Friday, August 19, 2011

Don't be Such A Pill: Medicine and the Occult

Part 1: Western Medicine

To lay the groundwork for what's to come later looking at alternative and herbal medicine, we need to have a good foundation of what we're already familiar with in the west. Many argue (sometimes rightly in the case of reiki, sometimes wrongly in other cases) that certain medical practices are demonic. This comes alot of times with unfamiliar practices.

Things like reiki are clearly demonic, based on testimonies of former practitioners, whereas something else like taking an herbal med or a traditional prescribed med could be beneficial, or end up in a spiritual gray area. One could argue that even taking certain prescribed meds could open the door to the demonic. So too with acupuncture or chiropractic, sometimes cited as witchcraft or occult or perfectly safe depending on who you ask.

So, before getting into the meat. God clearly made human beings, in His own image. God never made us to die, but as a result of our rebellion against Him we have been sentenced to die. The only way to escape death is through the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection and whether or not we accept and believe that. If we do, our bodies will be resurrected like Christ's, knowing death nevermore.

Sadly, as a result of the Fall in Genesis, our bodies wear out and die. Despite this, i believe that God made our bodies capable of healing themselves to an extent. This is incontrovertible. When you cut yourself, it heals. If you break an arm, it heals. When you have an ailment, time will usually heal it. God made a remarkable creation when He made the human body. For more major things, even with medical care, we need to realize that it is God who ordains if a person is to be healed or not.

But, as we all too often learn, sometimes our body just isn't up to the task of fixing itself, and so we consult a doctor. In the west, there is often little to no spiritual conflict with going to the doctor, though recently there are alarming trends which we can get to later. On one hand, going to the doctor is OK for the average Christian, but the same person may avoid acupunture or something else due to it's origins.

But do any of us really know when or what the origins of modern medicine are? Or how about the medical advances that were made by big pharma companies like Bayer during the Holocaust? How about the medical knowledge obtained by Germany's Dr. Mengele or the atrocities of Japan's Unit 731? If we're rejecting medical help because it has origins we dont agree with, then Christians should avoid most western medicine on principle. Without a doubt, some of our current medical treatments were learned by some of the worst methods, while others were not.

So what are the origins of modern medicine?

My brief search into the topic turned up some interesting results.

Many would say that Hippocrates ( would be considered the father of our modern medicine, and to be sure there is alot of truth to that. But some posit that the ancient Egyptians had a form of medicine. Still others claim that the Phoenicians invented it.

I've long known that Egyptians used honey as an antimicrobial agent. This article talks alot about the things Egyptians did for medicine. Many of their treatments are still used today in some form.

The egyptians should also be well known for their heavily pagan society. If one were to base all of their opinions on medical treatment based solely on the culture of origin, then we'd have to probably cut alot of our present treatments due to their use by a pagan culture.

Despite these more ancient claims of treatments, Hippocrates is often credited with the formation of modern medicine.

This article explains his methods, mainly that he observed external symptoms and tried to diagnose internal problems. He also did the occasional controversial dissection. So, in light of this, he did certainly move things along in regards to observing, diagnosising and treating illness.

However, the Bible is clear that touching dead bodies is unclean, and i would presume cutting them up is frowned upon also.

Numbers 19:11

Personally, i would rather not be cut open on death. Still, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, did things not in line with the Bible. Current Jewish belief, i've been told, stresses that the body is not to be touched. I'm not familiar with this thought in antiquity.

OK, so ceremonial uncleanness is hardly a deterrent, or good excuse for avoiding medicine, but there are a few occult links to western medicine. The following link explains the common "serpent/pole" symbol that many associate with medicine. The author ties the double serpent to the god mecury the god of commerce, and the rarer single serpent to the god of medicine.

Another interesting blog, describes further some of the occult ideas in medicine. I don't agree with all of it, but the point that the god hermes (mercury) is also the god of liars and thieves is interesting in light of Revelation 18:23 which idicates that the nations were deceived by "sorceries" aka pharmakia, which can mean more than just drugs. David Guzik's commentary on blue letter Bible is an interesting take on that verse.

Moving back to Hippocrates, he subscribed to the theory of "humors." ( That is, the body could have an internal imbalance of the four classical elements of earth, wind, water and fire ( The elemental theory was widely held across various pagan cultures, but was not necessarily a pagan belief, though it occasionally works its way in.

The humors theory treated illnesses by trying to fix the perceived imbalance. If one had too much "fire" the sickness could be fixed by eating something of the opposite character. This thought was a key component of Hippocrates' work and was in practice until the 1800's. It is still sometimes used in herbal and Chinese medicine. Herbal medicine is another topic, but i think it could be safe to say that the use of herbs works chemically, but people perceived that it was the humors philosophy at work.

Looking back, we can see that medicine had some origins in the pagan past, namely Egypt and Phoenicia, and later the Greeks. While the treatments may not have been occult, they originated in pagan societies.

Later, Hippocrates used a philosophy of diagnosis that was clearly wrong, but not necessarily against God. His belief in the four elements working in a body were probably just a misunderstanding of how things worked. The four elements are neither condemned, nor condoned by the Bible, but they often find their way into pagan beliefs. Take that for what it's worth.

We also can see that there is a blatant occult symbolism in the use of the serpent/staff motif. That could be a study in its own right, but the fact that modern medicine uses this in a few places should indicate what their true goals are. Aside from that, many parties in the medical world and pharmaceutical companies are mainly interested in profit.

So, while there's no specific procedure with occult origins there are some questionable philosophies that helped form modern medicine into what it is today. Does that mean we should avoid it? Not necessarily, but we should exercise discernment, especially in the area of prescription drugs (painkillers, psych meds, etc.) These occult connections aren't all encompassing, but there are some interesting connections.


  1. Sorry for commenting on so many of your posts!

    I'd like to hear more of your thoughts on medicine, though. I have Asperger's Syndrome, which is a form of autism and includes OCD, ADHD, Sensory Integration Disorder, and many other things. I'm on 2 medicines, Prozac and Focalin, to help me focus, not be so tired, and be calmer and not so susceptible to random explosions of anger. I personally feel that these meds sort of "close the door" to the demons, as opposed to "opening" it. Without my medicines I'm NOT an enjoyable person to be around. I'm in emotional turmoil without the daily pills. I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this. :)

    As for the caduceus (the snakey pole symbol), it has been the symbol of doctors and medicine for sooo long, many centuries, that now it's the universal symbol for MD's. Plus it sort of looks good on official documents and stuff. It looks...official. I mean, businesses think they have to have a logo, right? Medical businesses do too. What would be an easily recognizable logo for a doctor's office? A band-aid? A pill? A stethoscope? I know! We'll just use a caduceus, and maybe just take the first letters of our name and make a graphic out of them.

    (The above was satirical, just FYI.)

    God bless,

    1. Thanks, I'd love to discuss medicine more here, especially since I've benefitted greatly from chiropractic (despite its dubious origins). Accupuncture is another I'd like to llok at because says its OK, and I ALMOST want to agree, but I need more info.

      Also, I plan to do an ADHD blog post as I think its something I have (non medicated).

      I certainly don't advocate refusing medication, as it can help chemical imbalances, but at the same time great care and discernment is needed in consenting to drugs. Sounds like a good fit for you at least.