginning! Obviously, there cannot be this kind of beginning without God, the creator. But rather than just focusing on His power, we need to contemplate on His purpose in creation, because knowing why He created us will be necessary to understand the meaning of life.
Why do automakers build automobiles? Why do they build computers? There is a reason and purpose in making these items. The more difficult and complex it is in building a machine, the stronger the reason for building it. There are no machines that are as complex and intricate as human beings. My friends, there must be a compelling reason for our existence.
Generally, simple things exist for simple reasons. For example, a club has a very simple structure. It’s just a piece of stick. The reason why anyone builds a club is to beat someone up, or at least threaten to –
I’m so and glad and thankful that I came to know God. It is only after I met Him that I found the true meaning of my life. Do you know what it was like before I found Him? Well, I was like this incredibly well built ship floating on the ocean – literally just floating around. Where was it going? Nowhere. Just floating in the direction of the wind. Going with the fad when that’s blowing strong. Sometimes going with the pride, and other times, with honor and glory. Well, we can’t leave out the greed. Going back and forth, in whichever direction the wind was blowing, with no real sense of purpose.
You know, there are many different types of winds. Some of us have a lot of grievances buried deep in our hearts as a result of hardship and suffering. Thus, to some of us, the wind might blow in the direction of relieving those grievances. To somehow compensate for the suffering we’ve endured becomes the purpose in life. ‘Oh I suffered too much growing up because I was so poor. I’m going to make a ton of money and spend it to my heart’s content!’ This is an example of a totally superficial purpose in life. It’s completely arbitrary and whimsical in nature. You know what? Let’s not even call it a purpose in life, because it really isn’t. It has nothing to do with the fundamental meaning of life. It’s just one of many winds blowing to and fro. They are all blowing in different directions without a meaning or purpose.
Well, what kind of wind was blowing in my life? It was the love of money. I was just sailing on and making money. Making money was so easy! And it felt pretty good. But deep down inside, I knew this couldn’t be the real purpose in life. I knew I couldn’t look back at the end of my life and say that I had a fulfilling life if I had continued to live the way I did. ‘What, then, is my real purpose in life?’ For years, this was a nagging question in the back of my mind.
We were just talking about the creation. Most people believe, at least partly, in evolution and the natural immortality of the soul, but also say “amen” when a preacher talks about how men are created in God’s image. Our thoughts are so muddled and inconsistent. We believe in Creation, but we also believe in other things that are inconsistent with creation. This is the reason why believing in creation is not helping us to clarify the meaning of life. We say we believe in creation but are still confused about our purpose in life. We may have a vague idea that we are to live with God in heaven in the after life. But, how about our life now?
If God really did create us, there must have been a purpose. And we must gain a clearer insight into the purpose of creation if we are to understand the purpose of life. Why? Because God’s purpose for creation is our purpose for existence! If we accept this logic, then our purpose in life should become clear once we gain an insight into His purpose in creation. This is the domino-
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” This verse establishes, for us, the very purpose of life from the beginning to the end. But the verse means nothing to us until we come to understand why He has created us. Herein lies the difficulty that God faces. You see, it isn’t easy for God to make us understand His purpose: He cannot force us to understand His will or to accept it. “No, No! That is not why I created you! You can’t go that way! No, No! Don’t do that!” Someone who respects our freedom to the point of death (the cross of Calvary proves this) would not deal with us in such a manner. This is God’s dilemma. He has to gently reveal His purpose to us without forcing Himself on us.
God gave us the Bible to help us understand His purpose in creation – and thus, our purpose in life. This is the reason the Bible starts with “In the beginning…” This is the reason the very first verse of the Bible had to be, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
I have one daughter, you know. I’ve always believed that it wouldn’t make a difference to me whether my child was a boy or a girl. ‘A son would be nice for my third, but another daughter would be just as well,’ I used to think. But when my child came out, I screamed, “It’s a girl!!” without even realizing it. I was so happy! That was November 6th, 1998. It still makes me happy just to think about it.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Does this verse really come home to your heart now? This was the happiest moment for God. “I have created you in the beginning.” This was the moment we “came out” to the world, sort to speak. Wow! What a happy moment it must have been for God!
Now, let’s try to understand why God created us. What does the Bible say? Is it in the Bible? Can you find it? Well, after a long search, I did manage to find a verse in the Bible pertaining to this issue. It’s Genesis 2:18. “And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone.’” What does this verse mean? Why would God care if man should be alone? It’s because God knew what it meant to be alone. He had been there. And He’d much prefer to be with other beings that He could commune with. Adam was created in God’s image, to be like Him. Of course, God knew that Adam wouldn’t want to be alone!
But actually, there are some people who don’t mind being alone. Some even enjoy it. They scream out, “Leave me alone!” In fact, all of us probably have felt this way at some point in our lives. When do we feel this way? Generally, it’s when we are feeling critical, angry, or hateful. We won’t enjoy others’ company when we are feeling this way.
Well, when do we want to be with someone? When is this desire the strongest? When we are in love, of course! Being left alone is a miserable experience when we are in love. We’d always want to be with that special person to give and to receive love. It is impossible to experience this love when we are alone. When we are in love, we’d never want to be alone!
God is love. He is not just “loving,” He is the embodiment of love itself! He can never enjoy being alone! It is not good for “Love” to be by Himself. This is why He created –
Genesis 2:18. “And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone.’” I used to just read through it without giving it too much thought. But love makes everything more meaningful, including this verse.
Now, we are all here together: The families, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ. We are eating, laughing, and just enjoying each other’s company. This is absolutely wonderful! It makes me wonder, ‘what if I didn’t have my loving wife?’ My family? My friends? What, then, would my life have been like? None of us are perfect. But just being together with our loved ones, and caring for each other despite our shortcomings –
The first time I was in Canada, my friends dropped me off at Lake Louis, and they all left. I guess the idea was for me to enjoy the beautiful scenery by myself since I had the free time. It’s supposed to be one of the most beautiful places in Canada. But you know what? I didn’t like it! It really was a very nice place, I’m sure. But I did not enjoy being there all by myself. No matter how beautiful the place might have been, I could not appreciate it. When there was no one to share my thoughts and feelings, the beauty lost its meaning. I cannot even begin to imagine what my life would have been like without my loved ones!
God is love. God is at His happiest when He is giving His love to others. This is why He created us. He created us as the objects of His love, in order to pour out His love on us. He is happiest when He is with His loved ones!
You know, a true purpose is closely linked with happiness. Fulfilling the true purpose should make us happy, even if there is no other benefit that can be derived from accomplishing it. Let me explain. Let’s say that I set a goal for myself. I actually hate doing it, but I know that others would be very impressed if I could accomplish this goal. So I’m forcing myself to do something that I hate in order to impress others. The joy comes from impressing others, not from the goal itself. Thus, this goal is a source of stress for me. I’m putting up with the stress in order to impress others. You see, this can’t be a worthy goal. It’s only giving me stress. A true purpose is different. It’s something you’d enjoy accomplishing for its own sake, even if it means overcoming hardships and suffering in the process.
Well, the creation came with its own hardship and suffering. Yes, God is Almighty, but even God could not circumvent this difficulty. God decided to create us in order to pour out His love on us. But there was a potential side effect to this endeavor. Love cannot force itself to be accepted. God would not and could not force His creatures to accept His love. Yet, we are created to be happy and healthy when we receive His love. Now, here is the problem. What if we don’t want to receive His love? Because God cannot give it to us forcibly, there is going to be a big problem. Why, then, did He still choose to create beings that can reject His love? It’s because love is meaningless without the freedom to reject it.
Let’s say that a man is married to a woman. She’s trained to say “yes” to him all the time. That’s how she grew up. From her childhood she was programmed by her parents to say “yes” no matter what. In fact, that’s how her Mom lived her life. Well, there many Korean women who grew up this way. Anyway, she gets married, and begins her life of “yes” with her husband. Her husband says do this. “Yes.” Do that. “Yes.” “Yes, yes” no matter what. She cannot say “no.” Now, how meaningful is her “yes” when her husband knows that she is programmed to just say it? Only when she gains the complete freedom and confidence to say “no,” does her “yes” become meaningful. Real love and happiness can only be found in knowing that you can always say “no” but choosing, instead, to say “yes.” For this reason God created us with the freedom to say “no” to Him.
