Saturday, October 20, 2012

God of the Gaps

In the nineteenth century, some Christians took what was called a “God of the Gaps” approach to science. They accepted that science could explain many things, so they limited God to things that science could not explain.

This did not work, for two reasons.

The first problem was that as science grew and explained more and more of what happened on earth, the gaps left for God to explain got smaller and smaller. Soon there no room left for God, and he was squeezed out of his universe.

The second problem is that if God is to be God, he must be the explanation of everything. A god who is limited to gaps is not really god.

Although this approach has mostly been discarded, many Christians have a God of the gaps approach to sickness and healing. They see most sickness as being caused by bacterial or viral infections or by genetic defects. These can be healed or controlled by antibiotics and other medicines.

When medicines fail or an incurable sickness strikes, they call on God for healing.. This is a God of the gaps approach. God is used for the things that modern medicine cannot heal.

Jesus took a different approach. He saw all sickness as having a spiritual cause. On a sabbath day when he was teaching in a synagogue, he encountered a woman who had been crippled for eighteen years. She had been bent over for so long that she could not straighten up. If we could do an MRI scan, she would be diagnosed osteoporosis of the spine. Exercise and physiotherapy would be prescribed. But Jesus saw a spiritual cause. He said, “Satan has kept her bound for eighteen years” (Luke 13:16). He was not saying that she did not have osteoporosis. He was explaining that there was a deeper cause, which need to be dealt with for her to be healed.

Then he put his hands on her,and immediately she straightened up and praised God (Luke 13:13).
If we assume that we only need prayer for dealing with the gaps that modern medicine cannot handle, we have not fully understood the gospel.

More at Healing

No comments: