Two Views of Healing, Part I

Two Views of Healing, Part I

As I write this (for the newspaper) I am going today and tomorrow for my 6 months checkup to see if a serious form of cancer has returned. I should get results tomorrow. {The next day, before I post this to my blog, I have initial results and it looks like my lymphoma has returned. Ironically, my negative diagnosis of today does not really affect what I will write this week or next week!}

Divine healing is always on my mind, but that is so more than usual today. I think there are basically two approaches to divine healing that I want to talk about today and next time. Actually there are three but the first one I want to dismiss outright: that approach is that either there is no God and therefore God does not heal or that there is a God but He is just uninvolved in the world and in our lives, (a view called Deism), and therefore that “god” doesn’t heal. To me this theory is completely incongruent with the Bible, where God is very involved in His creation, and especially with the New Testament, where, through Jesus and his disciples, God often heals.

The first real and viable view of healing is the one that I think is most prevalent among Christians. I more or less grew up with this view. I am 68 years old, and I certainly believed this theory well into my 30s, therefore over half of my life. Under this theological viewpoint, God has the ability to heal, but it might not be His will for someone to be healed. This apparently means that it is often God’s will for people to be sick. Sometimes people who consciously or unconsciously hold this theory pray, “Lord please heal so and so if it be thy will.” Even if they do not explicitly pray, “if it be thy will,” there is still the sense that while we ask God for healing it may not be His will to heal now. In fact, many who hold this view would say that if God does not heal someone, it must be His will for them not to be healed. It is His will for them to be sick. Gradually, I have come to reject this view based on scripture (not based on experience)

I began to have problems with the way a majority of Christians seem to view healing when I looked at the New Testament and saw that “if it be thy will” is not the kind of healing prayer (or proclamation) practiced by Jesus and his disciples. I cannot find a place in the New Testament where Jesus ever asked God to heal someone “if it be thy will,” and his disciples never did that either. Actually it is rare that Jesus even prays to God for healing; instead he usually just declares healing over people. He just says, “Be healed,” or “take up your bed and walk,” or something like that. It is the same with his disciples.

Secondly, I believe healing is rooted in the atonement of Jesus. Matthew 8:16-17 based on Isaiah 53, makes clear that Jesus is the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 who has borne our sicknesses and diseases. …When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to Jesus, and He drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took on our infirmities, and carried our diseases.”

Next time I will finish talking about this second approach to healing, which is not without its problems, but which assumes that it is still Jesus’s will to heal the sick.

(This article first appeared in the Pearland/Friendswood Reporter News)


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