> I am at the end of my school year and, thus, writing papers. Here is an email conversation from a couple of weeks ago I had with a fellow minister. I wanted to post it and see if anyone had any reflections, objections, questions or comments.
If you already know the basics or have A.D.D. – just jump down to the sentence in orange and start there.
I will put JD’s thoughts in bold green and my responses will follow.
JD: Two thoughts on healing, medicine, and health care:
- Our lack of theology of creation results in average people pushing against both modern medicine and many forms of holistic/folk medicine.
- Many people are fearful of holistic medicines because of non-Christian spiritual components.
Me: I’m just going to throw out some ideas:
1) Creation was not ONE week a long long time ago. Creation is still happening. Look at the Hawaiian islands. Look at the tectonic plates that cause tsunamis.
This is ongoing creation.
2) In scripture God works through nature almost all the time. Burning bushes , winds on the sea of Reeds (Red Sea), clouds by day – fire by night… walking on water (the sea was Chaos in the 1st century) calming the storm, Sky turns dark, etc. This is Biblical.
3) The old saying is that there is no use praying for the cool of Spring in the heat of Summer. The seasons will be.
The other way is to say “God wills it” – God’s will is for the seasons to be. If God wills it then there is no use praying against it.
Since we have not figured this out, we look at something like cancer and don’t know if it is God’s will. Then we call a tornado an act of God. Its like we have no idea what is God and what is not god.
Christians (New Testament believers) still read the book of Job and say “everything happens for a reason”. cripes.
4) There is no supernatural. God did not create super-naturally. God created ultra-naturally.
5) Let’s be consistent. Does God direct tornadoes? Yes or no. Is God’s power in the springs? Yes or no. Is God responsible for cancer? Yes or no.
because the reality is that IF God is in change of cancer, then why would we pray against it? if it is God’s will…
BUT If it is not God’s power in the springs… then HOW would God heal someone of cancer? We can’t have it both ways.
How would a Fundamentalist or Conservative say that A) God is in the tornado. B) the Springs are pagan or new-age C) but pray for someone with Cancer to be healed? PICK ONE !!!!
Does God work in nature or not. If you say no, then explain the stuff in the bible. If yes, then what is the problem with drinking the springs for healing?
JD: #5 confuses me a little. I recognize the need to be consistent. But…are we saying God works in nature, therefore, the healing springs are of God AND tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes are?
Or is this the inherent contradiction that process helps us address?
Me: Good clarification!
YES! the answer then is found in the qualification “In what WAY is God at work in the world”
God creates islands through volcanoes. God gave us the gift of the springs. God set up the tectonic plates (that shift sometimes). God brings cells into line and they are no longer cancerous.
BUT – this is not SUPER-natural-ism and it is not INTERVENTION-ism. That is where it breaks down.
When we say miraculous, we mean extraordinary or surprising but it is not that is OUTSIDE the universe and just directs a tornado toward the a liberal church when the gays are in town… but who is not in the springs and who is not healing of cancer.
The WAY the God is in the world is not coercive. It is not unilateral. It is not intervention or interference. It is not invasive – since god is here with us and at work among us.
what do you think?
JD: Wait, so God created the springs and tectonic plates – but floods and earthquakes which destroy people are NOT God’s direct doing – it’s just the result of us building on things that God designed? I’m missing something here. I get the non-super-natural and non-interventionist thing. But if God set things up some particular way and is still immanent – is He not still responsible?
Me: right – taken the wrong way, I could just be the inverted Piper: he thinks god directs that tornado but is not in the springs. I think god is in the springs but not the tornado.
so that is NOT what I want to say 😉 obviously.
God set up the tectonic plates. They move. This is how creation works. It is the building of buildings where earthquakes become a problem. The tectonic plates are essential to the earth;s rejuvenation. It is all natural. Winter is essential – but sometimes snow crushes buildings and kills deer populations.
It would be closer to say that it is all god – than that it is not god. Everything is god is closer to the truth – everything is god’s will …. except sin.
and that is the thing.
Tornadoes are random terror. God is not directing them. God is not making the tectonic plates move. Volcanoes are creation in the moment. It’s just how it works.
” God is nature. Nature is God. God works through nature. Nature works as God. ” is -at some level – more true than saying God is outside of time and space and once and a while steps in.
JD: That clarifies it quite a bit.