|Sabbath and Restoration of Health – A Scientific Perspective - TEXT
| Why should we rest? |
Our bodies are made up of billions of cells. In order to stay healthy, our cells must perform their normal functions. When genes within our cells mutate, cells become dysfunctional, leading to disease. The programs encoded into genes determine the function of a cell. Genes are collections of DNA composed of four nucleotide bases: Adenine (A), Cytosine (C), Guanine (G), and Thymine (T). These four bases make up the molecular alphabet and assemble in specific sequences to form a double helix DNA molecule. It is the sequence of these bases that determines the characteristics of the cell. Therefore, the meaning of a gene changes when the base sequence is altered, in the same way that the meaning of a word changes when the letter sequence changes, e.g. GOD vs. DOG. Every gene has an inherent meaning, which is determined by the base sequence programmed by God with a specific purpose. All living organisms have genes and are a product of the Creator. God wrote His program into each gene as a way to express His promise of life and health. David, author of the Book of Psalms, and Ellen G. White alluded to the existence of genes in their books. We are not merely physical masses produced by God. We are the result of genes that have been created by God to contain His written meaning and His promise of life.
“Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” Psalm 139:16
“God is truly the author of the physical law as He is the author of the moral law. His law is written with His own finger upon every nerve, every muscle, every faculty, which has been entrusted to man.” Christ’s Object Lessons (pp. 347)
Disease is a pathological condition in which cells have been transformed as a result of an alteration in the base sequence of their genes. Recovery from disease is only possible when the base sequence is restored back to normal.
Emotional stress, fatigue, or over-eating can cause release of free radicals (oxygen atoms), which mutate genes and damage cells. These genes can only be repaired when the cells are in a state of rest. Repair of genes is a prerequisite for normal cell replication in which new healthy cells are produced to replace damaged ones. Periodic rest is essential for cells to undergo proper cell division in order to heal disease and sustain healthy life.
We have now learned the need for rest to maintain our health. If God created our genes knowing our weaknesses, He would have made specific genes responsible for regulating our cells to rest. Scientists have indeed discovered genes that do just that. The most well known is a gene called P53 that has been mapped to chromosome 17. This gene, called a tumor suppressor gene, is responsible for the production of a protein that suppresses tumor formation. Another main function of the tumor suppressor gene is to allow cells to rest on a rhythmic cycle. The P53 gene can be thought of as the “rest gene”, and its product the “rest protein”, because it causes cells to rest. Periodic rest is important to prevent cells from dividing in an unregulated manner. When P53 genes mutate and no longer produce the “rest protein”, cells become cancerous and begin dividing uncontrollably to form tumors. God programmed specific functions into the sequence of nucleotide bases of the P53 genes DNA, so that cells can go through resting periods.
P53 genes not only regulate cells to undergo a rest cycle, they also stimulate other genes to produce special proteins that repair mutated genes. When cells contain genes that are damaged beyond repair, P53 genes regulate those cells to undergo “programmed cell death”, or apoptosis.
P53 genes are evidence of God’s loving promise to us. By His grace, we have an inherent capacity to repair and heal our own cells through functions programmed into our DNA by God. Scientists have been able to read the program that was written in the form of base sequences of DNA. Through God’s promise, we see that He tells us “I will make your cells rest and repair themselves so that you may be saved from all diseases”. God’s blessing is the catalyst that induces P53 genes to produce the “rest protein”, which then activates three other genes to produce proteins that repair damaged genes. It is God’s wisdom that has made this process possible, for God had known our needs and our weaknesses even before we were created. Scientists have discovered that cancer cells have P53 genes that are damaged to the point of not functioning properly, or in some cases, P53 genes do not exist at all. Without the tumor suppressing function of P53 genes, “rest proteins” are not produced and cells no longer go through a rest cycle but continue to divide uncontrollably, forming tumors. The DNA programs in tumor suppressor genes clearly reflect God’s loving promise to us. It’s as if they are saying “I will prevent you from getting cancer” or “I will heal your cancer”. Our role is to trust entirely in the promise that is written in our DNA. God will then implement the promise through His blessing on the Sabbath, the day of rest. Indeed, proper rest is essential for maintaining our health.
Interestingly, scientific research has shown that when cancer cells are cultured together with normal cells under ideal conditions with proper rest and nutrition, the cancer cells are restored back to normal. This finding suggests that cancer cells can benefit from tumor suppressor proteins produced by normal cells, allowing the cancer cells to go through proper rest cycles and eventually restore their P53 genes. The truth lies in the power of God’s blessing that activates genes to produce tumor suppressor proteins. The importance of these proteins illustrates the significance of rest in healing our body and soul.
