Monday, October 12, 2015

Hey, Speaking of Blood

Hey, if you want, you can play the song of the day while reading the post! That way its not like, "Aww... I just read this, now he wants me to listen a song? Man..."

Let's talk about blood!

Okay, here's a word I'm sure you've all heard of. I mean, its practically common knowledge at this point. Hematidrosis. You know that one, right?

Hematidrosis is an extremely rare medical condition --- in fact, spell-check is currently telling me it's not a word. It is, though (check http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8982961) if you don't believe me.

It is an extremely rare condition that is characterized by sweating blood, or sweat tinged with red blood cells. It is caused by acute fear and intense mental contemplation. The kind of things someone may feel if they were, say, going to be ripped apart with a whip then hung on a cross.

Luke 22:44 takes place on the Mount of Olives, just before the betrayal, and Jesus is praying earnestly, because he knows what is about to take place. It reads: "And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground."

This detail is only found in Luke. I suspect this is because Luke was a physician, and he would have been particularly intrigued by this phenomenon. There is almost no chance whatsoever than he would have seen this happen before; the page I linked above says "Hematidrosis is an extremely rare clinical phenomenon with only few instances reported to have occurred within the twentieth century." The likelihood that someone would have made up that detail is minute; it would have been regarded as ridiculous... unless someone actually saw it happen.

Now, more blood! (Well, this time the water is important.)

Okay, lets say I pierce the side of a dead guy with a spear. What kind of things do you expect to come out.

Blood, maybe some guts, right? If you're in the medical field, you may know more, but hey, blood and guts sounds about right. If I were to make up a story about a guy getting stabbed in the side after he was dead, I'd say blood and guts spewed out.

And yet, in John 19:34, he writes, "Instead [of breaking his legs], one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water." Now, this is not as rare as hematidrosis, but it isn't something that you would just make up. John certainly wouldn't have had extensive knowledge about why stabbing a dead guy with a spear would bring out blood and water.

(side note: another reason this passage is important is because it fulfills a prophecy written hundreds of years earlier, one that Jesus could not possibly have control of)

The water is because of a thing called plueral effusion (or possibly pericardial effusion). Plueral effusion is a build-up of fluid around the lungs, and pericardial effusion is a build up of fluid around the heart. This build up can be caused by several different factors present leading up to Jesus' death (you can google them if you wish, this is getting a bit long for my taste). Basically, fluid can build up around the lungs and heart under certain conditions.

So fluid built up around Jesus' lungs and heart, and then the soldier pierced his side (likely in the heart area). The fluid would have looked like water to the average observer, and it would have been accompanied by blood from the heart. And so, the only reason someone would write "blood and water" would be if they actually saw blood and water flow out of Jesus' side.

Now, to the overall point of this post. These little details are just two of the details that can help prove that what is attested to in the Gospels was actually witnessed, and that the authors did not make up the things they wrote about Jesus' life. It helps prove that the Gospels are an eyewitness account, and not, as some would say, the product of rumor-mongering and storytelling.

WOOHOO SCIENCE!

Song of the Day: At the Cross (Love Ran Red) by Chris Tomlin




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