Health as Blessedness

I want to continue exploring Wilkinson’s “The Bible and Healing.” In the first in this series I wrote about “Health as Life.” He came that the sheep ‘may have life, (health) and have it more abundantly’. Life here derives from the Greek word zoe. Now we come to health as blessedness. This is built on the understanding that s/he who enjoys the blessedness that comes from having the characteristics highlighted in the Beatitudes (first called this by Ambrose of Milan in the 4th century) will enjoy health at its highest level.

Wilkinson states ” If it is true that we have in the Beatitudes a definition of health in terms of blessedness, then the qualities of a healthy person are very different from what we might expect…a complete reversal of our earthly values and standards, and today the person whose blessedness they portray would be regarded as down-trodden, persecuted, under-privileged and even psychologically abnormal. The meaning of the Beatitudes is that blessedness and health come from within and not from without. The important thing is not the human environment but the human heart. As someone has truly said, ‘The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart’.  Here the term ‘heart’ is not used in its physical sense but in the sense of the seat of the whole of human life, physical, intellectual and spiritual. When we speak of health as life and of health as blessedness we are really saying the same thing, for the blessedness of the Beatitudes is but another expression for eternal life. Both blessedness and eternal life belong to God and through Jesus Christ His Son they are offered to us that we might share in the blessedness and life of God which is the purpose for which we were created.”

“The Bible and Healing: A Medical and Theological Commentary” available as PDF

I wanted to make know the availability of a resource I have come to appreciate greatly these past several months. Most probably are not aware of Rev/Doctor John Wilkinson. A Scot who wrote this work in 1998. He has since passed into glory but I have received permission from the publisher and the author’s family to make this available as a PDF. Here are some quotes:

“the predominant interest of the NT is in healing and it assumes the concept of health previously set forth in the OT. (in the preceding chapter) If there is any difference, it does not lie in the substance of the concept, but in the place where the emphasis is laid and in the fuller light shed on the concept by the NT revelation…the understanding of health in the NT is as many-sided as we found it was in the OT. This is because any adequate definition of human health and wholeness can only be in terms of the life and perfection of God who created human beings for fellowship with Himself and whose will it is that they should share and enjoy the same life and perfection as His own.”

Health as Life: John 10:10 says “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Wilkinson states, “This statement by Jesus of the purpose if His coming has often been regarded as a definition of health. Health is the abundance of the life of which He speaks. The word Jesus uses for life is zoe…It emphasizes the quality of life as opposed to bios which emphasizes its quantity or duration. It was not only life which Jesus came to bring, but life with a special quality and even a special quantity of that quality … means ‘more than sufficient’ or ‘with a surplus.'”

“Nothing could be healthier than the life of God producing in human beings that wholeness, soundness and righteousness which constitute true health and holiness. The relationship of divine and human life is a vital and basic element in the NT concept of health. Life apart from God is mere existence and duration. “…where human life is infused with the life of God and lived in a close and constant relationship with him, there is life indeed. Here life means health and health is life itself.”

Let me know if you would like access to this important resource – mjsoderling@gmail.com