As many people I have also experienced the deleterious effects of that old and widely employed satanic tactic of using Gods word against Gods purposes. The passage about the apparently epileptic boy miraculously healed by Christ seemed, in my case, particularly suitable to fit this plan of Satan. There was a time when it completely succeeded.
Born in Cuba, where I still work as a physician, my fading Christian beliefs were confronted with a seemingly unsolvable contradiction between science and the Bible embodied in a medical axiom: Epilepsy is always a disease due to natural causes; just an electrical brain storm and nothing else. This being true; the boy's clinical picture described in Matthew 17:14-21 Mark 9:14-29 and Luke 9:37-43 closely resembling an epileptic crisis had nothing to do with demoniac possession. Accordingly, disappearance of the fit at Jesus rebuke was just a coincidence. To support this, it could be argued that most of these episodes are self limited. So, knowing it or without knowing it Christs intervention took place when the attack was about to conclude by itself. Therefore, no supernatural power and no casting out of any demon were involved.
To reinforce this I could remember how a common man, Christopher Columbus did something similar. This something happened in Jamaica where desperately in need of natives help; the Great Admiral threatened them with turning off the Sun if not provided with the resources he was requesting. An eclipse, which he had calculated would be seen at the appointed deadline, took place as foretold. After such display of power the Indians started to think of Columbus as a god. Of course, they gave him all the help he asked for. Facing these facts, the miraculous healing of that boy seemed to me a fake.
I would have continued thinking this way all my life had it not been for the providential intervention of a relative of mine, who recounted to me how a homosexual man suffered a convulsive fit. According to his description it was very similar to an epileptic attack. However, in this case, there was a particular feature which convinced me that it was somehow different.
Once the fit concluded, the patient said to my relative: One of your neighbors and he described him and his house has stolen one of your hens killing it. When you finish your shift at work, go to such and such place and you will find your hens still fresh remains and plumage. Doing as he was told, my relative could verify everything.
The capability of the person who suffered this fit to give information about events and persons he didnt know made me think that something beyond natural causes was responsible for that mans crisis. I started to suspect a demoniac agent behind this event when I realized how such a revelation had the disguised purpose of provoking a strife. From that moment on my mind became opened to the plausibility of the gospels accounts regarding the apparently epileptic boy.
Notwithstanding one doubt remained. It was about Matthew 17:15 where the boys father says: for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. How could that be possible? During an attack as the one described in Mark 9:14-29 and Luke 9:37-43 patients cannot swim to avoid drowning or run to escape from fire. Despite this, there we had a boy who had fallen into the flames and into the water in the middle of these fits and was still alive.
No one would suspect the answer to this question was waiting for me just at the border of the Ethiopian Ogaden desert. Serving there as a medical doctor, I saw many persons living under conditions similar to those of poor people during Christs times in Palestine. There, you can see single room huts with no kitchen. A small hole dug in the center of those houses functions as a cooking place. With wood being very scarce, fuel to cook is provided by dried manure. At night; when those huts become bedrooms without beds, an almost imperceptible fire in the cooking place remains barely alive under layers of ashes. As to water, the small amount brought home on foot from a distant source, has to be kept also inside such a lonely room. That is why during a convulsive seizure a boy could and can, fall into the fire with minimal or no damage at all, or into the water without getting drowned.
Considering these irrefutable proofs Matthew, Mark, and Luke were all perfectly correct. They were not naive fellows believing anything or cunning journalists trying to manipulate their readers. They were men of God telling the truth. When that truth shone upon me, those old Satan forged chains of unbelief melted away. I felt free to walk on a faith and science supported bridge which allows me to go from what I was to what I ought to be.
The author cautions that any convulsive episode should be medically evaluated and treated.
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The author, Rolando Suffos, MD, grandson of well-known Cuban spiritualist is a Cuban Army Reserve Officer. Best graduated in his teaching hospital, Dr. Suffos, age 57, is a father, and a grandfather. Having served in the Cuban Central Military Hospital, Dr. Suffos led a multidisciplinary medical team in Ethiopia close to the Ogaden desert.
It was during this Ethiopian assignment, that Dr. Suffos, educated in an atheist country, found the answer to a question that for many years made him doubt the truthfulness of the Bible.