“God is imaginary”? Really?! Part 34: Examine your health insurance policy

In proof 34, Marshall Brain, of the website “God is imaginary”, invites us to “examine your health insurance policy”. Being a lowly government employee, I examine it regularly to find out, often disappointingly, what it no longer covers, especially since Obamacare passed, but I don’t think that’s really the point.

Mr. Brain begins with this question:
If God answers medical prayers, then why do you need health insurance?

Well, that’s a really good question. And before answering it we need to dive a little further into the argument, which, of course, includes the usual, eisegetically inflected verses that Marshall loves to throw out, so I quote:
Simply think it through. If what Jesus says about prayer in the Bible is true, and if all the stories about medical miracles in inspirational literature are true, and if your belief in God and the power of prayer is true, and if God has a plan for you, then why do you ever need to visit a doctor or go to the hospital? Why don’t you simply pray for a cure whenever you get sick?The reason I ask this is because the statement that Jesus makes in Mark 11:24 is so simple:

    Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

So is what he says in John 14:14:

    If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.

There is this statement in Psalms chapter 41:1

       Blessed is he who has regard for the weak;
      the Lord delivers him in times of trouble.


       The Lord will protect him and preserve his life;
      he will bless him in the land
      and not surrender him to the desire of his foes.


       The Lord will sustain him on his sickbed
    and restore him from his bed of illness.

In Mark 16, Jesus talks about the laying on of hands:16

       He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.


       And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;


     they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.

But even more remarkable is James 5:15, where the Bible says:

    And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.
I realize that I really need to do some posts on exegeting these texts in their context because he’s brought them up before, but that’s just laziness on my part, and it is sufficient to say, that what he thinks these verses mean is simply an error. Anyway, no, I really need to. So, put a pin in that thought for a minute, an let’s look at a particular passage of Scripture that is most certainly relevant to this question, because i’ve answered questions raised about prayer here and here:
Go to the ant, O sluggard;
consider her ways, and be wise.
 Without having any chief,
 officer, or ruler,
 she prepares her bread in summer
and gathers her food in harvest.
 How long will you lie there, O sluggard?
When will you arise from your sleep?
 A little sleep, a little slumber,
 a little folding of the hands to rest,
 and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
and want like an armed man. (Proverbs 6:6-11 ESV)
Let’s think about that passage for a minute. The writer is drawing a parallel between the prepared person and the unprepared person. A believer, while confident in God’s power and ability, yet ignorant of His will, is to be prepared for whatever may befall him. I defer to the text that Marshall quotes from Psalm 41, and ask this question: what is the “life” that God is going to preserve? Jesus answers that question in John 6:37-40 (ESV):
“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
It is not necessarily this life that God will protect and preserve, but the life that is to come for the believer. So that begs the question, why should believers have insurance and go to doctors and live healthy lives? They ought to do those things because this life has been given for us for the purpose of spreading the gospel and bringing glory to God. God can and does heal various people at various times for various purposes that are known only to Him, but for essentially one of two purposes: to draw to Himself or to drive away from Himself.
Under the heading of “Understanding Jesus”, Marshall writes this, after a-contextually quoting from Matthew 6:25-34:
Jesus’ statement is utterly clear: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow.” Yet health insurance is a physical manifestation of worry. You buy health insurance because you are worried about your health tomorrow.
Let’s just address Marshall’s misunderstanding of the text in his abusive eisegesis.
  1. Matthew 6:25 is the conclusion to an argument that begins in v.16 of the same chapter, which has to deal with seeking approval, culminating in v.24 with this point, No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” The point of the conclusion is to ask the question, “who are you depending upon, God or someone else, and who is better able to provide the approval you need?” Of course, the answer is God.
  2. The actual argument, from 6:26-34 deals with worrying about things that one cannot control, which is why Jesus concludes in v.34, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
My, or any other believer’s, obtaining health insurance is actually in accordance with the reasoning of Jesus to let each day’s concerns be sufficient for that day. My body, the body that my mind and soul reside in, is something that I have to be concerned about because it was given to me by God to use and care for, so to aid in focusing my attention on God and His righteousness, I have health insurance to help offset any costs incurred by a body that has beed racked by the debt of sin that is brought about by living in a fallen world. So the answer is that believers seek to live in obedience, therefore health insurance, as a modern convenience, is necessary to that end.
So, in conclusion, it’s not a “proof” against God’s reality, it’s a proof of my obedience, that’s why I have health insurance.

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