What is a Vaccine?
A vaccine is a prepared solution that is used to stimulate the body’s immune response against diseases. Vaccines are generally administered through needle injections, but some may be dispensed through a spray by mouth or in the nostrils.
A vaccine typically has an agent similar to a disease-causing microorganism, usually made from weakened or dead forms of the microorganism, its contaminants, or one of its surface proteins.
Vaccines are necessary because they help protect individuals and those around them from preventable diseases such as polio, tetanus, meningitis, measles, HPV, whooping cough, and COVID-19. How? They help the body to create immunity – which is how the body prevents disease.
Christians and Vaccinations
There is concern these days regarding individuals using religious exemptions as an avenue to avoid getting vaccinated. Is this a valid excuse? Should Christians get vaccinated?
Christians can always find the answers to this and other questions in the Scriptures. While the Bible may not address vaccinations directly, it presents essential health principles that will guide us in making wise decisions regarding health and other issues that occur in our everyday lives.
Note that recommendations that are in synchronization with biblical health principles and do not contradict them are permissible. Therefore, such a consideration can be recommended or even required when health or life is will be preserved.
Let us look at a few of these Biblical principles.
The most foundational principle is that God is omnipotent and omniscient and is the ultimate healer/physician. It is He that heals our diseases either directly or indirectly.
26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee
Contained in this Scripture is God’s promise to the Israelites to keep diseases from them. However, there was a requirement involved: holiness
was the requirement. They were to obey God and keep His commandments and statutes if they wanted to receive the promises.
Through Christ, we are joined with the Israelites in receiving God’s promises (Gal. 3:16, 28-29), and that is indeed the good news (the gospel) of Jesus Christ. Isn’t that Great!
We all like Divine promises; however, lots of us do not like Divine precepts. However, the reality is, most promises require that we conform our lives according to God’s precepts and principles. If we ignore the precepts, we will most likely realize little about the blessings of the promises. Therefore, we are required to obey God as the Israelites were if we are to receive His blessings, including healing.
The second principle to consider is that God created humans in His “own image” (Gen. 1:27) as intelligent beings to use our minds to acquire knowledge, reason, and discern what is correct, sound, and profitable. Humans are additionally obligated to use common sense in life’s dilemmas. We are to be reasonable creatures, and our Creator has given us the ability to think and discern what works best for our health. God desires us to take care of our bodies and live conscientious lives as we are responsible to Him.
Scripture reads in 1 Cor. 6:19-20
19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. NIV
Applying this thinking to vaccination and other issues (i.e., abortion) refutes the thought, “my body, my choice.” Our bodies belong to the One who created them, and we are responsible for doing what we can to protect them. This responsibility falls under a huge umbrella. While the Scriptures do not state that we should take vaccines, they are doing good by protecting our bodies from potentially deadly harm.
We can clearly see that the vaccine, a result of the capacities God has given to humans to think and be creative, is a life-saving product. We can unequivocally thank God for the wisdom He has provided for research and invention. Additionally, we can thank Him and His human instruments for their good in preserving and restoring life.
The third principle to consider is God wants us to preserve health in the best possible way.
3 John 2
2 “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” NIV
God not only wants us to be well spiritually but physically as well. However, not only ours but our fellow human beings as well. John was expressing this to an associate, Gaius.
This desire is not only for us to live longer but also to serve others and be valuable for as long as possible. It is foolish to die needlessly only because we neglect remedies available to protect and prolong our lives, consequently allowing us to be a blessing to others.
Further, we are decreed by God to guard life and mind the health of our neighbors.
18 “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.”
Leviticus chapter 19 contains God’s laws of social order, and this verse addresses our behavior towards our neighbors; we are to love them as ourselves, care for them as we would ourselves.
4 You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. NIV
In this chapter of Ezekiel, God judged the false shepherds, the leaders who have neglected His people, the flock, and how they failed to address their well-being.
God is concerned about our well-being, and He wants us to be concerned as well for others and ourselves.
On that basis, being vaccinated is an unselfish act that aids the well-being and protection of others. While there are currently unknowns regarding the long-term research on the effects of vaccinations, the benefits far exceed the known and potential problems. Therefore, being vaccinated is an act of kindness since vaccinations help protect others from severe sickness, hospitalization, and death. This action fulfills God’s will to safeguard our bodies as well as others.
There are many ways we can be healed from diseases and illnesses. Prayers for healing and good health do not invalidate the use of various treatments, medicines, surgeries, or vaccinations. Prayer is an excellent avenue, but healing can also require action on our part.
Let’s look at one example in the Scriptures, 2 Kings 5:10-14
10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”
11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.”
13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.“ NIV
Healing was pronounced over Naaman, but he had to be obedient and play a role in his healing.
We are often required to collaborate with God and use available remedies. We cannot put God in a box on how He operates.
Vaccines also safeguard the health of others by mitigating the spread of disease. Understand that it is not a rebuff of faith to use sound treatments prudently. We are also using faith when we engage the proper remedies with the understanding that they are from God.
Science and faith operate closely collectively and must be applied hand in hand. They are complementary to each other. Creativeness and resourcefulness are God’s gifts. God is not the author of confusion, but He is the author of science. The evidence of science is transparently clear that vaccines save lives. Their side effects are primarily minor and short-term. The many positives substantially outweigh their minimal negatives and health risks.
Claiming that the COVID-19 vaccine is a mark of the beast and also changes our DNA is a flagrant misuse of Scripture. Various conspiracy theories grossly misapply biblical texts to create fear and dependency on false information.
Refusing to take common-sense precautions such as wearing masks and being vaccinated to mitigate the infection and spread disease to others is the epitome of narcissism. How did we become so self-absorbed? To not take the precautions for ourselves is one thing and a serious enough violation. But to be so callous towards our fellow humans is an even greater transgression.
As Christians, we are obligated by God to be responsible for the welfare of ourselves and others to the reasonable extent of our power. We certainly cannot control the lives of others, but if we can reasonably prevent harm to them, we are to do so.
Remember the response Cain gave to God when he was asked where his brother Abel was: “…I know not: am I my brother’s keeper?” [Gen. 4:9] Evidently, his brother’s keeper was since God judged him for killing Abel.
We will also be judged for causing harm to our brethren. We are to be accountable for one another—we are our brother’s keeper!
Any questions, comments, and concerns are welcome below.