As I listened to a recent episode of the Unbelievable podcast, I found myself agreeing more with the atheist’s contentions than with the professing Christian’s assertions. Let me explain.
The subject matter was that of divine healing. Specifically, the question was: “Do healing miracles happen?” The professing Christian is Robby Dawkins. The skeptic is David Beebee. I found myself in agreement with the atheist’s reasoning, reasoning which led him to ask for the purpose of scattered healings here and there, if they actually did take place. Robby had no answer. And this is where I grew frustrated.
You see, if God heals a man, that man will eventually die (if Christ doesn’t return before that). And if God does not heal that man, that man will still eventually die (if Christ doesn’t return before that). So in either case, the situation the man faces is the same: He will die. Why then would God heal the man? What is the purpose of the healing? Where is the orderliness and thorough significance that always accompanies God’s acts of healing in the Scriptures?
According to Scripture, death and sickness are the result of sin. Therefore, death and sickness will be in the world as long as there are sinners there. Moreover, so long as I am a sinner, even if I am redeemed, I will get sick. I will die. Sickness is not autonomous; sickness is part and parcel of the divine curse to which God, not the devil, has subjected all men. The healing of men in the Bible, then, signifies the removal of the curse, as it is only found in Jesus Christ. The atheist, then, is, ironically, right in asking about the purpose of these supposed present day “healings.” What is their purpose?
Christ’s working of miracles established His Divinity, His Messiah-ship, the lifting of the curse (as it has been placed upon God’s spotless and undefiled Lamb), and the future hope of resurrection unto incorruptible eternal life where there is neither sickness nor death. Christ’s works were not simply thrown around in order to show off God’s ability to heal. They were a testimony to His identity, as He Himself tells John the Baptist:
…the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them
Performing these deeds, says Jesus, is proof that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. The signs were not performed for the applause of men.
Why won’t God heal everyone?
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
The wages of sin is death.
God is under obligation to His own holiness and goodness to not lift the curse of sickness and death from man. Men get sick because God wills them to get sick.
Yet God also is under obligation to fulfill the promise He made to Abraham saying:
…in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed…(Genesis 22:18)
And that offspring is Christ. (Galatians 3:16)
And that blessing is salvation from the wrath of God – spiritually and physically. (See, Romans 3:24 & 8:23)
So the proper response to the atheist’s question “Why does God allow people to get sick?” is very simple:
Sickness and death are punishment for our sins. (See, Genesis 3:16-19)
Healing is not something God must perform; however, punishment is necessary.
Yet God heals those who to come to Him in faith.
He heals their spirits.
He raises their bodies from the grave.
He removes His curse upon them forever.