Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is a Christian and paraplegic. “Abbott became a paraplegic when an oak tree fell on him while he was running following a storm in 1984. He had two steel rods implanted in his spine, underwent extensive rehabilitation at TIRR Memorial Hermann in Houston, and has used a wheelchair ever since.”
Prior to a prayer rally hosted by Franklin Graham on the steps of the Texas Capitol, Gov. Abbott sent out the following tweet:
Pray as if everything depends on God. Work as if everything depends on you. Let's work together to fix America. pic.twitter.com/TiQRJFpvop
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) April 26, 2016
“Twitter user Halley the Heathen — who describes herself as an atheist in her Twitter bio — fired off a tweet hours later telling Abbott, ‘if your god is real, then you will be able to get out of your wheelchair right now and run a marathon.’” (Source) That’s like saying that if God is real I should be able to run a three-minute mile, long jump 32 feet, and throw the shot put 80 feet.
The fact that Halley the Heathen has “life and breath” (Acts 17:25) is evidence that God exists. Life is not an accident or a chance occurrence. In the materialistic world of the heathen, there is no moral certitude because there aren’t any moral or immoral atoms in a matter-only cosmos. Given Halley the Heathen’s worldview we are nothing but “a bag of meat and bones”1 animated by electricity. When that electrical charge goes out, given the operating assumptions of the heathen, that’s all there is.
Let’s suppose that someone killed Halley the Heathen. Did that person ultimately do anything morally wrong? No. At death, she and her killer would be “dust in the wind.” The most righteous person would fare no better than the most evil person who has ever lived. If there is no judge after death, then there is no one ultimately to judge anything this side of death. We are at the mercy of our DNA (which evolutionists can’t account for) as new atheist Richard Dawkins explains in his book Out of Eden:
“In the universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, and other people are going to get lucky; and you won’t find any rhyme or reason to it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good. Nothing but blind pitiless indifference. DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is, and we dance to its music.”
Julian Huxley (1887-1975) made a similar observation in his book Evolution: The Modern Synthesis (1942):
“We are as much a product of blind forces as is the falling of a stone to Earth or the ebb and flow of the tides. We have just happened, and man was made flesh by a long series of singularly beneficial accidents.”
We are as much a product of blind forces as the falling of a tree or a bullet fired from a gun. In the world of the heathen, neither is a good or bad happening. As Nicholas Cage’s character in the film Knowing (2009) says, “There is no grand meaning, there is no purpose. . . . I think s**t just happens.”
This is Halley the Heathen’s worldview. It can’t be otherwise. If she is shot in the head in a drive-by shooting, there is no meaning – logical or moral – it just happens. Of course, even Halley the Heathen does not live consistently within the framework of a materialistic worldview. Like her materialistic compatriots, she borrows moral categories from outside her belief system in order to give meaning and morality to her life. No one really lives in terms of “stuff just happens” with no moral consequences.
From within the context of a Christian worldview we can make sense of the world, even something like a fallen tree that puts a man in a wheelchair for life. We live in a fallen world where bad things happen. We are mortal. The Bible explains the condition of our world. “[I]t is appointed for men to die once and after this judgment” (Heb. 9:27; cf. 2 Cor. 5:10; 1 John 4:17). There is an ethical evaluation – a judgment – on how we live. We are not just “dust in the wind” because we are more than bags of meat and bone.
From the Bible, we know that God does not heal every infirmity. Jesus only raised three people from the dead during His earthly ministry, the widow’s son at Nain (Luke 7:11-17), Jairus’ daughter (Matt. 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:40-56), and Lazarus (John 11:1-44). There are a total of nine individual recorded resurrections in the Bible three in the Old Testament (1 Kings 17:17-24; 2 Kings 4:35; 2 Kings 13:21), not including Jesus’ own resurrection (Matt. 28:5-7) and others unnamed (Matt. 10:7-8; 27:52-53). In addition, there are two recorded in the book of Acts (Acts 9:36-42; 20:9-12).
And while Jesus and the apostles healed many people, they did not heal everyone. There is no guarantee or even an expectation that all sick people will get well. All of the apostles died, some by violent means (John 21:18-23).
Luke was a physician who travelled with Paul. Paul describes him as “the beloved physician” (Col. 4:14). If the promise was that all illnesses would be healed, it seems to me that Paul would have rejected the very idea of a physician. Consider Paul’s own physical malady:
“Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me — to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Cor. 12:7-9).
Paul instructs Timothy not to drink only water but to “use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments” (1 Tim. 5:23). Why didn’t Paul just heal Timothy of his ailments?
Halley the Heathen wants to live in a moral and rational cosmos, but she can’t account for either morality or reason. Her ability to reason is flawed because she is flawed, as we all are. Until she starts with the operating first principle that “God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1) and that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 1:7), she is one of the blind leading the blind (Matt. 15:13-14).
- “Kill Switch, X-Files (Season 5, Episode 11). [↩]
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