Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Why doesn't God heal amputees?

Recently someone sent me a link to an atheist website and asked for my response. The website demanded to know, if God exists, why doesn’t he heal amputees?

Wow! I guess they’ve finally got us! The fact that God does not make missing limbs grow back must absolutely prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that God does not exist! I guess its time to close down our churches, hospitals, clinics, homeless shelters, pregnancy centers, schools, charities, youth programs, drug rehabilitation programs, orphanages, and mission agencies!

But wait! Not so fast. If God actually did a genuine miracle—let’s say, parting the Red Sea or raising a dead person back to life—would His failure to do other similar miracles constitute proof of his non-existence? To think so would be silly.

If God actually caused amputated arms and legs to grow back on occasion would the atheist then be convinced of God’s existence, or would s/he just dismiss the evidence as a genetic anomaly and pose some other hoop for God to jump though?

For example, the atheist might ask why God doesn’t enable people to walk on water today, or why doesn't He heal quadriplegics, or people whose heads have been removed by terrorists. The possible scenarios are limited only by the imagination of the atheist!

And when God doesn’t jump through their hoops like some kind of trained dog, atheists can then puff out their arrogant little chests and imagine that they’ve positively disproved God’s existence.

On the other hand, if Christians were to provide documented medical evidence of people who had scientifically been proven to have had serious diseases such as cancer which had just disappeared, would atheists believe then? Of course not! Atheists have remarkable faith that God does not exist, and absolutely no evidence will be allowed to threaten that faith.

The fact is that evidence of remarkable healing does exist--in fact there have been so many cases that doctors even have a word for it: “Spontaneous remissions.”

Although “spontaneous remissions” occur regularly, such things are always capable of multiple interpretations. When someone is diagnosed with a serious disease like cancer, and their church prays, and the cancer just disappears, Christians believe this may possibly be the work of God. Atheists are just as convinced that whatever happened, God is not involved. Both positions are matters of faith!

The fact is that Atheists are committed as a matter of faith, to the proposition that God does not exist and no amount of evidence will be allowed to stand against their faith.

It was the same way in Jesus’ day. Jesus enemies said his “miracles” were done by the power of Satan or through sorcery (we have no record of anyone denying that he did such amazing works). Others thought he did such things by the power of God, saying, “no one has ever done stuff like this before!”

According to Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, the letters of Peter, an editor of Josephus, the writer of Hebrews, Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, Irenaeus and other ancient writers, Jesus did come back from the dead! In fact, early Christians were so convinced of this fact they were willing to suffer torture and death. But atheists won’t believe unless they see an amputated limb restored!

It is important to note that the atheist’s question seems to assume that our faith is based on reports of healings or miracles happening today or throughout history. This is a false assumption. Although I am convinced that God heals today--that would be hard for me to deny since I was once miraculously healed--I am personally very skeptical of the many healing and miracle stories I hear.

My faith is not based on such stories. It is based, rather, on the historical evidence that the earliest Christians were absolutely convinced that Jesus had 1) fulfilled Old Testament prophecies, 2) did signs and wonders that no one had ever done before—something his enemies tried to explain away but never even attempted to deny and 3) was seen, touched and actually even ate with people after his death.

Early Christians were so convinced of these facts that they were willing to suffer imprisonment and horrible deaths for it. This is confirmed by various historical criteria, for example, through independent attestation of multiple sources and by the fact that Christianity, unlike any other early messianic movement of the time, did not die out after it’s “messiah” died. Further, I’ve read probably thousands of pages of skeptical, counter-arguments and find none of them to be convincing. In fact, I’ve published and refuted several of them.

This evidence does not constitute absolute proof, of course, but absolute proof does not exist for any religion including atheism.

The Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God. God often provides evidence or traces of his existence but for whatever reason, he never “proves” his existence. There is always a leap of faith. But it is no more of a leap of faith than believing that the universe exploded into existence all by itself.

It is quite illogical for anything to exist at all, in other words, it is illogical to think that something just popped out of nothing—but the universe exists!

That doesn’t prove that God, or the gods, created it, of course (after all, where did God come from)? But the idea that that the universe just sprang into existence by all by itself is so illogical that it ought to alert us to the fact that there just might possibly be more to this universe than materialism, or atheism would suggest.

And belief in God takes much less faith than believing that micro-organism more complicated than modern laptop computers—developed and evolved all by themselves!

Atheists have an enormous amount of faith in the power of science to prove there is no God. There is no doubt that science has done some remarkable things, but we’ve come a long way from the time when Darwin might have imagined “the simple cell” filled with some kind of simple protoplasm.

We now know that even the simplest living micro-organisms are more complicated than the laptop sitting on my desk—and evolutionists believe these micro-organisms appeared on this planet shortly (in evolutionary terms) after the appearance of water on earth.

Even if you believe in macro-evolution and natural selection and the tooth fairy, there simply was not enough time for so many incredibly complicated organisms to have developed so soon all by themselves. It is scientifically impossible! But atheists would rather believe the impossible, than believe in a God to whom they would be accountable.

I started reading a huge book on cell biology (a cell biologist recommended it to me saying that it was like the “Bible” of cell biology). I found it humorous how often the authors had to admit that they had no clue how or why so many of the cell’s basic functions actually work.

Science has taken enormous strides since Darwin, but it seems like the more we learn, the farther we are from having a solution—at least from having an atheist solution. But atheists have enormous faith that we will some day find out--even though the more we learn, the farther away we seem to be from finding a solution.

If there is one person in the world who should have an answer to this question, it might have been Francis Crick, an atheist and Nobel Prize winning geneticist. His solution: Panspermia, i.e. life originated somewhere else in the universe and was deposited as spores here on earth!

Why would a Nobel Prize winning geneticist--someone who knew more about the basis "stuff" of life than just about anyone else on the planet--propose such a far-out theory?

Could it be because he knew that there was no possible scenario in which life could have developed on earth all by itself so he had to move the problem to another place in space where the conditions for life to have developed must have been different (and where it can't be studied)? Let’s be honest. This is not science. It is faith.

Atheists like to imagine that they have science on their side. But all science is based on philosophical assumptions and presuppositions. The atheist who doesn’t know this is simply ignorant of the facts.

It is a choice of faith whether to believe that life on this planet came into being and evolved all by itself, or under the guidance of God, but failure to recognize that faith is involved in both cases is simply ignorance—often willful ignorance. As for me, I just don’t have as much faith as the atheist.

Anyway, getting back to the original topic, according to the Gospel of John, Jesus did heal an amputee. Peter cut off some guy’s ear and Jesus put it back on. But atheists just dismiss this as fiction. Nothing can be allowed to stand against their atheist faith.