Thursday, June 23, 2011

Freedom from the Fear of Death

by Rich Vincent
Approximately 10 very short phrases of this article have been reconstructed to render it a non-polemic piece as this poster considers its content extremely vital to the Gospel and a legitimate consideration for all Christians. My thought was to remove any unnecessary distraction to those who might take offense and would otherwise embrace the contents and subject matter herein. The original article can be read here.

April 18, 2008
Freedom from the Fear of Death
The Curse of Sin and the Resurrection of Christ
Rich Vincent

For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. (1 Corinthians 15:3-5)

The earliest gospel preached by the apostles is summarized in the creed handed down to Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5. The "good news" is not principally about us; it is about Christ Jesus: "Christ died... he was buried... he was raised." In other words, the same Christ who died and was buried (and thus, was truly dead) is the same Christ who rose from the dead.

The creed emphasizes that Christ's death and resurrection are "in accordance with the scriptures." In this way, the events concerning Jesus of Nazareth are connected to Israel's story, and not just a few "proof-texts." In this regard, Anglican scholar and pastor N. T. Wright writes,

Paul is not proof-texting; he does not envisage one or two, or even half a dozen, isolated passages about a death for sinners. He is referring to the entire biblical narrative as the story which has reached its climax in the Messiah, and has now given rise to the new phase of the same story, the phase in which the age to come has broken in, with its central characteristic being (seen from one point of view) rescue from sins, and (from another point of view) rescue from death, i.e. resurrection.

Since Jesus' life, death, and resurrection are "the continuation and fulfillment of God's dealings with Israel," the "good news" is the consummation of God's original redemptive intent as communicated in the sacred scriptures.

It is here that the gospel connects to our lives. Though the good news is not principally about us, it does have significance for us. That is, the good news possesses redemptive significance: It is "for our sins." Jesus' death and resurrection are God's saving response to the human condition that is the consequence of human rebellion to God.

What, then, is the nature of the human condition to which Jesus' death and resurrection are the only remedy? How does Jesus' death and resurrection address the problem of sin? And how does this all fit into the ancient story of God's dealings with creation and humanity? In order to answer these questions, we must go all the way back to the beginning of God's story in the book of Genesis.

Original Goodness

Sometimes we focus so much on humanity's fall into sin that we ignore a foundational truth: The world is good - created and blessed by God to be the stage upon which God's grace and goodness is expressed and experienced (Genesis 1; cf. 1 Timothy 4:4).

Not out of lack or necessity, but in complete freedom, God created the heavens and the earth out of the overflow of the Triune fullness, in order that all creation may share in the divine fullness of life and love. God's original intention was that the heavens and the earth would be a temple of the living God.

In this cosmic temple, humankind was granted a special and unique role. Unlike any other creature, humanity was not created by Divine Fiat - the utterance of the Divine Word ("Let there be...") - but by the direct involvement and action of God. Consequently, humankind bears the divine image, possessing a unique capacity to reflect the divine likeness and to mediate the divine presence. Through communion with God (walking and talking with God) and stewardship on God's behalf (obedience to God's will), humankind dwelt in harmony with itself, fellow humans, God, and God's creation.

This sacred harmony was disrupted by sin. Through human disobedience to God's will, death entered the world. Paul summarized this truth in Romans 5:12: "Therefore, sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned." With the introduction of sin, and along with it, death, the disintegration of creation began, and with it, the need for divine redemption.

Original Sin

The disintegration, or corruption, of creation has four dimensions. Because of sin, humankind is now alienated

from God. Whereas Adam once walked with God, Adam now hides from God. God's lonely cry, "Adam, where are you?" underscores the pain of this separation. This is not God's will. God's redemption will bring reconciliation.

from others. The blame-shifting between Adam and Eve, seeking to be right at the expense of the other, is one expression of this. Domination, jealousy, murder, and vengeance rapidly ensue, and become the "normal" human experience. This is not God's will. God's redemption will bring healing.

from self. Once naked and unashamed, Adam and Eve now experience shame. They are profoundly aware that they are not what they should be. They seek to hide the truth from one another and from themselves. This is not God's will. Redemption will bring wholeness.

from creation. Creation is subject to vanity (Romans 8:20-23). Thus begins the human struggle to survive in the face of death and corruption. "Domination and exploitation of the creation for selfish ends by greedy human beings became the order of history." This is not God's will. Redemption will bring renewal and re-creation.

