That is to ask, "Does God do extra, non-spiritual things for people?" Does he send rain to help the crops grow? Does he help people recover from illnesses? Is he really concerned with those things on the earth that are, perhaps, not really as important as the things that are in heaven?

I know that there are verses I can quote about these questions. Those versions could probably lead both ways in the discussion. But, my idea about how we live as Christians brings me to one conclusion that is known, but may not be generally considered. It is probably more of something that people would say that it is true, but that they hadn't really thought about it. My theory is:

  • If our opinion is expressed by quoting the Bible verbatim, it isn't really our opinion. It is an expression of what we understand is the opinion of someone else.
  • When we express our opinions, we have either built them based on what we have learned that the Bible teaches or from folk lore, or superstition, or just plain common sense. We actually mix all those things together when we express our opinions.
For instance, if you were asked how you thought people were saved by God, would you quote verses, or would you gather all your understanding of life and what the Bible says together into one cohesive statement of what your opinion is? If you chose the later, you would be expressing the conglomeration of your life mixed with your understanding of the Bible. I believe that a lot of times, choosing the former method is the route taken by someone who doesn't know what they think or is possibly afraid of saying the wrong thing.

But, an opinion is an opinion. If an opinion is expressed and it can be deemed "wrong", then that provides opportunity for learning. If the answer is given in rote and it is correct, but the person is not able to express his opinion apart from rote memory, then there is no opportunity for learning. In order to learn, one must realize a deficiency and have a goal to aim to improve it. If the deficiency is masked by quoting words that are not our own, we avoid the first step to learning.

Back to the point of this blog.

Does God do good physical things for people? I believe that he does. I know that we don't always get what we want God to give us. But, there are times when we do. LaFonda is fond of saying, "God doesn't do nice things for us because we are good. He does nice things for us because he is good." I think that expresses it. He does nice things for bad people and he does nice things for those of us who don't consider ourselves to be bad (even though we may actually be bad).

Jesus told us to do nice things to and for people who are doing mean things to us. His reasoning is so that we could be like God, because God is good to the good people and the bad people when he sends rain to both types (The rain is for the crops.). That is my evidence that Jesus thinks God does good non-spiritual things for people.

I also think that a lot of times, we have a tendency to separate the physical from the spiritual. We essentially see the physical as being unimportant at best and evil at worst, while spiritual is good or better than the physical. My opinion about that is that God made us physical and spiritual. It wasn't his intent that we live our lives unimportant or evil simply because he has encompassed our souls inside this body. Even Jesus didn't shirk putting on the physical in order to do God's work. If the physical is evil, how would he have justified that? If it is unimportant, why would he have made all that effort?

His effort didn't only entail coming to earth and suffering the sacrifice and being resurrected. He was actually born of a woman. He came out of a woman, was potty trained, learned how to read and speak and so on. Why go through all that trouble if he was just coming here to cause damage to the body he was given? Then, he spent three years teaching, healing and casting out demons. It seems that if the physical is unimportant, he would have simply skipped all that. Why go through the trouble? Just get the job done and get out of here!

I don't say this to suggest that every whim that we have is important. Nor do I mean to insinuate that the temporary things of this world are more important than or as important as the eternal things of the spirit. I am saying that the things of this earth are not unimportant. We live our lives here. The eternal hope we have in Christ is our encouragement to continue in this life on the earth.

Now for a list good things that God did or does for people as they were done by Jesus.
  • He gives rain to the just and the unjust.
  • He healed people's physical deformities.
  • He healed diseases.
  • He exorcised demons.
  • He raised people from the dead.
  • He paid taxes from a coin in a fishes mouth.
  • He multiplied food to feed hungry people.
  • He turned water into wine for a wedding.
  • He helped fishermen find fish.
There's another thing that I keep thinking of that illustrates the power of God to affect the things of the physical world. It wasn't a thing he did for anyone. It was something he did and the Bible said it was because he was hungry and the tree didn't have fruit on it since it wasn't the season for fruit. What happened then? He cursed the tree and the tree withered to its roots.

So, whether we look at Jesus as God's son who had a special connection with God, or we look at him as God incarnate (also giving him special abilities), we have to confess that he as the representation of God or God himself, did these things and they weren't just the natural course of this world. They were supernatural activity affecting the physical world.

Now - what about the rest of the New Testament? What kinds of things were prayed for and what did God do for or with people?
  • Directed the choice of a replacement apostle by the drawing of lots.
  • Raised a girl from the dead.
  • Healed people as Peter's shadow fell across them.
  • Two people died because they lied.
  • One man died for being proud.
  • Demons were cast out of people.
  • Signs and wonders were done among the people at the hands of the apostles.
  • Paul didn't die when bitten by a snake.
  • Peter was released from prison.
  • Paul was released from prison.
What sort of prayers for physical things are recorded in the New Testament? Some were answered and some were not.
  • Thanksgiving for food. (Why thank God for food if he isn't the provider of the food?)
  • Release of Peter from prison.
  • Prayer prior to raising people from the dead.
  • Prayer for people to be able to travel to certain places to visit with people.
  • Prayer for the sick.
Now for personal experience. These are some of the things that I am personally aware of:
  • Daughter healed.
  • LaFonda given black shoes.
  • Eyes healed.
  • Drunk led to Bible study from a bar.
  • A person sick for days better in a couple of hours after praying.
  • A continuously reinfected broken ankle healing in a day or two after praying.

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