Consequently, God had to meet the following conditions for His creation.
1) Because His purpose in creation was to pour out His love on us, we were created to live by receiving that love, without which we cannot survive.
2) And yet, we must posses the freedom to reject that love.
These two conditions are at odds with one another. What if we ended up rejecting His love? We would die, because we need His love in order to survive. And yet, He must allow us to reject His love in order to ensure our freedom. This was very difficult problem that God had to resolve before deciding to create us. God solved the problem by deciding to sacrifice His only begotten Son if we’d choose to sin. This is why Jesus is called “the lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
But what is sin? Isn’t it the claim by the creatures that they can live apart from God? “I have nothing to do with You. I have evolved from ameba.” Or, “ My soul has existed for all eternity. It has nothing to do with Your creation.” “ I really don’t need You. I can live without You.” What are we talking about here? The separation from God! Yes, the essence of sin is our being separated from God. This was the potential side effect of creation: Certain creatures would choose to alienate themselves from God and His love. But to reject His love and to be separated from Him is to die. This causes the reversal of God’s creation, canceling out His purpose of creation for the sinner. This reversal process brings the sinner back to the state before the creation ever began.
Therefore, we creatures have only two options.
1) Receive His love and live.
2) Reject His love and go back to the state of pre-
There are no other options. But Satan tries to deceive us into thinking that there is a third option. He says, “You shall not surely die.” The deceiver says that we can live in sin, in the state of separation from Him and His love. My friends, don’t let him deceive you! We need Him always. We need His love continually. We cannot live otherwise!
Now let’s talk about this in the context of our purpose in life. God created us so that He can pour out His love on us. Why? Because that’s what makes Him happy! He is at His happiest when He is giving us His love. He created us so that He can experience this supreme happiness!
Now, what would God want from us, then? Of course, He would want us to be happy. But how? Well, the same way He is happy – by giving His love to others. This is the only way to experience the true happiness, the very happiness of God. By experience, God knows that the greatest happiness stems from giving love to others. This happiness comes from the very act of giving itself, and not from whether or not anything is being returned. This is not the worldly happiness that comes from making lots of money, having a successful career, or having our egos stroked. We are to be happy as we give love to one another. This is our purpose in life!
This is why Jesus commanded, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, as I have loved you.” He didn’t pull this commandment out of His hat because it sounded nice. This commandment came about as a direct result of creation. Thus, to understand God’s love is to understand creation. Knowing creation unravels all the confusion about the meaning of life.
You know, I’ve been thinking a lot about creation lately. I knew I was going to give series of lectures on Genesis. And so I meditated upon this topic for a while. “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the earth.” It’s such a powerful verse, and yet it never meant anything to me before. Then all of a sudden, it just came to me! I realized that this verse contains everything there is to know about life and its purpose.
If God created me and He is love, then He must have created me to be happy like Him! He must have had one simple wish for me. That is, “Kostas, be happy as I am happy.” In other words, “love one another as I have loved you.” Actually, He said something else that also means the same. Luke 6:35, 36 “ But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Highest. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.” “Therefore, be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”
We know that the purpose of life is to love as God loves and thus be happy as He is. Now we need to know what it means to love like He does. You see our human love is different from God’s. We hate our enemies, and love those that love us. But we need to experience His kind of love if we are to get a glimpse of what the meaning of life is all about. What are our feelings toward those who are ungrateful? “You ingrate! I’ll never show you kindness again! Not ever!” If this is our attitude, we’ll never know what the true meaning of life is. Even if we have fully comprehended all the things I talked about today at an intellectual level, and are even able to teach others, we still would not really know what it means to live a purposeful life unless we have experienced this kind of love. It is only when, by the grace of God, we learn to love the unlovable person (who shows nothing but contempt for our kindness) that we begin to “know” the meaning of life. “Aha…so this is what it really means to love. This is what life is all about…”
Therefore, we should not take the words of Jesus as some dictatorial command. “You must love your enemy!” No, as our creator, He is just telling us how to be happy. For this was the purpose of His creation and thus the purpose of our life.
Luke 6:35 “…your reward will be great.”
So what is the reward? Happiness, of course! “Wow! This is the way to live! What joy it brings to be able to forgive and love your enemy!” Experiencing God’s purpose for our life, is the reward.
By experience I have learned that this kind of love makes me happier than all the money I have made and all the fame I have gained in the past. Yet, knowing all this, I still have to struggle against seeking the thrill of receiving man’s applause. Being in the lecture circuit, I am constantly tempted to find happiness in my fame and the adulation of my audience. This should not be the case. But it is. We are all tempted to replace the true happiness with something else. Don’t say it’s not a big deal. It is! Our eternal life depends on it! We must engage in a hand-
The problem is, we cannot overcome in our own strength. How can we forgive and love our enemy? This requires a change in the synapse of our brain. Our brain needs to be rewired, sort to speak.
My friend swindled me out of lots of money. It wasn’t just the loss of money that made me angry: He betrayed my trust and took advantage of our friendship. Any thought of him filled my heart with anger and hatred. A synapse in my brain would cause a negative chain reaction in my body when I thought of him: releasing stress hormones, making my heartbeat faster, discharging free radicals, and clenching my teeth. All these reactions weaken my immune system considerably. It literally shortens my life. But you know what? I couldn’t stop it! Every time his name was mentioned, the chain reaction would start! There was no way for me to get rid of the synapse in my brain that was responsible for this. The power to change the synapse, the power to rearrange my genetic code, the very power to completely change my heart did not reside within me. It took the power of God, His power of creation. He had to give me a new heart to forgive my friend. God had to create a brand new synapse in my brain that would make me happy when I thought about my friend. What a wonderful gift it was!
When you receive and experience such a wonderful power of God, you begin to understand that this kind of experience is far more precious than the whole money of the world. You know, forgiving my friend has brought me far greater happiness than the money which he has taken from me, ever did. It is very difficult to make the decision to forgive the unforgivable. We must wrestle with God all night for His power and strength, if need be. But it’ll be well worth the struggle. But if we just say to ourselves, “Well that’s the biblical ideal, but the reality is different…” then we are throwing away the most precious gift from God, His love, His happiness, and the very essence of His life.
Dear friends, make the decision to experience this kind of mercy just once. It gets easier and easier. Why? Because the incredible happiness that we’d experienced would reinforce itself in us. We instinctively pursue happiness. If we have never tasted this kind of happiness before, then the only happiness we know of are the false ones. We get a temporary fix when we lash out at someone. When we put the “jerks” in their place, there is a sense of relief. If this is the only kind of happiness we’re accustomed to, we’ll naturally pursue it. Hatred and revenge would become our primary purpose in life. What an empty and meaningless life it would be!
My friends, we have a special purpose for being here in this sinful world. We are here to live out the biblical principle. Do you know what it really means to study bible? A true bible study entails learning how to love our enemies. It is not just a study of some fancy theology. It’s learning to be as happy as God. It’s learning the very purpose of creation through experience. We must “taste” the truth, by personally experiencing what it means. Otherwise, it would be of no benefit to us. It would just be a meaningless theory that sounds nice.
Now, we are the only beings in the universe that have the opportunity to follow Him all the way, to be merciful even as our Father in heaven is merciful. Why? Because the earth is the only place in the universe that’s full of “enemies” to love. You see, there are no enemies in Heaven. There are no ingrates in heaven in need of mercy. Being Adam’s descendents, and living in this fallen world, we have every opportunity to learn and experience God’s love and mercy. We have the privilege to go way beyond the mere intellectual knowledge of His love. We can taste and feel it first hand! We have the privilege of sharing it with one another! This is our special purpose in life here on earth.
