General Question

bodyhead's avatar

My uncle has had a leg removed because of diabeties. If I pray hard enough will he grow it back?

Asked by bodyhead (5525points) October 4th, 2008

I constantly hear stories about how God helped cure cancer and other terrible afflictions. Will God help my uncle grow a new leg? If not, Why not?

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46 Answers

eambos's avatar

No matter what kind of miracles can happen, the body cannot regenerate a lost limb. The cells cannot redifferentiate and form the cells needed in the correct structure.

And answer the part about “god curing cancer and other terrible affliction,” modern medicine and the human body can do some incredible things. Radiation, chemotherapy and surgery can all rid the body of cancer, and other medicines and the immune system can fight off many other diseases.

Edit: @fireside but the body didn’t regrow the fingers, scientists in a lab manipulated the cells to grow the digits. I work of modern science, not god.

Edit:edit: I am not saying to not pray. If you feel that it can help your uncle and give him some extra hope, then pray away.

wildflower's avatar

You’re not the first to ask that question

Lightlyseared's avatar

to be honest you’d probably be better off praying that he doesn’t have the other leg amputated.

fireside's avatar

@ Eambos – who are we to say that it isn’t God working through the science?

Lightlyseared's avatar

@fireside If God is working through Acell and it’s “magic fairy dust” made from pig bladder then I’d be really surprised. The only patient they have treated is the brother of one of the founders of the company and if you look at the before and after pictures of his missing finger the first thing you’ll notice is just how much of the finger isn’t actually missing. There’s about 5mm of skin and flesh missing and the nail bed is intact. You could get that to regrow by just sticking an elastoplast on it.

fireside's avatar

This company has been helping people grow new skin for almost 100 years.

Personally, I believe that prayer heals the spirit, not the body. That said, a healthy spirit can promote good health. This is a good article about this topic:

By praying, or wishing for, our well-being, we may bring about recovery and renewal. Spiritual healing need not depend on divine intervention.

bodyhead's avatar

You’re saying that God has the power to give my uncle a new leg but he will not?

rowenaz's avatar

Your uncle’s leg can grow back if he is a crab, spider or starfish! REGEN – REGENERATION!!

krose1223's avatar

There is no proof that God is the one healing the sick. Why is it that when a person dies in a hospital it’s the doctors fault, but if they live we thank God?

Critter38's avatar

Because the religious have an amazing capacity to count the hits and ignore the misses.

Critter38's avatar

But then again…god works in mysterious ways and it is not for us mere mortals to know his divine and merciful plan…lol

krose1223's avatar

Psh. I’d like to have a talk with him face to face one of these days… I need to get a few things straight.

Critter38's avatar

I think Matt Dillahunty once said…“If God exists, he’s a prick.”

Subtle, but effective.

fireside's avatar

I think it is a mistake to try and personify God.
God is the force of interconnectedness between us all, not Zeus.

Critter38's avatar

So you’re saying that, to you, god is just a mindless non-intervening force?

Critter38's avatar

Seems harmless enough. Would be nice to understand what exactly it is you mean by spirit and what brought you to this view of the universe, but perhaps we’re derailing this thread…

Critter38's avatar

Back on topic, the answer is, no. Probably better off contacting leading diabetic research labs so that you have every bit of understanding at your fingertips to help reduce the chance that he could lose the other leg.

missjena's avatar

there has been documented cases of God healing cancer etc. Look up our lady of lordes.

Amish_Ninja's avatar

If you’re uncle’s a lizard, it could grow back…

Critter38's avatar

Agreed, there are documented cases of people crediting god for healing cancer…or I assume that’s what you meant.

seVen's avatar

Question: “Why won’t God heal amputees?”

Answer: Some use this question in an attempt to “disprove” the existence of God. In fact, there is a popular anti-Christian website dedicated to the “Why won’t God heal amputees?” argument: If God is all-powerful and if Jesus promised to do anything we ask (or so the reasoning goes), then why won’t God ever heal amputees when we pray for them? Why does God heal victims of cancer and diabetes, for example, yet He never causes an amputated limb to be regenerated? The fact that an amputee stays an amputee is “proof” to some that God does not exist, that prayer is useless, that so-called healings are coincidence, and that religion is a myth.