The various processes of gene repair, cell replication, and rest cycles, occur in perfect coordination amongst different genes at an unconscious, molecular level. The immensely complex mechanisms of genes are beyond our comprehension. God’s wisdom and His infinite power are the only way that these phenomena are possible.
We can only deal with our lives on a conscious level using our perception and cognition. The many unconscious processes that take place in our body are beyond our voluntary control. Studies have shown that only about 5% of our brain activity correlates with conscious processes, while the remaining 95% occurs at an unconscious level. Gene activities, which are essential for the maintenance of life, happen unconsciously in our bodies because of God’s vital energy in our cells. When we are overcome by emotions like anxiety, anger, hatred, or fear, we are more likely to be influenced by Satan and turn away from the loving God who is constantly at work for us in our unconsciousness. Under such conditions, we cannot take part in the meaningful rest that is necessary for God’s effort to heal our wounded cells.
Rest is not simply taking a break from work. Rest requires total trust in God and giving ourselves up to His power, so He may work on us in our (95%) unconscious level while we enjoy resting in the (5%) conscious level. This is the true meaning of rest for us sinners. Repair and re-building of our cells, and thus maintenance of life, can only be possible through meaningful rest. “For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” Hebrews 4:10
Why does the Creator determine the day of rest?
God, the Creator, provided us with the necessary means to sustain our lives through the blessing in our genes allowing for healthy propagation. Yet, God knew that we humans would continually sin and damage our genes. The Creator’s blessing written into our DNA is His promise of life. God gave us the Sabbath, the seventh day, which is filled with the creative power of His love. He instructed us to rest on the Sabbath so that He may heal our genes. When we follow His command to rest and truly receive His blessing, our genes are activated to produce “rest proteins” that are necessary for cells to rest and repair themselves.
• God, the one and only Creator, can create and re-create
• Genes exist because God created them
• Only God can give us the blessing, the power of love, creation, and life
• His blessing is the only power that can activate genes to sustain life
• His blessing is the only power that can repair and restore genes
• Therefore, only God can give the covenant of Sabbath, the promise of life
God created genes and wrote his promise of healing and redemption in the base sequences of our DNA. God gave us the Sabbath as a sign of His promise and love. Our genes are constantly damaged by our sins, and we need His blessing to heal and restore them to His likeness. God’s call for us to remember the Sabbath and rest shows us His desire to heal and restore our genes. God’s covenant of rest is an expression of His natural love and promise of life to all of us. The Sabbath, the fourth commandment and God’s promise to us, is the only covenant with the Creator’s seal.
“The fourth commandment alone of all the ten contains the seal of the great Lawgiver, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. Those who obey this commandment take upon themselves His name, and all the blessings it involves are theirs.” (Testimonies for the Church, Volume 6, pp. 350)
Human beings cannot designate the day of rest. Only God can, because it is He who possesses the power to bless and heal our genes.
Rest Cycles and Biological Rhythms
As we cycle the cultivation of land to optimize the yield in agriculture, so too should we have cycles of rest to optimize our health.
All biological organisms function on certain biological rhythms. Human and animal cells carry out functions such as production of hormones and other essential substances required for cell growth. These functions occur in biological rhythms that are set in our genes by God. For example, cortisol production by the adrenal glands is regulated to peak in the morning and decrease in the afternoon. Another rhythm is the 28-day menstrual cycle in women. These important biological rhythms are programmed into our genes by God before we’re even born.
Of all the rhythms, the rest cycle is the most important one. There are basically two kinds of rest cycles. One is the 24-hour cycle, which regulates our cell activities to slow down and rest at sunset and become active with sunrise. It has been observed that nurses working night shift have a significantly higher rate of breast cancer compared to nurses working day shift, as working during the day follows the natural biological rhythm. When the natural rest cycle is disrupted, our cells are vulnerable to injury and are harder to repair, resulting in normal cells becoming cancerous. Our immune system follows a similar rest cycle. T-cells, the most critical type of white blood cell, are most active at nighttime around 1 a.m. when our bodies are fully rested. Our cell growth and replication activities are also thought to be most active at nighttime around 2 a.m.
The other kind of rest cycle is the seven-day rhythm, which regulates us to work for six days and rest on the seventh. A research study showed that animals subjected to mental and physical stress over six days sustained damage to their genes, but when allowed to rest on the seventh day, they fully recovered. When these animals were continuously subjected to stress for twelve days, they became ill with a number of symptoms including reduced appetite, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, and even memory loss. These scientific experiments testify to the need for regular rest on a seven-day cycle in order to maintain good health.
