Medical miracles debated by doctors and patients

Over half of Americans say God can revive a family member declared lost by doctors, according to a recent survey conducted by the Associated Press which asked Americans how involved God is on a person’s deathbed.

Only one fifth of doctors surveyed, however, believe God can miraculously save a dying patient at that time.

Doctors and medical personnel involved in the survey told the Associated Press that it is vital for them to balance respect for one’s religious beliefs and the medical truth of the matter.

“I could understand the lack of faith in God if the doctor was not a Christian, but at the same time, God was the one to give that doctor the authority and the knowledge to do his or her job anyway,” John Brown University sophomore Erin Haley said of the results.

Haley noted that God worked through the unbelieving doctors despite their lack of faith simply because they are his creation. While Haley understands the doctors’ perspectives on ‘medical truth,’ she declared that, “God is active in unbelievers’ lives as well.”

JBU senior Tiffany Tucker said she understood the perspective behind the majority of the doctors’ responses, but maintained a faith in God’s abilities to work miracles through a dying or dead person. Tucker viewed the results as evidence of the divide in the medical field between faith and reason.

“There are Christian doctors, but their views all depend on how each of them were trained — whether they were taught from a faith basis or not,” Tucker said, emphasizing how she has learned that many professionals in the medical field struggle to merge their beliefs in both God and science. “I’m sure it’s hard to be in that field and go against what you might have been taught and focus on the facts in your practice, but I think God goes beyond the facts. God makes it all possible.”

Hutcheson Hall Resident Director Meredith Baltz viewed the survey results with a different perspective and focused on the percentage of Americans who disagree with the doctors’ opinions.

“I think it’s really cool that ‘most Americans’ believe that God is active in that way, although it doesn’t seem that the same amount of Americans believe in God being active on an everyday basis,” Baltz said. She also wondered if the surveyed doctors’ lack of faith in God translated into an exorbitant amount of faith in themselves and their own skills.

Robbie Castleman, a professor of biblical studies at JBU, found less relevance in the medical personnels’ opinions and more in the salvation of the patient.

“In my time as a critical care nurse I had patients enter comas, and as they were under, I would pray for them and with them,” Castleman recalled. “When they would come out of the comas, they would say they recognized my voice from the prayers they heard.”

Regardless of whether God performs a life-saving miracle on someone’s deathbed, “Christians die differently — more yieldingly,” Castleman said.