In this sense, our purpose in life is of higher level compare to those of the unfallen worlds. To be able to love our enemy and experience the supreme happiness of God Himself, is a privilege that the unfallen beings are not privy to. They are all nice and kind to each other. They simply don’t have any enemies to love. My dear friends, we ought to be thankful that we have enemies in our lives. Despite the existence of Satan and his efforts to ruin our lives, we can always be thankful when we are focused on our high calling.
The book of Revelation gives us further insight on our purpose for being here. Rev 22:4 “They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.” What does it mean to have His name on their foreheads? John is talking about the character of Jesus. It means that His character will be ingrained in us, coded into our genes. And we will be merciful as God is merciful.
Rev 22:5 “And there shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.” I did not quite understand the part about “reigning” forever. Jesus is the King! Why, then, would we be “reigning?” And if everyone is “reigning,” then, who are the subjects of this kingdom? The confusion came from the misunderstanding of the word “reign.” In heaven, kings don’t “reign” the way they do here on earth. In heaven, to be the least is to be the greatest. The kings in heaven minister unto others as their servants.
You see, we, the human beings, know what it means to love our enemy the way Jesus did. We have experienced that God-
All of us here on earth are born with high destiny of becoming kings in the new heaven and earth. Wow, What a high calling!
I’m so happy to have found this wonderful meaning of life through the study of Genesis. In fact, this theme unites the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation in a single thread.
I’ve put in a lot of effort in preparing for this lecture. I just hope that you’ll find this lecture helpful in finding the true meaning for your life.
Four out of five heart attacks may be prevented with healthy behaviors
CONTACT: Rachel Cagan, firstname.lastname@example.org 202-
September 22, 2014
Following a healthy lifestyle, including maintaining a healthy weight and diet, exercise, not smoking and moderating alcohol intake, could prevent four out of five coronary events in men, according to a new study publishing today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
While mortality from heart disease has declined in recent decades, with much of the reduction attributed to medical therapies, the authors said prevention through a healthy lifestyle avoids potential side effects of medication and is more cost effective for population-
For the study, researchers examined a population of 20,721 healthy Swedish men aged 45-
The researchers found a clear reduction in risk for heart attack for each individual lifestyle factor the participants practiced. For instance having a low-
Men who combined the low-
“It is not surprising that healthy lifestyle choices would lead to a reduction in heart attacks,” said Agneta Akesson, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, and lead author of the study. “What is surprising is how drastically the risk dropped due to these factors.”
According to the authors, less than 2 percent of the American population conforms to what is defined as ideal cardiovascular health. The burden of cardiovascular disease could be significantly reduced through programs targeted to men and promoting low-
“It is important to note that these lifestyle behaviors are modifiable, and changing from high-
The American College of Cardiology is a 47,000-
The Journal of the American College of Cardiology, which publishes peer-
Dr. Mouroutis Konstantinos
Why should we rest?
Our bodies are made up of billions of cells. In order to stay healthy, our cells must perform their normal functions. When genes within our cells mutate, cells become dysfunctional, leading to disease. The programs encoded into genes determine the function of a cell. Genes are collections of DNA composed of four nucleotide bases: Adenine (A), Cytosine (C), Guanine (G), and Thymine (T). These four bases make up the molecular alphabet and assemble in specific sequences to form a double helix DNA molecule. It is the sequence of these bases that determines the characteristics of the cell. Therefore, the meaning of a gene changes when the base sequence is altered, in the same way that the meaning of a word changes when the letter sequence changes, e.g. GOD vs. DOG. Every gene has an inherent meaning, which is determined by the base sequence programmed by God with a specific purpose. All living organisms have genes and are a product of the Creator. God wrote His program into each gene as a way to express His promise of life and health. David, author of the Book of Psalms, and Ellen G. White alluded to the existence of genes in their books. We are not merely physical masses produced by God. We are the result of genes that have been created by God to contain His written meaning and His promise of life.
“Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” Psalm 139:16
“God is truly the author of the physical law as He is the author of the moral law. His law is written with His own finger upon every nerve, every muscle, every faculty, which has been entrusted to man.” Christ’s Object Lessons (pp. 347)
Disease is a pathological condition in which cells have been transformed as a result of an alteration in the base sequence of their genes. Recovery from disease is only possible when the base sequence is restored back to normal.
Emotional stress, fatigue, or over-
We have now learned the need for rest to maintain our health. If God created our genes knowing our weaknesses, He would have made specific genes responsible for regulating our cells to rest. Scientists have indeed discovered genes that do just that. The most well known is a gene called P53 that has been mapped to chromosome 17. This gene, called a tumor suppressor gene, is responsible for the production of a protein that suppresses tumor formation. Another main function of the tumor suppressor gene is to allow cells to rest on a rhythmic cycle. The P53 gene can be thought of as the “rest gene”, and its product the “rest protein”, because it causes cells to rest. Periodic rest is important to prevent cells from dividing in an unregulated manner. When P53 genes mutate and no longer produce the “rest protein”, cells become cancerous and begin dividing uncontrollably to form tumors. God programmed specific functions into the sequence of nucleotide bases of the P53 genes DNA, so that cells can go through resting periods.
P53 genes not only regulate cells to undergo a rest cycle, they also stimulate other genes to produce special proteins that repair mutated genes. When cells contain genes that are damaged beyond repair, P53 genes regulate those cells to undergo “programmed cell death”, or apoptosis.
P53 genes are evidence of God’s loving promise to us. By His grace, we have an inherent capacity to repair and heal our own cells through functions programmed into our DNA by God. Scientists have been able to read the program that was written in the form of base sequences of DNA. Through God’s promise, we see that He tells us “I will make your cells rest and repair themselves so that you may be saved from all diseases”. God’s blessing is the catalyst that induces P53 genes to produce the “rest protein”, which then activates three other genes to produce proteins that repair damaged genes. It is God’s wisdom that has made this process possible, for God had known our needs and our weaknesses even before we were created. Scientists have discovered that cancer cells have P53 genes that are damaged to the point of not functioning properly, or in some cases, P53 genes do not exist at all. Without the tumor suppressing function of P53 genes, “rest proteins” are not produced and cells no longer go through a rest cycle but continue to divide uncontrollably, forming tumors. The DNA programs in tumor suppressor genes clearly reflect God’s loving promise to us. It’s as if they are saying “I will prevent you from getting cancer” or “I will heal your cancer”. Our role is to trust entirely in the promise that is written in our DNA. God will then implement the promise through His blessing on the Sabbath, the day of rest. Indeed, proper rest is essential for maintaining our health.
Interestingly, scientific research has shown that when cancer cells are cultured together with normal cells under ideal conditions with proper rest and nutrition, the cancer cells are restored back to normal. This finding suggests that cancer cells can benefit from tumor suppressor proteins produced by normal cells, allowing the cancer cells to go through proper rest cycles and eventually restore their P53 genes. The truth lies in the power of God’s blessing that activates genes to produce tumor suppressor proteins. The importance of these proteins illustrates the significance of rest in healing our body and soul.
The various processes of gene repair, cell replication, and rest cycles, occur in perfect coordination amongst different genes at an unconscious, molecular level. The immensely complex mechanisms of genes are beyond our comprehension. God’s wisdom and His infinite power are the only way that these phenomena are possible.
We can only deal with our lives on a conscious level using our perception and cognition. The many unconscious processes that take place in our body are beyond our voluntary control. Studies have shown that only about 5% of our brain activity correlates with conscious processes, while the remaining 95% occurs at an unconscious level. Gene activities, which are essential for the maintenance of life, happen unconsciously in our bodies because of God’s vital energy in our cells. When we are overcome by emotions like anxiety, anger, hatred, or fear, we are more likely to be influenced by Satan and turn away from the loving God who is constantly at work for us in our unconsciousness. Under such conditions, we cannot take part in the meaningful rest that is necessary for God’s effort to heal our wounded cells.
Rest is not simply taking a break from work. Rest requires total trust in God and giving ourselves up to His power, so He may work on us in our (95%) unconscious level while we enjoy resting in the (5%) conscious level. This is the true meaning of rest for us sinners. Repair and re-
Why does the Creator determine the day of rest?
