Sunday, January 27, 2019

Healing In the Atonement, part 9 of 16

The belief in healing in the atonement leads to the belief that Satan is always the author of sickness and that God never causes sickness. The argument comes from the idea that if healing is in the atonement, then it must always be God's will to heal, and if it's always God's will to heal, then it is never God's will to inflict sickness, so if people are sick, it must be because of the devil. Sin is what makes a person vulnerable to Satan's power to make people sick. First, I will look at some of the scriptures used to support these ideas, and then I will show from the scriptures that these ideas are false.

"When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick." (Matthew 8:16)
The argument goes like this:

  • Jesus healed all the sick.
  • Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

  • Therefore, it's is Jesus' will to heal all the sick today.

This argument fails because the first premise is not true. The word "all," does not necessarily mean every single person. Take Mark 1:5 for example. It says, "The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River." Surely Mark didn't mean for us to think that every single person in Jerusalem went to John to be baptized. When we look at the parallel passages, it becomes obvious that "all" and "many" are used interchangeably, and not so stricly as some would have us believe. Matthew 8:16 says many were brought to Jesus and all were healed. Mark 1:32-33 says all were brought to Jesus and many were healed. Luke 4:40 says all were brought to Jesus and he healed them. Even if Matthew 8:16 meant that every person there was healed, the argument would still fail because it would only say that Jesus healed everybody on a particular day in a particular location. It wouldn't mean he healed everybody everywhere at all times. The scriptures show that Jesus did not heal everybody everywhere. When Jesus went to the pool of Bethesda, there were a great number of disabled people there hoping to be healed when the water was stirred. Jesus only healed one of them (see John 5:2-15).

Furthermore, by the same kind of reasoning as above, one could conclude that God inflicts sickness on his own people.

  • God inflicted sickness on his own people in the past.
  • God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Malachi 3:6; James 1:7)
  • Therefore, It is God's will to inflict sickness on his own people today.

Many people deny the first premise, so here are some examples:

[These were originally in an endnote.)

"I will bring upon you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and drain away your life." (Leviticus 26:16)

"The LORD will plague you with diseases until he has destroyed you from the land you are entering to possess. The LORD will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew, which will plague you until you perish." (Deuteronomy 28:21-22)

"The LORD will afflict you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors, festering sores and the itch, from which you cannot be cured. The LORD will afflict you with madness, blindness and confusion of mind." (Deuteronomy 28:27-28)

"The LORD will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses. He will bring upon you all the diseases of Egypt that you dreaded, and they will cling to you. The LORD will also bring on you every kind of sickness and disaster not recorded in this book of law, until you are destroyed." (Deuteronomy 28:59-61)

"The LORD's hand was heavy upon the people of Ashdod and its vicinity; he brought devastation upon them and afflicted them with tumors." (1 Samuel 5:6)

"He afflicted the people of the city, both young and old, with an outbreak of tumors." (1 Samuel 5:9) "After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife had borne to David, and he became ill." (2 Samuel 12:15)

"As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, 'Strike these people with blindness.' So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked." (2 Kings 6:18)

"The LORD afflicted the king with leprosy until the day he died, and he lived in a separate house." (2 King 15:5) (There's a footnote on "leprosy" that says 'The Hebrew word was used for various diseases affecting the skin-not necessarily leprosy.')

"After all this, the LORD afflicted Jehoram with an incurable disease of the bowels. In the course of time, at the end of the second year, his bowels came out because of the disease, and he died in great pain." (2 Chronicals 21:18-19)

"So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease upon them." (Psalm 106:15)

"Therefore, the LORD, the LORD Almight, will send a wasting disease upon his sturdy warriors." (Isaiah 10:16)

"Therefore, I have begun to destroy you, to ruin you because of your sins." (Micah 6:13)

"And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time." (Luke 1:19-20)

"'Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun.' Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand." (Acts 13:11)

Continue to Part 10.

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