The above argument is usually presented in a thoughtful, well-reasoned way, with a liberal sprinkling of Scripture to make it seem all the more legitimate. However, it is an argument based on a wrong view of God and a misrepresentation of Scripture. The line of reasoning employed in the “why won’t God heal amputees” argument makes at least seven false assumptions:

Assumption 1: God has never healed an amputee. Who is to say that in the history of the world, God has never caused a limb to regenerate? To say, “I have no empirical evidence that limbs can regenerate; therefore, no amputee has ever been healed in the history of the world” is akin to saying “I have no empirical evidence that rabbits live in my yard; therefore, no rabbit has ever lived on this ground in the history of the world.” It’s a conclusion that simply cannot be drawn. Besides, we have the historical record of Jesus healing lepers, some of whom we may assume had lost digits or facial features. In each case, the lepers were restored whole (Mark 1:40–42; Luke 17:12–14). Also, there is the case of the man with the shriveled hand (Matthew 12:9–13), and the restoration of Malchus’s severed ear (Luke 22:50–51), not to mention the fact that Jesus raised the dead (Matthew 11:5; John 11), which would undeniably be even more difficult than healing an amputee.

Assumption 2: God’s goodness and love require Him to heal everyone. Illness, suffering, and pain are the result of our living in a cursed world—cursed because of our sin (Genesis 3:16–19; Romans 8:20–22). God’s goodness and love moved Him to provide a Savior to redeem us from the curse (1 John 4:9–10), but our ultimate redemption will not be realized until God has made a final end of sin in the world. Until that time, we are still subject to physical death.

If God’s love required Him to heal every disease and infirmity, then no one would ever die—because “love” would maintain everyone in perfect health. The biblical definition of love is “a sacrificial seeking what is best for the loved one.” What is best for us is not always physical wholeness. Paul the apostle prayed to have his “thorn in the flesh” removed, but God said, “No” because He wanted Paul to understand he didn’t need to be physically whole to experience the sustaining grace of God. Through the experience, Paul grew in humility and in the understanding of God’s mercy and power (2 Corinthians 12:7–10).

The testimony of Joni Eareckson Tada provides a modern example of what God can do through physical tragedy. As a teenager, Joni suffered a diving accident that left her a quadriplegic. In her book Joni, she relates how she visited faith healers many times and prayed desperately for the healing which never came. Finally, she accepted her condition as God’s will, and she writes, “The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that God doesn’t want everyone well. He uses our problems for His glory and our good” (p. 190).

Assumption 3: God still performs miracles today just as He did in the past. In the thousands of years of history covered by the Bible, we find just four short periods in which miracles were widely performed (the period of the Exodus, the time of the prophets Elijah and Elisha, the ministry of Jesus, and the time of the apostles). While miracles occurred throughout the Bible, it was only during these four periods that miracles were “common.”

The time of the apostles ended with the writing of Revelation and the death of John. That means that now, once again, miracles are rare. Any ministry which claims to be led by a new breed of apostle or claims to possess the ability to heal is deceiving people. “Faith healers” play upon emotion and use the power of suggestion to produce unverifiable “healings.” This is not to say that God does not heal people today—we believe He does—but not in the numbers or in the way that some people claim.

We turn again to the story of Joni Eareckson Tada, who at one time sought the help of faith healers. On the subject of modern-day miracles, she says, “Man’s dealing with God in our day and culture is based on His Word rather than ‘signs and wonders’” (op cit., p. 190). His grace is sufficient, and His Word is sure.

Assumption 4: God is bound to say “yes” to any prayer offered in faith. Jesus said, “I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:12–14). Some have tried to interpret this passage as a carte blanche from Jesus promising His agreement to whatever we ask. But this is misreading Jesus’ intent. Notice, first, that Jesus is speaking to His apostles, and the promise is for them. After Jesus’ ascension, the apostles were given power to perform miracles as they spread the gospel (Acts 5:12). Second, Jesus twice uses the phrase “in My name.” This indicates the basis for the apostles’ prayers, but it also implies that whatever they prayed for should be consonant with Jesus’ will. A selfish prayer, for example, or one motivated by greed, cannot be said to be prayed in Jesus’ name.

