I really have to sigh disappointedly because this is one of those objections to the existence of God that really, really does nothing to help its position, because it is simply about prayer, an issue which I have addressed here.
This particular objection centers around the question, “If you have cancer, and you pray for healing, but you take chemotherapy that works, what really healed you: God or chemotherapy?” The problem with this objection is that it presents a false dilemma: to give credit to the work done through chemistry or to the God who created the chemistry. Obviously, it is the latter because there would be no chemotherapy if God had not created the atoms which combine to form the molecules that form the medicine that attacks the cancer.
Just to top it off, the writer throws in a few tests:
- Pray to God to levitate a car and hold it floating in the air for ten minutes. It will not happen, even if you are praying to levitate the car because a drunk driver has run over a college freshman and she is currently pinned under one of the wheels.
- Pray to God to let you fly through the air like Superman. It will not happen, even if you are praying to fly like superman so that you can rise up to a tenth story window and save two children from their burning apartment.
- Pray to God to fill your basement with $100 million in small unmarked bills. It will not happen, even if you plan to donate the $100 million that God gives you to a worthy and deserving charity.
- Pray to God to restore the amputated limbs of a deserving, penitent believer. It will not happen, no matter how sincere you are in your prayer.
What about them? Are these meaningful tests? No. Why?
- Levitating the car? Maybe doing so would kill the person pinned under it until help arrives 1minute after the 10 minute timeline. But what does that have to do with whether or not God exists? Nothing, because as a creature, I am ignorant as to the will of my Creator who has decreed from eternity that I should come across this event for any number of reasons. It is yet another false dilemma.
- Satan challenged Jesus to a similar feat, but I have to ask what benefit would such a display be for anyone else. It is another false dilemma.
- $100 million dollars? First, I’d have to pray for a basement in which to receive it. Also, would the money really solve any problems, or simply create more. God is more knowledgeable about economics than the writer of this objection. Yet another false dilemma.
- Amputated limbs? This one is difficult, but simply ridiculous. Amputations occur for various reasons, sometimes to even save the life of the person who lost the limb. What if the person is a believer? Is God impotent in this, or has he given a promise to restore that which is lost in this life in the next? Yet another false dilemma because the believer understands what Paul meant when he wrote this in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (ESV), with some added emphasis of my own:
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Proof that God is imaginary? No, just a sad demonstration of a person who does not understand anything about the power of God.