Sometimes religious people will claim that they were healed of cancer, or some other illness. They will have great joy that this sickness has departed their body. Then the atheist, almost in an attempt to steal that joy and put other people down, will come in and say, “ah, so God healed you. But why doesn’t God heal amputees?” The implication is that what the Christian will call a miracle, is not really a miracle. Why doesn’t God heal amputees, and show a real miracle that we can all see for ourselves? I think there are at least 5 answers to this question.
1 – Do you have evidence that God does not heal amputees? The implication behind the question, “why doesn’t God heal amputees?” suggests that God, in fact, does not heal amputees. It is a claim for which the atheist needs to provide some evidence. They need to interview every tribe of people, everywhere, in every obscure part of the world, and ask if God had healed an amputee. Moreover, they need to look through the corridors of history, and find out if God is healing amputees in history. If one is going to claim that God does not heal amputees, they have got to have some evidence. If one is to just blindly assert, “God does not heal amputees,” that is just a claim. It is like saying, “you’re ugly!” It just begs the question. Okay, how do you know that God does not heal amputees?
2 – The Bible does not promise that God will be our servant. The atheists like to proof-text passages that say that God answers prayers. Indeed, God does answer prayers. But it always happens according to his will. Universal and all-encompassing promises to fulfill every single prayer request is simply foreign to the Scripture. Every example of this steals the verse from its’ context. Thus the expectation of God to do every little thing that we ask of him is simply not something that any Christian would, or does, expect.
3 – Asking why God does not perform one miracle does not negate other miracles. Even if we grant for charity that God does not heal amputees (even though we have no evidence for that claim), it does not follow logically that therefore, God does not perform other miracles. As a fact of history, Jesus Christ was raised from the dead by the power of God. The disciples did not approach him, asking, “ah, but why do you not heal amputees?” That is simply ridiculous. To say that God does not perform one miracle does not negate the other historically verifiable miracles.
4 – Would you believe in miracles even if you saw an amputee being healed? Let me suggest that the atheist would not believe, even if they saw the amputee being healed. This was suggested by David Hume. Hume suggested that if a wise man sees a miracle, he ought to assume that he is under a misapprehension. A friend of mine told me that if the clouds randomly formed the words, ‘The Bible is the word of God,’ he still would not believe it. I suggest that atheists would, and do, just move the goalposts every time their criteria is fulfilled. They would not believe even if they saw an amputee being healed.
5 – What reason would satisfy you? The question is, “Why doesn’t God heal amputees?” What reason would satisfy the atheist? Suppose I could counsel with God’s will, and say, “God has decreed that this person live as an amputee for some greater purpose.” Then what? Would that answer satisfy them? How would they even know that this is not the case? Atheists are not looking for an answer to this question. They are just looking for a zinger that they can stick to Christians. They do not care about open and honest discussion. There is no reason that would satisfy them. The conversation ends at the question, “why would God heal amputees?” because the truth is that they do not want an answer.
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