We’re new creations, not old ones. Who cares how Adam came along? We’re leaving him behind. I want to begin a new thought experiment. Does the New Creation evolve?
As I write, I am hooked to four bags of IV fluid. One is just saline solution. The other three are Doxorubicin, Etarabine, and Vincristin. They have been slowly dripping into my Vena Cava, right above my heart, for the last 13 hours. They will continue for 83 more.
I have lymphoma. Boy, does that create a firestorm when you and a lot of your friends are radical Christians. There are three major parties.
- Natural/Alternative Medicine – I don’t want to deal with that today. I did write about such treatments on <my Leukemia blog, twice: nice version; rant.)
- God Heals Everyone – These are usually charismatics or Pentecostals. For today these are the young earth creationists of the New Creation. (I explain below!)
- God Can Heal, But Sometimes Sickness Is Good – For today, these are the theistic evolutionists. They believe in God, but they also lean on science.
Explanation of these bullet points:
God Always Heals and Creationism
Creationism, in regard to the old creation, says that God did everything by divine fiat (decree). Suffering, death, and the changes produced by them came along later, and they are bad.
Thus, the “God Always Heals” (GAH) crowd are like the creationists. We get better by divine fiat. The new creation is perfect at the beginning. It may grow, but not by pain, suffering, and death. If pain, suffering, or death come along, it’s a product of sin.
The second similarity between GAH and creationism is their rejection of what they see around them. It’s not about experience, it’s about what God says in the Bible. If experience doesn’t match up to that, then there’s a problem with out faith.
God Sometimes Heals and Theistic Evolution
Theistic evolutionists don’t deny that God created everything. They believe God created everything using evolution as the process.
The major similarity between theistic evolutionists and the “God Sometimes Heals” (GSH) crowd is they both pay attention to the world around them and assign authority to their experience in it. For theistic evolutionists, nature—because it is God’s creation—is a second Bible, just as trustworthy as the Bible, assuming both are interpreted correctly.
Beginning the Thought Experiment
First, I have very dear friends I respect on both sides of this issue. My GAH friends pray for me. They do not hassle me. They do not tell me I have sinned. They do not tell me to repent or that I am faithless. They support me and love me because they have the Holy Spirit shedding love in their hearts.
Let me add, my GAH friends are not “Go in peace, be warmed, be filled” friends. They pray for money for ministries, and they reach in their wallets and give to ministries. They pray for healing, and they visit the friends they pray for. One couple I know prays for healing and adopts special needs children. They not only pray for them, but they care for them with their time and hands.
Another friend of mine wrote a book teaching that God always heals. I’m about to disagree publicly with him. He and several other friends are slightly ahead of me in age, somewhat ahead of me spiritually, and way ahead of me in making a mark in this world …
But not in the area of seeing healing in everyone they pray for. That doesn’t happen for them either.
Experience and Circumstances
I don’t reject experience. While Peter appealed to Scripture at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15), he appealed to experience, and experience only, in convincing the Jews that baptizing Cornelius was the will of God (Acts 11:1-18).
Experience says that healing everyone was reserved only for special dispensations of God. Elijah and Elisha worked incredible miracles, most other prophets worked few. Jesus healed everyone. Peter may have healed everyone. Paul definitely did not heal everyone (2 Tim. 4:20; Php. 2:25-27), and he was an apostle. Acts 4:33 tells us that the church had great grace, but it was the apostles alone who had “great power” as they testified of the resurrection.
1 Cor. 12:30 tell us, by rhetorical question, that not all have gifts of healing.
More importantly, history tells us that God just does not heal everyone, and only for the rarest of his servants does he heal many.
More importantly …
Why I Call This a Creationism-Evolution Controversy
Is suffering good? Or is suffering bad?
Is suffering the result of our sins or mistakes? Or is suffering the plan of God for our growth?
In Philippians 1:29 we are told that suffering is a gift from God. Romans 5:3-4 and James 1:2-4 tell us that suffering is the route to hope, patience, and perfection.
Having been a part of a very close and somewhat large Christian community for almost 20 years, I can testify that what I see is that many of the faults of Christians cannot be corrected except by pain. I don’t mean pain administered by people. I mean pain administered by God through circumstances we cannot avoid.
So often we want to be delivered from some sin or to go deeper into some aspect of righteous character, and we cry out to God for it, not knowing that our own deceptive heart will never repent until God makes the fault so painful that we are frightened by it or detest it.
It’s like the kid who keeps trying to touch the stove, no matter what his parents say … until the day he is burned by it. That child is in all of us.
God rarely just delivers us from some fault. It happens. I’ve had it happen. I’ve also had it happen that a fault that disappeared instantly upon becoming a new creature in Jesus came back years later when I was old enough to deal with it. When that happens, I believe God is saying, “When you were young, you needed deliverance. I took this temptation away. Now, however, you have grown. You can overcome it, and you must. You must wrestle it until this righteousess becomes a part of your godly character, not just mine.”
This is not as well-organized as I planned. It is not as Scriptural as I planned. It is, however, from the heart and based on very rich, very joyful Christian experience.
So where are you? Does God decree health, decree instantaneous righteousness, and decree other transformations, or do we need to labor, suffer, and even die internally in order to obtain some, most, or even all of the deep things of God?
Do you espouse divine fiat in the New Creation? Or do you espouse the evolution of the new creature into the image of God?