Hard questions, and ultimately my answer is that I don’t know but trust God is with us in these trials.
As to how it relates to EC, I think most here would agree that while God works through natural processes he created, it does not limit him in miraculous acts in any way. Prayers for your wife.
Hard questions, and ultimately my answer is that I don’t know but trust God is with us in these trials.
N.B. Biologos is not a religion, denomination, cult, society or club. I am not an adherent of whatever Biologos is. I am a participant in their online forum, just as the other people who are logged in.
Adam, you know that some of us here are praying for all of you. So a recognition that evolution and other scientific theories does not necessarily preclude faith that God works in the world. Science doesn’t tell us about God. God doesn’t show himself in ways that are measurable by the tools that science uses.
In what way does holding to YEC help you understand the mechanics of prayer and God’s answering of it? I think in this matter, we are in the very same boat.
So, we keep praying.
I’ve said before that natural law is just a term for how God runs Creation; “scientific processes” are thus just what He is doing on a regular, dependable basis – but since every step of every process is being worked out and sustained by His power, such prayer is requesting that He vary those workings in a specific instance.
The idea that Creation runs like a machine and prayer is like asking Him to play mechanic and adjust the machine is something I abandoned some time ago. If we want analogies, I’d rather say that God is like a juggler keeping all the particles of the universe in action at once, usually following regular patterns but always at every moment subject to Him “tossing” any one or set of particles differently – and that as a friendly Artist He takes requests.
Or to borrow from a series Ive started watching, “the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills” – but God is the Wheel, and while He normally weaves in patterns dependable enough to make predictions, He is not adverse to moving a thread or ten now and then.
but when we are in pain (or in this case my wifes pain), given that her pain is a result of medication…what am i supposed to ask God to do when it comes to easing pain from said medication???
See the thing is, whilst i am YEC, I am also rather mechanically minded and, given my car engine anaglogy, i cannot ignore the fact that it was the medication causing her pain…medication she must take.
So whether YEC or TEist…doesnt really matter here…the reason i ask on this forum is because you guys are faced with scientific reasons for what makes the world goes round every day. You have managed to blend this with your Christian world view and that is not something i as a YEC have been taught to do…so i dont think i have experience with it.
Anyway, in that moment i stopped praying because i could not find a satisfactory rational as to why I started to pray in the first place. My silent words were of prayer for God to relieve her pain but in that same moment, my prayer suddenly seemed…im not sure of the right word… but “ridiculous” comes to mind and even, “wasted”. Its not that I was struggling with the idea of whether or not God can answer prayer, it was a struggle with the idea that i was asking him to fix something directly attributable to “cause and effect”. It seemed a bit like a drunk saying, God help me sober up in the next few minutes, i have just been pulled over by a hwy patrol car and am about to be breath tested or, God please help my back pain (even though it was caused by an action that was clearly known to be bad for ones back).
Also, given the above dilemma, does one focus on praying for my wife or, was i in fact better of praying for myself given i was helpless to stop her pain? If i am praying for myself what the heck for, it seems somewhat selfish doesnt it??
Can you see why it seemed pointless to pray in that moment given the circumstances? I knew why i was praying, but I wasnt sure what i was praying for, whether or not it was a reasonable request in the first place, and finally, given the cause and effect clause above…???
i hope you guys can separate my YEC beliefs from my question…this is not about YEC or TEism…its genuinely asking for help in a situation i have never faced before and I am not adequitely researched in this kind of dilemma to be able to answer my own question. I believe that you guys given your blend of science and religion are far more experienced than I in this area. I accept that i will need to blend your answers with my own theology, however, i am confident this can be done.
I generally don’t think in science terms when I pray; that’s where my analogies come in, based on the idea that God upholds all of creation, which in the Greek is in the plural “all things” rather than “the whole”. My “wheel of time” analogy is closest to how I think of the relation between God and Creation, with God weaving every individual thread at every single moment, so prayer is just asking Him to weave a bit differently.
I don’t see a science aspect here, either, I see the Incarnation involved in that Jesus stepped in a took on the suffering of the world and that given the Fall suffering is just part of the way the “threads” weave, and thus every bit of suffering is a share in the suffering of Christ especially for those who Paul describes as “in Christ”. And given my older brother’s experience with cancer, the question isn’t whether there’s going to be pain, the question is what kind of pain there’s going to be and how we respond to it. And that takes me to James and his shocking statement to count it all joy when we encounter trials, a passage I treasured through the few years when my hips were disintegrating to the point that taking a single step was like getting stabbed with broken glass.
