God, Amputees, and Evolution

Continuing in the discussion about amputees and God, I’d like to posit the question toward those who believe in a naturalistic world view. One definition of evolution says that it is a “process of continuous change from a lower, simpler, or worse to a higher, more complex, or better state.” Biologically, socially, and individually, we use the term “evolution” to denote this sort of change – a progressive, better change.

The Bible, on the contrary, teaches us a worldview that is consistent with what we see. It is well known that the Bible speaks of a curse that came upon all the world as a result of sin. The sin nature that is inherit in every individual plays out in society with effects such as rebellion and disease. All around us is suffering of the worst sort – and for the Christian, this is all coincides with what is read in the Word of God. The Bible teaches the exact opposite of evolution: de-evolution, or degeneration.

So what’s the problem?
As you could see from this video, Christians can charge evolutionists with misunderstanding their position just as much as we are charged with the same:

In case you haven’t seen the debate in its entirety, let me point out that Ray Comfort never said anything about “perfection.” He didn’t claim our bodies were perfectly made. He may have suggested that this was God’s original intent, but he stressed over and again the fact of sin. He may not have answered this woman’s question to everybody’s satisfaction, but he’s right to lump cancer together with the rest of the problems in the world. There is a short, simple, and biblical answer: sin.

Well, now. The atheist doesn’t like that. And I understand. But, for the sake of argumentation, it is evident that the Christian’s worldview is consistent.

Ok, so God does not heal amputees. Is this something that baffles my mind? Not really. It does cause me to think. Just like the question, “can God microwave a burrito so hot that he himself can’t eat it?” Or, “Can God make a boulder so heavy that he can’t lift it?” Some more serious questions like, “why doesn’t God just show himself to us so we can choose to believe him?” do get me to think as well. No Christian should pretend he has all the answers, or that he can’t ponder some of these thoughts. So the “gotcha” question of our generation is: “why won’t God heal amputees?” All I can say is, He chooses not to. 

The atheist replies, “but then he’s unloving! You gave him credit for healing so-and-so from cancer. Why can’t he do this?”

Again, I’d say He most certainly can. But He does not. And just like there will be thousands of unanswered questions between now and eternity, we can rest assured that God knows what He is doing. Just because He does or does not do something doesn’t negate the fact that He is sovereign. There may very well be a reason as to why He doesn’t heal one kind of illness but does heal another. The Bible is silent on the matter. In trying to destroy Christianity, all the skeptic does here is raise another suspicious question – as if we need to have all the answers to believe. No, that’s not what faith is all about. I can hardly comprehend the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Resurrection, or the like. Yet I believe them, in faith! This is a supernatural, spiritual work. And no unregenerate mind will ever comprehend this. We Christians have to understand that those who attack our faith as irrational and unreasonable will simply go on doing it until the Holy Spirit convicts them.

Now, since the God of the Bible is not required to answer the amputee question, let me ask another. The Bible firmly teaches degeneration as a result of sin. We see that in the world today. Amputation is one of those problems. God intervenes, yes, but not always according to our desires. But nothing in that statement contradicts a biblical worldview.

But as I stated before, evolution teaches the opposite: things grow more complex, bigger, better, immune to disease, etc. And we know that there are some biological examples of the regrowth of limbs, at least in some species of starfish. So, if this is what evolution is, I believe the burden lies on this naturalistic worldview. With that said:

Why doesn’t evolution heal amputees?

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14 comments so far

  1. morsec0de on

    “Why doesn’t evolution heal amputees?”

    It does.

    You just have to have evolved as a reptile for it to do so. Our common ancestors with reptiles, unfortunately, are too far back for us to have shared that particular trait.

  2. TJ on

    That seems simple enough. But at what point would a divergent species, presumably our “common ancestors”, have benefited from losing such a valuable characteristic? One would think that a species with the ability to regenerate limbs would have been the one nature chose to continue the process of “change from a lower, simpler, or worse to a higher, more complex, or better state.” Right?

  3. morsec0de on

    I haven’t checked, but I would guess that our common ancestor did not have the ability to regenerate limbs either, and that reptiles developed it in the time since.

  4. TJ on

    Ok. So, then why have we not evolved that ability as well? I suppose there is some explanation that involves humans not needing that ability.
    But, the point remains – the Christian can logically deal with amputees, while the naturalist has to bend over backwards just to come to a speculation.
    Thanks for the quick responses by the way.

  5. morsec0de on

    “Ok. So, then why have we not evolved that ability as well?”

    Because we didn’t. No rhyme, no reason. Our environment, natural selection and random mutation didn’t converge in that way for humans.

    “But, the point remains – the Christian can logically deal with amputees, while the naturalist has to bend over backwards just to come to a speculation.”

    What? That makes no sense.

    I think your understanding of evolution might be a little off.

    Evolution leads creatures towards being ‘fit’ to survive. Certain traits are beneficial to survival, others aren’t. We don’t get to decide. No ‘one’ decides. Random mutation and natural selection combine to produce whatever can survive given the specific species in it’s specific environment at it’s specific time.

    Humans aren’t perfect. We aren’t even really the ‘best’ in anything except for our minds in relation to the other animals.