God, the Creator, provided us with the necessary means to sustain our lives through the blessing in our genes allowing for healthy propagation. Yet, God knew that we humans would continually sin and damage our genes. The Creator’s blessing written into our DNA is His promise of life. God gave us the Sabbath, the seventh day, which is filled with the creative power of His love. He instructed us to rest on the Sabbath so that He may heal our genes. When we follow His command to rest and truly receive His blessing, our genes are activated to produce “rest proteins” that are necessary for cells to rest and repair themselves.
• God, the one and only Creator, can create and re-
• Genes exist because God created them
• Only God can give us the blessing, the power of love, creation, and life
• His blessing is the only power that can activate genes to sustain life
• His blessing is the only power that can repair and restore genes
• Therefore, only God can give the covenant of Sabbath, the promise of life
God created genes and wrote his promise of healing and redemption in the base sequences of our DNA. God gave us the Sabbath as a sign of His promise and love. Our genes are constantly damaged by our sins, and we need His blessing to heal and restore them to His likeness. God’s call for us to remember the Sabbath and rest shows us His desire to heal and restore our genes. God’s covenant of rest is an expression of His natural love and promise of life to all of us. The Sabbath, the fourth commandment and God’s promise to us, is the only covenant with the Creator’s seal.
“The fourth commandment alone of all the ten contains the seal of the great Lawgiver, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. Those who obey this commandment take upon themselves His name, and all the blessings it involves are theirs.” (Testimonies for the Church, Volume 6, pp. 350)
Human beings cannot designate the day of rest. Only God can, because it is He who possesses the power to bless and heal our genes.
Rest Cycles and Biological Rhythms
As we cycle the cultivation of land to optimize the yield in agriculture, so too should we have cycles of rest to optimize our health.
All biological organisms function on certain biological rhythms. Human and animal cells carry out functions such as production of hormones and other essential substances required for cell growth. These functions occur in biological rhythms that are set in our genes by God. For example, cortisol production by the adrenal glands is regulated to peak in the morning and decrease in the afternoon. Another rhythm is the 28-
Of all the rhythms, the rest cycle is the most important one. There are basically two kinds of rest cycles. One is the 24-
The other kind of rest cycle is the seven-
Why can’t humans change the day of rest?
God’s blessing is the only power that can heal damaged genes and re-
The Almighty God knew all the potential weaknesses in humans before He even created us. That is why God gave us the fourth commandment, His promise to repair our damaged genes and re-
This day, the Sabbath, has been designated and blessed by God and cannot be arbitrarily replaced with another day of the week for convenience. To do so is to sin, by rejecting God’s gift and His promise to heal, re-
Peace and Rest Come with Understanding the Truth
Moses, who understood God’s messages, described the meaning of blessing as “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas and let birds multiply on the earth”(Genesis 1:22). It is interesting to note that in the five Books written by Moses, including Genesis, the blessing is defined as a gift from the Creator and the power of life that allows us to “be fruitful and multiply”. God’s blessing is given to all living creatures on this planet, including animals. His blessing is not found in the worldly successes valued by our society, such as material wealth or prestige. His blessing is expressed as vital energy necessary for cells to replicate and maintain good health. It is the Creator’s energy that keeps our cells working every moment of our lives.
Who did God bless first according to the Bible scripture? Surprisingly, Genesis 1:21-
God’s command to “Be fruitful and multiply” is essentially the same as His promise to give us His love, the power of life. Evidence of this love has even been observed in scientific experiments. One study showed that when a mouse gives birth to baby mice, the mother constantly licks the newborn mice. The licking by the mother is not just an inherent behavior, but is also a stimulating act of expressing love for her babies. However, this loving stimulation also activates genes in the baby mice to produce growth hormones. Similarly, an experiment conducted at an American hospital showed that babies born prematurely grow faster and healthier when caring nurses regularly caress and tenderly nurture the babies. These experiments show that the energy of love has the power to stimulate genes to produce growth hormones required for cells to grow and replicate, i.e. to “be fruitful and multiply”. Genes are responsible for cell growth and healing of damaged or diseased cells. For cells to grow, genes must first be stimulated to replicate, and this does not occur alone. Genes need external energy in order to replicate, and this energy is the power of love and creation expressed in the blessing from God. Genes are basically a collection of chemical substance called DNA, which cannot activate itself unless powered by an external energy. Love is clearly a force that can activate genes to trigger replication of cells. So, God’s command to “Be fruitful and multiply” is an expression of His promise to make our cells grow and replicate so that we may be healthy and propagate. Genes responsible for cell growth and replication are embedded in our cells, as are genes responsible for healing damaged cells. Scriptures throughout the Bible attest to God’s blessing promoting replication of cells, biological growth, and propagation of the human race.
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then Gold blessed them and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it…” Genesis 1:27-
“So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.” Genesis. 9:1
“And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.” (Sarah, Abraham’s wife who was infertile became fertile after receiving God’s blessing) Genesis 17:16
“And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly.” Genesis 17:20
“In blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven.” Genesis 22:17
“I will bless you and multiply your descendants.” Genesis 26:24
Clearly, God’s blessing is directly linked to activation of genes resulting in cell replication, which is necessary for biological growth and population increase. God’s blessing encompasses all life on this planet as evidenced in Deuteronomy 7:13-
“And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock, in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you. You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be a male or female barren among you or among your livestock.” Deuteronomy 7:13-
In the above scriptures it is evident that the blessing carries the creative power to activate genes, replicate cells, and propagate all living organisms, including animals and plants.
Why should the day of rest be on Sabbath?
God wants to reveal His power of re-
As a result of Satan’s influence, work takes priority over rest in many people’s lives. However, rest must come first according to our biological rhythms. When Adam and Eve were created, their first day was the Sabbath, the day of rest. After resting, they carried out their duties of tending the earth. In the Book of Genesis, Chapter 1, the birth of the universe occurred at night, the time of rest, and afterwards God created light to indicate that it was time for Him to commence work. God created us in such a way that we must first rest in order to receive His blessing and restore our genes, prior to commencing work. In the modern world however, we have been influenced by Satan’s forces to believe that we are capable of working without rest or without God’s blessing. Satan’s intent is to destroy the relationship between the Creator and the sinners who depend on the Creator’s blessing. In the end, Satan’s power creates ideologies such as dualism and immortality of the soul, which confuse people in their beliefs on creationism, driving them into the state of Babylon.
Rest is not merely breaking from work. Rest is an active process in which we are doing more with God’s help, because God can do more for us while we are in a resting state. The majority of our body’s functions occur unconsciously, and our genes are most active when we are in rest. To rest means to rely entirely upon God’s power. This is the true meaning of rest for sinners. When we take rest in God, we experience His power of re-
Rest and Fatigue
The concept of rest has been distorted by sin. Fatigue is the product of sin, and we rest to relieve fatigue. God’s rest on the seventh day took place before sin was introduced. His was a different rest than what we understand, because without sin there is no fatigue.
Resting on the Sabbath is not intended to relieve fatigue, but rather to experience God’s re-
Sabbath, the Sign of God’s Righteousness
If the blessing is the power of life that only God can give, the Sabbath must be crucial to restoration of our genes and our health. The Bible scriptures state that the blessing was not just given to certain individuals. Sabbath was bestowed on the seventh day, which is universal to all living creatures. Therefore the day, and its blessing, will come to every person without discrimination. We do not have to make a special effort to receive His blessing; all we need to do is trust and receive it with an open heart. Only God Himself can bless this day. That is why the Sabbath is “a sign between the Creator and all of us” Exodus 31:13, 17. Ezekiel 20: 12, 20.
Indeed, through our faith, the Sabbath is a sign of God’s righteousness. God is asking us to remember the day representing His sign. He is asking us to remember the blood shed by His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Asking us to remember is a reflection of His love for His children. The sign is not meant as a prerequisite for redemption, but an expression of His love for us. The sign from God is based on His unconditional love. Faith is based on the concept of a mutual relationship. A relationship based on love is different from a relationship based on having certain prerequisites or qualifications. The sign indicates God’s righteousness resulting from our trusting and loving relationship with Him. The sign is God’s unconditional promise, not a prerequisite.
