Why Won’t God Heal Amputees?

I first came across this question on YouTube, in a video entitled “10 Questions Every Intelligent Christian Must Answer.”  The question was apparently asked by someone who is critical of Christianity – or at least of some claims made by Christians.  When I last viewed the video it had over 5 million hits.  Obviously, it has gained a lot of attention.

The video seems to ask a lot of serious questions for the Christian to consider.  The central question is: Why won’t God heal amputees?

From what I can gather, the author of the video (and its corresponding web site) are not just petitioning on behalf of amputees, but are actually challenging the existence of God. Here, in my own words, is how I understand their argument:

“Christians are always claiming to be healed by God.  From minor illnesses to cancer, Christians seem to be able to get healed.  But have you ever noticed that amputees never get healed?  No one who is missing an arm or leg ever goes up to the altar for prayer and comes back to their pew with a new one.  Why?  Does God hate amputees?  Or, are divine healings really just fake?  It’s easy for someone who has a back injury to suddenly claim that he or she is healed.  But, it’s not as easy for an amputee to fake a healing.  If we had a documented case of an amputee getting healed, then we would have a bona fide miracle.  But, since we don’t, we can either conclude God doesn’t exist, or He just hates amputees.”

Anyway … that’s how I see their argument.  At first blush it seems to make a good challenge for the Christian.  But, I’m not really impressed ….

First – as if it is even necessary – we have an example of Jesus healing an amputee.  It is recorded in Luke 22.  As Jesus is being arrested, Peter (see John 18) takes his sword and cuts off the ear of the high priests’ servant.  This is clearly an amputation.  Jesus is recorded as then healing the amputee (Luke 22:51).

But, even if we didn’t have that example, I would be unmoved by the critics’ argument.

The existence – or non-existence – of God is not dependent upon whether He meets the criteria of any human.  In other words, there is no law saying that God must do what we want Him to do to prove that He is real.  If, indeed, God exists, then He sets the standard, not us.

Jesus told a story once.  No one knows for sure whether it is a true one, but it is worth repeating just the same.  In Luke 16, Jesus described a rich man and a poor, beggar man dying at about the same time.  The beggar goes to the bosom of Abraham (heaven), while the rich man suffers in torment.

Jesus said that the rich man asked if the beggar could return to earth to warn his brothers of their impending doom.  Father Abraham reminded the rich man that his brothers had the law and the prophets to warn them. The rich man pleaded that they would not listen to the law and the prophets, but they would respond to someone coming back from the dead.  Father Abraham told him that if they didn’t listen to Moses and the prophets, then they would not listen to someone rising from the dead.

I think this story is pretty telling of the human heart.  Some people (like the poor beggar) respond to recorded words of God, and are able to make a decision for faith.  Others (like the rich man and his brothers) won’t believe – even if they see a miracle like someone rising from the dead.

It’s my guess that if the author of the YouTube video finds documenting evidence of an amputee being healed, he or she still won’t believe.  Why?  Well, because they have probably already resolved not to believe – like the rich man and his brothers.  Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is sufficient reason to believe.  Why look for a lesser sign when the greater sign has already been given?