  6. DT on

    morsec0de,

    hey man, thanks for the correspondence. I actually agree with you to an extent. Evolution does not necessarily have to explain why amputees remain unhealed. And, as I’ve argued in this post, neither does Christianity. The point I am making is that if some atheists/skeptics are going to ask a question such as, “why won’t God heal amputees”, then the question more naturally tends toward being in their corner, not ours. Either way, it proves nothing.

  7. morsec0de on

    I think the question “why won’t god heal amputees” is directed specifically at the people who claim that god heals, or heals through them.

    I don’t know if you happen to be that kind of Christian or not.

    But if one were to make the claim “God heals under so-and-so circumstances”, then “why doesn’t he heal amputees?” is a valid question.

    I have never heard of anyone claiming that evolution should heal amputees or lead to humans having the ability of cellular regeneration at that level. If I am wrong, of course, please correct me.

  8. DT on

    wow, you do reply fast!
    anywho. . . I would disagree. I think the question is posed to all Christians. If it was sparked by faith-healers, I don’t know. But if you watch the video or check out the website, the case is made by making a plea to rationalism for “smart” people. And if you are smart, and think, then you can’t possibly believe in God, for it is unreasonable. And the “amputee” question is used to prove such logic. Refuting this argument isn’t as easy as saying, “well that only applies to faith-healing Pentecostals”. You’ll see they also pose the question to those who give God credit for answering their prayers in general. So, it is obviously directed to all of us who believe.

    And no, we’re not of that faith-healing ilk, either. And perhaps that question would be better directed toward them. In fact, I believe non-charismatic Christians have been pointing our similar flaws like that for years.

    I know what you’re saying about the question logically following the statement of God healing so-and-so. But as I’ve stated before, there are zillions of unanswered questions, and that’s where faith comes in. No one question destroys our faith.

    As far as anyone else claiming that evolution should heal amputees, no I don’t think there has been another articulation of it. Not that I know of anyway. I came up with it myself – that’s why this is the best blog ever! right?

  9. morsec0de on

    “I think the question is posed to all Christians. ”

    I think the question CAN be posed to all Christians. It specifically works with faith-healers. Or just those who happen to believe that god will answer prayer through direct healing (direct healing as opposed to, say, helping one come to terms with their injury).

    Directed at all Christians, it seems to be more of an extension of the ‘problem of evil’.

    Of course, this isn’t an argument (the amputees argument or the problem of evil) I would ever use as evidence or proof for the non-existence of god. They merely serve as evidence for the non-existence of an all-loving god who heals people directly.

    I’m fully capable of accepting the existence of a god that isn’t all-loving and doesn’t heal people, if there were evidence for such a thing.

    Sorry if I’m being frustrating, but atheists are far more different than even Christians. So you may find that I don’t use and/or reject the arguments made by many other atheists, and yet I remain an atheist myself. Different roads lead to the same destination, I guess.

    “As far as anyone else claiming that evolution should heal amputees, no I don’t think there has been another articulation of it. Not that I know of anyway. I came up with it myself – that’s why this is the best blog ever! right?”

    Well, it certainly is an interesting question/claim, but it doesn’t really make sense. Sorry!

  10. DT on

    no, your not being frustrating, man. . .you’ve explained yourself well enough. this topic goes much deeper than the question at hand, which is what provoked me to write this post. I could agree, the question doesn’t make much sense. but i feel that same question as it is posed to Christians, and I stand by believing that it is, doesn’t make sense either.
    Either way, I think the atheists who posed this question in the first place failed to destroy Christianity, and in no wise do I believe my counter-argument destroys evolution. It is simply proof that it is bad argumentation. I think we both agree to that.
    Thanks for the convo!

  11. […] Amputees, and Love “Why won’t evolution heal amputees?” was the question I asked the other day to counteract the new atheist ‘gotcha’ question, “why […]

  12. CD-Host on

    This is an old post, but I thought nobody gave a real answer so I’ll jump in. Human limb growth / creation is a hormonal function. The genes that control limb growth can only do so when certain hormones are present. With the exception of the brain no part of your body has the ability to get hormones individually. So to regrow a limb the body would need to flood itself with these prenatal hormones that would cause disaster throughout the body.

    So the real question is why haven’t humans developed the ability to isolate hormones anywhere else but the brain? And the answer is calorie cost. The brain has all sorts of high energy structures and as a result uses up 40% of your calories for a few pounds of tissue. The rest of your body is much more efficient in its energy use. It is pretty clear from an evolutionary standpoint why eating 50% less food is more valuable than say the 3 dozen features (including re-growing limbs) that isolated hormones would give us.

    There is a lot more starvation than amputation in human history.

  13. Damien T Garofalo on

    CD, thanks for chiming in. I’m having difficulty wrapping my brain around everything you said, especially as it relates to the discussion at hand. Is your question posed to evolutionists? How would you answer the “why doesn’t God heal amputees” question?

  14. CD-Host on

    I’m disagreeing with the contention that evolution has a difficult time explaining why limbs can’t re-grow, “Why doesn’t evolution heal amputees?”. The argument is simple, what is required to re-grow a limb is too expensive from a calorie standpoint.

    As for why doesn’t God heal amputees that’s going to depend on the theology I’m defending. For most theologies, typical problem of pain argument, that if God intervened regularly you don’t have a world of free will and that God values freewill.


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