The step from there to prayer has been that God hates suffering of any kind, which is why He stepped right down into it and gathered it to Himself. That is my basis for praying for a loved one’s pain to be alleviated, not because that will make me happy – though it will! – but because God hates it even when it is, or perhaps especially when it is a side effect of trying to help. And if He doesn’t take the pain away, it is because that pain is sharing Jesus’ pain on the Cross.
So I see all pain as “cause and effect”, it’s just that sometimes the cause is more obviously direct than others – like when I had to had to use my own pocket knife to get a 6"-long chunk of splintered wood out of my own knee.
I can understand the dilemma, I just don’t really see where science has anything to do with it.
I thought it was an accepted fact that nitrites used in ham, sausages etc do cause cancer? I think it is one of the few factors which has been shown to have a definite link.
That is important. If we pray merely to avoid pain for ourselves or others, that is pretty myopic and a fantasy.
How he orchestrates providence so wonderfully (definitely wonder full) in his omnitemporality is like a tapestry – I think it was Corrie ten Boom whom I read decades ago about seeing the back side of a tapestry, not seeing the front till later. On the other hand, sometimes we can see parts of the beautiful (definitely beauty full ; - )… and marvelous front, but we are clueless about the back and again as to the how of it.
Back when my hip bones were disintegrating I learned to pray to not get more pain than I could handle. That was an interesting situation, though, since I’d basically done it to myself back in my cross-country running days so I figured that in a way it was just the result of my own actions.
Though God can relieve us of some or all of the consequences of our own decisions and actions (but not necessarily without pain in the process!).
That would explain why one brand of smoked sausage at the nearby grocery store has a note on the label stating that the product is nitrite-free.
Adam, thank you very much for your good thoughts. I’m still praying for your wife to feel a bit better. My dad used to say "medicines are poisons with a desired side effect. "
It’s a good question, but I think it’s never a problem to ask for side effects to be removed. For example, I’m very grateful for an antibiotic I’m taking currently, but it makes me very nauseated. I would love to have the nausea taken away. However, I won’t stop the pill. Right now, I’m taking a medicine to take away the nausea, and it is helping. I’m glad that you have pain medications which are very appropriate. Prayers also always okay I think. I don’t think that God has any limit on the number of prayers we can make.
Prayers for her relief.
When someone dear to us suffers and we cannot help except by prayer, all kinds of questions pop up in the mind. There is a feeling of helplessness and hopes or possibly even demands towards God to get His help. Why does God not heal immediately in this case? Why so much pain for a child or a child of God?
A problem in that situation is that it is like going through a long and dark tunnel. We can only see the suffering at the moment, we do not see what comes after the tunnel ends. Sometimes God answers rapidly, sometimes we have to walk through the tunnel with Him. I believe that prayers are not wasted even in such cases where we have to walk through the tunnel. I also believe that God does sometimes answer to prayers by healing in a miraculous way. Why He does not heal rapidly in every case, that is something I do not know. There is anyway the natural healing process with the possibility that God makes an intervention in a miraculous way.
My compassion and prayer for you and your wife.
guys i am truly grateful for all of your answers i read every one of them…and indeed a few made me laugh (laughter is the best medicine).
I also wanted to post an update…
As i was driving home from an early morning contract job a few hours ago, i was thinking, if i dont know what I am supposed to pray for, maybe that is the point, God knows right? That gave me a shimmer of hope in the car and when i got home i let my fingers do the walking and googled “Gods knows what we need verses”
The google result was a beauty…
Matthew 6:8 , “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”**
1 Thessalonians 5:17 God commands us to pray continually.
So my inability to find a rational reason as to why i should pray is exactly the reason why i needed to. I didnt need to ask God for pain relief, all that is needed is to ask Him for help.
And as i write the above another story from Jesus ministry comes to mind…
As Jesus went with him, the crowds pressed around Him, 43including a woman who had suffered from bleeding for twelve years. She had spent all her money on physicians,e but no one was able to heal her. 44She came up behind Jesus and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.
45“Who touched Me?” Jesus asked.
But they all denied it. “Master,” said Peter,f “the people are crowding and pressing against You.”
46But Jesus declared, “Someone touched Me, for I know that power has gone out from Me.”
