"The hope to which he has called you": Medicine in Christian apocalyptic context
© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press, on behalf of The Journal of Christian Bioethics, Inc. All rights reserved. The writers of the Christian New Testament are widely recognized to have inherited and extended the tradition of Jewish apocalyptic thought, a tradition which anticipated that the enslaving powers of a broken world would be defeated by a decisive unveiling of God's power. For early Christians, specifically, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ marked God's victory over the world's structuring "powers," including the power of death. But because God's good future is not yet fully realized, death seems still to reign; and when modern-day humans turn to modern medicine to defeat or forestall death, medicine itself can become an enslaving power. Apocalyptic commitment, we suggest, can free Christians from enslavement to death, to modern medicine, and to the "powers" at work in the contexts within which medicine is practiced. Then Christians will neither fear death nor trust medicine too much and will be free to celebrate medicine as a good, if humble, divine gift.
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