Question & Answer: Why does God not go about like a superhero rescuing us from danger?

Q: Why does God not go about like a superhero rescuing us from danger?

A: After creation (Genesis 3), mankind chose—contrary to God’s design—to know “good AND evil.” That choice determined the consequential course of this world: danger, sickness, disaster, disease, death. God does not violate mankind’s original choice / free will… nor the course it set us on. He plays by his own rule of having granted mankind a sovereign self-determination. 

BUT, there is another way (besides superhero rescue) that he operates. While he cannot (by His own rule) violate the course of this world or the choices mankind’s free will. He CAN seek to redeem us from the evil we’ve known and done by supplying redemption (at His own cost) and making it a possible choice of our will. And so, God sent His only Son to provide atonement for all the sins of all mankind, including the original rebellion of having chosen contrary to His design. 

Besides this, we do not know how much evil God is holding back or preventing. 

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OTHER RESOURCES:

10 Reasons Why God Does Not Heal Everyone and/or Prevent Evil

Dealing with Loss, Evil, Suffering and Hopelessness

Befitting Rewards: A Theodicy (Parts 1-4)

The Difference Between Medical Anxiety and/or Depression & Anxiousness and/or Self-Pity

The physiological disorders, which the medical field diagnoses as “anxiety” or “depressive anxiety” or “manic depression” or even “bi-polar disorder” are different from what the Bible means when it says, “be anxious for nothing” (Philippians 4:6). The biblical term “anxious” refers to someone’s needlessly worrying about life matters or social situations, instead of practicing and growing in trust toward God as the One Who provides, protects & guides us… and from Whom comes our true identity and self-worth as believers. 

Well-meaning pastors such as Steve Furtick and Tony Evans make blanket statements about anxiety and depression like,

Depression is well described as anger turned inward. –Tony Evans

And 

Anxiety is the result of a pride (“I”) issue. –[Paraphrased], Steve Furtick

Now, I realize that even these statements were made within certain contexts. But, I think they are general enough to consider the topic of “broad-brush or blanket statements” that express a common , error-filled notion within Christendom. I will explain this misconception farther down. 

Without contest, the Apostle Paul does use “I” as a selfish and sinful identity concept, often called “the flesh” in his many New Testament letters. Anger and bitterness toward God and others is also a human tendency. But, to say anxiety or depression is ONLY a matter of pride or inwardly turned anger is plainly wrong and detrimental to any audience. Here’s why:

The medical term for depression and/or anxiety means someone who—due to physiological (chemical) imbalances and/or emotional/psychological traumas—cannot function normally, due to the paralyzing fears or feelings of overwhelm or depressive thoughts directly associated with their condition. There is a big difference between that and what the Apostle Paul describes.

The Scope of the Bible

The scope (intended purpose) of the Bible is to deal with things spiritual. In other words, it provides the worldview for human origins, a corrupted creation, brokenness, disaster, disease and death. It also gives maxims and warnings about how our spiritual existence directly affects our physical existence, and vice versa. Yet, the Bible does not attempt to diagnose and prescribe medical treatment for individual medical conditions, which mankind can diagnose, treat and prognosticate on his own. [This is not to say there are no dangers with medical treatments] It DOES describe a miraculous Healer (Jesus) of all sickness, with a priority given to the spiritual healing and restoration of souls to God and His intended design for life.

Do Tony Evans’ and Steve Furtick’s assertions account for those who have been (against their will) repeatedly abused, physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually… or even drugged? There are so many trauma-based mental disorders diagnosed in the criminally abused or cult abused (ex. trauma-based schizophrenia / split personality, dissociative disorder, hostile attribution bias, Stockholm syndrome, PTSD). 

Do assumptions like Furtick’s and Evans’ account for those who have chemical imbalances due to postpartum or other physiological conditions (e.g. Autism, Menopause, biologically induced forms of Schizophrenia, Thyroid dysfunction, Sleep Apnea, or depression in chronic illness patients… like Diabetics) that stem from our living in a fallen world & in mortal bodies? What about soldiers who have been exposed to/taken part in such atrocities and chemical warfare that they may never fully recover from PTSD or other mental/emotional or physiological disorders?

All the above situations are not far fetched. They are more common than one from a privileged life can know. Sometimes the depression is really just a physical condition, other times it is spiritual oppression (warfare) which requires deliverance; yet other times, counseling and joy & relational trust building are required. Still, there may be a combination of two or all of these needs. 

