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The Christian And Blood Transfusion

By Asindi Andrew Asindi
12 July 2015   |   12:25 am
IN the Old Testament era, God placed a high premium on blood and regarded it as sacred because it was the only one instrument with which man could be cleansed of his iniquities. At the time, individuals were sprinkled with the blood of animals for the removal of their sin. This arises from the context…
Blood product for transfussion

Blood product for transfussion

IN the Old Testament era, God placed a high premium on blood and regarded it as sacred because it was the only one instrument with which man could be cleansed of his iniquities. At the time, individuals were sprinkled with the blood of animals for the removal of their sin. This arises from the context that it was with the blood that there was atonement for human soul. In other words, without the sprinkling of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin, and the wages of sin is death. Blood of sheep and cattle used for sacrifice at the time, therefore, washed off man’s sin. Hence blood was a purifier through which man will live. Based on this, God regarded blood as life. Hence, He strictly warned the Jews not to toy with blood, but to have a very high regard for its sanctity.

Nevertheless, at no time and in no era was it part of God’s own injunction, instruction or commandment that man should not engage in human blood transfusion. It is purely a mere human conception and assumption that God forbids the donation and reception of blood transfusion. Quoting directly from the King James Version, God says, “And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers in the sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Therefore, I said unto the children of Israel, no soul of you shall eat blood; neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood (Lev 17: 10-12). Also in the book of Deuteronomy, God repeats, “Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life; and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh. Thou shalt not eat it; thou shalt pour it upon the earth as water. Thou shalt not eat it; that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the LORD.” (Deut 12: 23-25). I have intentionally adopted this old English version of King James in order to avoid any form of language dilution with the modern English Version Bibles.

This statement is simple, and crystal clear enough for all humans to understand. The point our omniscient God emphasises here and which runs through all versions of the bible, is “EATING” of blood, and no more. Who is man to give it an advanced interpretation? Eating here may also mean drinking, but cannot be equated with blood transfusion. Blood is life because it was the blood that was the atoning sacrifice for people’s sins; their lives depended on it. For this reason, the blood was the most holy thing in Israel. Thus, if one ate blood, he had violated that which was sacred in reference to atonement. God did not, by any iota of imagination, infer or raise any issue to condemn drawing blood from a willing human donor and transfusing into a needy recipient, which is a form of transplantation to save life. Medically, the kidney, heart and liver have been transplanted to human.

It is common knowledge globally, that millions of lives are being saved daily through blood transfusion. Some Christians conceive blood transfusion as a contradiction to God’s injunction, whereas such does not biblically exist. Such a group of people may only win, if they desire to claim that no matter how low a patient’s blood may be, he can still survive through faith healing. Medical personnel have encountered several deaths due to anaemiaIt is on record that one of the major causes of death among Nigerian pregnant mothers is anaemia. Death due to anaemia is totally preventable. The prevention can be achieved through giving blood tonics, but in a situation whereby the blood level is extremely low and life-threatening, direct blood transfusion becomes the only unavoidable and inevitable remedy. In my several years of practice as a paediatrician, I have donated my blood, personally transfused and prescribed transfusion to save the lives of numerous dying children under my care. In some cases, we have had to exchange their blood to save their brains from being damaged by neonatal jaundice. God has blessed me to live to see and interact with some of these fortunate ones, who have grown and developed to become doctors, lawyers, bankers and top class executives.

Currently, Christ’s blood is the permanent atonement factor for man’s soul (1 Peter 1: 18-19; Hebrews 10: 4-10). In true Christian worship, the issue of animal sacrifice and animal blood no more exist. For the past 2000 years, only our Jesus Christ’s blood has come to reign; nothing else, not animals’ blood referred to in the Old Testament. Human blood donation and transfusion procedure has come to stay. It is not contrary to God’s rule because it is applied to save lives. Christians neither drink human blood nor eat animals’ blood. Blood donation or transfusion is not a religious matter, but purely a medical issue. God has never referred to it as sinful; instead He has given to man the wisdom, knowledge and understanding to administer same to save the lives of His people. No man can claim a superior wisdom to God’s and, therefore, man dare not attempt to put words in His mouth.

Those who read this communication may or should know that the commonest causes of life-threatening anaemia in Nigerian children are malaria, sickle cell disease and malnutrition. In pregnant women, the causes are ruptured ectopic pregnancy, premature separation or retained placenta and ruptured uterus. The men can be involved in road traffic accidents, causing a tear of the bones, liver, kidneys and the spleen resulting in massive bleeding. Nigeria has one of the highest pregnancy-related deaths in the world being only second to India. In most of these cases, blood products such as haemopoetin, iron and folic acid cannot save the situation. With this medication, it can take days and weeks to achieve any significant improvement in the anaemia; meanwhile death cannot wait beyond an hour. To preserve life, blood transfusion is the only answer. Some situations can be further worsened when a very anaemic patient inevitably requires a major surgery like Caesarean section, which will entail further blood loss. The doctor usually will mandatorily have to transfuse blood even before and during the operation. Life expectancy in Nigeria is only 52 years. This implies that a majority of Nigerians die before the age 52, whereas the figure is 80 years and above in Europe, USA, and the Middle East

•Rev (Prof.) Asindi Andrew Asindi is priest, Methodist Church Nigeria, Ikot Uduak, Diocese of Calabar,