Divine credentials," "clear evidence," "positive evidence," are terms used by Ellen G. White in speaking of those who may claim to have divine enlightenment. Just now, forty years and more after Ellen White laid down her pen, new items of clear, confirming evidence of her gift of inspiration are being discovered and presented to the public in an unprecedented manner Newspapers, magazines, and books all around us pile up evidence regarding her veracity. In matters now of interest to the general public we see point after point of her statements confirmed by medical science. Are we as pastors and Bible instructors capitalizing on the situation?
The public press boldly, yet tremblingly, proclaims the mounting evidence that gives profound and significant meaning to Ellen White's warning to the world in 1905 that "tobacco is a slow, insidious, but most malignant poison." In the United States last year thirty-five thousand funerals of the victims of lung cancer bore mute witness to this point. Little wonder we read such articles as appear in the March, 1959, issues of Today's Health and The Reader's Digest, with their forecasts regarding the frightening prospects of the immediate future.
Feverish cancer research adds evidence upon evidence to build up the confidence of some who a decade or two ago may have questioned in their hearts whether Ellen White projected herself too far into the field of medical science by writing in The Ministry of Healing, page 313, of "cancerous germs." (See Time, Oct. 27, 1958.)
Another point of positive and clear evidence is added by the addresses and articles of Cornell University's long-time teacher of graduate students and well-recognized nutritional authority, Clive McCay. He declares his new find in the writings of Ellen G. White on the subject of diet, penned "long before the advent of modern scientific nutrition," to be unrivaled today as "an over-all guide." (See The Review and Herald, Feb. 12, 19, and 26, 1959.)
But this is just a brief review to those who are "the children of light, and the children of the day" (1 Thess. 5:5).
Today we have new evidence to add to the many evidences called to our attention during recent months. As we scanned our morning newspaper a short time ago we found an item entitled "Birth Defects Top United States Infant Medical Problem." In this article Dr. Thomas J. Rivers, Medical Vice-President of the National Foundation, rather nonchalantly sets forth some rather startling facts concerning the results of recent research. We quote here quite briefly, but enough to preserve the context:
Research in birth defects is closely allied to work already done by National Foundation scientists on the nature of the living cell. ...
Every human being develops from a cell. How this cell grows into a person is still one of the prime mysteries of all biology. But National Foundation scientists have already learned much about a substance called nucleic acid which exists at the core of all human cells. Indeed, it forms the core of all living things, including viruses. It is this substance which is the key to heredity and the development of the unborn child. . . .
Somehow—though we do not know exactly how —this acid keeps the germ cell on its course, determining that it shall develop eyes, ears, nose, skeleton, internal organs and extremities. That is why nucleic acid is often called "the automatic pilot of life."
If the nucleic acid is defective, the direction it gives to the growth of the cell is faulty. This kind of "misdirection" can then result in an infant with a minor defect such as nearsightedness or color blindness, or with a serious defect such as clubfoot or an open spine.
Or again, the nucleic acid in the human germ may be normal to begin with, only to be damaged by some outside agent. X-ray radiation, for instance, may cut the nucleic acid strands or knock off some of the berry-like particles. Then the infant will be born malformed.
Strong drugs and narcotics, large doses of alcohol, lack of oxygen (hypoxia) and certain types of virus infections may cause similar malformations in the growing embryo."
—Bristol (Tenn.) Herald Courier, Sunday, Feb. 15, 1959.
This declaration regarding new discoveries just opening to research scientists sounds strikingly like words penned by Ellen G. White, and rather widely published by Seventh-day Adventists ninety-four years ago. I now quote from page 51 of the article "Disease and Its Causes" written for Number 3 of the Health, or How to Live (1865) series of pamphlets:
Physicians, by administering their drug-poisons, have done very much to increase the depreciation of the race, physically, mentally, and morally. Everywhere you may go you will see deformity, disease and imbecility, which in very many cases can be traced directly back to the drug-poisons, administered by the hand of a doctor, as a remedy for some of life's ills.—Selected Messages, vol. 2, p. 442.
But perhaps even more thought provoking is the startling warning that appeared in Time magazine, October 27, 1958. In this issue, in the section entitled "Medicine," appears a disquieting two-column article headed "Drug Dangers," which sums up the findings and conclusions of Dr. Jesse D. Rising of the University of Kansas in Postgraduate Medicine.
Eleven points are made, naming various new and powerful drugs concerning which Dr. Rising cautions his fellow medical practitioners. Then follows the point of particular interest in this connection:
Worst of all, Dr. Rising warns, a doctor treating a woman during pregnancy with anesthetics, X-rays, ACTH or cortisone-type hormones, may subject the fetus to oxygen shortage or some other threat. The result: "Physicians now face the horrible possibility that they, in addition to certain 'acts of God,' are responsible for many developmental defects." He lists babies born with one eye, abnormal hearts, cleft palate or mongolism, and Siamese twins.
"The thoughtful physician," Dr. Rising concludes, will not think of abandoning these useful (and often life-saving) drugs, but he "will not lightly prescribe [them, and] will exert every effort to understand . . . the harmful effects that may result from their use."—Time, Oct. 27, 1958.
These are words to ponder!
Ninety-four years ago a woman with no medical education or training, and with little more than three years of schooling, wrote that "deformity, disease and imbecility" seen almost everywhere were in very many cases the result of "drug-poisons."
What medical man of the world a decade ago would have been willing to endorse this? Today, medical authorities echo the inspired warning of about a hundred years ago.
We need not hesitate to place our confidence in the Spirit of Prophecy counsels. "The instruction that was given in the early days of the message is to be held as safe instruction to follow in these its closing days."—Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 41.
Are we making the most of the mounting convincing evidences regarding the messenger of the Lord? When recounted they should thrill every church member and warm each heart.