Thankfully, there are levels of healing for all of these cases, but we must be careful of blanket statements. They tend to smother the most needy and innocent, not to mention shame/blame the victim for their valid struggles. Some inward hurts are just as serious as outward broken bones or damaged organs. They take serious attention, treatment and recovery time to heal. Instead of generalizing and inadvertently scolding the wounded, we must temper the statement by context… saying, “For someone without any medical condition or heritable disease/disorder…”

Human Reason & Divine Revelation

Too often, Christians hold a hyper & cultish view regarding the Bible’s scope. “If the Bible doesn’t say it, I don’t believe it,” is their (unspoken) mantra. They add to it an insistence on disregard for context and genre and employ a rigid literal interpretation, for which even the most conservative scholars (ex. B.B. Warfield) of the early 20th century derided them. Their insistence is spuriously bolstered by their blindly lifting out of context and misquoting, “Let God be true and every man a liar” (Romans 3:4). This cultish peculiarity reveals itself in a staunch disregard for and fear of human reasoning and philosophy and the sciences. God uses many methods and many people (even disbelievers) to bring healing into the lives of the needy.  These sort of believers forget that “all truth is God’s truth,” and such a set of positions fails to see that the Bible is a collection of Holy Writ that carries out a specified agenda, and therefore, does not speak to every matter known to mankind. Some things, mankind is to arrive at on his own.

They take too far the warnings against “science so called” and “empty philosophy” (1 Timothy 6:20; Colossians 2:8), which—in context—were warnings against the Gnosticism and Judaizers of the Apostles’ era… the same 2 antithetical systems that were directly attacking the Christian Faith, and for which Faith, the Apostles were giving reasonable defenses. Modern-day equivalents of Gnosticism and Judaism would be anything that undermines the Christian worldview about human origins, the reason for human mortality, (i.e. the spiritual condition of humanity) and/or the Divine Trinity, reconciliation to God only by Jesus, etc. Medical disciplines—in so far as they do not alter humanity at the DNA (germline) level or otherwise chemically or technologically augment human brain functionality—do not match the context of Paul’s warnings against empty philosophy or “so-called” science.

Again, some things, mankind is to arrive at on his own. As Cheryl Lowe writes, 

“most things mankind can discover for himself – geometry, logic, the principles of history, government, literature, the sciences, etc. These things were first discovered by the Greeks. God did not reveal to man what he could discover for himself through reason and experience. To do so would have confused human reason with divine revelation.” (http://excellence-in-literature.com/why-study-the-pagans-by-cheryl-lowe/)

The Balance:

Now, all the above is not to say a person cannot induce medical anxiety upon himself or herself by using drugs, doing illegal and risky stuff and/or continually worrying, being petty or cross or caustic. A person can induce a physiological condition by cognitive habit or by substance abuse. Any number of lifestyles, including something as simple as a poor diet / no exercise, can bring on medical disorders just as easily as a physiological predisposition makes one susceptible. This is a chief reason the Bible provides spiritual maxims and warnings about our beliefs and personal conduct. God just wants us to experience the best that life can be, such as it is in a fallen world.

Also, it is my opinion that someone with medical anxiety should not rely on meds alone to defeat anxiety/depression. If they train their thoughts and emotions to grow in trusting God more than being co-dependent upon people (i.e. insecure), then stepping down medication is always possible. But those who simply trust in the meds will only need more and more meds. Moreover, forgiveness at the decree of God is a powerful thing for eliminating paralysing guilt and for getting one’s conscience & identity rooted and grounded solidly in unconditional, loving grace. Even if someone brings a condition upon himself or herself, then God is abundant in mercy and will rescue & redeem us from our own self-inflicted peril… if we call upon Him for that in humility. [It may take a while or no time at all. Healing is His business, and we just keep on trusting & expecting Him to do His thing in His way and time].

The Encouragement for Spiritual Anxiety / Depression:

Feeling down, depressed, and discouraged? You are not alone. Moses, Elijah, Job, and even the Apostle Paul at different points of their lives were overcome with these emotions. They all got to the point that they wanted to end their lives. In the darkness they failed to see that God was working. We often are looking through a microscope at our problems, instead of looking through a telescope at our God. Depression never tells us the whole story or let’s us see the entire picture. Even when we are at our worst, God is at His best. In 2 Corinthians 1:9, the Apostle Paul tells us that it was in the darkest moments of his life that he learned to trust God the most. When you come to the end of your rope, God is there. Have faith and don’t lose heart!

