By now, I suppose that we’ve all heard this one if we’ve been on the internet in apologetics discussions for any length of time. I was quite stunned though to hear a well-known skeptic in the public arena use it Saturday night. This argument has been going around and when a non-Christian speaks, he references this as if it is a good argument?
Now let’s suppose I granted the main assumption. Let’s suppose that no amputees have been healed. I say this because I don’t know about all miracle cases past and present. Could it have happened somewhere? Maybe. I’m certainly open to the possibility and if one is there, then it would seem the atheists will need a new track. (Which will be just as bad.) Let’s suppose though that they’re right and no amputees have been healed.
First off, the skeptic who presented this presented it as if this was something obvious unlike cancer which would have just gone into remission. We all know there are cases out there that doctors describe as just miraculous. Maybe I should believe them? Because X is not healed, then that means Y was not healed? It does not follow. If cancer is removed in a way described as miraculous, it does no good to say “That couldn’t have been God because an amputee wasn’t healed.”
Let’s also keep in mind that we all know what it’s like to pray for someone to be healed and it doesn’t happen. I’ve been through enough sicknesses and hospital visits to know about that. It doesn’t always happen and frankly, it won’t. Eventually, everyone is going to enter into this little condition that we like to call death.
However, this brings us to another point and this is again assuming the stance that no amputees are healed. One can ask “Why should God do so?” The answer I received was that it would be something more obvious. One wonders then if God should heal an amputee just so the atheist will say that he has something obvious to look at. Will that lead someone to immediately falling down and embracing Christ as Lord? Could not one then simply form a God of one’s own choosing?
Now could there be some that would convert? Possibly. Yet as I ponder that, I think that God must have a reason. Could it be such a person would be a flaky Christian who would fall away? Could it be that God knows that person will come to Christ in another way that will lead him to lead a richer life? We don’t know and frankly, I tend to not like to speak about such things when I have no business as I’m in a position of ignorance. When people would ask me if Hurricane Katrina was the judgment of God, I would say “It’s not my call.” Then it’d be a quick turn to Luke 13 with the message of “Repent anyway.”
Notice this though. Let’s suppose I was straight-forward when asked this question and just said “I don’t know.” What has been proven by the non-Christian? It’s been proven that I am not omniscient. Well geez. If that was your goal at the start of the debate, all you had to do was ask. I’d have been glad to tell you that I was not omniscient.
The skeptic though is the one making an assertion in saying that he knows there is no good reason for God to not do this. Oh really? How would you go about demonstrating such? It would be something impossible to do. I’m fine to just say “I really don’t know” and go about my day. Some may think that’s kind of shallow, but other factors must be kept in mind.
For instance, this question is not asked in a vacuum. If all we had was this, I could understand skepticism. However, I live in a world that I believe is designed, that I believe contains absolute moral commands that I ought to follow, where there exists a Bible that I believe to be an accurate account of historical events including miraculous ones, where I believe that a man named Jesus who claimed to be the incarnate Son of God lived among us, died, and rose agian. I live in a world where I can philosophically reflect on many arguments such as the infinite regress and believe a God exists, or see the argument from beauty and believe God exists, or see the philosophical backing of such Christian documents as the Trinity.
I’d consider it foolish to abandon all of that just because I don’t understand how God works in one area, like I was ever supposed to….
Yet I consider it just as foolish though for one to abandon all other areas in the interest of one. This argument will not stand on its own. I’ve got all the other arguments and I’m happy to live with another unknown variable. One wonders if the skeptic wishes to use this as a main argument if he is not just putting forth an emotional doubt masking itself as intellectual.