Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Prozac and Penal Substitution

Last night i read these verses:

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows
yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted
Yet he was wounded for our transgression, He was crushed for our iniquities
Upon Him was the chastisement that bought us peace
And with His stripes we are healed.

Aren't they beautiful? Don't they explain a heart thrilling truth? Especially in the light of yesterdays reports that prozac is no more effective in some cases then a placebo. What have they got to do with each other? Well, despite, perhaps because of, the advancement in science and technology and medicine, most of us still feel like there's something missing. That we need something alien to fulfill ourselves. Which i guess is why people take prozac. Michael Ramsden tells the story of an investigation that finds that most people feel like at one point in time they were happy, and now they're not. That we've lost something that needs to be regained at any cost. Goodness knows how many dollars spent on research and we get to the end of Genesis 3.

But what's any of this got to do with Isaiah 53? Well, where does the need for medicine come from? it must and can only be from the fall. Not that medicine is evil or anything like that, but simply that people are ill because people are fallen. People are ill because people don't have a perfect, unbroken relationship with God. No one living does. I'm not saying that people sin so God makes them ill, but that sickness is a result of the Fall. Did Adam and Eve ever need prozac? Exactly.

God has dealt with this problem.

He has sent Christ to bear our grief, to carry our sorrow, to be wounded for us, crushed for us, chastised for us. Jesus has died to demonstrate the righteousness of God, and so that we might know God. He restores what is lost. He gives us hope of a future without mental or physical illness. And He does this by punishing His Son for our sin. So to deny this doctrine, to cast scorn on this life giving truth is not only supremely silly, it also robs people of hope.

Theology, proper theology, is not limited to the ivory towered academy in it's effect. It changes people's lives. It's not about pens and paper, it's about people's lives, its about pastoring the broken in our churches. Penal substitution gives us that hope. It gives us the ability to look at objective historical events and say to the sick and suffering: there is hope, there is life, you will have joy. God is righteous but He has made a way for us.

Two great truths. Here then is a doctrine worth preaching, writing about and defending. Because here is a doctrine that imparts life and hope.

1 comment:

Welshie said...

Um...the "Why people take prozac" comment...not always bro, careful there. Was good to speak to you last night tho, hope you enjoyed your evening!