Let us all receive God’s promise of love, for which He sacrificed His life. We can only receive it through our faith in Him. How can we develop our faith? Look through the cross where Jesus was crucified, He will help you develop your faith. Receive Him, and open your heart to His love. Let us put aside our misconceptions and selfishness, and pursue a truly meaningful relationship with God. Let us work together to restore God’s covenant in our lives, and experience the benefit of His blessing which promises meaningful rest and re-
God created humans and animals because He wanted to share His love. He then gave the Sabbath filled with His blessing to all humans and animals. Why would God have asked them to remember the Sabbath? First of all, God’s blessing represents His love. Secondly, animals and humans need rest in order to receive God’s blessing and restore their genes, so that they may work to feed themselves and survive. It is critical to embrace the Sabbath to establish a proper relationship with the Creator who so eagerly wants to serve our needs.
“Hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.” Ezekiel 20:20
When we receive and experience the Sabbath’s blessing, we come to understand that the Creator is indeed our Lord. The Creator gave us the blessing, the power of love and life, on the special day that only He can designate. All we have to do is receive the blessing of the Sabbath and enjoy the power of life that will repair our genes and restore our health. By receiving the blessing, we are acknowledging the Creator’s love for us. The Sabbath is a day to remind us of the special relationship between God and sinners, a day that we may experience His power to restore our cells and remember that our existence depends totally on His grace. When we take rest on Saturday, the day of Sabbath, the benefit of His blessing, the energy of His healing spark, becomes most effective in repairing our DNA. We can also become a little closer to being sanctified, as He intended. Experiencing the Sabbath allows us to understand both from the heart as well as from a biological perspective that Jehovah is our God, the Creator. In the Book of Mark, Chapter 5, there is a story of a woman who suffered from hemophilia for 12 years. She was then healed and sanctified by touching Jesus’ garment and sensing the power of the Creator. “Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction.” Mark 5:29
God bestowed so much blessing onto the Sabbath that it became an everlasting sign between the Creator and all those He created. While Jesus was ministering on the earth, most of His healing was done on the Sabbath day. Let us all join His ministry by following His sign, the message of Sabbath, and become the remnants of God’s people.
Satan’s Plan to Separate Nature from God
God makes plants grow through nature. He sends rain, light, and dew to the earth so that plants may propagate and cover the earth, and trees may bear flowers and fruits. Germination of plant seeds is not under the control of nature’s own rules. God controls nature to create what we see around us. When seeds germinate, leaves sprout, and flowers bloom, we see the power of God’s providence.
Our body organs are also under God’s constant care, and cannot work independently like a clock running on a mechanical spring. Every physiological process down to our breathing and heartbeat becomes possible through God’s continuous control.
When people discuss laws of nature or natural phenomena, they forget about God’s role. They think that nature occurs independent of God’s work. They believe that nature evolves and follow its course without influence from a higher entity. According to their views, there are two mutually exclusive forms of existence: the natural and the supernatural. The natural exists without influence from God, and the power to sustain life on earth originates from the laws of nature itself. Nature is seen as an entity of its own, and God has no control over it.
This explanation is based on false science. In Bible scriptures, there is no evidence to support the theory of nature. God would never do away with His law. God creates and regulates nature according to His law. God’s law of nature does not follow nature’s own initiative. Nature exists in accordance with God’s command. Nature represents God’s power of creation, His wisdom to nurture and care for, and His love for what he created. The yearly harvest of crops and the precise rotation of the Earth on its axis to produce day and night are not the result of nature’s own power. God’s infinite power carefully controls the nature of the universe.
It is unfortunate that even Christian scientists hesitate to acknowledge the power of God that influences every moment of our lives. Scientists believe that the process of cell division and restoration is the result of programmed mechanisms in our genes that interact with the
Consuming a diet rich in animal protein leads to premature death , compared with people who eat less , according to a new study analyzing data from 6,381 U.S. adults aged 50 years and older. Participants who ate the most animal protein had a 5 times increase risk of death associated with diabetes . Those under 65 who ate the most animal protein had a 74 percent risk increase for death from any cause and a 4-
Levine ME, Suarez JA, Brandhorst S, et al. Low protein intake is associated with a major reduction in IGF-
Animal Protein May Lead to Diabetes
People who eat the most animal protein are more likely to develop diabetes, according to a new study published by the American Diabetes Association.
Researchers looked at participants who were part of the EPIC study and found that those who consumed the most animal protein were 22 percent more likely to develop diabetes, compared with those who ate the least. For every additional 10 grams of protein people ate, the risk for developing diabetes went up by 6 percent.
Other studies have also found risks associated with animal protein; read more here.
Van Nielen M, Feskens EJM, Mensink M, et al. Dietary protein intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes in Europe: the EPIC-
An overview of the subject
It is truly a great privilege, to be given the opportunity for us to meet in a setting like this, not in that dry and confined –albeit necessary-
I must tell you that whatever you red from this moment on, is nothing more than my own personal experience; it is nothing more than those things which, during moments that are either a long way away from today or are more recent, have tortured my soul. They are things that comprise the end of a spiritual search; things that I can confirm, with the seal of an absolute, inner reassurance, with the seal that they have been confirmed through experience and through decades of observation after my return to our Lord Jesus Christ. And, it is my belief that the choice of subject, regarding the Crucifixion and the Resurrection of our Christ, is opportune, not only because we are presently in that time of the year whereby our Church has allocated –for the souls of all Christians-
Because, if the Crucifixion and the Resurrection of Christ are true facts, then everything that we used to believe in, everything that we had become attached to, everything that we had pursued – which stood foreign and opposite to Christ and His Gospel –
Ιf the Resurrection of Christ did take place, then, Christ must surely be “the God”; Then, everything that Christ had uttered, everything that the Gospels had recorded, are all true, and we must –consequently-
The arguments that are raised (in order to doubt the Resurrection of Christ) can be classified, in three major categories:
– The first category is, that the Lord DID NOT die on the Cross and consequently, since He did not die, He was not resurrected either.
– The second category of arguments against the Resurrection is the doubting of Christ’s appearances, which are clearly specified in the Gospels as having occurred, after the Resurrection.
– The third category focuses on the fact that His Tomb was found empty.
That Christ died while on the Cross is naturally an issue that is undeniably connected to the science of Medicine, because that is the science which examines nature, and the consequences of all corporal injuries; it furthermore examines all of the manifestations that are associated with the gradual collapse of vital bodily functions and, science can furthermore determine whether the conditions for the survival of an organism have been exhausted, thus resulting in death. It is therefore worthwhile for us to note that this doubting (i.e., that Christ DID NOT physically die on the Cross) had never arisen among that generation of people who had lived at the time of Christ’s Crucifixion, nor had any doubts surfaced during the era of persecutions or the era of the major heresies (which had even doubted the very Godhood of Christ, as well as His Resurrection); these doubts first appeared, only during the 17th century.
This is very characteristic, because, quite simply, it was only during that century, when both the people who had personally witnessed the Crucifixion were now eclipsed a long time ago, as were those people who were just recipients of vivid descriptions of the Crucifixion, that were verbally handed down to them through the years. If there were such eyewitnesses around today (and fortunately there aren’t any) who had witnessed the Crucifixion personally, then such doubts would never have been raised (as we shall examine, further along), with claims of a “logical balancing”.
Was it a case of apparent death, on the Cross?
