Imagine the quality of PHYSICAL life our first parents had in the garden of Eden. God created them as perfect physical specimens, placed them in an environment totally free of pollution, and exposed them to natural whole foods that grew out of nutrient-rich soil.
Think of it!
Herbert W. Armstrong said, “[T]he largest, most complicated machines man has designed pale to insignificance beside the most wonderful of all mechanisms—the human body and mind!
“This awe-inspiring mechanism also was formed from matter out of the ground. It was the supreme masterpiece of God’s great creative handiwork!” (The Missing Dimension in Sex).
That’s the way God saw Adam and Eve! That’s the way God sees you. Do we see ourselves as the awe-inspiring material machine God sees us as?
While it is true that man’s civilization has degenerated in almost every respect—certainly including this area of physical health—we should, nevertheless, stop and consider the way God intended it to be from the beginning. In the reprint article “Answers to Questions About Health and Healing,” Mr. Armstrong wrote, “The Almighty God made the human body so that—even though composed of material substance from the ground—its normal condition is one of robust, invigorating, radiant good health!”
That is your body’s normal condition—normal in the sense that this is the way God intends for our physical bodies to function—that of robust, invigorating and radiant good health! To attain that kind of quality living, there are certain health laws we must obey.
Because society has drifted so far from God’s health laws, some of the things you read in this series of articles might seem impractical or unreasonable—possibly even extreme. But as you work your way through this series, pray for God to help you view this subject the way He does, because as far as God is concerned, perfect health is normal! That’s the way we are supposed to be.
Don’t Take Sickness for Granted
Mr. Armstrong wrote in the April 1971 Tomorrow’s World: “The very first trouble with our deteriorating physical status is that we take sickness for granted! We seem to assume sickness is natural and necessary. … A cold or fever is merely a sudden violent elimination of toxins and poisons you have injected into your body by wrong diet which has broken God’s physical laws!”
Sickness is not normal or natural. Neither is it normal to always feel tired and lethargic, or to be constipated, or to be obese and out of shape. No disease, deformity or sickness can be considered “natural” or normal for the simple reason that all those things are not of God! It is true that there are scriptural instances where God inflicted individuals with certain ailments like blindness or leprosy, but those were rare cases where God was trying to get someone’s attention—and often those individuals were healed upon repentance.
We should also note that just because one is disease-stricken, it doesn’t always mean it was the result of his own physical sin. Mr. Armstrong made that clear in his booklet on healing: “One may not himself have broken a physical law. It could have been an accident. It could have been from a contagious disease contracted without his knowledge. In the case of Job (Job 2:6-7), Satan was the cause of Job’s ailments for a special purpose, by God’s permission. Nevertheless, sickness and disease are the penalty being paid for broken physical law” (The Plain Truth About Healing). We can’t possibly know all the circumstances behind every sickness and disease. It may not be the sick individual’s fault.
But what we do know is this: While sickness and disease might be common in this day and age—they’re certainly not normal or natural, the way God sees it. And while some of the physical degeneration is beyond our control, a lot of it isn’t. Mr. Armstrong wrote in The Seven Laws of Success, “Most degenerative diseases are modern diseases—penalties for eating foods that have been demineralized in food factories—usually an excess of starch, sugar (the carbohydrates) and fats. Others are caused by a type of malnutrition—lack of needed minerals and vitamins in foods. Then people try to put the ‘vitamins’ back into their systems by buying pills at the drugstore!
“A famous director of a ‘Physical Fitness’ program, lecturing at Ambassador College, reminded us that the medical profession has made great strides toward eliminating communicable diseases, yet is having little success coping with the increase of the non-communicable diseases—such as cancer, heart diseases, diabetes, kidney diseases. These latter are affected by faulty diet.”
Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). God’s will is for us to lead a life of quality in every respect—including that of physical health.
In 3 John 2, the Apostle John wrote, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” The Greek word for “be in health” in that verse means “to have sound health—to be well.” In fact, John is pointing out how physical health actually relates to how prosperous we are spiritually.
Notice what Gerald Flurry wrote in The Last Hour: “These are two areas where God’s people are tested very heavily…. John is saying that the way to have maximum health and prosperity is to give your life to this Work! … We must realize that there is often a lack of prosperity and a lack of health because we haven’t learned to put God’s Work first as we should.”
Think about that. Poor health can actually be an indication that we haven’t learned to put our hearts in God’s Work. That’s quite a statement. Sometimes it could be easy to blame God’s Work—and the demands it puts on us—for our failings in physical health. But if our heart is in the right place, that work should motivate us to a higher quality of wellness and energetic living.
That’s not to say that God’s Work won’t ever have adverse effects on physical health. The Apostle Paul wrote, “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved” (2 Corinthians 12:15). Paul did that for God’s people—he spent himself—and it did take its toll on his physical body. But even with his body wearing down from the rigors of world travel in the first century (not to mention old age), he was still able to prosper spiritually. And as worn out as he might have been toward the end, he still didn’t die of some degenerative disease. The Romans cut his head off!
If we are truly spending ourselves for the work’s sake, there is honor in that—and our bodies may very well wear out a little sooner because of it. It is, after all, appointed that we all must die at some point (Hebrews 9:27).
But what God will not honor and praise is if we neglect physical health laws because we don’t consider them to be important or because we are just too weak to change in these areas. What God will not honor and praise is if we use the Work as an excuse to repeatedly violate all kinds of physical health laws. What God will not honor is if we use our degenerative society as an excuse to be in poor health, believing it is impossible to have perfect health, so why even try.
God’s will is for you to have a robust and energetic lifestyle of quality health!
Investing in the Future
It is true that our first priority should be on spiritual health. Jesus said, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34). Christ always put spiritual food first in His life. But we shouldn’t overlook the fact that He was also a perfect physical specimen. He never broke one health law.
Notice again this quote from The Last Hour: “If you want to use your prosperity and health for God’s work, you are going to have more prosperity and health! That doesn’t mean you will always be prosperous and healthy, but you will have more of those blessings.
“If your life is filled with bad health and little or no prosperity, then you should closely examine yourself for sin. God wishes ’above all’ that we prosper and be in health …. Like Christ, our first priority must be to invest our health and prosperity in God’s Work.”
Everyone knows what the word “investment” means in the financial sense—when you commit money toward something that ensures a larger return later. In The Last Hour, it says that if we invest our health in God’s Work, we’ll have even more prosperity and health! How can that be, when we know it is appointed for all men to die at some point?
Well, look at the example of Herbert W. Armstrong. He was a man who, as we will see in this series, knew a lot about the laws of health—and he worked to apply those laws in his own life. He then invested his physical health and life in God’s work. What it amounted to was 93 years of robust, invigorating, radiant living—to say nothing of his SPIRITUAL standing in God’s Kingdom!
That is quite a return on his investment—physically and spiritually. Just think about how much he was able to do in God’s Work—how much he was able to grow spiritually because he invested so much in this field of physical health.
God’s work must come first in our lives. But our physical health should support that spiritual Work. Mr. Armstrong often said, “First the physical, then the spiritual.” And by that, he didn’t mean the physical was more important, but that there are important lessons to learn from the physical which point to the spiritual.
If we let our physical health go (even if we reason that it is “for the Work”), that is not supporting God’s spiritual Work. How important to you is your physical health in this last hour? You’ll have to answer that for yourself. I can tell you this: It is extremely important to God!