IT’S THE QUESTION OF THE WEEK.
And it comes from Erin Cottrell in Lawrence, Kansas. Go Jayhawks.
Erin wins a free book for her question:
“I was reading Acts this morning, chapter 3. In this chapter, there is a lame man who has been unable to walk since birth. When Peter sees him, he tells him in Jesus’ name to rise up and walk. The man jumps up, and is healed. My question: Why don’t we see that same kind of healing in our contemporary time? Why did God allow it to take place then, but not now?”
First off, you should know this: God doesn’t answer “why” questions.
Job learned that the hard way.
When Job asked why God was putting him through the grinder, God said:
“Who do you think you are? Why do you talk so much when you know so little?” (Job 38:2, NIRV, CEV).
God can get away with that, but I would never say that to anyone but a teenager.
The short answer to Erin’s question is “God knows. And he’s not talking.”
Bible scholars, on the other hand, talk plenty.
As best I can tell, here’s what seems to be the prevailing view at the moment, at least among Bible scholars.
Start with the “Lord of the Rings.” After the War of the Ring, the Fourth Age began. It was the “Age of Men.”
Well, we’re in the “Age of No Miracles.”
Rotten as that sounds, that seems to be the favorite view of Bible experts at the moment.
As though we’re also in the “Age of Depressing Bible Scholars.”
The experts who back this theory say God uses miracles to jump start monumental moments in human history.
- First Age of Miracles: Moses creates the Jewish nation out of a slave race.
- Second Age of Miracles: Prophets Elijah and Elisha try to point the sinful Jews back to God.
- Third Age of Miracles: Jesus and the apostles launch the Christian movement.
No more miracles.
When Jesus told his disciples, “Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. In fact, he will do even greater things” (John 14:12, NIRV), he wasn’t talking to us. He was talking to the apostles.
I grew up in a time and place not too far from a famous faith healer: Kathryn Kuhlman. I watched her on TV. Quite an engaging show.
I saw people toss their crutches aside and dance across the stage.
Docs today acknowledge that these people weren’t faking.
Here’s how the American Cancer Society explains it:
“When a person believes strongly that a healer can create a cure, a ‘placebo effect’ can occur.”
The thing is, most docs agree, faith healing works only on illnesses that start in the head: mind-body sicknesses.
That’s no small matter since an estimated 80 percent of diseases stem from stress.
Christian psychiatrist Paul Meyer said he healed a young woman of blindness simply by telling her that when she awoke the next time, she’d be able to see.
Dr. Meyer couldn’t have done that if the lady didn’t have eyeballs.
What Peter did, in healing a man who had been crippled since birth, was like giving sight to a lady with no eyeballs. Scholars classify it as a genuine, supernatural miracle.
What Dr. Meyer did was natural. He invoked the body’s natural, God-given ability to heal itself.
That’s pretty much what physicians as well as Bible experts say faith healing is.
One Christian doc, William Nolen, studied 23 people who claimed they were healed by Kathryn Kuhlman in 1967.
As it turned out, no one was cured. Long-term follow up revealed that.
During one healing service, a lady with cancer in the spine took off her brace and ran across the stage, at Kuhlman’s request. The lady’s spine crumbled the next day. She was dead four months later.
Revered Christian physician and bestselling author Dr. Paul Brand said he had never heard of a miraculous healing of the likes of pancreatic cancer, cystic fibrosis, or a birth defect. Those would take supernatural miracles—beyond the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
In other words, the kind of miracles Jesus did, but that we don’t see anymore.
Many Christians disagree with the majority opinion. They insist that God can and still does miracles.
Other Christians, however, would say, “Can you point one out?”
Here’s one consolation, even if we are in the “Age of No Miracles,” which is debatable:
“Jesus Christ never changes! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8, CEV).
Still, no more miracles sounds like quite the bummer.
Hmmm…that makes sense! Also, I like the idea of not asking “why”. Here is another thought I had, though: while there may have been miraculous physical healing going on in Jesus’ time, they did not have the words or context for understanding things like anxiety, alcoholism, depression, panic disorder, borderline personality disorder, etc. Considering how these things are familiar to us now, I have seen great “healing” take place with so many people in recovery rooms – people who will testify at the goodness of their Higher Power to do for them what they have not been able to do for themselves. 🙂
Stephen M. Miller
I don’t think anyone would discount those kinds of healings. I’ve seen them, too. I once went with a relative of mine to an AA meeting, and felt like I was in a church more holy than any other church I’d had been in.
Still, I think most scholars and docs would classify those as mind-body healings that are within the range of our body’s ability to heal itself, with help and encouragement from others and from Above.
Erin, let me know what book you want. It’s the small reward for asking the Question of the Week.
Well done…God does heal and basically can do anything God wants to do, but the age of the Apostles and working wonders was given to authenticate the veracity of the message. Modern so called “Faith Healers” cannot heal organic diseases or raise people from the dead. Most of these circus tent performers are hucksters and corrupt – there is one religious network on television that broadcasts 24 hours a day this stuff – pet chickens being raised from the dead, washing machines being healed, people taking trips to hell and writing books about it. Don’t get me started on this subject LOL…
No miracles today. Why should we ghink there were miracles then? What makes you think anything in the Bible is true? If you can’t respect teenagers as people enough treat them like people, what place do you have even starting this article? If your god can’t cure a melanoma with a touch, how could he possible save our souls from himself?
Stephen M. Miller
Hello, Gordon. I don’t know what you mean by the criticism about not respecting teenagers as people. At least some adults do, though without treating them as adults.
About faith to believe in God and the Bible. You can take a look at two videos I made on the subject: Sweet Dreams of Heaven, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUgVlKdLQ54. Two Reasons I believe in God, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kATXu8FbdzI.
The Bible isn’t a book. It’s a library. It’s written in many genres: poetry, song lyrics, history, parables, letters. Some of what has been written 2,000 years ago or more has been substantiated by archaeological discoveries. Other things, like the parables of Jesus, probably weren’t intended as history, but as illustrations to make a point.
I’ve been paraphrasing a Bible for people like yourself, who aren’t familiar with Christianity and the Bible. I’m putting it in everyday English, so it’s easier to understand. You might not choose to believe it. But you can understand what it says. It at CasualEnglishBible.com. Peace to you.