Pondering One Miracle of Healing
MIRACLES are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.
—C. S. Lewis4
The rest of this book is written through the prism of understanding that God plans all sorts of things first in Heaven, then implements his plans afterwards in our Universe and in our lives on Earth—”Two-Stage Theory”.
My appreciation of this has developed over the years; I see it as seminal to comprehending scripture and reconciling aspects of both Creation and Evolution. Furthermore, it helps us to comprehend more deeply the nature of God and his involvement with us through Time—past, present, future—and into eternity.
Learning to apply Two-Stage Theory to the Bible is essential to grasp who we are and what we are doing here. In part because Christian denominations do not know about Two-Stage Theory, we have unnecessarily confusing doctrinal positions and, tragically, thousands of different Christian denominations. Christian theology is obviously in a lot of trouble.
I have always found that Time is a pivotal variable in probing how God does things—Time on Earth and Time in Heaven. It is so important that I often capitalise it, as I do other words when wanting to draw attention to them.
But we need to keep in mind that Time on Earth is a simplified version of Time as recorded in the Bible. This is the heart of why Scientists do not know what Time truly is, because on our planet we only experience a small part of the whole picture. Think of your favourite painting, perhaps the Mona Lisa by da Vinci, or the Night Watch by Rembrandt, and suppose you had only ever been shown a tiny albeit artistic segment taken from the whole artwork, how could you possibly conceptualise the grandeur and complexity of the overall painting? That is why we cannot in our world define nor comprehend what Time, Consciousness, Love, Energy and other vital aspects of our existence are! The “big picture”, and a more comprehensive revelation, awaits us in the afterlife!
However, we can while still on our planet do better than we have done previously. To do so is massively, stupendously, to your advantage, and to mine.
I have heard the erroneous opinion that “Miracles don’t happen nowadays” given by armchair experts. My response is always the same: “Why not go and investigate for yourself? Find local churches where they pray in faith for the sick and ask the Ministers to describe miracles that have happened. Then set up interviews with those that have been healed and decide whether they would be good witnesses in a court of law. Ask to copy any physical confirmation that might be proffered, such as x-rays taken before and after the miracle, letters from medical personnel and so on.”
I did just that myself. Not only did I discover miracles happening nowadays, with absolutely convincing medical evidence to back them up, but I had opened a fresh window into appreciating aspects of God and his nature. I will share some of these discoveries later in this book.
Right now, I am going to give a detailed description of just one of a number of miracles that captured my investigative attention as a new Christian, because it clearly illustrates how God can and does do some things far quicker on Earth than we might anticipate.
Graeme Stokes was a young boy in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). I first saw him when I was attending a Pentecostal church there in the mid-1970s and he and his parents came to the front of the church to describe Graeme’s recent miracle healing. Graeme’s mother described how her son had been struggling with a dental condition called a “bulldog bite” for some years. The family had come to Salisbury (now Harare) to have it treated during the school holidays. Hearing of the extraordinary healing miracles that were happening at this particular church, which had even been reported in the local newspaper, the Stokes family had decided to come for prayer the Sunday before the scheduled appointment with their Dentist, Dr Bowker. Dr Bowker had previously discussed with them the radical intervention that was needed to treat Graeme’s bulldog bite, and that a minimum of six months would be required for the correction.
At the appropriate juncture in that service, Pastor Bill Anstruther had invited those who would like to be prayed for to come forward. Graeme had gone out to the front along with his mother. When the Pastor had laid a hand on the youngster’s head and prayed for him, people nearby heard a loud cracking sound. Startled, they looked at Graeme, to see that his jaw line had changed. The bulldog bite had disappeared completely! They had witnessed a rare instantaneous reconstruction miracle. There was a lot of excitement and thankfulness to the Lord among the congregation.
At the close of the service I sought out Graeme and his parents. I had a special request; would they be prepared to go back to their Dentist for him to verify the miracle? As a Christian with scientific training, I had begun investigating the rash of miracles that were happening at this little church, but I liked to have documentation before telling other people about them. Although surprised by my request, the parents agreed to do this for me.
Dr Bowker, a highly qualified and reputable Dental Surgeon, practised from smart rooms in the prestigious precinct tor Doctors and Dentists in that era—North Avenue. I met with Graeme and Mrs Stokes before they went in to see him and took some photos of Graeme, especially of his now perfect jaw line.
They were in the Dentist’s rooms for a while. I waited outside.
When they emerged, Mrs Stokes was smiling broadly. “Dr Bowker didn’t believe it was Graeme at first. He told his nurse that she must have brought him the wrong card. The Nurse told him it was definitely the correct one and he looked very confused. Graeme told him that he had been prayed for and healed, and I added that I’d very much like a letter from him to confirm this. Dr Bowker’s face went all funny and he plopped down into his chair. We all looked at him and waited for him to say something, but he was speechless. It’s the first time I’ve seen someone actually speechless; I didn’t know it really happened.”
“How long did he stay like that?” I asked, surprised at the Dentist’s unexpected reaction.
“I didn’t check my watch. Some minutes, at least,” Mrs Stokes replied.
I smiled, but had to ask what was uppermost on my mind. “Did he verify the miracle?”
“Yes, he did. He first of all re-examined Graeme. Then he told us the healing was perfect and that he was amazed. He questioned Graeme further. Finally, he said he would prepare a letter for me to collect later.”
Here follows a copy of that letter, which is still in my possession. I would like to commend Dr Bowker for providing it. Many of his colleagues would not have been prepared to record on paper their scientific observations of a miracle for fear of ridicule. Of course, true Scientists are not afraid of facts and do not ignore or hide them, but are prepared to record them. (Incidentally, in this regard, Charles Darwin’s reports accord with true Science).
