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The Divine vs. The Doctor: Could They Be The Same?

Medically reviewed by Susan Kerrigan, MD and Marianne Madsen on February 6, 2023

Faith has always created a certain problem with healthcare of any kind: Why bother with healthcare if we truly have faith that we will be divinely healed? It would seem to be almost an affront to our faith if we were to take our health into our own hands by seeing medical professionals–this shows a decided shortcoming in our belief that all is in the hands of heaven. 

Whether or not healing is in the hands of man or heaven has been so confusing for so long that ancient civilizations began to worship doctors as deities. Today, when doctors have eradicated some of the world’s deadliest known diseases and prevent others with a momentary jab with a needle, the temptation to begin to believe in them as opposed to in our true faith looms large once more.


Naturally, there is a far darker side to that coin–when both faith and healthcare alike fail, at whose feet do we lay the blame? Is it our fault for turning away from heaven and trying to interfere in the divinely ordained? Could we have made a mistake in trusting in heaven at all as opposed to putting all of our efforts into the best possible medicine? 


With no clear answer to these dilemmas, most of the world tends to attempt some kind of middle ground, praying on one hand and applying for treatments on the other. Are such people doing as they should, or simply burning a candle at both ends?

To really arrive at the answer, one often needs to take a broader view of things, understanding that it is not only the disease or injury that are in the hands of heaven. One’s faith in divinely ordained and healing is not contradicted by their racing to the emergency room; rather, it is a testament to their belief that heaven has put an emergency room on earth for us to use, and through it sends the treatment and recovery for which we pray. A vaccination is not decrying your faith, but rather showing belief in all the miracles that led to it–the wisdom and insight of the researchers, the massive logistical challenges that are involved in moving doses around the world, and the intricate complexities of the body that make the vaccine take effect at all.


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This is well and good when faith or medicine succeed, but it does leave unresolved the looming specter of their apparent failure. There too, though, we need not lose trust in either one; our faith has not failed us, and our medicine is not unholy meddling in divine work. The loss of a loved one should not drive us away from faith or healthcare, but rather towards them, doing the best we can to keep others from the same. No one can succeed all the time; medicine is no exception. 


Faith and healthcare are not contradictions; they are cause and effect. Health and healing are divinely ordained–they just arrive in vessels marked EMT, MD, RN, etc.

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