We pray in faith, but faith means that we trust God. We trust Him to do what is best and to know what is best. When we consider all the Bible’s teaching on prayer (not just the promise given to the apostles), we learn that God may exercise His power in response to our prayer, or He may surprise us with a different course of action. In His wisdom He always does what is best (Romans 8:28).

Assumption 5: God’s future healing (at the resurrection) cannot compensate for earthly suffering. The truth is, “our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). When a believer loses a limb, he has God’s promise of future wholeness, and faith is “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:4). Jesus said, “It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire” (Matthew 18:8). His words confirm the relative unimportance of our physical condition in this world, as compared to our eternal state. To enter life maimed (and then to be made whole) is infinitely better than to enter hell whole (to suffer for eternity).

Assumption 6: God’s plan is subject to man’s approval. One of the contentions of the “why won’t God heal amputees” argument is that God just isn’t “fair” to amputees. Yet, Scripture is clear that God is perfectly just (Psalm 11:7; 2 Thessalonians 1:5–6) and in His sovereignty answers to no one (Romans 9:20–21). A believer has faith in God’s goodness, even when circumstances make it difficult and reason seems to falter.

Assumption 7: God does not exist. This is the underlying assumption on which the whole “why won’t God heal amputees” argument is based. Those who champion the “why won’t God heal amputees” argument start with the assumption that God does not exist and then proceed to buttress their idea as best they can. For them, “religion is a myth” is a foregone conclusion, presented as a logical deduction but which is, in reality, foundational to the argument.

In one sense, the question of why God doesn’t heal amputees is a “gotcha” question, comparable to “Can God make a rock too big for Him to lift?” and is designed not to seek for truth but to discredit faith. In another sense, it can be a valid question with a biblical answer. That answer, in short, would be something like this: “God can heal amputees and will heal every one of them who trusts Christ as Savior. The healing will come, not as the result of our demanding it now, but in God’s own time, possibly in this life, but definitely in Heaven. Until that time, we walk by faith, trusting the God who redeems us in Christ and promises the resurrection of the body.”

Comedian's avatar

Maybe if he is a lizard. God has a reason for everything that happens. He may be able to get a biotic leg, but humans aren’t like lizards.

fireside's avatar

Maybe God thinks your uncle can do just fine without his leg.

rowenaz's avatar

You people, don’t you know anything about lizards? Lizards can only grow back TAILS people TAILS!! His uncle doesn’t want a TAIL, he needs a LEG. LEG TAIL not the same.

rowenaz's avatar

And I don’t mean that callously, although now that’s posted it looks that way. Sorry about that, but I too have lost legs in the family due to diabetes…so it’s interesting.

laureth's avatar

If prayer alone does regenerate the leg, make sure to get medical documentation of the miracle. That would be a first!

bodyhead's avatar

For those interested, I did ask him and he assuredly does not want to grow a tail.

rowenaz's avatar

The tail thing…wouldn’t that make him like the anti-christ or something opposite to the entire discussion?? Make sure he doesn’t want horns, either.

rowenaz's avatar

And if anyone does come along offering him a deal for his leg, and this anyone has a tail and or horns, tell him not to sign….

JackAdams's avatar

Everyone knows I enjoy a good joke, and I have certainly posted probably more than my share of them on here, but it is really in poor taste to make light (or poke fun) of a seriously-posed question, regarding the death or serious injury of another human being.

You would probably not like it if it was done to you, so let me suggest, respectfully, that you not do it to others.

We are above that kind of behavior, I believe.

Trance24's avatar

If I pray hard enough will you grow a bigger brain, and realize that humans are not capable of growing body parts back?

marinelife's avatar

Not unless he is a flatworm, in which case he would not have legs anyway.

Critter38's avatar

@ Rowenaz, I appreciate the sincerity and effort you put into that answer. But I think it would insincere of me to pretend that it was in the least bit convincing.

Asusmption 1, if it’s in the bible, it must have happened. Why? Because it’s in the bible and the bible is the word of god. Who says. The bible. This is a tautological argument. The whole argument is built on an assumption that feeds on itself. If you think this is a justiable basis for belief, the I can only assume that you also believe what is written in the Koran. If not, why not?

