God Heal Amputees? Real and Challenging Questions? A Response.

Introduction

             WhyWon’tGodHealAmputees.com provides a list of ten questions that they say Christians cannot answer.[1] Here there will be a response to the first of these questions. The question is, “why won’t God heal amputees.”[2] The reason the first question was chosen is twofold. First, all the following questions have the same theme and all of them are built on the same logical fallacies. This means that the first question is a good measure of the ten. Second, this question has what can be termed as reasonable appeal. On the surface, someone might consider the question reasonable based on personal experience. First in reply, there will be an examination of crucial elements of Christianity challenged by the question. Next there will be an examination and explanation of the various background information that goes into this challenge of the Christian faith. After that, the crucial elements of Christianity challenged will be addressed and answered. Finally, the consultation will address the theses that, not only does this question not possess any real difficulty for Christianity, it demonstrates a worldview that is incoherent and cannot consistently answer the questions that are fundamental to this state of existence.

Crucial Elements to Defend the Christian Faith

             The primary claim is that God does not exist. The question is clearly addressed to Christians and therefore, it is reasonable to reword the question to say, the God of the Bible does not exist. This is not to say that the video’s author would or would not endorse any deity, rather it is a recognition that the question is targeted at the Christian God. The next claim made is that needs if that God of the Bible existed, he would necessarily be obligated to heal everyone equally. Finally, the video gives the Christian’s answer as “God must have some kind of special plan for amputees.”[3] Finally, and this will be addressed first in the response section, there are logical fallacies at play in the question itself. This issue is not a direct attack on Christianity; however, logical issues prevent correct conclusions and therefore they are the enemy of every conversation.

A Worldview That Challenges the Christian Faith

            The worldview that asks this question is usually entirely materialistic. Meaning that the idea of anything metaphysical is usually considered to not exist. It presupposes this nonexistence of anything metaphysical in the formulation of the question. Hodges explains that “[t]he extreme of materialistic atheism”[4] got its start in France between 1745 and 1749 with names like Locke, Condillac, Diderot, and D’Alembert. The point is that Hodges is correct, materialistic atheism is an extreme position. For much of history the idea that God, or some kind of god, did not exist would have been unthinkable. Berkhof explains that, “there is strong evidence for the universal presence of the idea of God in the human mind, even among tribes which are uncivilized …”[5] This leads to the impact of modernity. The justification for the extreme of materialistic atheism is that, with modern understanding, humanity is freed from ancient superstitions. However, it presupposes that modern man is better, at what McGrath calls, “abduction,”[6] than his ancient counterpart. Yet, some of these ancient superstitions bound people, such as Aristotle, are still read formatively today.

 

Effective Apologetics Approach

              Finally, time to get to the question itself. The three main points as listed before are, logical issues with the question itself, God’s obligation to heal everyone the same way, and the essence of God. Just for reference the question asked is, “why won’t God heal amputees.”[7] The video presents a different question as a direct statement “God completely ignores amputees.”[8] The statements that “God won’t heal amputees” and “God completely ignores amputees” are not seminomas. Not must time in the response will be spent on this error but it is worth noting because it highlights the rhetorical method of the question, emotional appeal. This question is a trick of the emotions rather than any logical proof of God’s non-existence.

Logical Issue

            The question is in invalid because both the statement and the question uses analogical language,[9] language that can neither be proven nor disproven. Arguments that can neither be proven or disproven are in the end rhetoric and do not provide basis for judgment. If God does not heal amputees, does that prove his non-existence? No, it does not. If a person travels to Alaska and does not see any gold, does that prove there is no gold in Alaska? No, again, that is analogical language, it is a statement that cannot prove or disprove anything.

God’s Obligation to Heal Everyone

            The insinuation is that if God chooses not to do something, and that means he does not exist. Obviously, this is a poor argument because every person decides not to do things every day, and they do not not exist because of that choice. Here, however, is the power of a rhetorical rather any logical argument. How many people have seen an amputee’s appendage grow back? It is safe to warrant not many. Natural experience helps cover the issues of analogical language. Rather, if God chooses to do anything, that is proof of his existence. Existence is a prerequisite to choice.

Notice there is a presupposition about the nature of this non-existent God in the question. That is, if God exist, he would then necessarily heal paraplegics as proof of his existence. This presupposition begs the question, by what standard are you saying that if God exist, he would then necessarily heal paraplegics as proof of his existence?

The Claim to God’s Existence

Upon examination, however, it is not unreasonable to assume that God would choose not to heal or to heal. The God of the Bible never hangs the proof of his existence on the healing of anyone. This means the questioner becomes the questioned yet again. If God does not hang the proof of his existence on the healing of paraplegics, by what authority does the author of this question make healing necessary contingent for proof of God’s existence? The is no rational answer to the question. The only rational answer is to admit that the questioner has no right to make that presumption.

The purpose of God’s healings

Jesus raised the dead and healed several paraplegics, this healing was for the purpose of being signs as to who he was. It is not reasonable to say God does not exist simply because he chooses. It is entirely consistent with the God of scripture to withhold from some and give to others. Jesus directly states that it is within God nature to choose and withhold when he spoke of the widow of “Zarephath.”[10] The purpose of miracles are not to show that God exists, anyone that would entertain the idea that God does not exists is rightfully called a fool[11] even if not a single healing every took place. Miracles, as started before, are signs of God’s action in a situation.

Conclusion

This question does not pose any real difficulty for Christianity. No question does, because this universe corresponds to the maker, and He is the God of Christianity. God has always revealed himself as the one who works all things, “according to the purpose of his will.”[12] If God chooses not to do something, this does not constitute ground for the claim he does not exist.  Everyone one of the 10 questions posted in this video relies on presuppositions within the naturalistic worldview that have no bases in reality, and cannot produces a standard of authority that would warrant them to be take seriously. Secondly, the extreme nature of the naturalistic worldview that must find evidence for God’s nonexistence in every question is revealed. This naturalistic worldview does not correlate with the world around the viewer. One only need open their eyes to see that the world has a designer, and that He is good.

References

[1]. Questions can be found here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djprAf7V20Q&t

[2]. Elmo Parsley. “Why Won’t God Heal Amputees?” Aug 1, 2014. Video, 10:44. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djprAf7V20Q&. 1:23.

[3]. Elmo Parsley. “Why Won’t God Heal Amputees?” Aug 1, 2014. Video, 10:44. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djprAf7V20Q&. 1:23.

[4]. Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, vol. 1 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 254.

[5]. L. Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans publishing co., 1938), 22.

[6]. Alister McGrath. 2012. Mere Apologetics: How to Help Seekers and Skeptics Find Faith. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books. 82.

[7]. Elmo Parsley. “Why Won’t God Heal Amputees?” Aug 1, 2014. Video, 10:44. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djprAf7V20Q&. 1:23.

[8] Ibid, 1:50.

[9] Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, accessed May 20, 2020, https://www.iep.utm.edu/rel-lang/#SSH2b.iii)

[10]. Lk 4:26, All Scripture citations are ESV unless otherwise noted.

[11]. Psalm 14:1.

[12]. Eph 1:5.

 

Bibliography

Berkhof, L. Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans publishing co., 1938.

Hodge, Charles. Systematic Theology. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997.

McGrath, Alister. 2012. Mere Apologetics: How to Help Seekers and Skeptics Find Faith. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://www.iep.utm.edu/rel-lang/#SSH2b.iii.

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