Healed of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease?

Many Christians (especially charismatic ones) have a certain tendency to see miracles everywhere and fail to consider the existence of the Placebo effect that can easily account for many healings following prayer.

miracle-god

But some things seem to defy material explanations based on mainstream medicine.

In two books of J.P. Moreland, an Evangelical philosophy professor and apologist, I found the following touching story. I entirely trust his honesty.

In his book “Kingdom Triangle” he wrote:

Just a few weeks ago I had an amazing conversation with Nathan, one
of my philosophy graduate students. Before coming to Biola University,
Nathan and a friend were on the Long Beach State debate team and were
ranked fifth in the country, having beaten Harvard and other top schools
in debate competitions. Needless to say, Nathan is a very rational person
not prone to being gullible. Nathan relayed that when he was thirteen, he
was diagnosed with GERDS (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), in which
the valve between his esophagus and stomach did not work properly. He
would wake up at night not being able to breath because of the stomach acid
gathering in his chest and the severe pain that followed. Nathan developed
insomnia — he had to sleep sitting up and did not sleep through the night
for nine years. In 2002, Nathan got married and his wife made him go to a
doctor to investigate surgery. When he did, he was told that he would need
a series of five surgeries and would be on medication the rest of his life.
The next day, Nathan and his wife attended a small group Bible study
at which a missionary couple from Thailand was going to share about their
ministry overseas, a ministry that included miraculous healings. No one at
the Bible study knew of Nathan’s illness. While there, something shocking
happened to him. In Nathan’s own words, “During the Bible study, out of the
blue, the speaker stopped praying for another person, turned and said, ‘Some­
one in the room is suffering from Gastroesophageal Reflux disease.’ This
man had never met me nor could he have known the disease name.”
Nathan went on to say that the missionary described a painful event
that had happened between the person with GERDS (Nathan had not yet
identified himself as the person) and his father when he was diagnosed
with the disease as a young boy (all details of which were unknown to
anyone, including Nathan’s wife, and were accurately described). Nathan
identified himself as the person with GERDS, the missionary laid hands
on him and prayed for his healing, and he was instantly and completely
healed! From that night until the present (about three full years), Nathan
has never had an incident, he has slept through every night since that Bible
study, and the doctor cleared Nathan shortly thereafter of the diagnosis.

 

In his book “In search of a confident faith“, Moreland added some information:

As emotion welled up within him, Nathan relayed to me that at that very moment he was instantly and completely healed!”

I met Nathan’s wife a few weeks ago at a student gathering, and without warning I pulled her aside to ask about the incident. She confirmed every detail of the story to me“.

 

The best materialistic explanation

 

How would a materialist account for this?

It seems extremely unlikely that the missionary would have talked with a close relative of Nathan (or even his father) in order to orchestrate the event.

Otherwise, the missionary’s words of knowledge can only be interpreted as random thoughts generated by his brain. But how likely would he find at that precise moment a man who suffer from GERDS and had a painful experience with his father whilst being diagnosed? Conversely, how likely is the missionary to randomly find the right diagnosis and circumstances instead of, say, “recalcitrant cold”, “lung cancer” or “chronic back pain”?
This type of specific knowledge appears to go well beyond the reach of lucky guesses.

It is worth noting that the missionary not only mentioned that a painful event with the man’s father occurred but also described it in a way that Nathan deemed “accurate”. If the missionary was randomly making things up, it would be unlikely he could provide an accurate description of the incident, as there are countless different types of incidents that could have happened.

Consequently, it seems very unlikely (if not extremely unlikely) that the missionary could have correctly guessed those pieces of information about Nathan.

 

The healing itself is less evidential as cases of spontaneous remissions of GERDS are known. However, it is certainly curious that after having suffered from the disease for nine years, Nathan was suddenly delivered from it after having felt “emotion welled up within him“. The whole encounter seems to have triggered an inner healing.

What we will make of that story depends on one’s prior beliefs. A hardcore materialist will consider this as only an unlikely chain of coincidences.
Someone open to the reality of paranormal phenomena might consider that something really strange took place.

miracle

Thematic list of ALL posts on this blog (regularly updated)

My other blog on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP)

 

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4 thoughts on “Healed of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease?

  1. Ummm… my spouse working in community healthcare has dozens if not hundreds of examples of ‘instantaneous’ remission from this very common ailment. It’s a bug that crosses the stomach, blood barrier (and is a leading suspect in later cardio problems). It’s like claiming divine intervention when you get over a flu. Oh look, flu, prayer, remission. Drought, prayer, rain. Must be related to prayer, right? After all, the anecdotal evidence and the stability of the person relating it are all very rational.

    • Hello Tildeb,
      long time, no see!

      I agree that the healing of the GERDS isn’t very evidential.

      However, unlike what you said, GERDS is caused by a mechanical problem (the valve doesn’t function) and not bugs.
      It’s indeed common for the symptoms to wax and wane. But here, they completely disappeared just after the incident and haven’t returned for three years. That’s certainly unusual.

      The real puzzle is the missionary’s ability to not only guess he had GERDS but also that there was a painful incident with Nathan’s father and to describe this incident in a way that appeared true to Nathan. To me, that seems to be clearly beyond the reach of chance.

      • GERDS is diagnosed by the symptoms. For whatever reason, acid is passing beyond the muscle ring, and so solutions work depending on whatever cause there may be for the muscle ring not fully closing. I’m just saying this condition is not at all uncommon. What what noticed by my spouse is that lots of people had this diagnosis and many stopped exhibiting these symptoms for no apparent reason. Also, every cardiac patient had been diagnosed with GERDS. 100%. This was before heliobacter pylori was discovered to cross the stomach/blood barrier and so it was unusual to think of the reflux problem as a flu rather than a mechanical defect. Thinking of the problem this way, it is understandable that, like a flu, gastrointestinal reflux can appear to stop. Also, antibiotics shouldn’t ‘fix’ a mechanical problem yet, in my spouse’s community experience, was without doubt one of the most effective treatments.

  2. So what I’m saying is that before we jump to some supernatural explanation, there is a much greater likelihood that such experiences probably have a natural world-based explanations we don’t yet understand or have yet to identify.

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