This is the tragic situation in which we find ourselves. The sinful exercise of human freedom, provoked by the devil, introduced forces of disintegration and corruption into creation. From the beginning, the devil, sin, death (and the corruption that accompanies it) are inseparably linked. All exist as parasites on God's good creation.

What then is needed to redeem what was lost in the fall? Restored union and communion with God and others, and a reintegrated environment that is no longer susceptible to corruption. Redemption is no less than the recovery of all that was lost in Adam. It is God's divine response to the human condition brought about by human sin. All that is divided must be reunited. All that is corrupted must be healed.

This restoration and renewal of all things in Christ is at the heart of the gospel message: "God's plan for the fullness of time is to gather up all things in him [Christ], things in heaven and things on earth" (Ephesians 1:10). This union comes about through the death and resurrection of Christ:

He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:18-20)
Through the redemptive work of Christ, "the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God" (Romans 8:21).

When Christ's work is complete, the Lord's promise will be fulfilled: "Indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord" (Numbers 14:21); "For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" (Habakkuk 2:14).

God's intention to fill all creation with the divine presence and love is the heartbeat of sacred history. This work of redemption is God's ultimate answer to our greatest problems: sin, death, and the devil. Through Jesus' death and resurrection, these enemies are addressed, overcome, and defeated. We now live in light of this victory and await its future consummation in the new heavens and new earth (Revelation 20).

Reevaluating Our Perspective on Death

In order to fully appreciate the scope of God's redemptive work in Christ, we must reevaluate our perspective on death. Our view of original sin deeply influences our understanding of God's redemptive plan. We are often unaware of this influence. However, we must never underestimate the following fact: The way we describe our problem ("original sin") deeply influences what we perceive as the necessary solution to our problem. In other words, our view of salvation is primarily shaped by our understanding of what exactly is wrong and what needs to be put to right.

Some Christians generally assume that death is God's punishment for sin. In other words, death is God's doing. Stated in the starkest of terms, some Christians generally assume that death is God's judgment on guilty sinners - God's punishment for sin. Though we attempt to soften the blow by assigning the devil as God's chosen instrument of death, the implications remain the same: God kills guilty sinners. And God is justified in doing so because of the guilt of sin. The "wages of sin is death" because God vindictively punishes the sinner for his or her sins.

However, a more traditional view of our main problem ("original sin") and God's solution is markedly different. Sin is its own undoing; it contains within itself the seeds of its own destruction. Sin is the turning away from the divine life and love, and its ultimate consequence is alienation and death. God did not create death; we brought it upon ourselves through our sin. God warned of death because death is not God's will: "for in the day that you eat from it, you shall surely die" (Genesis 2:16). Rather, communion, obedience, and the sharing of divine life is God's will.

Death exists in the world as a parasite apart from the will of God. It is not God's creation. Since sin is always a perversion of the good, it brings decay and disintegration to all it touches. It destroys rather than builds up. Death is the ultimate experience of the disintegration of creation due to human sin. In death, the corruption of sin is complete.

The difference between the two views described above comes down to this: Generally speaking, the first view assumes that death is God's doing - God's punishment for sin - and therefore, God's will. In the traditional Christian view, death is God's enemy, a great evil, a perversion, a distortion, a corrupting parasite on God's good creation.

In my opinion, the historical and traditional perspective is faithful to the whole message of scripture. In other words, it does a better job of connecting the dots of sin, death, and the devil. Viewing original sin and death in this manner, our problem is not simply that we are guilty and need forgiveness. Our problem is that we are sick (the ultimate expression being death) and need divine healing (the ultimate expression being resurrection).

The life and ministry of Jesus supports this view. In the establishment and expression of God's kingdom, Jesus healed the sick, cast out demons, and raised the dead. Theologian, John Romanides asks, "If death and man's bondage to Satan, however, are the will of God, we necessarily ask why the Evangelists present Christ to us through numerous miracles in which He heals the sick, casts out demons, and raises the dead?" This is also evident in Jesus' great struggle in Gethsemane. Why was Jesus so reluctant to die, if death were not a great evil? Likewise, why would Jesus so passionately weep over Lazarus' tomb (especially with the knowledge that he would soon raise him from the dead), if it were not that death is a great evil that demands divine redemption?