Most assuredly, this question of whether Christ actually died on the Cross is linked to the way in which a person dies, when crucified. A common perception is that death on the cross is a result of the excruciating pain, along with the hemorrhaging caused by the nails that pierce the hands and the feet of the person being crucified. As we shall soon see, these are merely the secondary –albeit excruciating, as we shall explain-
The death on the Cross –Christ’s death on the Cross-
So, what was this flogging instrument like? It is quite possible, that we have imagined it to be an ordinary kind of whip. Well, it was no such thing. The one who was to be flogged was tied to a post, then the special executioner who performed the flogging would take up a very heavy whip (scourge), which had a large number of straps tied to its end, each one of them with lead pellets or small bone fragments –like lamb knuckles-
And now, it was on this bloody, shredded and mutilated back, that our Lord Jesus Christ was forced to carry His Cross, which was made out of a very heavy piece of wood : one that could bear the weight of a man without buckling. We of course know –and it was to be expected-
To all the above, let us now include the thorns that the “crown” had, which had pierced His head in numerous places. And all those who have had any experience of Hospital emergency wards, should be very familiar with the particular tendency that scalp wounds have, to bleed excessively. This bleeding, exhausted body was then nailed onto a Cross…..
Now let us examine the matter of the limbs that were nailed onto the Cross. Tradition and a common perception have given us the impression that the nails were nailed through Christ’s palms.
However, following the experiments that the French surgeon Barbet had performed on cadavers, he noticed that a nail passed through the bones of a palm can in no way support the weight of the whole human body, even if that body is supported by a nail passed through both feet. Under the sheer weight of the body, the nails in the palms would have ripped the flesh on the inside and the outside of the palm, through and through, between the fingers, and the crucified body would have fallen forward, head first, supported only by the nails that were hammered into the feet. That same surgeon proved that the only point on a human arm that is able to support the body weight with a nail pierced through it, was the wrist; After performing repeated tests, he showed that no matter where the nail pierces the wrist, it will inevitably slide along the bones and the ligaments, to a point known to doctors as the “place of Destot”, which lies between two carpal bones in the wrist. What is noteworthy here, is that after a series of 12 experiments performed by this surgeon, he made two observations:
Firstly, that in all 12 hands, no bones were bruised or broken during the piercing of the wrists – which only confirms (from yet another aspect) the words of the Bible that “no bones (of His) shall be broken”.
And secondly, he observed that in the specific area of the wrist that the nail passes through, there is a large nerve there –
It was also discovered, that there is a certain point on the foot which the nail can completely penetrate, and that point is between the second and the third metatarsal bones.
But what we have mentioned so far is only a prelude, only the beginning of the torture of crucifixion, and furthermore, we have not even touched on the cause that brings about death. And this cause, which brings about death, is of great importance for our discussion, i.e., whether the crucified Christ actually died while on the Cross.
In order for us to comprehend the mechanism of death, we need to remember certain details. We have noticed that in certain depictions of the Crucifixion, the two robbers do not appear to be nailed to their crosses; instead, they appear to have their arms strapped to the cross. We have no tradition that supports this detail regarding the two robbers who were crucified along with Christ, but, the fact that they have been portrayed in this manner is more or less indicative of what many historians have mentioned, i.e., that a person can die with his arms pinned down on a cross, not by nails, but by just being tied onto it.
To prove this even more, we need only to look back to a disciplinary punishment that the German army was accustomed to implementing during World War I. This form of punishment was called Aufbinden. It involved tying the person being punished to a stake, in such a way that his feet did not touch the ground. Very soon, that person showed signs of asphyxia. His respiratory movements gradually became more and more difficult and laborious. His blood would become pressurized inside his head, his veins would become swollen, his head would present hyperemia and the person would very quickly lose consciousness; and, if they didn’t cut the rope in time, he would die.
We could also take note of another tragic method recorded in the history of the Dahau prison camp, where the Germans had apparently revived this old form of torture. We find numerous horrifying cases where people had been put to death by this method of Aufbinden. In fact, mention is also made that a small weight was even hung from the victim’s feet, whenever they wanted to shorten the duration of this torture. This detail was provided by prisoners who found themselves next to someone undergoing this torture, and who claimed that when it reached its final stages, it was extremely repulsive to watch. The victim’s face became entirely disfigured, like a hanged person’s; his thorax became distended to an unimaginable degree, his abdominal wall deeply caved in… he would become soaked in his sweat so much, that –according to eyewitnesses-
And we know that exhalation is performed passively by our thorax, without any imposed force; it is the automatic deflation of the thorax which changes shape during inhalation in order to be filled with air, thus allowing the person to renew the air in his lung cells and to oxygenate the blood in his system, so that he can stay alive. When his arms are in a pendant state on the cross, the person is subjected to an immense and immeasurable restriction in his breathing, similar to someone’s chest being confined inside a very tight suit of armor, or, like a very heavy weight being pressed down on it. He will not be able to replenish the air inside him. Thus, we see that death by crucifixion is mainly attributed to asphyxiation. Secondly, because of the immense pressure that is applied to the thorax, it is impossible for the blood that is in the head to descend to the heart. This explains the heavy congestion of blood observed in those who are crucified. If there hadn’t been another relief outlet –
But the crucified victim did have a relief outlet, and that was to support his body weight by pushing his feet against the nails that held them in place. In this way, the thorax could be raised slightly, the body weight would not hang entirely from the hands and the shoulders, the thoracic walls would be relieved enough to allow him to breathe again and the blood to descend from the head, bringing the person back to a state of consciousness. But his exhaustion would not allow him to prolong this muscular feat, i.e., to permanently support his entire weight on the nail that is wedged into his feet. So, in that state of exhaustion, he would fall back into the former sagging position, which would bring about asphyxiation once again, until, after a series of such attempts, he would become totally exhausted and remain in that pendant state, finally dying of asphyxiation.
Crucifixion was indeed a satanically designed means of death, and that is why the Romans –
Cicero, who had witnessed death on the cross, had referred to it as «Cruderissimum et deterimum Supplicium» (the crudest and most abhorrent torture) that he had ever watched. Now, if for any reason the one in charge of the execution team wished to precipitate the moment of death, what did he do? He would give the order for the shin bones of the crucified victim to be broken, and in that way, no longer being able to support his body weight on his feet to give some relief to his thorax so that he can breathe, the victim was forced to hang all of his weight –as we said-
If there are no respiratory movements whatsoever, it is impossible for the person to stay alive for more than 3-
But even at this point, we might still find a stubborn denial in some souls, who persist in doubting. Was this the case here? Well, the Centurion himself was obviously not satisfied with the otherwise persuasive evidence of death, so, he subjected the crucified body of our Lord to the other, classical form of “coup de grace” that the Romans reserved for all those convicted to die – regardless of the means of execution –
This was definitely a mortal blow, when impacted by a trained soldier with all his strength. That Roman soldier had pushed the sharp tip of his spear –which was strong enough to penetrate a body-
And he didn’t merely superficially stab Him with the spear tip; we are told that water and blood immediately gushed from the wound. Now, we won’t go into the profound dogmatic significance of this water and blood, during this lecture. Besides, it is not befitting for me –a doctor, a man of positive sciences-
We must also note that if our Lord were fully alive after that spear-
We should highlight something else now: that after Christ’s death had been ascertained by the Centurion, His body was not taken down from the Cross immediately. Joseph of Arimathea had descended from Calvary hill where he too had witnessed the crucifixion, and had walked back to the Praetorium. He sought out Pilate, found him, and asked for his permission to take down the body of Christ.
We know that Pilate had wondered, whether Christ had finally died……..Strangely, this doubt constitutes a positive piece of evidence, inasmuch as the Centurion (who was now obviously reassured of his conviction that Christ had expired on the Cross) was the one who literally authenticated Christ’s death, not only by leaving Christ hanging on the Cross, but also by officially reporting Christ’s death to Pilate.
After this reassurance, we then have a third time lapse: the first one, was the time taken for Joseph to go to Pilate; the second one, was the time taken by Pilate’s messenger to find the Centurion, and the Centurion to go to Pilate to confirm the death, then the third time lapse, when Joseph of Arimathea walked back up to the crucifixion site, bringing with him the clean shroud. It was after this overall time lapse, that Jesus’ body was taken down from the Cross – which was plenty of time for all the mechanisms of death to set in, and, even if these mechanisms –for some logically impossible and absolutely unacceptable reason-
And now, we move on to the burial procedure, which, according to the Gospel, was performed by Joseph and Nicodemus and the others who were present, in accordance with the Jewish custom.
