Who Get the Glory? God Or Medicine?

“…Jesus says, He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45). All rain comes from God, but it is an effect of his ordinary providence, and we usually would not refer to it as a miracle. However, rain could sometimes be a miracle: “Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops” (James 5:17-18).

Likewise, healing through medicine could be attributed to God, but only in the sense that our daily food also comes from him. Our food comes from God, but usually not in the same sense that Jesus fed the thousands when he multiplied the fish and the loaves. We should be thankful for all natural provisions, but we should never confuse them with miracles.”[1]

Vincent brings up a point that I wisht to further expound on. When a doctor heals you through medicine, it is man’s glory. This honor would rightfully belong to man, and not God. I say this in relative level ontology, in the same way Jesus said in Luke 20:25, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” Jesus the most God centered person who ever lived contrasted “what belongs to God, versus ,what belongs to man.” How can this be? It is because God’s ultimate sovereignty establishes the relative level. If God in His absolute sovereignty gave something to Caesar and not you, then it belongs to him; and you are commanded to relate to Caesar that his money belongs to him and not God.  The honor of such wealthy value belongs to Caesar, on this level, not God. That is, you cannot say, Caesar that money is ultimately God’s and I belong to God, so give it to me. If you did this, you would be wickedly ignoring the relative level ontology that God’s sovereignty put in place. Also, If God gave human doctors some advancements and not you, then they belong to them. On the relative level they belong to the doctors and not God. Thus, the honor on this relative level belongs to the doctors not God.

On the ultimate level, medicine ought to be given thanks to God, for His ordinary providence in raining down good things to all people, in a constant way. Yet, on the relative level, the glory belongs to man and not to God—as if a miracle happened. If a miracle happened, then even on the ordinary-relative level, God “directly” (without any relative connection) apart from medicine healed and helped you. In this case God deserves all the praise and glory from all possible viewpoints: both ultimate and relative.

 It is interesting that the issue is again a misunderstanding of ultimate level ontology vs relative level. When Jesus spoke of the ultimate level ontology he was like Paul in the 9 chapter of Romans. God does not allow, but before the twins were born God decided beforehand to love one and hate the other. From the same neutral lump, God makes some evil and some good. Or when Paul said in Ephesians 2 that even faith is a gift. Jesus says you “do not believe Me, because you are not my sheep,” (John 10:26). However, most of the time, this God-centered Jesus, talked about things on the relative level. Not “God’s power healed you,” rather this God-centered Jesus said, “Your faith saved you,” (etc. and etc.).

I would like to continue to discuss a point Vincent brought up in his recent essay, “A Matter of Public Health,” talking about the Coronavirus. He brings up the point that the church (as I paraphrase), “which has abandoned God’s command to constantly heal the sick, has made itself irrelevant in this pandemic. So irrelevant that the Government did not even consider asking for its help; rather, it told the church to stay home and let the doctors help, because unlike the church they are at least making some difference.”[2]

Some in the church have tried to “give God glory” for helping the doctors help the sick. This is correct on ultimate level. However, if we are to speak on the relative level, that Jesus most often spoke on, then NOT God, but the doctors deserve the glory, honor and praise. “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.” If the church does not like that, then before the next pandemic hits, they need stop rebelling against God and start to heal sickness, like they were commanded to do. Since healing on demand (of faith) is part of the gospel as much as forgiveness of sins is (Isaiah 53, James 5:15), then the church needs to finally become gospel centered, and then they will find they are relevant to giving God all the glory, and helping a desperate world.[3]


[1] Vincent Cheung. Biblical Healing. 2012. P 40.

[2] Vincent Cheng. A Matter of Public Health. (https://www.vincentcheung.com/2020/04/10/a-matter-of-public-health/)

[3] Just to be extra clear, I am not officially with Vincent, these comments are my own, not his.