47Then the woman, seeing that she could not escape notice, came trembling and fell down before Him. In the presence of all the people, she explained why she had touched Him and how she had immediately been healed.
48“Daughter,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
As others might have already shared above, It’s when we don’t know how or what or why to pray that the role of the Spirit becomes all that more apparent. The Spirit intercedes where we can’t. Just to be there with God and all the weight on your heart might actually be prayer at its finest.
Trust in him at all times, …pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Psalm 62:8
@adamjedgar , I was praying for you, Mrs. E and your family, and some of my other friends, while I was walking around the little town where my daughter takes dance lessons. I know some people think prayer has to be very specific, like God needs us to tell him how to do the job right. I don’t understand that thinking at all. How am I supposed to know how? “Save me! Help!” might be the only thing we can think to say.
Traditionally, many people have looked to the book of Job for consolation in trouble. Again, I don’t understand what most of them see. What I do find of use are the chapters where God speaks. God demonstrates to Job in no uncertain terms, that Job knows nothing about God’s doings. In the end, Job says he puts his hand over his mouth. He is silent before God. There is nothing to say.
God doesn’t expect us to have the answers to questions like yours. In fact, he knows we don’t. He’s even told us so. God understands better than we do what an excruciating remedy is. He understands.
You need to know, too, that God does carry us, even when we feel like we can’t face him. I’ve been there.
I think I posted here somewhere that one of my most ardent prayers was “Aaarrrgh! God!”.
Friends and I used to call that a “Romans 8 prayer”:
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
My first prayer in the morning anymore is typically “Help!” and not necessarily for or about anything specific, followed by the Jesus Prayer and then “May I bring honor to you.”
How much do y’all think lifestyle choices play in diseases of affluence? I know it’s not always the case. But it seems like often things like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and so on have a correlation with diet and activity.
Not sure if I shared that pic here or not. They explained it as chances of a disease of affluence can be viewed as a healthy living room but all the bedrooms are unhealthy. That each room has several locks on off and genetics can lock some, and diet can unlock some and the type of work you have can unlock some and if you smoke or not can unlock some.
It can’t eliminate it but can help bring it about. Which is why often places like the Deep South with lots of fried foods and sugary sweet tea historically have seemingly had pockets of higher heart disease rates and so on.
I’m sorry to hear about your wife’s diagnosis and suffering. I believe prayer effects reality when people are sick and your prayers for your wife matter, even if God doesn’t answer your prayers by giving you exactly what you ask.
I’ve had similar experiences in life to your lawnmower story. I believe God listens to me and does stuff in the world to respond to me. Scientific explanations are scientific explanations. They don’t apply to all of reality and there is no scientific explanation for how prayer works. This doesn’t bother me.
I think a lot of times Christians tend to pray by default that God would miraculously “fix” a situation. When a marriage is headed for divorce, they pray it would miraculously be saved, when a child is rebellious and making destructive choices they pray that God would make the child stop, when someone is sick they pray they would miraculously be healed. I think sometimes there is a line between trusting God to work in a situation for our good and denying reality though, and I try to live in harmony with reality.
I have a degenerative condition with my spine that causes pain and limitations and it gets worse every year. All the time Christians tell me that they are praying for my “healing.” I’m not in a healing process though, I’m in a degenerating process. It’s just reality that because of biological structural problems things will continue to get worse for natural reasons I understand. Do I believe God can do a miracle and reconstruct cartilage and create disk material from nothing and undo a birth defect? I guess, theoretically, but I don’t believe that is what God is going to do. But I do think prayer makes it easier for me to endure pain, to avoid addictions, to fight depression and anxiety, to have the emotional energy to be a kind and loving person even though I have to spend a lot of energy coping with pain and limitations. So I believe prayer matters even if it doesn’t ever “fix” my situation.
Some people’s bodies successfully fight cancer and sometimes cancers inexplicably change course, so if a loved one of mine had cancer, I would pray for their healing. I don’t think that’s refusing to live in reality. I’d pray that the doctors would make good decisions, that the treatments would be effective, and that there wouldn’t be complications and bad side effects would be minimal. These are all possible but not guaranteed outcomes even without God’s intervention, but like I said, I think when we pray God acts in the world. But I’d also pray that God would strenghten my loved one spiritually and mentally to go through the suffering involved and that he or she would sense God’s love and presence in the midst of it all. That isn’t something that is a natural outcome.