The Origin of Sickness and Disease
The question of the origin of sickness is one that had challenged me from a long time. In studying the Scriptures carefully, it is certain that it is not God’s idea, neither is it His desire to plague humanity with sickness. As a matter of fact, 1 Peter 2:24 reveals that Jesus the Redeemer was sent to take away the sin and sicknesses of humanity. Since sickness and disease was never heard of in the Garden of Eden, neither was there pain, toil nor affliction, where did it come from?
The picture of the Garden of Eden that’s painted in the Scriptures is that of a utopia. Reading through Genesis, we will find that the first mention of “toil” was after the curse due to the Adamic sin (Gen.3:17). From then on, we begin to see the mention of affliction, sickness and pain in the lives of people. This was the first indication of the origin of sicknesses and diseases.
Before going further, one of the important things that Christians must know is that there exists a spiritual world. Though it cannot be perceived through our five physical senses, it is real. Beyond the reality perceived through the five senses, the realm of the spirit is a higher reality. Notice the following Scriptures:
By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:18
The Scriptures above give us the idea that the things of the unseen spiritual world dictate what we see. Notice Hebrews 11:3 does not say that God created the world out of nothing, but it says it was made from things we don’t see. The fact that we don’t see does not mean it does not exist. It says the world was created from the Word of God. Hence the Word of God is tangible, even though it is unseen. The second Scripture then reveals to us that the things we see are subject to change while the unseen things are eternal. This shows that spiritual things have preeminence over things we perceive with our senses.
Disease can be broken into two words: “dis” and “ease”. The word ease means freedom from pain, worry or affliction. So dis-ease is when the natural state of “ease” is imbalanced or disrupted. The fall of man introduced the curse in The Garden (Gen. 3:17). The curse introduced a spiritual dis-ease, in the makeup of man and his environment (sin). Since the things we see in this natural realm originate from the spiritual, the dis-eased state of man produced sickness and disease.
Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death. God had commanded Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and should Adam disobey, He would die. Adam did eat of the tree, disobeying God, and he died (Gen.2:17). By reason of sin, man became cursed. Adam died spiritually (he was separated from God). The curse on Adam’s life meant that Adam (representing all humanity) would be subject to all kinds of evil, and ultimately death in the flesh. Because of this Adamic sin, there were negative forces that would work at destroying man.
Genesis 1:26 reveals that man was given dominion (or authority) over the earth and all creatures of the earth (including mirco-organisms), but when Adam sinned, everything around him rebelled against his authority. The wild animals in the garden that were subject to him tried to kill him. Micro organisms which ordinarily would be harmless to him or would work in keeping a biological balance in his bodily systems began to kill him also. By default, his mind would tend towards thoughts that were destructive, and his body would begin to wear out, all of this with the intent to accomplish the death of his flesh. Sin caused man to die spiritually, and you remember that the things of the spirit take preeminence over things we perceive around us.
God in dealing with Israel under the Law of Moses gave a long list of curses that were a result of sin. Deuteronomy 28:15-68 gives a long list of evil manifestations of the curse. The list would take up much space. If you read and examine the list of curses, you will see that they can be fundamentally broken into three broad categories which are death, lack and bodily affliction (or sickness).
Highlighting a few verses from that passage:
If you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you…..The LORD will strike you with consumption, with fever, with inflammation, with severe burning fever, with the sword, with scorching, and with mildew; they shall pursue you until you perish…The LORD will strike you in the knees and on the legs with severe boils which cannot be healed, and from the sole of your foot to the top of your head….Moreover He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you. [v61] Also every sickness and every plague, which is not written in this Book of the Law, will the LORD bring upon you until you are destroyed.
If you’re like me, I always wondered why a loving and redeeming God would put such terrible curses on His people. Scripture reveals that God is a giver who gives life abundantly, and He blesses with all good things. I also see from Scripture that God is predisposed towards showing grace and mercy rather than judgment. Yes, eventually the wrath of God would be displayed on the rebellious, however it seemed from reading the Old Testament that God was on the edge, just ready to put a curse on anyone who broke the Law. However, many like me, who read this list of curses, misunderstood what the Spirit of God was communicating through these verses of Scripture.