I believe that this historical and traditional view best connects and explains the biblical evidence. God is not responsible for death and corruption. Death is not God's will; it is God's enemy. God speaks through the prophet, "I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked" (Ezekiel 33:11). Why would we assume that God enacts punishment for sin through death when no biblical text explicitly states this? On the contrary, we read, "The soul that sins shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4) and "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). These passages do not read "The soul that sins shall die by God's hand" or "The wages of sin is death by God." Instead, death is the tragic consequence and ultimate end of sin. The very seeds of death are contained in every act of sin, since sin is a turning away from the divine life, love, and communion.

Because we often assume death is God's punishment, we present the gospel in an un-Biblical fashion: we push personal guilt in the transmission of sin to the forefront and relegate the power of Satan, death, and corruption to the background. We assume that "guilt" is our primary problem and "forgiveness" our primary need. For those concerned with the truth of this matter, death and corruption is our primary problem, and our ultimate need is divine healing and wholeness. In other words, we who are "dead in our sins and trespasses" need life by God's grace alone, for we are chained to our sins and helpless before death (Ephesians 2:1).

When we begin to think in this manner, many familiar (and unfamiliar) passages take on a new meaning. For example: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life" (John 3:16). Our problem here is not guilt and the solution forgiveness. Our problem is our inherent corruptibility due to sin ("perish") and our need is for "eternal life."

Death - The Fruit and Root of Sin

The problem of sin goes deeper and the connections are greater than we often realize. Death is not simply the fruit of sin; it is also sin's root. The devil uses the fear of death to provoke further sin and destruction.

As noted above, in Romans 5:12, Paul connects Jesus' saving work to Adam's fall. "Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned." The text continues with Paul arguing that death, not guilt, is the real problem. Death reigned in spite of personal guilt demonstrated through breaking God's law: "sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law. Yet death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses" (Romans 5:13-14a). It is not personal guilt alone that calls for divine forgiveness, but "the dominion or reign of death" that must be addressed by the gift of life.

The Greek of Romans 5:12b could also be constructed, "and because of which death all have sinned." This would cause the entire passage to read: "Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and because of which death all have sinned." Viewed in this light, we discover that sin "is an egocentric illness contracted from the parasites called corruptibility and death. Adam died because he sinned, and death spread to all men. Now we sin because we die, for the sting of death is sin. ... Death is the root; sin is the thorn that springs from it."

Put simply: sin leads to death and death arouses sin. Death is the fruit and root of sin. This evil cycle is doomed to lead to destruction unless divine redemption halts its progress.

And this is exactly what the devil seeks to do. Whether one believes in a personal devil or one views the devil as a metaphor - the embodiment of systemic sin and destructive powers - the outcome is the same. Death is used by the evil powers to excite fear, sin, and destruction. This is the point the author of Hebrews makes in Hebrews 2:14-15: "Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself [Jesus] likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death." This harmonizes with 1 John 3:8b: "The Son of God was revealed for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil."

Now, all three themes - sin, death, and the devil - come together: Sin results in death, and the fear of death is used by the devil to deceptively and cunningly destroy the works of God. Thus, death is both the fruit and root of sin. And it is precisely the devil's cunning use of the fear of death that excites sin and furthers human corruption and societal and ecological destruction.

Fear of Death as a Root of Sin

The power of death and corruption is not negative, but positively active: "The sting of death is sin" (1 Corinthians 15:56); "Sin reigns in death" (Romans 5:21). Though we were made for life in God, we are now, due to sin and death, corruptible, perishing, decaying. We are sick, and we need healing. We need redemption from death and the ultimate disintegration it brings. The evil one plays on our fear of death, furthering sin and death in rebellion to God's will.

Christian theologians are not the only ones who have made this connection. In his Pulitzer Prize winning work, The Denial of Death, psychologist Ernest Becker suggests that the fear of death haunts the human animal like nothing else.

Animals "live and they disappear with the same thoughtlessness: a few minutes of fear, a few seconds of anguish, and it is over. But to live a whole lifetime with the fate of death haunting one's dreams and even the most sun-filled days--that's something else."

We know emotionally that we are creatures who will die. Consciously or unconsciously, this truth pervades our entire lives. Death is not simply a one-time event. It is a process. We live with it our entire lives. Ernest Becker argues that we, in order to maintain the illusion of sanity, deny death:

Everything that man does in his symbolic world is an attempt to deny and overcome his grotesque fate. He literally drives himself into a blind obliviousness with social games, psychological tricks, personal preoccupations so far removed from the reality of his situation that they are forms of madness--agreed madness, shared madness, disguised and dignified madness, but madness all the same.