10 Reasons Why God Does Not Heal Everyone and/or Prevent Evil

These are the questions:

“If God exists and is good, then why does God allow evil and suffering?” —Atheist / Agnostic

“If God is all powerful, then why don’t Christians go into hospitals and psych wards to heal everyone?” —Skeptic

“Will God heal the non-believer just the same as a believer?” —Inquiring Christian

“I prayed for a miracle, but God did not do it. Why?” —Disillusioned Christian

These are the biblical answers:

1. Human free will stands, according to God’s original design. By it we fell into sin; with it, each of us may be redeemed by grace through faith. Free will means others may affect my life, and that is just the law of existence, which God set into motion. Their freedom is your freedom; and God will not remove it. He keeps His own laws. Mankind makes evil and hurtful or neglegent choices, because mankind is corrupted in nature, not God.

BUT, God promises He alone can redeem these evils into something eternally good, if He is willfully entrusted with both the wrongs and His prescription on how to cope with them. Finding out & following His ways can treat and / or prevent much evil, inner suffering & even physical ailment.

Sometimes God won’t heal us or heal instantly, because He wants us to use our will to find healing by searching out and living in His freeing Truth & ways. That is, God may delay a healing or spread it out over time in order to build the faith of the recipient. Instantaneous healing does happen, but so does prolonged healing.

If He has assured us of healing based on His Word and the illumination of the Spirit, then we must continually believe with praising, or “pray through.” This builds a strong faith! Again, God is more interested in cultivating our person in trusting Him than in providing quick fixes for our temporal, physical bodies. See Luke 18:1-8

And, yes, emotional and psychological healings come at His hands too… but often take much time and much truth.

2. Some (NOT ALL) torments are the result of sin. Examples include: guilt, not forgiving others, the results of covetously seeking riches and fame or worldly success, bitterness or blaming God for not getting your strong desires met, dabbling in occult ritual or magic, bringing railing accusation against / commanding angels, speaking evil/reviling angelic majesties without knowledge/understanding. These must be confessed and renounced in Jesus’ Name before we can command the tormentors to go. (See Jude; Matthew 18:34; Hebrews 12; 1 Timothy 6:10; James 4-5)

3. Our understanding is limited; God’s is limitless. It may be redemptive suffering or glorification of God in unseen realms… Or seen realms (Ex. Job, John 9:1-12). We are not gods; He is God. It is about His glory, AND He rewards those who suffer but keep faith! [See Befitting Rewards Series and 1 Peter 4 & Luke 22:31]

4. This is a fallen world in an evil age—temporal—not Heaven. Sickness, disaster, disease & death are not only possible but probable; but God wants our trust in Him for the rescue of our eternal soul—even above trust for temporal fixes—as well as the maturing of our (believers’) person into Jesus’ likeness. We did not give God trust in a perfect age (Garden of Eden). This present evil age is about trusting Him while enduring ills. If we do so, He will give us His wisdom & understanding. Therefore, He may or may not heal / deliver based on our need to grow into Christ’s likeness. Jesus suffered and was perfected by it too, but He suffered so that He could rescue us from eternal separation from God in judgement. The rescue and mature development of your eternal soul is more important to God than your temporal / bodily desires. Only by suffering, can we be made better (more empathetic, wise, understanding, compassionate, self-less, content) people.

Speaking of being mortal, getting older and chronically sick is hard. King Solomon puts it best by saying: “Remember your creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and you say, ‘I have no pleasure in them’ (Ecclesiastes 12:1). God says you were supposed to have spent your youthful years learning the Wisdom of God, SO THAT when you are older and sicker and feeble you would be prepared instead of lost for answers about life in this fallen world. Youth is preparation for getting older, not a thing to be squandered as if to say, “Tonight, we are young. So, let’s set the world on fire.” The best way to age gracefully is to age (gain) in wisdom. Even wine gets better with age, even though it rots.

