I spent the better part of the day yesterday watching YouTube videos of a Word of Faith preacher named Keith Moore. For those who aren’t familiar with Moore, he’s a Rhema guy, which means he came out from under the teachings of Kenneth Hagin. He did a series on healing and his argument was that it is always God’s will to heal. If Jesus healed in the first century, and Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then he’s willing to heal any and all who come to him in faith. It’s the faith that heals, you see.
I don’t want to get into all the specifics of WoF teaching on healing, but something that kept jumping out was his repeated insistence that God did not create sickness or disease. He kept insisting that when the creation narrative says that everything was “good” that it meant that God could not have created sickness, disease, or death because these things are “bad.” But he understands these things as morally bad and he took the “good” of creation to be a moral good.
I’d challenge both premises. I don’t read the “good” of creation to be moral at all. There’s nothing morally good about the sun and the moon. It was good because they functioned according to God’s intended plan. And I’m not even arguing for something like Walton’s emphasis on function in creation here; I just think this is a straightforward way of reading the text. If someone can tell me what’s morally good about the creation narrative then I’m all ears.
And in the same way I don’t think there’s anything morally bad or evil about sickness and disease. Is sickness bad? Well, as someone who was just laid up for a week with a super-flu I’d say, YES, it’s bad! But it’s not morally bad. With that said, God created a tree of the knowledge of good and evil, right? So evil had to exist as part of the original creation, or so it would seem. Now this can refer to evil of all sorts; both moral and amoral.
I don’t think it follows from the narrative or logical argument that God couldn’t have created sickness or that God can’t use sickness for his glory. But WoF teachers insist that it is impossible for God to use sickness for his glory. They attribute the existence of sickness and disease to the devil. They attribute the existence of death to the devil as well (although on my reading, death was part of the original creation as well; it was the tree of life that stayed the death of Adam and Eve, but that’s a subject to be discussed at another time). But that’s giving the devil way too much credit and interpreting something that’s amoral as immoral. I think this is a fundamental flaw of WoF teaching.
I’d welcome your thoughts on this subject.