Insight on the News
Return from Death?
● Julian DeVries, medical editor of “The Arizona Republic,” recently wrote about a seeming “disembodiment” that he experienced while hospitalized. Citing similar cases involving others, he said that all “seemed to share my own experience of looking down from a great height . . . at their body.” But have such persons really returned from a state of death? “These people have not died, only to be returned by some alleged miracle, to life,” wrote DeVries. “Scientific investigation of the phenomenon shows that the so-called death was merely a marked reduction in all bodily functions.”
DeVries ascribed such experiences to “electro-chemical functions of the brain” that “occur when physical prowess is at a very low ebb,” as when a patient is deeply anesthetized. Under such circumstances, “the neurohormones and catecholamines of the nervous system are released and pour out in uncontrolled quantity,” he stated, adding: “The result, among other manifestations, is the hallucination, rationalized after returning to consciousness, of having died and returned to life.”
So, “disembodiment” experiences of this kind are no proof that an immortal soul leaves the body for a continued existence outside the body after death. Rather, the Bible says that “there is no man that does not sin” and that “the soul that is sinning—it itself will die.” (1 Ki. 8:46; Ezek. 18:4) The only Scriptural hope for return from death is by means of the resurrection.—Acts 24:15.
“Smoking or Health”
● Britain’s Royal College of Physicians recently issued its third report on ‘smoking and health.’ But the use of tobacco is so perilous that the title was changed to “Smoking or Health.” Writing in the British journal “New Scientist,” Donald Gould cites the report and the “perils of smoking.” Then, in part, he remarks:
“Nobody wants to know that ‘smoking deaths are now at least four times more numerous than deaths from road accidents’. The committed smoker is able to ignore the ugly fact that each time he (or, increasingly, she) lights up another fag [cigarette] about five-and-a-half-minutes are lopped off his lifespan. Addicts come to their senses when it is too late—when a mother or father of a growing family dies, or when that gripping pain in the chest is felt, or when the habitual phlegm becomes stained with blood.”
However, health dangers are not chief reasons that cause Christians to shun the use of tobacco. For one thing, love of neighbor prevents them from personally befouling the air with tobacco smoke. (Matt. 22:39) But their love of God comes first in life, since they have dedicated themselves to Him. Consequently, true Christians heed the apostle Paul’s admonition: “Present your bodies a sacrifice living, holy, acceptable to God, a sacred service with your power of reason.” (Rom. 12:1) Since persons dedicated to God do not want to diminish the value of their sacrifice to him, they refrain from using tobacco and thus ruining their health. At the same time, they are obeying the counsel to ‘cleanse themselves of every defilement of flesh and spirit.’—2 Cor. 7:1.
● The New York “Times” of June 5, 1977, reported: “The new edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, scheduled to be published in the mid-1980’s, may go a long way toward eliminating masculine-biased language, but not all the way, according to Dr. Bruce M. Metzger, a biblical scholar and professor of New Testament language and literature at Princeton Theological Seminary.”
The revision committee, consisting of twenty-four scholars with Dr. Metzger as chairman, plans to retain the word “man” in various places. In others, however, masculine wording will be dropped.
Eliminating from the Bible what some may term “masculine-biased language” may appeal to certain individuals. But doing this to curry favor with such ones may result in the serious error of doing violence to the inspired Word of God. More than once, the Scriptures warn against adding to or detracting from the Word of Jehovah God. (Deut. 4:2; 12:32; Rev. 22:18, 19) Indeed, reflecting a godly attitude toward the Scriptures are the words: “Every saying of God is refined.”