SCIENCE KILLED PRESIDENT GARFIELD – “NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – VOL. 28, NO. 40&41
Before all you scientists get wound up, let me explain. President James Garfield was shot by Charles Guiteau in an attempted assassination. One bullet hit Garfield in the arm, the other in the back, not hitting any major organ. We now know that he could have survived the wound had he been left alone. However, twelve different doctors stuck unwashed fingers and instruments into Garfield in an attempt to remove the bullet. One attempt was on the dirty floor of the train station. For most of 80 days they tried to remove the bullet, all the time with unwashed hands and instruments. American doctors at that time believed air caused infection, not germs. They rejected British Doctor Joseph Lister’s belief that germs existed.
Garfield would die from the infection inserted by doctors doing what they believed at the time. Charles Guiteau would say, in view of his execution, something like, “I shot him but his doctors killed him.” He was right.
What happened? Well, some professional arrogance was involved on the part of Doctor Bliss, who took over the case. On the other hand, at the time, as stated, American doctors did not believe in germs. So they used the knowledge at hand, which is all they could do. Were they wrong? By today’s standards, yes, by the standards of their day, no.
Science (and life) can only use what is available at the time to advance. Lister’s theory would become scientific truth.
Let’s move that thought to another area. If someone were asked in Biblical times what caused thunder, they would say, “God” or “gods.” Would they be right? Yes. Why? Because their knowledge of the universe had not yet developed enough to know the cause of thunder and lightening. You may even find some people today who still believe God causes atmospheric events.
I’m not sure when the idea developed that the Bible is a book which contains scientific information of all kinds, beyond theology and philosophy. At some point someone decided that if the Bible wasn’t true about everything, it couldn’t be true about anything. Sad.
I was reading an article online about how the Bible didn’t teach the earth was flat. All the verses which would suggest it did, were dismissed as poetry or symbolism, while all the verses used to support a round earth were taken literally. Convenient.
You can find modern, educated people who, by using the King James Version, prove (?) the earth is the center of the universe. One fellow even said the stars prove it because they are all facing us! (My fingers almost cramped when I typed that!)
The Bible was written over several years during a period of history. It was conditioned by its historical and cultural surroundings just as were the doctors who treated President Garfield. Just as medicine and science advanced, so did the understanding of God.
This can be seen in a close reading of the Old Testament. In Leviticus 21: 16-23 there is a list of physical defects which preclude Aaron’s decedents from “coming near to offer the food of his God.” This was to be “For the generations to come.” Ok. That’s the priesthood. But did God find such imperfect people unworthy, or was that the understanding of God at the time? None of those people were responsible for their condition, even though at the time it was associated with sin. Were they right to reject such people? Yes, according to the knowledge (or lack thereof) of God they had at the time. As time passed they would see God differently, and their relationship with God and each other would reflect that change. Isaiah includes all these people as worthy and welcome, including eunuchs.
Did God change? No. The understanding of God changed and broader views of ethics and culture changed as well. The sacrificial system would take second place to justice and mercy. (Amos 5:21-24)
The Bible is about man’s ever-expanding search for the divine meaning of life, i.e., God. In that search, old wine and old wine skins must be left behind. The clothing of the past will not wear well for the future with God. I wonder if we can begin to grasp the enormity of what Jesus meant when he said that? Do we know he was opening a whole new relationship with God and others?
It’s about relationship. It’s about not letting the old ideas about God and who God loved, define who God loves now, as our knowledge of God in Jesus has advanced. We know what causes thunder and lightening, and much more about the universe than did those before us. We know about germs and infection, and much more. We once denied alcoholism was a disease, but just a sin. We know more about people and what defines human value than Moses and others in history. When we know better, we have no excuse for denial.
CONCERNS: Gary Overstreet was to have surgery on Friday. He will then be in rehab at Raleigh Court. Scott Blessing has been dealing with gout. Joanne Elder will soon be looking for a new job. Teresa Robertson needs prayers. Her family has suffered several difficulties lately. Her aunt Reva is ill and lost a son recently in a car wreck. Another aunt, Patricia Hall is also very ill. Teresa’s daughter in SC had storm damage. And she and Ben have been helping her. Martha Foy is also unemployed at the time. Remember Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones. Former member, Betty Shepherd has breast cancer. Teryn Gaynor’s mother, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Joni Beach’s aunt, Pat Voss and a niece, Jamie Cole. Wayne Phlegar, David Albert and Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, a cousin, Tolly Nicklas and a friend, Chris Campbell.
Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Stephanie Rigney, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.
OUR DAILY BREAD: NOV. 7-12
Monday: Psalm 119:57-72
Tuesday: Matthew 12:38-50
Wednesday: James 1:19-27
Thursday: Jonah 3:1-4:11
Friday: Romans 6:1-23
Saturday: Psalm 113:1-9
OUR DAILY BREAD: NOV. 14-19
Monday: Job 38:1-18
Tuesday: Isaiah 25:1-5
Wednesday: Psalm 37:1-17
Thursday: Luke 18:35-19:10
Friday: John 18:1-14
Saturday: Hebrews 13:1-21
During the high winds of a week or so ago, a large tree in the annex yard split and fell. Wayne Flora came and cut up the tree as well as cutting down the other standing section. He cut that up as well. He then went farther down the yard to another tree which was leaning, and cut it down as well, also cutting it up.
The wood from two of the trees went to a neighbor of the Wagner’s who burns wood, some went to a neighbor of the church, and some went to two families who rely on wood for heat. The other tree will be used by Lyn Jordan for his kiln.
This was a lot of work for one man, so be sure to thank Wayne!
You may have noticed the large cement planters on the office porch. They came from Judy McWhorter’s business. They make the office entrance look nice. Thanks Judy.
Thanks to Jim White for operating the media production in Erma’s absence. Good job Jim. You know that once you learn something you will be used again. By the way, if you would be willing to learn the system, see Erma. The extra help can always be used.
THE CHRISTMAS PARTY
It’s not Thanksgiving yet! However, the annual Christmas party is usually early in December, so it needs to be on our minds.
Look at your schedule for December and see what dates are open for you. Of course, it’s hard to accommodate everyone.
The sign-up list will be out soon and the need to know your wish is important to having the party.
ON THE WAY
Joanne Elder’s son, David, and his wife, are expecting their second child. It was due last Sunday and it’s a girl. More details later. By the way, Joanne will be in Florida from 11/24 -12/2.
We’ve been having more people come on Wednesday evenings lately. If you haven’t been coming, you should give it a try.