Why Won't God Heal Amputees?



This has been a question frequently asked by atheists. It's one that's difficult to answer since none of us knows every reason why God allows every bad thing to happen, although good philosophical arguments show that it's certainly possible for God to have morally sufficient reasons why He doesn't heal some people and why He allows calamity to strike in peoples' lives. Even if God doesn't heal amputees in THIS life, He WILL heal them at the resurrection if they have placed their trust in Him and received The Holy Spirit into their hearts. Although BEFORE resurrection, everyone will be running around Heaven in spirit/soul/ghost form and the lack of physical limbs won't be a problem at all (because they won't have a physical body at all during that post-death-pre-resurrection state). WHY He doesn't heal them in THIS life? I don't know. It's possible that He allows some people to be like this in this life to make others better people. It might make others more compassionate and understanding and it might give them the opportunity to do the good that they otherwise might not have thought about doing.

Moreover, God has given man the ability to manufacture his own limbs! Sure, they're not as efficient as the ones He's made, but they're enough to make the amputee not as disabled as he might have been without them. Thank You Jesus for prosthetic limbs. Hopefully He'll give us the means to make them as efficient as the automail (prosthetics) in the Fullmetal Alchemist anime/manga. :)We must thank God for His providence in guiding man to the ability to make wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs that can help us cope and maneuver through this life until He restores our limbs and abilities to us in the afterlife and in the resurrection. Why doesn't God heal them now? I don't know. I honestly don't know. I do believe that God can have and does have morally sufficient reasons for permitting us to go through hard stuff in this life.   I can indeed speculate on POSSIBLE reasons for why CERTAIN individuals may have lost their limbs, and why God leaves them limbless. For example, The Bible tells us that through our suffering, we can become better people than we WOULD HAVE BEEN otherwise (see Romans 5:3-5). For example, some people, through having to endure not having limbs and not being able to walk (if they can't afford prosthetics) can encourage those who have also lost limbs, and who may not be emotionally strong enough to get through the recent mutilation, and thus end up suicidal or at least in severe depression. A person who IS emotionally strong enough, and who has gone through the same thing can give emotional support to this less-emotionally-strong person and strengthen them, and give them hope and inspiration. Seeing how strong this other person is can give them hope and inspiration that would have been impossible otherwise.

Another possible reason could be that a person could have gotten gangrene in one of their limbs which would have spread throughout the body and therefore killed that person before God was ready for them to enter into Heaven. So God allowed them to lose their limbs even before the gangrene struck. Or for some individuals, it may simply be to help them develop a sense of compassion towards those who are going through the same thing, and it could be the case that this individual was insensitive to the sufferings of other individuals, but, by having to go through this kind of hardship himself, becomes sensitive to the sufferings of others (the relevant passage being Romans 5:3-5). The reasons why God allows some people to lose their limbs will certainly differ from individual to individual. It certainly won't be the same reason for every individual, and, being finite creatures who cannot fully know God's plans for our future, we may be completely ignorant of the specific reasons as to why God let us lose our limbs and why He doesn't grow them back by performing a divine miracle. One thing we can be sure of, that for those who love God, He works everything for their good (Romans 8:28).

Now, when a handicapped person asks you why God allowed it to happen to him, it will probably be best not to discuss any possible reasons why God allowed it to happen. Talking about the problem of suffering philosophically is fine when things are fine and dandy, but when a person is going through suffering at the time, any answers you will give them will come off as dry and uncaring. As William Lane Craig points out in his book "On Guard" there are really 2 different problems of suffering. There's the intellectual problem of suffering and the emotional problem of suffering. The intellectual problem of suffering looks at suffering from a philosophical perspective and wonders how the concept of an all loving, all powerful God can co-exist with the presence of suffering people. The emotional problem seeks to resolve a person's emotional dislike of a God who permits suffering. When a person is going through suffering, talking about suffering from a philosophical perspective is likely to offend them and anger them. If you address the problem of suffering from an emotional perspective to someone who is troubled about it intellectually, any answer you give them will seem like sentimental hogwash. We mustn't repeat the mistake of Job's friends and start rattling off arguments about free will, and how God can bring good out of a bad situation etc. etc. while a person is hurting. When Job's friends did that, they only ended up hurting his feelings and making him angry. What we should do to someone who's going through suffering is simply to not say anything at all, but simply to BE THERE for them. If a person asks you why God is letting X happen to them, tell them that anything you say will probably make them angry and they won't be able to rationally evaluate the arguments because of their emotional state. Tell them that when things get better, you'll be more than happy to address the problem of suffering with them. After that, ask them "How can I help you in your time of need? Can I offer you financial support? Can I do your chores for you while you mourn your lost? What can I do for you?"

By the way, I certainly think there are good arguments that show how God and suffering can co-exist. Suffering does not disprove the existence of God. Moreover, all of the usual arguments given to show how God and suffering can co-exist aren't just ad-hoc explanations conjured up in the minds of philosophers as some might think. All of them are taught in The Bible. What the Christian Apologist does is elaborate on the teachings to help people understand how they could be so. For example, how can God bring good out of a bad situation as Jeremiah 29:11 and Romans 8:28 teach? Why MUST man have a free will? Philosophy can answer these questions.