God, 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 won’t God heal amputees?” I did not reverse the table in order to refute evolution so much as to demonstrate how empty a question like that is. As I have stated in that post, Christianity is a faith, and as such, many questions will go unanswered until eternity. Nonetheless, unanswered questions do not negate truth.
My argument is, if there’s a worldview that must account for the pain and suffering in the world, and lack of healing for amputees, it has to be the one that teaches progression and greater complexity. That system is evolution. Christianity has consistently taught that we live in a fallen state, and sin is the cause of all the world’s ills. Regenerating limbs would be great evidence for evolution, wouldn’t it?
So it is demonstrable that the question at hand is not good for either side. It does not prove nor disprove Christianity or evolution. But as pointed out in the comments, it may have a more stinging effect on certain types of Christianity. Perhaps charismatic faith-healers would benefit from pondering such a question. In fact, as I pointed out, I believe this is the kind of argumentation that conservative Christians have been throwing their way for years.
But there’s another problem that must be addressed. The question might not disprove the existence of God, but does it do harm to the concept of a loving God?
This is where James White would say, “theology matters.”
Perhaps the question, “Why won’t God heal amputees” is a fair challenge to those who are proposing a false theological notion about the love of God. But who are these people? To what great heretical sect do they belong?
They are. . .mainstream Christians. You and I. Evangelicals and fundamentalists and many in between.
We have propagated the idea that God is required to love everyone the same. This is an unbiblical message, but it makes the gospel more palatable. Now we’re in a situation in which our opponents are carrying that message to its logical end: If God loves everyone the same, and He healed your Aunt Thelma of cancer, why won’t He heal amputees?
See? Theology matters. Let’s see if we can set the record straight:
God is love. 1 John 4:8 and 16 make that abundantly clear.
God loves all. John 3:16 is clear about that as well.
God has historically beckoned people to know Him:
Isaiah 65:1 I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.
2 I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;
God does not delight in the death of the wicked:
Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
All Christians were enemies of God:
Romans 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
This is manifested in the life of Jesus Christ:
Mark 10:21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
So we see that God is love; God loves all; God loves even His enemies.
But, does the Bible say that God loves everyone in the same way? No. Neither did Jesus or any apostle begin a presentation of the gospel with, “God loves you.” It is imperative that we understand this.
We often quote Romans 8:28, “all things work together for good. . ” but we leave out, “for them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose.” Wow, big difference.
God is not required to love everyone the same way. He explicitly says that He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy. And if you’ve got a problem with that, the Bible says, “O man, who art thou that repliest against God?” (Romans 9:20).
So God is good and loving to all (what is known as “common grace”), but He is especially good and loving to some. (Can’t we relate to that? Do we love everyone the same way? Does a man have to love his wife and kids the same way he loves his neighbor? I hope not.) That’s the way it’s always been. When He chose to bless Israel, one could have asked, “Why won’t God pick Egypt?” When Elijah was sent to heal a widow’s son in Zarephath, one could have asked, “Why won’t God take the famine from Israel?” When Jesus called Lazarus forth from the tomb, one could have asked, “Why won’t God call forth my brother?” Well, honestly, people did ask and do ask these questions. God heals one person from an illness but not another all the time. “Why won’t God heal amputees?” is simply among these questions. It doesn’t quite fit if we give people the unbiblical impression that God is required to love everyone with the same love and choose to bless them the same way. God saved me. But He hasn’t saved everyone. I’m blessed beyond measure in that way. But He also hasn’t chosen me to be among the rich, or the very talented, or the like. God allowed Nick Vujicic to be born without limbs, yet He’s allowed millions of others to be compeletely whole. But Vujicic lives a happy life in Jesus Christ, the Savior of whom many have not heard. As human beings, we think this isn’t fair. Again, this is due to a lack of understanding theology.
If we understand that the Bible teaches God is a just, perfect, and holy God, then the question we should be asking is, “Why does God allow the sun to shine on me after all I’ve done against Him?”
Theology indeed does matter. Let us determine to represent truth in a manner consistent with what God has revealed in His word. If we fail to, we will be trying to answer questions like these for a long time.
I know I posted this a week or so ago as an “Encouraging Sunday Video”, but this is more relevant now than ever. Please take the time to carefully listen to Voddie Bauchman on this issue: