Last week, Rich Stepanek and I both had to undergo surgery for inguinal hernias. After surgery preparation, as I was lying on the operating table, I can remember the anesthesiologist saying, “It’s time to put him under.” The next thing I remember was waking up feeling very relaxed, and most important … no pain! Whatever the anesthesiologist had given me really worked well. Thank God for anesthesia!
The first surgery and anesthesia is mentioned in the Bible at the beginning of Creation. “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;” Genesis 2:21. Before God removed one of Adam’s ribs (surgery), He put him into a deep sleep (equivalent of anesthesia).
Amazingly, until the 1800’s, surgery was performed without anesthesia. Ouch! It wasn’t until the early 1800’s that anesthetic gases were discovered. A Dr. Wells was the first to use inhaled ether to numb or remove the feeling of pain; however, it was a dentist named Dr. William Morton who in 1846 used ether, in the presence of students and physicians, to have a painful and well rooted tumor removed from a patient. The patients comment after the surgery, “I have felt no pain, but only a sensation like that of scraping the part with a blunt instrument.”
It has been claimed that Morton’s inspiration for this painless surgery came from Genesis 2:21.
Many great scientists of the past were “Bible-believing” Christians. An English doctor, Dr. James Simpson, discovered chloroform’s anesthetic qualities in the 1800’s. When Dr. Simpson was asked what his greatest discovery was, he replied: “It was not chloroform. It was to know I am a sinner and that I could be saved by the grace of God. A man has missed the whole meaning of life if he has not entered into an active, living relationship with God through Christ.” – Reference
If scientists had looked to the Word of God a little sooner, perhaps anesthesia would have been discover far sooner, and many more lives saved through painless surgery.
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