In the Talmud, we can find the complete burial procedure set out. Obviously to exclude the possibility of apparent death, this procedure included the placing of a feather in front of the nostrils of the deceased for a period of about 15 minutes, to ensure that the feather was not disturbed by any breathing.
Having prepared Him accordingly, they wrapped Him in the shroud or the material, and then they wrapped His entire body, as was the custom of the Jews. On top of all those layers of cloth, they poured 32 kilos (100 litres) of a mixture of myrrh and aloe, two aromatic essences which, when mixed together, formed a thick, glutinous substance that permeated the corpse in a thoroughly airtight manner (even more so, when a full 32 kilos is used), on all areas of the body that were covered by the cloths. So, if we were to assume that an entirely healthy person was thus wrapped in a sheet, including the face cloths, and the sheet was then soaked with this glutinous, impermeable substance, and poured over him thus abundantly, then that person would undoubtedly die of asphyxiation.
Thus, even if we disregard all the other, numerous causes –each one of which was enough to bring about death-
in the 18th century, the first one to present arguments in favor of apparent death was Venturino. The rationalists of that time had accepted the idea that –
But, let’s continue this train of doubt –
Were Christ’s appearances indeed like that? We need to stress here, that it was not merely a piece of information, that Christ was seen in perfect health by all those that He appeared before; it is a crucial prerequisite, in order for the Gospel to exist at all. Because, it was precisely the vibrant health that Christ’s body radiated, that convinced those disbelievers of His bodily resurrection.
So, instead of a body that dragged itself along, fainting –
That Christ did, in fact, die on the Cross; that it is impossible, not to admit that His appearances were appearances of a person who had been resurrected after the martyrdom of a crucifixion, have both been positively confirmed, by Medical Science.
Was it an illusion?
Now we shall take a look at the second category of doubts, i.e., if those appearances were real, and if the description and the testimony found in the Holy Bible regarding these appearances are credible. In this instance, we shall require –and shall enter-
Now we need to point out that, if the testimonies pertaining to Christ’s appearances –as recorded in the Gospels and in Paul’s first Epistle to Corinthians-
Let’s take a look at these two doubts, one at a time. Let’s first take the possibility of an illusion. False impressions will force us to resort to Medicine again. Because illusions are a phenomenon that Medicine has been studying for many years and in thousands of cases, where illusions appear in man, in certain ways.
We should mention some of these ways:
First of all, people who have visions and illusions comprise a certain category of people who are usually predisposed towards them. Illusions are an extension of their personal dispositions and they relate to events whose realization is desired very intensely by those persons.
Firstly, there must be a predisposition. Secondly, these people belong to a certain type of person who is prone to such phenomena. Furthermore, if a number of people have illusions, then those illusions will have a different content and character, which has to do with the psychic world, the personality, and the experiences that characterize each person. The illusions will therefore have a different form and a different content between them. These illusions also usually appear at a specific time and place, that is, under the conditions that will predispose a person for those illusions. Finally, if those illusions tend to repeat themselves, then their repetition is usually observed over a long period of time.
So, let’s see now, do Christ’s appearances follow even one of these basic rules, which characterize people with pathological illusions? First of all, were those people –
Now we have said, that the persons who suffer illusions belong to a specific type, and in fact a type that is prone to such phenomena. Let’s see, do any of those witnesses belong to any such specific type?
We are familiar with those people, from their writings and their narrations. For starters, they were people who did not fantasize.
Let’s take the tax-
Let’s take Thomas. Thomas definitely doesn’t belong to that category of people who see illusions. He was the man who, when told by the 10 disciples –whom he had spent 3 years of incessant living with and who unanimously reassured him that they had seen Christ-
And Paul? Paul the persecutor? Paul, who had literally ravaged the Church and every person who wanted to proclaim that Christ was risen. Was he really a suitable type of person, who would see and listen to the risen Christ, just when he was at the peak of his fury against the very idea that Christ had risen?
So, we have seen that the people to whom these appearances occurred, were people with different characters, of different types; in fact, they were types entirely alien to the possibility of illusions. We furthermore know that Christ appeared to 500 people simultaneously. And the majority of those people had believed that they saw Him. Is it possible, for all 500 people to belong to the type of person who sees illusions?
Now, we have also mentioned that if a large number of people have illusions, then those illusions will have a character analogous to each one’s personality. And we know full well, as it is only logical to expect, that the persons of Christ’s environment had far different characters. Anyone with an elementary kind of psychological observation can perceive the huge differences, the basic, fundamental differences in character between the Apostle Peter, the Apostle Paul and John the Evangelist. The assorted characters in the Gospel – Christ’s disciples – comprise a spectrum that we can safely say represents almost every type of human personality. Nevertheless, they all conceded and admitted that Christ had the exact same appearance and speech as before, when He spoke to them; He had the exact same personality. They all agreed absolutely, on what they saw and what they heard. And that alone contravenes the idea that Christ’s appearances were illusions.
We also said that illusions appear in suitably suggestive places and times and hours of the day. Here we see that there are no such coincidences. As He usually did in the past, Christ again appeared in the light of day. He appeared for lengthy periods of time, in the middle of the day, in the afternoon, and He had even walked through the fields for hours; He appeared in the garden of Jerusalem’s graveyard. He appeared on the Mount of Olives, and on a low hill, before scores of people. He also appeared in a room, where the disciples were sequestered. He appeared near the lake Tiberias, where, as you remember, the second miraculous catch of fish occurred. As you can see, all these appearances had nothing in common with each other, nor were they at all suggestive, in order to create an atmosphere and environment suitable for illusions. We also said that when illusions appear repeatedly, then they normally repeat themselves over a long period of time, and, either they tend to become more sparse or they abate in intensity –in which case, they will eventually vanish altogether – otherwise, they will tend to intensify and increase progressively – in which case, they would eventually end up as a crisis. We see nothing of this kind here.
Christ’s appearances occurred with the same frequency, and 40 days later, they were abruptly interrupted, without once thinning out, and without peaking even once; they were however interrupted, after Christ’s Ascension. Let’s also make a note that, when speaking of illusions, we all basically mean apparitions; in other words, appearances that are perceived by the faculty of sight. But here, nothing of the sort had occurred. Not only were most of those appearances accompanied by acoustic impressions and dialogues between the one who appeared and those whom He appeared before; they were also confirmed by the faculty of touch.
We have the certainty that the Apostle Thomas acquired, after touching the risen Christ’s body, and furthermore, so that there would be no doubt left in the disciples’ minds that Christ’s appearance was real and not imaginary, when He saw how they doubted –in their agitation and fear-
How is it possible for the disciples to resort to illusions when witnessing Christ to us, when there was material evidence from those appearances of Christ’s resurrected body?
Was it deception?
Now, if the appearances we just described were not the product of illusions, then could they be the result of deception? Because this recourse can be contested; this recourse can remain under doubt. It must therefore have been the result of deception, some will insist.
The first reason these appearances cannot be perceived as a result of deception is because the people who testified seeing Christ after His Resurrection were many in number and throughout many years. In Paul’s 1st Epistle to Corinthians, these crowds are numbered; the Apostle mentions in there (and Mark also mentions it in his Gospel) that more than 500 people had witnessed Christ’s appearance. So, it was witnessed by many. It is therefore highly improbable that so many people, over so many years, could have made such a crude and blasphemous claim, and that not even one person was found, who went back to testify and to remonstrate that they were personally involved in this deception, or had even fallen a victim to it. Thus, for any court of law, for any judge who abides by the rules pertaining to evidence, the fact alone that so many people witnessed Christ’s appearances, excludes any possibility of deception.