Assumption 2. see above, and justifications for why god doesn’t heal everyone are only necessary if you believe that there is a god, and define a god as a caring and omnipotent force. If he can heal people and doesn’t, or only does so sometimes, how can we justify this? Well, we go through the equivalent of mental gymnastics trying to come up with a scenario where this would make sense. My mother won’t take me to hospital even though Im really sick, not because she’s lazy or cruel, but because she thinks the suffering will make me stronger and make me realise her love for me goes deeper than the mere physical aspects of health and simple earthly pleasures. We can all do it, but it isn’t the least bit convincing to those of us who don’t have to try.

The rest of your arguments are similarly tautological, rest entirely on assuming that the bible has some sort of supernatural origin, or require complex and equally unfounded justifications for why things don’t make any sense if we assume the existence of a loving god.

I appreciate the extent of your faith and your belief in the importance of faith, but belief in that which has no evidence is still unjustified belief no matter what pleasant a word we use for it.

Critter38's avatar

And as a serious note to bodyhead, if you do decide to pray for you uncle, may I suggest you don’t let him know. Although prayer is not known to make any difference in well conducted double blind trials, if the patient knows they are being prayed for it can in fact lead to increased complications (perhaps due to understandable concern on their behalf…“Jeez, they’re resulting to prayer, I must be stuffed…).

Intercessory prayer refers to praying for others.

Title: Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP) in cardiac bypass patients: A multicenter randomized trial of uncertainty and certainty of receiving intercessory prayer
Author(s): Benson, H; Dusek, JA; Sherwood, JB, et al.
Source: AMERICAN HEART JOURNAL Volume: 151 Issue: 4 Pages: 934–942 Published: APR 2006

Abstract: Background: Intercessory prayer is widely believed to influence recovery from illness, but claims of benefits are not supported by well-controlled clinical trials. Prior studies have not addressed whether prayer itself or knowledge/certainty that prayer is being provided may influence outcome. We evaluated whether (1) receiving intercessory prayer or (2) being certain of receiving intercessory prayer was associated with uncomplicated recovery after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.
Methods: Patients at 6 US hospitals were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups: 604 received intercessory prayer after being informed that they may or may not receive prayer; 597 did not receive intercessory prayer also after being informed that they may or may not receive prayer; and 601 received intercessory prayer after being informed they would receive prayer. Intercessory prayer was provided for 14 days, starting the night before CABG. The primary outcome was presence of any complication within 30 days of CABG. Secondary outcomes were any major event and mortality.

Results: In the 2 groups uncertain about receiving intercessory prayer, complications occurred in 52% (315/604) of patients who received intercessory prayer versus 51% (304/597) of those who did not (relative risk 1.02, 95% CI 0.92–1.15). Complications occurred in 59% (352/601) of patients certain of receiving intercessory prayer compared with the 52% (315/604) of those uncertain of receiving intercessory prayer (relative risk 1.14, 95% CI 1.02–1.28). Major events and 30-day mortality were similar across the 3 groups.

Conclusions: Intercessory prayer itself had no effect on complication-free recovery from CABG, but certainty of receiving intercessory prayer was associated with a higher incidence of complications.

rowenaz's avatar

??? I think you made too many assumptions concerning what I wrote. Maybe you were reading someone else’s posts…

Critter38's avatar

That is one possible explanation.

Critter38's avatar

Humble apologies, I confused your avatar with seVen

bodyhead's avatar

Any of you that have glanced though my other answers know that I’m not really a believer. I just wanted to know if prayer would grow his leg back. I’m always curious as to what others think. I didn’t really know if there had ever been a documented case of a limb growing back.

Thanks for the props Jack. Don’t worry though. I’m a good sport. Even the meanest people here are nicer then the nicest people on digg.

AstroChuck's avatar

It depends on which invisible man in the sky you are praying to.

wildflower's avatar

man? what about the spaghetti monster?

eambos's avatar

The Invisible Pink Unicorn!

AstroChuck's avatar

No, it has to be a man. Only a man could f**k up the world this badly.

Critter38's avatar

Should’ve worn a rubber…

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