See Romans 8:29-30; John 16:33; Ecclesiastes 12

5. God is not partial or vengeful. He gives both blessings and trials to the just and the unjust alike. He lets good things and “bad” things happen for a reason, which is: both blessing and suffering are meant to lead us to faith in God, either in response for his goodness OR in seeing the brokenness of the fallen world & desiring to be rescued from this present evil, fallen age.; and, as indicated above, trials and suffering can either grow or destroy our empathy and compassion…. The choice is ours, whether to become better humans or not. See Matthew 5:45

6. The proud, rich & affluent of this world are often self sufficient (poor in faith). We think we have a remedy or fix or prevention or insurance for everything… somehow invincible. We need to learn our frailty and vulnerability and trust in the presence of God (See above). To become spiritually rich, we must fully realize we are poor in spirit; and a revelation of our spiritual bankruptcy before God does not happen without trials. By the way, if we treat prayer for healing like a “treatment” so that we can go on living in our godless and selfish ways, then God won’t heal us. See James 2:5; 5; Matthew 5:3

7. Someone must ask for healing (spiritual & physical) in Jesus’ Name. If one does not believe in Him as the only true God and Savior, why should He give them a healing / deliverance? In the Bible records, healings are always given so that faith may be established in Him. This is not to say God will not preserve life, even in miraculous ways, until that one has a chance to hear the Good News of Jesus. God has and will heal, or allow a near death experience, or miraculously protect or deliver someone from tragedy, if/when that person needs to hear / accept the Good News of Jesus.

[See Bible passages recording healings and “What About Those Who Have Not Heard?“]

8. Believers do not direct or empower spiritual gifts (healing, etc.) to use at their will, as if the power is theirs. It is God’s power and at His will. (See above & 1 Corinthians 12:11)

9. Prayer is aligning with God’s rule & will over us. Sometimes He says no, even to those who are righteous (repentant attitude). To pray for His “Kingdom to come & His will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven” is not a question of His will getting done, as if God can’t do everything He wants in this present, evil age. But rather, to pray this is to practice aligning ourselves with God’s will and rule by agreement of spirit and a confident trust in Him. This is called faith, and untainted faith is sourced in (or flows out of) love. If we love God, we desire His rule and his will to happen on earth, even if it goes against our natural desires; and this stands in direct contradistinction to the collective will of fallen, unregenerate humanity… which seeks self-will and self-rule at all costs. The “Lord’s Prayer” is a form of worship, not a revelation of God’s impotence. So, we may pray outright for healing (believer & non-believer alike), but if God does not heal you—in His Divine wisdom—will you love him and trust him anyway? Will you learn to pray with agreement from the heart, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done.” [*Note: this prayer is also prophetic concerning His future 1000 yr. reign from Jerusalem]

As Nick Vujicic says:

If you don’t get a miracle, be the miracle.”

10. God wants fellowship. More than any, God has suffered; because in all our suffering, He suffers. We are His Creation gone astray by the free will he gave us and enduring evils He never would have chosen for us. He also provides the remedy of His Son at His own costly expense. But, just like Abraham and all the patriarchs and great people of faith, they endured great hardship & testing down here, so that they would know the fellowship of Christ Jesus’ sufferings… a necessary “evil” that must go alongside of knowing “the power of His resurrection!” These people were called “friend” by God and enjoyed deep relationship with Him while on earth and afterward in Heaven. Are you desiring exemption from this? As Romans 8 puts it, “I reckon that the present sufferings of this age are nothing to be compared to the glory to be revealed in us…. If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him.” See Romans 4; 5:3; 8; Hebrews 11

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OTHER RESOURCES:

Key Word Search: Trials of Faith 

Dealing with Loss, Evil, Suffering and Hopelessness

For a list of people in the Bible who were righteous and not healed, see Warnings about the Word of Faith Movement

When God Says No

My Testimony & Calling | TBN

And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. (Revelation 12:11)

Nothing that we can say or do as Christians is more glorifying to God or more effective in spiritual battles or more influential with other people than our own life testimonial. Here’s my story, as given August 15, 2016 on TBN 42 Indianapolis: [scrub the time bar to 2/3rds in]

Lamb’s Harbinger Apologetics Roundup

For today’s Christian, defending a supernatural worldview in the face of the intellectual fascism of naturalist evolutionism is necessary. Giving evidence for creationism, miracles and the supernatural nature of the Bible are the first step to showing the biblical worldview of Christians is not only a valid one, but the exclusive one. To aid you in your duty, examine the following… compiled over 4 years, and presented here (below). Also visit this web site’s Links page for a comprehensive list of the foremost Christian apologetics sites.