The second reason why the possibility of deception should be excluded is that the information and the message that Christ’s appearance and His Resurrection carried (and continue to carry) were accompanied by proclamations of a most sublime teaching on virtue that mankind had ever heard. Virtue, that was not limited to the enactment of certain virtuous acts, but one that even touched –
Even the suspicion that it might have been a deception, is waived by the behavior of the apostles, just three days after their teacher’s crucifixion, as we mentioned above. These people were terrified; they were totally dismayed. They were actually convinced of His death, as we can judge from the account of the discussion between the two disciples on their way to Emmaus, when they talked about the crucifixion and also about (what they considered to be rumors of) the resurrection. They were convinced that this affair of Christ had ended without glory, when He was crucified. They had sequestered themselves, as we already mentioned, because they were absolutely sure that it was impossible for anyone to have seen Him alive, and they were not ashamed to admit this. Later, they openly displayed their about-
If these people had wanted to propagate a deception, wouldn’t they have at least avoided revealing all the misgivings they had? Wouldn’t they have avoided proclaiming to all the world –
As the Frenchman Goguel had quite correctly said, “it is impossible for a person to subject himself to persecutions and to surrender his life to tortures and tyrannical treatment, for the sake of a lie”.
Man resorts to lies, in order to avoid persecution, and not to succumb to it.
Thus, we see that the overall teaching of the Church is based on the certainty of the Resurrection. And we should also add –perhaps firstly add-
And how is it possible to consider Christ a fraud, when He was not merely the one who preached, but also practiced what He preached; He was the one who indisputably underwent crucifixion for what He preached. How is it possible to look upon this man as a fraud who had staged His own burial and His own Resurrection?
Now that we have analyzed the undeniable credibility of Christ’s appearances –which was the second category of doubts-
Doubts about the vacant tomb
The first doubt expressed about the vacant tomb appears in the Gospel itself, when the garrison went to report to the high priests everything that had occurred, i.e., the earthquake, and the glorious Resurrection of our Lord. And how did the high priests respond? We read that they offered significant sums of money, to spread the rumor that “while the garrison was asleep, His disciples came and stole the body”. This naïve explanation is very easily overthrown, by the simple question “if the garrison was asleep, how could they report exactly what happened?” (i.e., that the body was removed by the disciples). “Otherwise, if they weren’t asleep, why did the guards allow the disciples to take the Lord’s body from the tomb?”
Now, the other scenario is that the body was not removed by the disciples, but that the high priests themselves had removed it, so that the tomb wouldn’t become a place of worship for Christ’s followers. But even this is entirely unthinkable and contradicts logic. We know that just a few days later, and in the presence of thousands of people, the high priests were accused to their face by Peter that they “killed the leader of life, whom God raised from the dead”. With this action, Peter inspired thousands of onlookers on that day to become believers, and later apostles.
Wouldn’t it have been better for the high priests to have curbed the Christian teaching at the very beginning, by simply presenting Christ’s corpse – which they had supposedly abducted? It would have definitely curbed the new movement, which was incessantly draining the Sanhedrin of its Scribes and Pharisees. They could have easily stopped this “blasphemous heresy”, by simply displaying Christ’s dead body and thus easily proving (which was within their powers to do) that He was nothing but a deception.
The Judge of the High Court of England, Lord Darling, summarizes his legal opinion on the Resurrection of Christ with the following words, which are so authentic, that I don’t have to add anything else:
“As Christians, we are called upon to confess many things, only through faith. But on the basic issue, i.e., if Jesus Christ rose from the dead or not, which is based on whether Christ was truly that which He preached, we are not called upon to confess this through faith. There are so many positive and negative indications that are presented by facts and circumstances that support this conviction, that no body of intelligent jurors in the entire world could reach any other decision, but that the Resurrection was actually true. But in order to prove the truth of the Resurrection, most people present that one argument –that positive argument-
Conversions of modern day disbelievers
There are very many, millions of such cases, but we shall only mention those involving famous people of intellect, who were once disbelievers and later converted to the faith.
In England, there was a Philosophy Professor, Mr Joad, one of the better known professors, who was so fanatically in denial, that he never missed an opportunity –either through his written word but also through a series of weekly broadcasts on an English radio station, titled “Joad and God”, where he defended the inaccuracy of the Gospel. Joad did this, by studying the Holy Bible persistently and preparing his arguments accordingly. But he himself suddenly appeared during his later years and claimed that “everything I believed in was a lie”, struggling like Thomas and preaching to all the world that Christ really is the Lord God.
In the 18th century –as I mentioned earlier-
During that era, two educated young men form Oxford University had made it their life’s work to write two treatises, in order that the one man would prove Paul’s conversion was not attributable to faith –to genuine faith-
You may have heard that the most famous satirical magazine in the world is “PUNCH”. For years, its editor was a certain Muggeridge, a very sharp witted and derisive spirit, who didn’t hesitate to proclaim his faithlessness. But with one visit to the Holy Land, Muggeridge found himself in a situation that was entirely the opposite to what he had expected. Instead of producing evidence that the conviction regarding the death and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a myth, he returned home with the unshakeable conviction of the veracity of the Christian faith and with such a spiritual conversion, that today he is one of the main leaders of the Christian movement called “Festival of Light” in Great Britain. In the multitudinous congregation in Trafalgar Square in London, Muggeridge was the one who cauterized the vulgarity and the decadence that faithlessness leads us into, urging the audience towards an awakening.
Perhaps, to those who want to strain their mind, this might be the necessary thing to do; perhaps the most characteristic monument of logic is the work of the legalist Morrison. From a very early age, he had read a Criticism on the Holy Bible by the Critics of the German School. He had even “armed” himself with arguments opposing the Christian Religion and had commenced to write a book based on those arguments; a book which would logically have convinced everyone that the Resurrection had not taken place. While writing this book, he found it was impossible to keep writing it. And not only impossible to keep writing it; he realized his thoughts and his words that were being recorded, were leading him into entirely the opposite direction of his target.
He stated that: “The power of those circumstances was forcing me to write something entirely the opposite; not because the events that I had studied had changed (because they are permanently recorded in the pages of humanity’s history), but because the interpretation of those events had undergone a change inside me, on account of the persistence of those very events themselves.”
The author discovered one day that not only couldn’t he continue writing the book he had planned, but that even if he wanted to, he couldn’t. And it was from this effort, that the well-
In the presence of all the aforementioned intellectuals, it would be extremely bold for me to say a few words about myself. I am saying this with an absolute conviction about the difference in stature and status that discerns these people from my person. But I owe it to you to do it, and I am doing it, for the first time; because I owe it to you who are my brethren, with whom I have been living my University life so intensely, for practically all the years of my life, as a student, steeped in denial and doubt. And I need to tell you that I accepted –after very extensive studying-
And I would like to invite each one of you, as brother to brethren, if this realization has not yet fully impacted your lives, to embrace this stance and to unreservedly, honestly, and without fear accept the Resurrection of Christ as a real event. And you may also come and find me, to discuss if necessary, and to rejoice together with everything that will ensue from this opening of the soul to the Resurrection of Christ.
I thank you all, very much.
1. P. Trembelas: Jesus of Nazareth, Athens, 1955.
2. E. Theodorou: The eternal truth, Athens, 1960.
3. J. Agapides: Jesus standing before Judean and Roman justice, Thessaloniki, 1969.
4. R. GUARDINI: The Lord, Greek translation, Athens, 1956, Vol.III.
5. P. BARBET: LA PASSION DE JESUS CHRIST SELON DE CHIRURGIEN, RILLEN ET CIE, ISSOUDUN, 1950.
6. P. BARBET: A DOCTOR AT CALVARY, P.J. KENNEDY, NEW YORK, 1953.
7. PR. J.N.D. ANDERSON: CHRISTIANITY THE WITNESS OF HISTORY, TYNDOLE PRESS, LONDON, 1969.
8. PR. J.N.D. ANDERSON: EVIDENCE FOR THE RESURRECTION, INTERVARSITY PRESS, LONDON, 1968.
9. F. MORRISON: WHO MOVED THE STONE? BARNES AND NOBLE, NEW YORK, 1962.
10. J.YOUNG: THE CASE AGAINST CHRIST, FALCON BOOKS, LONDON, 1962.
11. K.N. TAYLOR: IS CHRISTIANITY CREDIBLE? INTERVARSITY PRESS, 1970.