This movie requires Flash Player 8. Download Flash Player 8

Issue Features
View this issue online as it looks in print
Discovery Magazine 4/1/2001

God Knew All Along

Three thousand five hundred years ago people did not know what caused diseases. Some, like the Egyptians, thought that "disease demons" caused severe sickness. Others thought that their gods were punishing them for some unknown reason. It was not until about 150 years ago that people began to learn that such things as viruses, bacteria, and parasites cause diseases.

God always has known the causes and remedies of diseases. In the Old Testament, we can read that God gave the Israelites many laws that they were expected to obey. These laws helped prevent people from getting sick. Some of the laws dealt with sanitation (like the burial of human waste products—Deuteronomy 23:12-14), some with personal hygiene (washing of hands, clothes, etc.—Numbers 19), and others with the treatment of those who were sick (Numbers 5:1-4). God also gave the Israelites a list of unclean animals that they were not to eat or sacrifice (Leviticus 11). The Bible does not tell us why these animals were unclean, but we know from science that many of the unclean animals were much more likely to carry diseases than the clean animals. Some of these unclean animals included fish without fins and scales (Leviticus 11:12—all poisonous fish have no scales), birds of prey (Leviticus 11:13-19—examples: vultures, buzzards, and hawks), and pigs (Leviticus 11:7).

You may wonder why pigs were considered unclean, especially since about one-fourth of all meat eaten in the United States is pork (meat from pigs). Scientists have found that pigs sometimes carry dangerous parasites in their muscle tissue. As frequent scavengers (animals that feed on dead or decaying matter), pigs may eat diseased material and then become either carries of infection, or infected themselves. One of the parasites pigs are known to carry is called trichinella spiralis (trick-uh-nella spear-al-is). If pork is not cooked properly, this organism can be passed to people. Sometimes, if people are not treated quickly, the parasite can cause death.

Before you get alarmed, realize that if pigs are fed properly and if the meat is cooked correctly, then they are safe to eat. If pigs have parasites, cooking the meat thoroughly will kill them. During the time of Moses, cooking meat thoroughly was not always possible. Thus, God’s law about pigs kept many people from getting sick or dying.

It wasn’t until the 1900s that people understood the need to cook pork thoroughly. Yet God knew all along. Because He knew that this world contains viruses, bacteria, and parasites that can cause diseases, God revealed much preventive medical information to the Israelites that has withstood the test of time. This amazing fact is just one of the reasons that we know the Bible is from God.

Copyright © 2001 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

*Please keep in mind that Discovery articles are written for 3rd-6th graders.

This document may be copied, on the condition that it will not be republished in print unless otherwise stated below, and will not be used for any commercial purpose, as long as the following stipulations are observed: (1) Apologetics Press must be designated as the original publisher; (2) the specific Apologetics Press Web site URL must be noted; (3) any references, footnotes, or endnotes that accompany the article must be included with any written reproduction of the article; (4) textual alterations of any kind are strictly forbidden; (5) Some illustrations (e.g., photographs, charts, graphics, etc.) are not the intellectual property of Apologetics Press and as such cannot be reproduced from our site without consent from the person or organization that maintains those intellectual rights; (6) serialization of written material (e.g., running an article in several parts) is permitted, as long as the whole of the material is made available, without editing, in a reasonable length of time; (7) articles, excepting brief quotations, may not be offered for sale or included in items offered for sale; and (8) articles may be reproduced in electronic form for posting on Web sites pending they are not edited or altered from their original written content and that credit is given to Apologetics Press, including the web location from which the articles were taken. Further, documents may not be copied without source statements (title, author, journal title), and the address of the publisher and owner of rights, as listed below.

For catalog, samples, or further information, contact:

Apologetics Press
230 Landmark Drive
Montgomery, Alabama 36117
Phone (334) 272-8558

Web Store

Defending the Faith Study Bible

We are very excited to announce the NEW AP Defending the Faith Study Bible now available.

Featured Audio


Click the following link to visit our Multimedia section.

Featured Audio