The fear of death and disintegration brings anxiety, despair, and a frantic search for meaning. We fear the threats of disease, sickness, bodily decay, challenges of aging, and physical violence that could maim or destroy us. The 1987 Report of the World Council of Churches Inter-Orthodox Consultation draws attention to the social implications of the fear of death:

"Fear of death instilled anxiety, acquisitiveness, greed, hatred and despair in human beings. Modern forms of economic exploitation, racial oppression, social inequalities, war, genocide, etc. are all consequences of the fear of death and collective signs of death."

Afraid to die, we are also afraid to truly live. We fear both death and life. Our desire for self-preservation easily descends to self-absorption and self-justification. We come to believe that practically everyone is expendable except ourselves. In its most extreme form, we actually feel we can defeat our own death by killing others. War is the most obvious expression of this.

In this state, we dare not risk our security to help others. Our well-being takes on greater importance than self-giving love. Any perceived threat triggers fear and anxiety. John Romanides writes, "Being under the way of death and not having real and correct faith in God, man is anxious over everything and is ruled by selfish bodily and psychological motives and, thus, he is unable to love unselfishly and freely. He loves and has faith according to what he perceives to be to his own advantage."

Fear is a powerful force wielded to influence our decisions. Politicians, advertisers, and even preachers play on our fears in self-serving ways. Ultimately, we fear the loss of life and the loss of our way of life. As long as the fear of death holds us under its dominion - whether consciously or unconsciously - we dare not take the necessary risks to live fully, selflessly, and in a Christ-like manner.

The Significance of the Resurrection

The death and resurrection of Christ are central to the good news of God's redemption because sin and death have been fully addressed in Jesus' death and resurrection. Christ Jesus has "abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel" (2 Timothy 1:10).

Christ's work is redemptive ("for our sins") and the fulfillment of God's saving purposes ("in accordance with the scriptures") because it recovers all that was lost in Adam. Sin, death, and the devil have been dealt a lethal blow in the death and resurrection of Christ (see Colossians 2:13-15). These parasites on God's good creation are removed, and all things are restored in Christ.

Resurrection is the culmination and consummation of God's redemptive purpose because it represents the ultimate undoing, reversal, and defeat of death. It represents the highest achievement of divine healing. It is the reason we can cry out in praise with Paul, "But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:57).

This is the reason Paul argues for the necessity and centrality of the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. "Without the resurrection, there is no reason to suppose that Jesus' crucifixion dealt with sins, or with sin. But, with the resurrection, the divine victory over sin(s), and hence over death, is assured."[14] Paul is crystal clear: "there is no gospel at all unless the death of Christ can be seen to deal with sin once and for all."

No Fear

It is our faith in Jesus' victory over sin, death, and the devil that gives us the courage to renounce the fear of death and walk in the power of God's Spirit (see 1 Timothy 1:7). The fear of death through which the devil prevailed is now vanquished. The strength of evil is broken. "Death is a great enemy, but it has been conquered and will at the last be conquered fully. ... death is important; it is an enemy, but for the Christian, it is a beaten enemy."

Fear keeps us from being perfected in love. This is the point the Apostle John makes in 1 John 4:17-18:

Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dear and Pious Roman Catholics,

Dear and Pious Roman Catholics,

This is a brief but sincere confession regarding why I still feel bonded to you, but have made a choice that most of you have not…

I have been accused by certain RC of leaving Rome for the “attention”. (LOL is my first but friendly reaction.) Grant it, I have received much more attention than I realized I would because of it, but this definitely was not the catalyst for my decision. But neither was any obvious intellectual or well thought-out and convincing argumentation or line of scholastic reasoning. To my dismay, this misconception of my ability to choose without regard to “facts” has only exacerbated the attention I’ve received from well-meaning Romans who now think I am an easy target for a well-reasoned argumentation back into the jurisdiction of the Papacy. This might make sense, IF, the arguments were as well defined as they are between Rome and the Reformation, (Protestants), but I find that they are not. And don't worry; there are plenty of Orthodox who are not only angry with me for expressing my faith with Catholics without intellectual justification (oftentimes), but who worry that either I will be hurt in the process or that I will hurt someone else in the process. I don't take their concerns lightly, but neither am I cowered by them, and I don't say that with any sense of personal pride or lack of humility whatsoever. I simply am where I am with no other possible position to take. It is not my choice…at least that is how I feel at the moment.

Smart people are very good at articulating convincing arguments to justify their positions, whether or not their positions are correct, especially those smart people who have years of literary experience, or, at least have had the time to put in the effort to gain volumes of historical and philosophical study. These articulate arguments not only convince themselves, but can oftentimes convince others as well. I am not one of them.

