Why are Seventh-day Adventists so healthy?

Seventh-day Adventist Church in Germany

We are called to be godly people who think, feel, and act in accordance with biblical principles in all areas of personal and social life. So that the Holy Spirit can shape in us a character similar to Christ, we consciously occupy ourselves with what promotes purity, health and joy in us.
Leisure activities and entertainment should meet the high standards of taste and beauty, as they are appropriate to the Christian faith. While we do allow for cultural differences, we are careful to dress simply, decently, and tastefully; for true beauty does not consist in outward appearances, but in the imperishable ornament of friendliness and kindness of heart. This also includes sensibly caring for our body, which is a temple of the Holy Spirit.
In addition to getting enough exercise and rest, we want to eat as healthily as possible and abstain from foods that are called unclean in the Scriptures. Because we do not want to harm ourselves, we also abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco and all drugs and reject the abuse of medication. Instead, we deal with what puts our minds and bodies under the influence of Christ. He wishes us joy, health and well-being.
(1 Mo 7.2; 2 Mo 20.15; 3 Mo 11.1–47; Ps. 106.3; Rom 12.1–2; 1 Cor 6.19–20; 10.31; 2 Cor 6, 14-7.1; 10.5; Eph 5.1-21; Phil 2.4; 4.8; 1 Tim 2.9-10; Tit 2.11-12; 1 Ptr 3.1-4; 1 Joh 2,6; 3 Joh 2.)  | Seventh-day Adventist Beliefs, no.22

Between asceticism and debauchery

Moderation is the order of the day! In practical terms, this means cultivating a balanced way of life that avoids extreme attitudes and behaviors and pays attention to a good balance in all things: food and drink, work and leisure, personal hygiene and clothing - yes, also religion and ethics. Too much is too much, also of the good. "Do not be too righteous and not too wise", it says in the Bible (Ecclesiastes 7:16), which probably means something like: "Do not overdo it with righteousness and do not try too hard for knowledge!" (GNB) Justice fanatics or people who explain the theory of relativity but can't drive a nail in the wall are not a prime example of balance. The wise advice applies to them too: “Stay in the middle if you do not want to lose measure; the place in the middle is safe. "(Bernhard von Clairvaux)
Christians too are at risk of falling into extreme attitudes and habits. Already in biblical times there were people who spiritualized their belief in God and who disregarded or even despised everything earthly and material - including their own body. This thinking shaped Christianity for many centuries - in some cases up to the present day. Pleasure and joie de vivre, beauty and grace, lust and desire are considered more or less sinful in some circles.
What is fun, does good or pleases, is tainted with the stigma of the "worldly". Those who want to lead a “holy” life, on the other hand, practice strict asceticism and renunciation (Colossians 2: 20-23; 1 Timothy 4: 3).
Paradoxically, hostility to the body can also lead to the body being released from the competence of belief and left to itself - that is, the human instinct. Physical overexploitation due to lack of sleep or exercise, excessive eating and drinking, consumption of intoxicants and addictive substances as well as sexual permissiveness are withdrawn from moral evaluation or viewed as "venial sins". Instead of discipline, licentiousness rules, asceticism gives way to debauchery, personal hygiene mutates into a cult of the body, contempt for the body turns into idolatry (1 Corinthians 6: 9-20).

A temple to the glory of God

These two attitudes are caricatures at best, distorted reflections of a Christian way of life as evident from the biblical testimony. Accordingly, our body is neither a worthless ruin nor the target of self-glorifying rituals, but a temple in which the Holy Spirit wants to reside. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who dwells in you?” Paul asked the believers in Corinth, who wanted to justify their excessive way of life with reference to their Christian freedom. No, says the apostle, you cannot just do what you want with your body. "God has given you his spirit and you no longer belong to yourselves." (1 Corinthians 6:19 GNB)

Freedom - maturity - responsibility

Anyone who thinks that the recognition of God's right to rule and property over our thoughts and actions as well as the observance of biblical rules of life and principles curtail human freedom is wrong. Nobody is really free who harms himself or others. What at first glance may appear to be a gain in personal freedom often turns out to be an empty promise, if not a malicious deception, in retrospect. Nobody ever wanted to become addicted to alcohol, drugs, or pills, get a smoker's leg, or die of lung cancer. Nobody wants to gamble away their wealth, destroy a happy marriage, or die of AIDS. Nevertheless, this is the price paid a million times over to our freedom - or what we humans think it is.
But "Freedom is not the arbitrariness to act at will, but the ability to act sensibly" (Rudolf Virchow). God is concerned with this freedom. Because he wants our best, he gave us rules and regulations that protect our lives and our health. We disregard them not because they are false or harmful, but because we lack the insight and strength to consistently live by them.
But if the Spirit of God lives in us and we grant him the "house right" in his temple, then he will shape our thinking and actions in such a way that we follow our best convictions and values. We can then say, “Now I have a new life! It is no longer determined by my old self, but by the risen Christ who lives in me. ”(Galatians 2:20) That is an attractive Christian lifestyle!

Back to overview