Last year the issue of physical healing arose as the hot topic of the week at seminary, partly in response to the “Word of Faith” movement. Professors, administrators, students, and others debated the issue of healing and what it means. Varying opinions existed, but the consensus was that God does not heal every physical ailment. That opinion was widely accepted until someone, or some group, decided to redefine the term ‘healed.’ The specific proponents are not as important as the view promoted. The view promoted was that death was a form of physical healing.
For me, hearing this was not a surprise. To summarize, proponents of the ‘to die is to be healed’ view argued that Scripture can be interpreted as meaning that healing is spiritual and, therefore, occurs at death. Furthermore, those who die are free from all disease and physical ailment. My initial response remains the same: the arguments are based on speculation or absurd logic. To say that Greek or Hebrew words “may/could/might mean” this or that is not convincing and is speculative. To argue that because dead people do not suffer from disease, therefore death is a form of healing is, to be candid, absurd. Of the arguments I heard promoting the ‘to die is to be healed’ view, the latter (‘dead people aren’t sick’) was the most prominent. Therefore, I shall respond to that.
Many who argued that death is a form of physical healing used the logic that a dead person no longer suffers from the physical ailments of this world. Furthermore, believers who die are alive with Christ and, therefore, free from all disease since there is no sickness in heaven. However, if death is a form of physical healing, then I ask the following questions:
- Is death also a cure for aging? Dead people never get older.
- Should we embrace euthanasia as a method to cure people in medical schools? Dead people never get sick anymore.
- If God views death as a form of physical healing, why is there no time in Scripture when it says, “Jesus said to the sick person, ‘Your faith has healed you, now die.’ Then the person died and was healed”? In every healing event in Scripture, the person’s physical ailment almost immediately vanished and the person continued to live.
Based on the lack of evidence where God healed a person by killing them and the faulty logic, I am inclined to reject the notion that death is a form of physical healing. Therefore, I conclude that God heals whom he chooses to heal and does not heal whom he chooses not to heal. However, God does offer spiritual healing, also called salvation, to all those who put their faith in Christ. When we physically die, those who are saved will spend eternity with Christ because of God’s love and grace.