Upon leaving Rome for Orthodoxy I have found that arguments from both sides are much more complicated and convincing in defending the claims and legitimacy of each, than is any dialogue of reason I have EVER faced while leaving Protestantism for Rome. However, my decision to leave Protestantism for Rome was never based on the sheer power of a good argument either, even though the scholastic evidence is overwhelming. It was rather a call toward the Sacred and visible expression of the authority of Christ in the visible expression of His Church, something that Protestants both imitate, BUT, deny its very existence at the same time.

This self-defeating existence of the Protestant mind-set finally forced me to look closely at the one Church available for my examination that did not deny it’s visible authority, either in practice, nor in theory. Neither in space and time, nor in heaven and eternity. It’s visibility and authority did not try to spiritualize itself to the point of being irrelevant, invisible, and self-defeating as is the obvious and honest conclusion of every single claim of Protestantism and their futile attempts to keep Heaven separate from the Earth as they insist that death STILL separates our earthly existence from heaven and relegates the heavenly realm to the future; either at our own death, or at the culmination of the age. The Protestants have succeeded in participating in this delusion in spite of the fact that Christ’s Body is NOT divided, and especially not by death, as Christ alone has conquered death for all mankind once and for all. The curtain has been torn asunder. There is nothing left to wait for, nothing left to separate our earthly existence from our heavenly future. It is both now and future. We still ‘advance’ while in our temporal existence, but we still have our roots in Heaven, and they are growing there right this minute.

Anyway, long story shorter, since my brief year in Rome, I have come to witness yet another visible manifestation of heaven’s authority on earth coming out of Orthodoxy, and it’s beauty has been so overwhelming I could not ignore it’s veracity, and not of it’s intellectual arguments, but of its success in maintaining a window to heaven that is even clearer than what I’ve witnessed in the windows of Rome. Of course I have checked the claims of Orthodoxy and have weighed it’s arguments to some extent just to make sure there were no glaring problems that just might prove my eyes were deceiving me, but as I stated in the beginning of this note, the intellectual arsenal of defenses and apologetics for Orthodoxy are just as exhaustive if not more plentiful, as are those of Rome, and my only chance at making a move between the two was not finally going to be based on the intellectual, at least not immediately, it was going to be based on the clarity of the windows to heaven that each provided. Otherwise, I would be forced to choose neither until I was “smart enough” to make a move. This to me was unthinkable. I had to choose so that I could be in communion with heaven.

Too ‘cheesy’ for you? Too un-academic? I understand, and I am not only criticized by certain Romans for the current reason for my position, but by many in Orthodoxy as well as I stated earlier. So far I don't care too much about these accusations because I am just enjoying the view of heaven I have at the windows of Orthodoxy giving me light to read and study so that my intellect can catch up. It could take me years, but this view I have is helping me to pass this time with patience. And, I am not too proud or presumptive enough to say that once my intellect does catch up, I might yet once again find myself in Rome. Until then, I find the view and the light source much more brilliant and refreshing in Orthodoxy.

Thanks for your time. I love you, at least the best way I can for now.

Sincerely, and warm regards,
Forgive me.
Steve Hunt

(p.s., my above greeting and signature line are not some delusional impression of my own “piety”, lol, but are a rule of writing I am trying to adopt from certain priests I know. I find it a proper expression of respect and manners fitting for the Church.)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What IS the beauty that will save the world?

Quote Frenzy  ►  "The Liturgy will save the world"  †  "In the Liturgy, postmodernism simply doesn’t have a target"  †  "Only Incense can stop postmodernism"  †  "At the sounds of the Liturgy, the idols of hermeneutics fall down"  †  "Clouds of Incense are immune to Derrida"

Yes, I'm still thinking about that great blog post by Jacob; Only Incense Can Stop Postmodernism. This is not an analysis of his post, just some thoughts stirred up from reading it.

It seems that postmodernism is destroying faith in the West. However, many in the East are enjoying a resurgence of faith. Amazing? Although analysis of how this has happened in the Roman Catholic Church is somewhat controversial, it's not hard to assume that a destruction of the Liturgy is at the root. Where this Liturgy is not being destroyed, the RCC can boast of growth in Asia and Africa. At the same time, the Russian Orthodox Church, with a timeless liturgy, has resurrected from a position of being in the slaughter house (50+ million martyred in the 20th century alone), to being the Russian government's most sought after ally. And even in the West, hit hardest by postmodernism, faithful Christians seem to be leaving their assaulted Christian bunkers and flocking to Churches who have a strong tradition in Liturgy, such as those expressed by this article and this article.