Why can’t humans change the day of rest?
God’s blessing is the only power that can heal damaged genes and re-build healthy cells. No one but God can give us this blessing. Disease results from genes being altered and mutated to become dysfunctional or inactive. Genes get damaged when they are subjected to mental and physical stresses, which cause release of free radicals (oxygen atoms). These free radicals play an important role in gene mutation. Recovery from disease is only possible when damaged genes are repaired and resume their normal functions. Scientists have recently discovered that repair of genes is possible when cells are removed from a hostile environment and allowed to rest.
The Almighty God knew all the potential weaknesses in humans before He even created us. That is why God gave us the fourth commandment, His promise to repair our damaged genes and re-create new cells when we engage in meaningful rest on the seventh day.
This day, the Sabbath, has been designated and blessed by God and cannot be arbitrarily replaced with another day of the week for convenience. To do so is to sin, by rejecting God’s gift and His promise to heal, re-create, and make us holy. Such behavior, even if unintentional, is a direct challenge to the power of the Creator. We cannot re-assign the day of rest to another day. We must rest on the seventh day as it was specifically chosen and blessed by the Creator.
Peace and Rest Come with Understanding the Truth
Moses, who understood God’s messages, described the meaning of blessing as “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas and let birds multiply on the earth”(Genesis 1:22). It is interesting to note that in the five Books written by Moses, including Genesis, the blessing is defined as a gift from the Creator and the power of life that allows us to “be fruitful and multiply”. God’s blessing is given to all living creatures on this planet, including animals. His blessing is not found in the worldly successes valued by our society, such as material wealth or prestige. His blessing is expressed as vital energy necessary for cells to replicate and maintain good health. It is the Creator’s energy that keeps our cells working every moment of our lives.
Who did God bless first according to the Bible scripture? Surprisingly, Genesis 1:21-22 notes that God first blessed birds and marine creatures and stated, “Be fruitful and multiply”. Propagation of life is only possible through replication at a cellular level, and the energy for cell replication comes from God, the Creator. For cell replication to occur, growth hormones need to be produced, which is only possible through God’s blessing in the genes responsible for hormone production. God’s blessing is the ultimate source of all energy necessary for life, and it is an expression of His love for us. God’s love is the power of life, and re-creation through the Holy Spirit occurs every moment of our lives. As can be seen all around us, His blessing is not limited to humans but applies to all living creatures. Therefore, the Sabbath is not just a religious ritual for humans to rest and worship. The Sabbath’s significance is God’s blessing, which is His promise to maintain the vitality and propagation of all living creatures.
God’s command to “Be fruitful and multiply” is essentially the same as His promise to give us His love, the power of life. Evidence of this love has even been observed in scientific experiments. One study showed that when a mouse gives birth to baby mice, the mother constantly licks the newborn mice. The licking by the mother is not just an inherent behavior, but is also a stimulating act of expressing love for her babies. However, this loving stimulation also activates genes in the baby mice to produce growth hormones. Similarly, an experiment conducted at an American hospital showed that babies born prematurely grow faster and healthier when caring nurses regularly caress and tenderly nurture the babies. These experiments show that the energy of love has the power to stimulate genes to produce growth hormones required for cells to grow and replicate, i.e. to “be fruitful and multiply”. Genes are responsible for cell growth and healing of damaged or diseased cells. For cells to grow, genes must first be stimulated to replicate, and this does not occur alone. Genes need external energy in order to replicate, and this energy is the power of love and creation expressed in the blessing from God. Genes are basically a collection of chemical substance called DNA, which cannot activate itself unless powered by an external energy. Love is clearly a force that can activate genes to trigger replication of cells. So, God’s command to “Be fruitful and multiply” is an expression of His promise to make our cells grow and replicate so that we may be healthy and propagate. Genes responsible for cell growth and replication are embedded in our cells, as are genes responsible for healing damaged cells. Scriptures throughout the Bible attest to God’s blessing promoting replication of cells, biological growth, and propagation of the human race.
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then Gold blessed them and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it…” Genesis 1:27-28
“So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.” Genesis. 9:1
“And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.” (Sarah, Abraham’s wife who was infertile became fertile after receiving God’s blessing) Genesis 17:16
“And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly.” Genesis 17:20
“In blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven.” Genesis 22:17
“I will bless you and multiply your descendants.” Genesis 26:24
Clearly, God’s blessing is directly linked to activation of genes resulting in cell replication, which is necessary for biological growth and population increase. God’s blessing encompasses all life on this planet as evidenced in Deuteronomy 7:13-14.