The Lord gave me this analogy to help with understanding the Scripture. If you told your child, “Danny, don’t run around the house because you might trip and fall”. If the child ignores that instruction and falls, you agree that it was not you who gave the instruction that caused the fall. You being the parent foretold the consequence of ignoring your instruction. Likewise, God was not putting the curses on Israel, but He was stating what would happen as a result of Israel’s disobedience. Understand that because of sin, all humanity was doomed for destruction and death because of the Adamic sin; however, through the Law Israel had a provisional protection from God. Disobedience to the Law by default exposed them to the consequences of the curse, and because God is a just God, He had to permit the curse. However through their obedience, God would be responsible for being their healer and making sure that sickness or disease would not find place within their camps (Exo.15:26, Deut.7:15).
Dr. Robert Young, author of Young’s Analytical Concordance and Hints To Bible Interpretation, points this out, saying, that in the original Hebrew, the verb is in the permissive rather than causative sense. So, Deuteronomy 28:27 should have been translated something like, “The Lord will allow/permit these plagues to be brought upon you…” The original Hebrew of these scriptures was in the permissive tense, but because the English language has no corresponding permissive tense, the verbs were translated in the causative tense.
I realized that God does not have sickness and disease, He cannot commit evil, and sickness is evil. Job 34:10 says, “…Far be it from God to do wickedness, and from the Almighty to commit iniquity.” Satan is the one that comes to steal, kill and destroy—these are the elemental operations of the curse (John 10:10). Simply put, sickness is an operation of the curse, which is a result of the Adamic sin. It is simply fulfilling the mandate to steal, kill, and destroy (Joh.10:10a). Sickness can never be a blessing, or something that God uses to teach His people a “lesson”. It has stamped all over it the identity of the devil. Sickness attempts to steal your joy, your vigor, your time, and your life, and if left alone, it will kill, and it can destroy relationships, businesses etc. All through the Bible there are Scriptures on healing that are a pointer to God’s willingness and desire to heal.
Now, understand that I am not saying that EVERY sickness or disease is because a person has committed a sin or because of a demonic operation. No! That’s not what I am saying at all. It is the spiritual origin of sickness and disease that we have attempted to examine. Nonetheless, there are people who are sick because of a sin they have committed. This is evident if we examine the ministry of Jesus Christ and the Apostles.
The Bible gives us an account of a little over twenty healings performed by Jesus. If we examine them, we will realize that for some He healed the sick of their infirmity, and for others He cast out a demon spirit that was responsible. This gives credence to the fact that sickness definitely has a spiritual root; it may be a result of a direct influence of demon spirits, or it may be the result of natural causes. Natural causes through micro organisms and bodily decay set into motion resulting from Adam’s sin. We see in Luke 5:18-25 that when Jesus was to heal the paralytic, He said to the man, “your sins are forgiven”. For the man by the pool of Bethesda in John 5:1-18, Jesus simply said, “Arise…” When He was to heal the epileptic boy who was both deaf and dumb in Mark 9:17-29, He said “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him…”
Regardless of the case, if you have accepted the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus Christ, then you are entitled to divine healing and health in your body. However, if you are not aware of this truth, by virtue of you being on this earth, the curse will try to work its way against you. It is a fact that the Adamic sin put the world in a big mess, but praise God! He didn’t leave us in that mess. God put a plan in place to fix the situation, and to restore man. Jesus did not just come to redeem man from sin, but He also came to bring healing and wholeness to all humanity (Matt.8:17). 1 John 3:8 says that Jesus came to destroy all the works of the enemy, and sickness and diseases are definitely of the devil, but through faith in Christ we can receive salvation, and total healing.
Sickness and disease became a part of this world as a result of the curse which in turn was a product of Adam’s sin. Ultimately, the penalty of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). All men born of a woman are born with the sin nature of Adam, and we learn this from Romans 5:12 which says, “just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” This is why we need to be born again. The sin nature in man, if not dealt with, leaves a man in a perpetual state of the curse (subject to all kinds of evil).
Deuteronomy 28:61 says, “…every sickness and every plague, which is not written in this Book of the Law, will the Lord bring upon you until you are destroyed.” Ultimately it shows that any sickness that comes upon the body of a person has one purpose, complete destruction.
Sickness can only be effectively dealt with if the sin problem is fixed. So the first step in the destruction of the power of sickness over your life is to receive salvation through Jesus Christ. As much as government health care plans are a good initiative, without the understanding of the spiritual root cause of sickness and disease, no government will be able to effectively deal with its community health care issues.
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