It is interesting to me in all of this that it would seem the day's of Protestantism and the days of Roman Catholic 'innovations' are numbered. They are not 'protected' by any root in Liturgy, at least for the most part. They will either be rooted in the sacredness of Apostolic Tradition or simply change into some non-Christian entity and/or dissapear all together. They have only lasted as long as they have because postmodernism had not quite yet completely destroyed what they are rooted in; (strong families and communities, and the virtues they protect).

It is also interesting to me to note the supernatural power and wisdom of this Apostolic Tradition which has protected the Gospel and the Church for over 2000 years, no matter what new means are constructed (or destructed), on Earth, to try and destabilize what God has established eternally in Heaven. If it is beauty that will save the world [ search ] then what is more beautiful than what God brings to the Earth from Heaven? It really is only the beauty of the Liturgy that will save the world, (and the Church), and it really is only incense that can stop postmodernism.

*It is especially in the context of the liturgy that beauty can touch the human soul, so "superficiality, banality, and negligence" have no place in the liturgy.  *source

Thursday, March 17, 2011

RADIATION PROTECTION - With Tincture of Iodine

(transdermal drug delivery system)

*Due to the scarcity of documentation available, (that I can find), I make no claim that topical tincture of iodine is equally as effective as oral potassium iodide in blocking thyroid uptake of radioactive iodine, (idodine-131). However, this makes sense enough to me to try if potassium iodide tablets or liquid are not available.

UPDATE: 03/18/2011; AUDIO: Shane Connor, (Potassium Iodide manufacturer), confirms that TOPICAL tincture of iodine is an acceptable substitute for oral potassium iodide tablets, (and other radiation concerns).

Radiation Plume Projected to Hit Southern California Late Friday (03/18/2011)

Tincture of iodine keeps radiation away - possible home remedy in event of nuclear plant mishap
Science News, Dec 7, 1985

Researchers at Pennsylvania State University's medical center in Hershey have stumbled onto what may be an effective home remedy to prevent serious radioactive contamination of the thyroid gland from iodine-131 emitted in the event of a major nuclear plant mishap. They swab the skin with a tincture of iodine.

Of the many radioactive gases that can be emitted during a nuclear plant release, iodine-131 causes special concern. Because iodine is readily accumulated in the thyroid, exposure to radioactive iodine can lead to serious, concentrated doses in the small metabolism-regulating gland. For years scientists have considered prescribing community-wide ingestion of potassium iodide in regions downwind of a serious nuclear accident to block the thyroid's uptake of radioactive iodine.

The body can't distinguish between radioactive iodine and the iodine in the drug, so taking potassium iodide would fulfill the thyroid's need for the element. Should any radioactive iodine be inhaled or ingested later, studies show most of it would be excreted. This would prevent the radioactive damage -- including thyroid cancer--it might otherwise have initiated.

But potassium iodide is prescription drug, and its post-accident distribution could exacerbate the traffic tie-ups and panic that nuclear crises would inevitably foster. In fact, says Kenneth Miller, director of health physics at the Hershey Medical Center, his team's decision to look at skin absorption of household iodine sources resulted from discussions over how they would have tried to manage potassium iodide's distribution in the immediate hours after the neighboring Three Mile Island accident in 1979.

In their study, the Hershey team injected 2 microcuries of iodine-131 into 72 rats. Haft got no further treatment; the others were treated with one of the following: a paw dipped in tincture of iodine or povidone iodine (an over-the-counter germicidal solution), skin swabbing with tincture of iodine (some with a covering bandage) or oral administration of potassium iodide. Writing in the November HEALTH PHYSICS, Miller and his colleagues report that all skin applications of household iodine solutions were comparable to oral potassium iodide in blocking thyroid uptake of iodine-131; they limited the gland's accumulation to between 3 and 10 percent.

While cautioning that these were animal studies, Miller told SCIENCE NEWS, "We think there is a failry good possiblity that this technique will aslo work in humans." Moreover, since these skin compounds are approved for human use, and since the effective dose in rats suggests human skin swabbing need only cover an area the size of a hand or scraped knee, Miller sees little concern over safety. His team is now preparing to conduct the necessary human tests.

COPYRIGHT 1985 Science Service, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group