- Are You Still Christian if you Use Plants for Health and Healing?
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I want to preface this article with the statement that this is something that I have personally struggled with for some time, especially given the fact that I wrote and wanted to promote the beautiful natural world we have right at our disposal. I would try to encourage the beauty and benefits of the natural creation but then I would feel conflicted as I am not wanting to promote perversion of Gods’ creation, but rather the truth. The truth is that God created this world and everything in it. He made these plants, animals, and the natural environment for us to use. If you look at all of our nutritional needs then you can turn around and find them in plants and animals. Why would it be hard to believe that if our basic nutrition is derived from the natural world, then so would be any plant or animal to aid in our benefit towards health? Why could the turmeric not have some natural anti-inflammatory or why could that ginger not be useful in treating a sick stomach? Why is it hard to believe that nutrition and health derived from plants and animals are made wholly for our wholistic benefit? It’s easy, especially if you look through it in a biblical perspective.
I think it’s safe to say that Satan can and will perverse everything God made to attempt to dissuade, push away, and drive those astray from the real maker, our God. If we know that in using the plants and animals for our multifaceted aid then we are glorifying God and not the objects that God created. We are not to idolize or worship the creation but rather the Creator for without Him we and all that is around us would be nonexistent.
Within the following article I will share some helpful articles I found when trying to find the answers myself, not to mention that this came after fervent prayer for truth and finding the answers.
As a final takeaway, I would like to also state that I am not an herbalist. I am simply a wife, mother, and person that loves to garden and grow plants – especially those that provide a known benefit – from nutrition, flavor, and even the occasional healing effect.
“3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. ” John 1:3 (NIV)
“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, ” 1 Timothy 4:1-4 (NIV)
If past pagan cultures used herbs for healing and ritual, and the herbalism of today is so steeped in anti-Christ teachings, is herbalism actually sinful?
Should Christians use herbal remedies?
The verdict on Christians using herbs hasn’t looked so good, but friend, here’s where the story gets sweet.
Yes, yes, and a million times yes! Christians can enthusiastically and unashamedly use herbs without fear of sinning.
God created these beautiful plants with tremendous capacities for restoring health, strength, and wellness. No doubt the earliest people, yes, even Adam, Eve, and all their descendants knew how to use these plants to benefit their bodies.
Perhaps God Himself gave Adam that knowledge and Adam passed it on.
However it may have happened, it is perfectly logical to assume the God who made these healing plants made sure His creation knew how to use them. These early people continued to pass down herbal knowledge, even as some fell into paganism and idolatry.
There is no sin in using God’s own creation to promote health and wellness.
Who Gets the Glory for Herbs?
No one gets the glory for herbalism but God Himself.
I love how my friend Jasmine from The Christian Herbal put it:
Herbalism is not rooted in paganism. Herbalism is perverted in paganism.
As a Christian herbalist, my faith is the foundation of my love for herbal medicine.
God blessed this planet with incredible plants that work in remarkable ways within the human body. He knew sin would cause sickness, and in His love, He provided helpful remedies even before the human race fell.
When I use an herb to help the body heal, God gets the glory. Not the plant, not Mother Earth, not a nature spirit.
These remedies work because God designed them to.
Not because a shaman told me they would.
God, in His goodness, gave us these plants. I, as a Christian herbalist, am incredibly thankful to have these botanicals at my service.
How Christians Can Use Herbs for God’s Glory
Scripture is clear: God calls Christians completely avoid witchcraft, idolatry, and spiritualism (Galatians 5:19-21).
And thankfully, you can do that and still confidently use herbal remedies. Just keep some things in mind.
- Follow your conscience as you choose herbal practices and give your fellow Christians that freedom, too. Some Christians can burn an herb for medicinal reasons with a pure conscience. Others might feel it’s too close to a spiritual practice and decide to avoid it. Both can be valid choices.
- Pray for guidance as you choose herbal teachers. Like choosing how you use herbs, choosing how, where, and from whom you learn isn’t a black and white issue. I choose to learn from believers and nonbelievers alike but avoid a few herbalists whose unbiblical practices and spirituality are a key feature of their teaching.
- Consider how your herbal practices might impact your Christian brothers and sisters, especially those who are young or weak in faith (Romans 14:19-21). For example, if you burn sage for medicinal reasons but know it might cause a brother or sister to doubt, then consider doing this practice privately.
- Use herbs with faith in the God Who created them (Romans 14:23). Pray for wisdom as you choose remedies, use them in Jesus’s name, and give God the glory when health and wellness are restored.
God is the ultimate healer, and He can heal in many ways. Herbs can be one avenue for that healing.“
“Most of the plants in the Bible are only mentioned in passing, with reference to medicinal use occurring even less. Examples of biblical medical application are the use of ‘balm’ to treat sores (Jeremiah), Fig as a cure for a boil (Isaiah), and Mandrake as a fertility remedy enabling Jacob and Leah to have a fifth son (Genesis).
How might the stigma attached to magic and exorcism (God as a singular healer) have meant that plants as medicines are not more explicitly mentioned in the Bible?
We should not forget that the Bible is not a book on medicine but a collection of writings on the religious experience of ancient Israel including historical accounts, parables, hymns and didactic writings.“