40 North Avenue
Dr. O.B. Bowker
18th November, 1975.
Dear Mrs. Stokes,
With reference to our conversation yesterday about your son Graeme, I am only too delighted to place the following facts on record:
1. As you will remember I examined Graeme on the 25th July 1975 and as well as informing you that he required a number of fillings we also discussed the problem of his bite. Without going into too many technical details, suffice it to say that when he closed his teeth together the relationship between the top front teeth and the lower front teeth was the reverse of what they should be, i.e. he had a “Bulldog” type bite relationship. I proposed that I make him an appliance to correct this malocclusion and I estimated it would take between 6 months to 1 year to correct his bite.
2. Graeme returned for his treatment on 13th November, 1975 and much to my amazement his bite was perfectly normal and, at one stage, I even questioned my Nurse as to whether the treatment card I had was the correct one. Graeme, on being questioned about his teeth, said “I asked a man to pray for me and he fixed my teeth”. To repeat, I am delighted to have been able to see this divine cure for myself.
What, you may wonder, has this account of a miracle healing long ago got to do with the topic of God’s creativity?
For one thing, it demonstrates that God still intervenes creatively, as has been attested by miracles around the world before and since. I still possess x-rays from that period of my research which demonstrate two further ingenious miracles beyond reasonable medical doubt.
Miracles illustrate that God did not stop creating after he had designed and formed the Cosmos during those six days of productive brilliance in Heaven, as described in Genesis. He has continued to create miraculously ever since.
And when God does miracles, he displays his mastery over Time and circumstance.
As I pondered the Graeme Stokes incident, I imagined myself in Dr Bowker’s shoes and conjectured what might have caused his strange speechless reaction to the miracle. Could it be that standing in front of him was a patient who pointed back to a prayer experience of a few seconds that had achieved what would otherwise have required a minimum of six months’ dental treatment? Perhaps Dr Bowker’s previous experience with dental treatments and the Time needed for them had been shaken?
Much more significant for us is that the incident illustrated whatever usually takes a long Time on our planet can happen in seconds, should God so choose. God has absolute control over Time on Earth and how long his actions will take. We estimate the Time needed for an event from our previous worldly experiences, but locked into our physical Cosmos as we are, we simply do not know how long God may have taken over creating what we see.
So, let’s apply this new understanding to the Creation with God having planned it first in Heaven, in a different Time frame, before later forming our Universe with ourselves in it.
These ingenious processes might have played out very quickly—or very slowly—we cannot judge this absolutely. This variable nature of Time means that Young Earth Creation, Old Earth Creation, Intelligent Design and other models for Creation all become feasible and perhaps even used by God during different stages of the universe’s actual development—a kind of “punctuated” growth.
As for myself, I believe the evidence from nature supports more strongly that an Old-Earth Creation and guided Evolution were the likely main players, but by no means exclusively so, in implementing God’s innovative designs planned in Heaven from “in the beginning”.
Analysis to find where an action occurs, in Heaven or on our planet, becomes critical to the interpretation of the timing and details of that particular event.
Unless “Venue” is determined first, the timing of events as we conceptualise them becomes unreliable. Sadly, many Christians including Bible commentators and translators have neither comprehended nor allowed for this.
For example, the six days of creating in Genesis 1 were describing the planning sequences taking place in days in Heaven, where God dwells, works and took a rest on the seventh heavenly day. Confusion and apparent contradictions and huge inaccuracies result from trying to interpret heavenly days and activities as though they were earthly ones.
Heavenly days and earthly days? Completely scriptural.
There is a very exciting fundamental reason for the terminology “days” to be used in the Bible for both Heaven and our world, which will be pursued in depth later. It will make your heart sing—as it does mine!
It is interesting that all three persons of the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son [Jesus] and God the Holy Spirit) were involved in Heaven in conceiving and creating the Universe, and would all three remain intimately involved in the unfolding history of our world, where our human experience of Time is linked to the sun and stars in our Cosmos.
What is heavenly Time linked to? We don’t know yet, but certainly not to the sun and stars in our Universe even in advance of their being created! Yet this unsustainable interpretation is given to the “days of Creation” in Genesis by many theologians and Creationists.
The true nature of Time is essential for us to comprehend before we can grasp our origins. If Scientists cannot tell us what Time really is, can the inspired ancient spiritual insights in the Bible bridge the gap in our understanding?
For this to happen, we must distinguish what originates from God, working in Heaven, from what occurs subsequently on Earth.
Time is simply another variable that God uses resourcefully.
Mysteries about Time are unlocked as we ponder the scriptures. For example, Hebrew scholars translated biblical Hebrew into Greek two or more centuries before the birth of Christ, and we may safely assume those Hebrew translators knew far more about ancient Hebrew than our modern scholars do. The first books of the Old Testament in “koine” Greek that resulted, including Genesis, was termed the Septuagint and was not influenced by popular Cosmology such as our inaccurate modern translations have been. The Septuagint stuck more precisely to the tenses of past, present and future—and translates Genesis 2:3, “And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it he ceased from all his works, which God began to do”.
God BEGAN to do!! Only Two-Stage Theory and God’s implementation on Earth of his heavenly plans made previously during the Creation week can explain “God BEGAN to do” satisfactorily.
Genesis 2:3 shows that Creation has never stopped—it continues to be implemented in our Cosmos, and in our lives, to this very day.
A host of exciting revelations about Time and God are opened by this understanding that God’s plans in Heaven are implemented later on Earth.
Prophecy (foretelling by God) functions in the same fashion—it is also planned first by God in Heaven, and then implemented later on Earth in a process of fulfillment that maps out your destiny and my destiny. Studying this enhances our understanding of Time and how God creates. Consequently, we will start to examine fulfilled prophecy in the next chapter.
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