“And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock, in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you. You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be a male or female barren among you or among your livestock.” Deuteronomy 7:13-14
In the above scriptures it is evident that the blessing carries the creative power to activate genes, replicate cells, and propagate all living organisms, including animals and plants.
Why should the day of rest be on Sabbath?
God wants to reveal His power of re-creation, redemption, and restoration through His blessing. God wants to redeem and sanctify us sinners. God wants to heal us through His blessing when we damage our own genes. Therefore, God gave us the Sabbath, the seventh day. God made the Sabbath different from every other day by sanctifying and blessing it. Therefore, we will receive the most blessing and healing when we rest on this day. God’s act of healing sinners is His way of sanctifying them. The healing effect can only take place when we rest, and meaningful rest is only possible in His love and His blessing. Hence, sinners will stand to benefit most when they rest on the Sabbath, the day that is filled with His blessing. The Sabbath will not only provide us with truly meaningful rest but also the most effective healing of our genes.
As a result of Satan’s influence, work takes priority over rest in many people’s lives. However, rest must come first according to our biological rhythms. When Adam and Eve were created, their first day was the Sabbath, the day of rest. After resting, they carried out their duties of tending the earth. In the Book of Genesis, Chapter 1, the birth of the universe occurred at night, the time of rest, and afterwards God created light to indicate that it was time for Him to commence work. God created us in such a way that we must first rest in order to receive His blessing and restore our genes, prior to commencing work. In the modern world however, we have been influenced by Satan’s forces to believe that we are capable of working without rest or without God’s blessing. Satan’s intent is to destroy the relationship between the Creator and the sinners who depend on the Creator’s blessing. In the end, Satan’s power creates ideologies such as dualism and immortality of the soul, which confuse people in their beliefs on creationism, driving them into the state of Babylon.
Rest is not merely breaking from work. Rest is an active process in which we are doing more with God’s help, because God can do more for us while we are in a resting state. The majority of our body’s functions occur unconsciously, and our genes are most active when we are in rest. To rest means to rely entirely upon God’s power. This is the true meaning of rest for sinners. When we take rest in God, we experience His power of re-creation. When we understand the truth, we can rest meaningfully. Peace and comfort come with understanding the importance and true meaning of rest.
Rest and Fatigue
The concept of rest has been distorted by sin. Fatigue is the product of sin, and we rest to relieve fatigue. God’s rest on the seventh day took place before sin was introduced. His was a different rest than what we understand, because without sin there is no fatigue.
Resting on the Sabbath is not intended to relieve fatigue, but rather to experience God’s re-creative and restorative power and to acknowledge Jehovah, our God, who sanctifies us. When we are fully restored with God’s blessing, we are ready to resume work. This is the correct way to approach work under God’s care, but in reality most of us work before considering rest.
Sabbath, the Sign of God’s Righteousness
If the blessing is the power of life that only God can give, the Sabbath must be crucial to restoration of our genes and our health. The Bible scriptures state that the blessing was not just given to certain individuals. Sabbath was bestowed on the seventh day, which is universal to all living creatures. Therefore the day, and its blessing, will come to every person without discrimination. We do not have to make a special effort to receive His blessing; all we need to do is trust and receive it with an open heart. Only God Himself can bless this day. That is why the Sabbath is “a sign between the Creator and all of us” Exodus 31:13, 17. Ezekiel 20: 12, 20.
Indeed, through our faith, the Sabbath is a sign of God’s righteousness. God is asking us to remember the day representing His sign. He is asking us to remember the blood shed by His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Asking us to remember is a reflection of His love for His children. The sign is not meant as a prerequisite for redemption, but an expression of His love for us. The sign from God is based on His unconditional love. Faith is based on the concept of a mutual relationship. A relationship based on love is different from a relationship based on having certain prerequisites or qualifications. The sign indicates God’s righteousness resulting from our trusting and loving relationship with Him. The sign is God’s unconditional promise, not a prerequisite.
