The Problem of Pain: Part II

…Even though my pain has not fully disappeared I can see that my pain is much less than it was a few days ago.

I know that a lot of prayer went into this recovery; and yet, at the same time, I know that I went to a doctor who gave me some medicine after which I have been feeling better.

Now the obvious question is what healed me; or who healed me?

My own answer is that God worked through medicine to heal me. That may sound like a cop-out, but I assure you that it is not.

God’s works in this world are not outside the realm of his own creation. Even if we were to look at God’s great miracles in Bible, we will see that God used the natural processes of the world to show his power over the natural processes. The best example of this I think is when Jesus walked on water, recorded in the Gospels. Jesus defyed the laws of gravity and boyancy by walking on water. But he was still consistent to the laws of time and distance (physics). Which is to say that while Jesus broke one or two laws in his miraculous act, he was still faithful to at least two other laws. Jesus could have magically a appeared on the boat. But instead, he chose to walk from land to the boat (the law of distance) and that walking took time (again the law of time). Jesus could have broken all laws entirely, and yet, to be understood by weak environmentally conditioned humans, he choose to display his power over matter, but breaking only a few rules of matter. Hence we are able to say “he walked” rather than something beyond our capacity to even comprehend!

My point is that God uses his creation to communicate to us: he does not bypass creation. In fact, let me say that God does not speak to us outside creation. Everything that God has said to us is said in ways that we can understand; in language, in thought, in philosophy, in books, in events, in people etc.

Back to the theology of pain, I know that if God chose to heal me, he would do it within the processes of the world. Even if God healed me without medicine, his healing would still be within the laws of biology, physics and/or chemistry. In my current case, I was having a bacterial infection and was messing up with my chemical balance that could worse come to worse poison my blood. God healed (is healing me) while removing the bacterial infection (which is a very biological thing for God to do) and restoring the balance (the chemistry). Whether with medicine or not, the healing is healing because it makes sense within the laws of humanity/creation. If for instance my healing led to the formation of an entirely strange angelic existence… it would not make sense to me or to others. But this seemingly natural healing… that is consistent with the laws of nature… is still within and outside the laws of nature… (according to my faith)… because God was involved in my case. (I don’t want to get into whether GOd is involved or not involved with other people in pain right here. That would distract from the fundamental point I’m making here… which I believe).

My point is that God healing through medicine is not any less miraculous than God healing without medicine. The fact that God heals is the miracle… the means he uses to accomplish that miracle is transient; changing.

As my theological verbosity has increased, it is obvious that I’m getting better. But that doesnt mean that I’m fully healed. I’m not fully out of danger… and I need to continue with my medication.

Yet I continue with my prayer… and thanksgiving because I ‘believe’ (I have faith) that God is involved in the larger process of creation and restoration.

ps. for those who only see the scientific reasoning and think I’m deluded… well, that’s your perogative… and perhaps you will agree that it is “foolish”. For those who know that we can actually see this through faith, welcome to the world where the blind are given sight!

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Passage for this Season

Philippians 2:11-13 (NIV) (12)Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, (13)for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

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