The Nature of Cancer By Richard W. Moulton, M.S., M.Div., D.Min. A series of articles for Christians with Cancer In God’s original creation, order and Left to themselves, these rebellious cells peace reigned. God’s creation included will consume and destroy their host— living things—both earthly and and themselves—in the process. This is spiritual—that were bestowed with free the ultimate consequence of rebellion: will. This free will allowed them to destruction, not only of self but of follow, worship and serve God without others as well. The solution to being coerced or having no choice but rebellion? Repentance and obedience.4 to do so. However, this free will could also manifest rebellion which caused God always provides a means for (and still causes) separation from God rebellion to be countered. However, if and challenge of his sovereignty. the rebellious remains unrepentant, it must be destroyed. This is, for example, This rebellion happened first on the the purpose of the process known as spiritual level with Lucifer and other apoptosis in the body—where cells that angels who followed his lead.1 lose their normal functioning are “wired” to self-destruct.5 We see this in This rebellion later happened on the many Old Testament events that form human level with the fall of Adam and Israel’s history.6 If the rebellious does Eve.2 repent but does not comply with This rebellion also appears to happen complete obedience, then discipline on the microbiological level as some follows to produce godly behavior.7 cells display a will to forsake their God- While most readers are no doubt designed functioning and begin to act familiar with these processes and in ways foreign to their purpose. events on the human level, applying This is the nature of cancer: Rebellious terms like “rebellion,” “obedience,” cells wage war against the body’s “destruction” and “discipline” to mechanisms that are designed by God microbiological processes still seems to produce healthy functioning very foreign. Yet, in many ways, what resulting in well-being.3 goes on in our bodies at the microbiological level is very amenable to In cancer, this rebellion is manifested description with these terms. Ralph in seven hallmarks—or common Winter observes that the activities—that have been identified by anthropomorphisms used by scientists cancer researchers. Each hallmark is a to describe the activity of cancer is one unique “battlefield” where cellular indication that cancer is more than just rebellion co-opts normal body processes the result of random processes.8 to produce harmful effects. Let me digress for a moment and make weapons are that will be effective on the something clear. There have been some battlefield. who say that cancer is the result of personal sin. They believe that people Why not just leave the battle to the with cancer can only be healed if they medical practitioners? Certainly there is repent and believe. Please hear me— much they can do to help, but their this is not what I am saying. What I am weapons are most often not targeted, saying is this: We live in a world where and where they are targeted, the enemy there is a thief (who is Satan) who is very adept at moving to evade comes to steal, kill and destroy.9 It is destruction.11 In short, the medical not unreasonable to believe that this approach still has many shortcomings happens in not only in the visible realm when it comes to fighting rebellious but also in the microbiological realm. cancer cells. Anna Deavere Smith says, While I agree that sin can (and does) “Cancer therapy is like beating the dog lead to grave problems, I believe that with a stick to get rid of his fleas.”12 cancer is warfare that happens on the But can a spiritual approach have any microbiological level, independent of the physical effect? Look at ancient Israel. level of sin, repentance or non- Their approach to battle was always repentance in our lives. Granted, there spiritual first, then physical. And what are behaviors in our lives that can kind of a result did they have? Physical. make us more vulnerable to cancer, They physically overcame the enemy by and these are documented and following a spiritual approach to discussed by many authors.10 warfare. Jesus always spoke in warfare When we find ourselves beset with terminology when He referred to Satan, cancer, we are victims of a battle going who He called “the one who can destroy on at the microbiological level that we both soul and body,”13 referring to both have most likely been totally unaware spiritual and physical destruction. The was being waged. Most often, we come only way you can combat an enemy to the battle late, at a disadvantage who fights from a physical and spiritual because we don’t know the enemy dimension is with a physical and (other than the “C” word), how to wage spiritual approach. battle (other than what the doctors tell This is why the approach presented in us to do), or how to emerge victorious The Cancer Cure Experiment is (other than hoping that the medical complementary to medical treatment. regimens will work). The spiritual view provides an avenue However, no matter how late we come toward healing that works alongside the to the battle, there is much we can do medical approach. In fact, the spiritual from a spiritual perspective to wage war view targets the same hallmarks your against the rebellion going on at the medical treatment is targeting, but from microbiological level in our body. It is a a different, unexpected approach. Sun- matter of learning what the battlefield Tzu, the Chinese general who authored looks like and learning what the The Art of War, says “…in battle one engages with the orthodox and gains So what is the spiritual view? See victory through the unorthodox. The Figure 1 below. This figure shows the one who excels at sending forth the hallmarks of cancer in the outer circle, unorthodox is as inexhaustible as the medical approaches used to combat Heaven…”14 each hallmark around the middle circle, and the spiritual views necessary to What makes the spiritual view overcome each hallmark, or stronghold, unorthodox? Its approach counters of cancer in the center of the circle. common sense: it sees battles differently than the medical approach Boice writes, “If you are a Christian, and is as “inexhaustible as Heaven”— you are a soldier in God’s army and are meaning there are no destructive side- engaged in a war where many enemy effects with the spiritual view. Stanford strongholds need to be conquered.”17 Cancer Institute associate director That is exactly the case with cancer. Branimir Sitic said, “Maybe half of all Each stronghold must be conquered so patients with common cancers are that cancer no longer has any ability to resistant and don’t benefit from the survive in your body. We will discuss treatment. But they all get toxic side the spiritual view of each stronghold— effects.”15 Others have noted that and overcoming each stronghold—In prayer has no harmful side effects, as detail in separate articles. do continued chemo and radiation treatments.16 Figure 1 The Spiritual Views of the Seven Hallmarks of Cancer Notes: 15Game Change: On the Verge of a Revolution, Krista Conger, Stanford 1Ezekiel 28:11-17 and Isaiah 14:12-17 Medicine, Fall 2011. 2Genesis 3 16Prayingto Heal Cancer, Frances 3SeeOne Renegade Cell, Robert A. MacNutt, 2002. Retrieved July 16, 2010 Weinberg, Basic Books, 1999. from Christian Healing Ministries: http://www.christianhealingmin.org. 4For example, see Jeremiah 26:13. 17Joshua, J. M. Boice, Baker Books, 5Genome, Matt Ridley, Harper 1989. Perennial, 2006, p. 233. 6For example, see Joshua 6:20-21. 7For example, see Revelation 3:19. 8Theologizing the Microbiological World, Implications for Mission in The Story of Our Planet: Origins, Evil, and Mission, Ralph D. Winter, http://www.ralphwinter.org/images/do cuments/w1200_10_origins_evil_n_mis. pdf. 9John 10:10a. 10Forexample, see Anticancer, David Servan-Schreiber, Viking Adult, 2009. 11Principlesof Cancer Therapy: Oncogene and Non-Oncogene Addiction, J. Luo, N. L. Solimini, and S. J. Elledge, Dell, pp. 823-837. Me Down Easy, Anna Deavere 12Let Smith, quoted in The Emperor of All Maladies, S. Mukherjee, Scribner, 2010. 13Matthew 10:28b 14TheArt of War, Sun-Tzu, Barnes & Noble, 1994.