How “Good” Do We Have it? Very Good.

Front view portrait of four business executives jumping with arms raisedThe quality of life we enjoy in the West today is due in large part to the advancements of medicine and science. It’s not difficult to find a place of deep thankfulness when meditating on the reality of my birth in the 20th century rather than the 10th.  Five minutes of rational reflection on the facts of history should have the same affect on any of us. Of course, the deceit of pride is we begin to believe we’re entitled to certain things just because we’re alive. We know that the roadway to sin is paved with the cobblestones of thanklessness.[i]

Until the most recent times, the grueling struggle for mere existence was the normal lot of life for everyone but the rich or the aristocracy.  The average human life span in ancient Greece was 20 years.  It was 21 at the time of Christ. It grew to 30 years in medieval Europe, 47 years in the United States in 1900, and to over 75 years today.[ii] This means that hitting a ripe old age of 70 has only been a possibility for approximately the last .25% -.50% of recorded human history! [iii]  99.75%-99.50% of those who have gone before us[iv] on the planet would not share our definition of normal. Not only would our life span have staggered them, but the overall average health that we enjoy today would also have been inconceivable. Our predecessors were (along with millions of our contemporaries) locked in a bitter daily struggle for life or death that we just can’t comprehend.

If we want to understand health and healing from a biblical perspective, we must be aware of how abnormal our normal is on the grand stage of human experience. If we want to understand the issue as someone in the Bible would have understood it, then we must sit in his or her seat. Someone likely to die at the age of 20-21 and who has the highest probability of spending most of those years dealing with sickness and pain will have a different attitude toward the significance of health and healing in God’s overall plan than you or I. 

Just sayin’ sometimes a little “perspective” helps in the “thankfulness department” and the “you think you have it rough department.”

This blog is excerpted from our title: Healing: Hope or Hype? available at


[i] Romans 1:21.

[ii] Anderson RN: United States abridged life tables, 1996. National Vital Statistics Reports 47(13):1-20, 1998; Almost a 60% increase within the last 100 years.

[iii] Using 20,000 and 10,000 years for known human history, and the mid-20th century for the emergence of a 70 year life span.

[iv] And I would estimate 70-80% of the present population of the planet.

Copyright 2013,  Dr. Stephen R. Crosby, Permission is granted to copy, forward, or distribute this article for non-commercial use only, as long as this copyright byline, in totality, is maintained in all duplications, copies, and link references.  For reprint permission for any commercial use, in any form of media, please contact
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3 comments on “How “Good” Do We Have it? Very Good.

  1. Thanks for this offering Steve – good to be reminded sometimes that it ain’t all about us! – funny how relational perspective and humble love seems to cure all things…’s almost as if by design 🙂

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