Let us all receive God’s promise of love, for which He sacrificed His life. We can only receive it through our faith in Him. How can we develop our faith? Look through the cross where Jesus was crucified, He will help you develop your faith. Receive Him, and open your heart to His love. Let us put aside our misconceptions and selfishness, and pursue a truly meaningful relationship with God. Let us work together to restore God’s covenant in our lives, and experience the benefit of His blessing which promises meaningful rest and re-creative power. Let us then keep the covenant so that we may not forget. Would it not be wise to cherish God’s covenant, the sign of His unconditional promise, rather than holding onto society’s covenant that demands prerequisites and qualifications? As the sign of God’s love and promise is unchanging and everlasting, so too is God’s covenant.
God created humans and animals because He wanted to share His love. He then gave the Sabbath filled with His blessing to all humans and animals. Why would God have asked them to remember the Sabbath? First of all, God’s blessing represents His love. Secondly, animals and humans need rest in order to receive God’s blessing and restore their genes, so that they may work to feed themselves and survive. It is critical to embrace the Sabbath to establish a proper relationship with the Creator who so eagerly wants to serve our needs.
“Hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.” Ezekiel 20:20
When we receive and experience the Sabbath’s blessing, we come to understand that the Creator is indeed our Lord. The Creator gave us the blessing, the power of love and life, on the special day that only He can designate. All we have to do is receive the blessing of the Sabbath and enjoy the power of life that will repair our genes and restore our health. By receiving the blessing, we are acknowledging the Creator’s love for us. The Sabbath is a day to remind us of the special relationship between God and sinners, a day that we may experience His power to restore our cells and remember that our existence depends totally on His grace. When we take rest on Saturday, the day of Sabbath, the benefit of His blessing, the energy of His healing spark, becomes most effective in repairing our DNA. We can also become a little closer to being sanctified, as He intended. Experiencing the Sabbath allows us to understand both from the heart as well as from a biological perspective that Jehovah is our God, the Creator. In the Book of Mark, Chapter 5, there is a story of a woman who suffered from hemophilia for 12 years. She was then healed and sanctified by touching Jesus’ garment and sensing the power of the Creator. “Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction.” Mark 5:29
God bestowed so much blessing onto the Sabbath that it became an everlasting sign between the Creator and all those He created. While Jesus was ministering on the earth, most of His healing was done on the Sabbath day. Let us all join His ministry by following His sign, the message of Sabbath, and become the remnants of God’s people.
Satan’s Plan to Separate Nature from God
God makes plants grow through nature. He sends rain, light, and dew to the earth so that plants may propagate and cover the earth, and trees may bear flowers and fruits. Germination of plant seeds is not under the control of nature’s own rules. God controls nature to create what we see around us. When seeds germinate, leaves sprout, and flowers bloom, we see the power of God’s providence.
Our body organs are also under God’s constant care, and cannot work independently like a clock running on a mechanical spring. Every physiological process down to our breathing and heartbeat becomes possible through God’s continuous control.
When people discuss laws of nature or natural phenomena, they forget about God’s role. They think that nature occurs independent of God’s work. They believe that nature evolves and follow its course without influence from a higher entity. According to their views, there are two mutually exclusive forms of existence: the natural and the supernatural. The natural exists without influence from God, and the power to sustain life on earth originates from the laws of nature itself. Nature is seen as an entity of its own, and God has no control over it.
This explanation is based on false science. In Bible scriptures, there is no evidence to support the theory of nature. God would never do away with His law. God creates and regulates nature according to His law. God’s law of nature does not follow nature’s own initiative. Nature exists in accordance with God’s command. Nature represents God’s power of creation, His wisdom to nurture and care for, and His love for what he created. The yearly harvest of crops and the precise rotation of the Earth on its axis to produce day and night are not the result of nature’s own power. God’s infinite power carefully controls the nature of the universe.
It is unfortunate that even Christian scientists hesitate to acknowledge the power of God that influences every moment of our lives. Scientists believe that the process of cell division and restoration is the result of programmed mechanisms in our genes that interact with the environment on a spontaneous basis. They see a philosophical difference between science and religion, and contend that there is no scientific proof that our body’s functions are under God’s control.
We do not fully understand how our bodies work. Our bodies have extraordinary and intriguing functions that amaze even the most knowledgeable scientists. Our breathing does not occur spontaneously. Our organs are not self-sustaining. Every component of our physical and mental activity depends on God’s presence and His control. Even the most knowledgeable and wisest on the earth cannot comprehend the complexity of God’s mysterious power in nature. There are many questions that even the most respected scientists cannot answer. These questions are not intended for anyone to answer, but rather they should remind us of our limitations in understanding His power and profundity. There are many things in our natural environment that we don’t understand, and we will never fully grasp how God creates and controls. God’s infinite wisdom is indeed a mystery to us.
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