In this second post, we will look at the list of questions, from the GII site transcript, and begin looking at them in order.
I have a question about these questions: why MUST we answer them? What happens if I don't answer? What if I can't answer? The video is trying to create a false sense of urgency or importance concerning the questions. It's rather ordinary for there to be questions about any subject that we can't answer. What causes gravity, for example? I don't know. Some people have theories about what causes gravity and some people don't have a clue. What does it prove? It proves nothing! If there is a question about gravity that we can't answer, it's certainly not evidence against gravity! Likewise, if there are questions about the nature of God that we can't answer, it's not evidence against God. We can continue in our belief with our faith unshaken. Just as the fact of gravity is not affected by our ignorance of it, so also is the truth of Christianity.
1 Peter 3: 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. [ESV]
1 Cor 15: 1 Now I would remind you, brothers,1 of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you-unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me . . . . 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. [ESV]
2 Peter 1: 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body,8 to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.
16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son,9 with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.
19 And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation.
21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. [ESV]
If you are an educated Christian, I would like to talk with you today about an important and interesting question. Have you ever thought about using your college education to think about your faith? Your life and your career demand that you behave and act rationally. Let's apply your critical thinking skills as we discuss 10 simple questions about your religion . . .
1: Why won't God heal amputees?
: Why are there so many starving people in our world?
: Why does God demand the death of so many innocent people in the Bible?
4: Why does the Bible contain so much anti-scientific nonsense?
5: Why is God such a huge proponent of slavery in the Bible?
6: Why do bad things happen to good people?
7: Why didn't any of Jesus' miracles in the Bible leave behind any evidence?
8: How do we explain the fact that Jesus has never appeared to you?
9 – Why would Jesus want you to eat his body and drink his blood? It sounds totally grotesque, doesn't it? Why would al all-powerful God want you to do something that, in any other context, sounds like a disgusting, cannibalistic, satanic ritual?
10 – Why do Christians get divorced at the same rate as non-Christians?
So also -- by the same gospel that the skeptics would have us not focus on, God will restore us to paradise, undoing all the havoc wreaked by sin and selfishness. But the price of admission is: penitent trust in God based on his word as authenticated by the prophesied and fulfilled resurrection of Jesus. So, ultimately, all the pain, grief and sorrow wreaked by sin has been taken up in the willing sacrifice of the Son of God, and our liberation from the destructive consequences of sin and alienation from the source of all that is good will come to complete fruition at His Coming in glory. The real question we need to answer is: why is it so many are so desperate not to accept that gracious offer? And the answer -- willful, sinful rebellion -- is not exactly flattering.
Okay, let us pause to look at GII Q1: why WON'T God heal amputees.
But, he will, he does and did.
Along with paralytics, the just plain dead [up to four days dead and stinking: Lazarus], the blind, the despairing, the addicted and more. The first healing we all need is from sins, and there are many amputees who have found healing, salvation and liberation in Jesus; rejoicing in salvation. And ultimately,at his coming he will wipe away every tear from our eyes, so all the crippled, the amputees, the blind etc etc can have hope.
No, no, no. The question is why won't God heal amputees of their amputated limbs TODAY.
Again, the basic answer is, God did, does and will heal, in his own good time and order under his rescue plan for a lost suffering world. And, in the perspective of eternity, all will be restored. Of this we have strong assurance, for God has raised Jesus from the dead in vindication of his prophecies in the Scriptures. So we have confidence in Jesus and in the written word of God.
But, we don't see people healed from amputations here and now!
As the skeptics themselves have had to agree in their video: three- quarters of doctors accept that miracles of healing occur today. So also -- as was noted in the preliminary remarks for this series, it is precisely doctors who are best qualified and best placed to know this. So, we should start form this premise: miraculous healings in answer to prayer in the name of Jesus are sufficiently common that a large majority of medical doctors in our day accept their reality.
Yes, there are some particular problems we have not seen being healed here- and- now, but that cannot be allowed to distract us from the cogent fact that the vast majority of the best qualified witnesses and experts accept that healings do happen today. (For instance, cf here for an interesting account from the British Medical Journal, by Dr Rex Gardner FRCOG, that compares healings as recorded by Bede and contemporaries, with healings as observed by medical practitioners today in the name of Jesus.)
Healings in the name of Jesus are credibly real, so we have excellent reason to accept that his power is available to us as a foretaste of what is yet to come when he returns in full glory, here and now.
That puts a very different light on the challenge.
No, it is not true that God won't or doesn't heal people. It is not even true that God won't or doesn't heal amputees. So, we do not have a reason here to dismiss the miraculous intervention of God without addressing the actual cases we have in the scriptures [from witnesses who cheerfully paid with their lives for their testimony to the unwilling powerful], across history and in our world today.
Plainly, there is no proper biblical expectation that all will be healed of all diseases in the here and now, so the whole force of the question rests on a strawman caricature of the actual testimony of the scriptures. We may not like this, any more than we like the fact that we all face death at some time or another, or that we live in a world marred by sin and folly.
Which is one reason why for centuries Christians have been in the forefront of medical advances and so many Christians work to alleviate suffering and medical conditions. That, too, is a foretaste of what shall be in perfect fulness at the Second Coming.
A second coming that we stand in confident assurance of, because we have seen the credible history of the prophecies and how Jesus fulfilled them by coming among us, ministering salvation, healing and deliverance, dying for our sins, and rising from the dead with witnesses.
So, when we look at the first question from this perspective, it deflates.