Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The Suffering Question: Is God the Author of Your sickness or disease?

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.                      Psalm 107:1 NLT
The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.   Psalm 145:8-9 KJV

  We've begun a new series of study examining the suffering question. That is what role does God our Father play in suffering? Can we trust that God is always good? In our last study, we looked at the idea of God's judgment.

 Today, I sense the leading to address another aspect of the suffering question. Is God the author of your sickness or disease? Is God responsible for your fever? Is it God that placed that tumor in your body? Did God give you cancer? Did God bring that blood cot? Did God afflict your kidneys? Did God ordain that multiple sclerosis? 

 I want to be as specific as I can. I want to lower this question to its most elementary level possible. Is the tumor, the cancer, the blood disease, the heart disease, the kidney disease, the skin disease, the cataracts, the spinal condition, in the bodies of men because God placed them there? Did God in His infinite wisdom actually cause the sickness or disease in you or your loved one? 

 Because sickness and disease are such a common occurrence in humanity the religious position seems to say God is the author of it. That He has some mysterious purpose in affliction. Based upon the majority of Christian publications, saying God is responsible for sickness and disease, must somehow be a comfort to people.

 Maybe in their minds telling people God did it, will help people bear the illness or disease better. Sadly, religious tradition doesn't understand this makes our God look more like a violent tyrant instead of a merciful Father who is compassionate and loving. It seems to convey the concept that God derives pleasure in seeing people suffering from tormenting diseases and agonizing ailments in their bodies.

 This doesn't seem to deter religion. Traditional religion believes strongly that God is, in fact, the author of sickness, why? They cite a passage in Exodus and this is enough to convince them that God is in the disease dispensing business. 

 Concerning that passage, Here is an entire article for further study. Suffice it to say though God was not teaching us that He is the author of birth defects or disability. Let's use some Bible wisdom. Do we isolate a passage of Scripture and form an entire doctrine out of it? There are way more passages that support speaking in tongues and other gifts haven't ceased yet religion quickly ignores and buries them with their tradition. Yet tradition ignores clear Bible hermeneutics to establish the view that God is the author of sickness. 

 Briefly summarizing Exodus 4, God was simply encouraging Moses. Moses was called upon to publicly challenge Pharoah and be the mouthpiece for the Lord. Moses was intimidated by his speech impediment. God reminded him that He was the creator of all humanity. He can empower anyone for any task He calls upon them to do. This passage was not establishing that God causes people to be born deformed or disabled. 

 Look at the Bible as a whole. Is God afflicting people with sickness or disease? Some would say look at the Old Testament. What you must remember is that was the Covenant of Law. Israel had chosen Law over Grace. By choosing Law, they also chose the consequence of breaking that Law. The Law is rigid and inflexible. Under the Old we see God sending swift judgment. But that's because the Savior hadn't yet arrived and there was no sacrifice for sin. 

 Look at Jesus the exact representation of the Father. Did He send sickness or disease? Did He afflict? When Peter denied Him three times, did Jesus afflict him with a crippling disease? Did Jesus roam the land ensuring babies were born deformed or disabled? Jesus said if you've seen Him, you've seen the Father.

Sovereignly sick?

 Another reason religion believes God is the author of sickness is their morbid fatalistic view of God's sovereignty. Sovereignty truly defined means God is the supreme authority in all the universe. To religion though, this means God can't be God if a leaf dropping from a tree wasn't somehow preordained by Him. If the leaf fell from the tree and God didn't cause it, then that must mean God isn't in control of the universe and He isn't the supreme authority anymore.

 So tradition has a unique definition of sovereignty. It assigns sovereignty to mean hyper control instead of ultimate authority. That the universe would somehow cease to function orderly and timely if God didn't control every human event down to the smallest detail. 

 Texting and driving the cause of a young person crashing their automobile? Nope, God in His infinite existence caused that car wreck. Overslept and now late for work, don't take responsibility for your life, God did it, right? Examine this concept of hyper-control. 

Does God really go about His day ensuring the sun rises and the Earth sits on its axis and that your loved one get that brain tumor? Is God who spoke the stars into existence also ensuring enough people get cancer or blood disease? I trust you see this is an absurd concept. 

 Is the universe really going to collapse because sickness and disease afflict people apart from God's hands? Could it be that Creation is fallen and fractured? That because of the fall, disaster and disease and death are "fruits" of the fall and not God's hands bringing affliction? This twisted sovereignty view is a mistaken idea birthed from the traditions of men.

Made sick and disease-ridden to make you stronger or patient? 

 There is another twisted traditional concept. That God sometimes brings destruction and disaster and disease to mature you. To strengthen you. To cause your patience to grow. Looking at Jesus again, is this how He treated His own disciples? I mean, to strengthen the disciples' faith and patience, did Jesus ever dispense heart disease, or cancer among them? 

 Here is the reality we must face. We see hardships, tragedies, disasters, famine, desolation, and disease throughout this planet. It's a challenge to view the daily news and not find reports of something awful occurring somewhere on this planet. In light of this, we finite humans have this pressing need to find a reason for it all.

 As Christians, we seem to default to always blaming God either directly or indirectly. Something happens, must be God ordaining it, causing it, or allowing it for some mysterious purpose. God must be teaching me. Or some go so far as to say God is punishing me.

 To walk in peace, we must stop blaming God. Relinquish this twisted hyper-control sovereignty concept. Sometimes there are reasons bad things occur to good people, apart from the direct effects of the fall. Sometimes we make mistakes, we make a dumb decision, we are negligent, we may not be attentive to what we are doing. In these instances don't try to spiritualize foolishness. 

 Also, if God is the author of sickness and disease then that would mean sickness and disease is a perfect work. God is perfect and therefore all His handiwork is perfect. If what He does is bad or imperfect than He is deficient in some way. If God remains absolutely perfect as He afflicts humanity with sickness, then Heaven, which is an expression of His total perfection will also be filled with sickness and disease. Is that good news? 

 We know though that there is no sickness or disease in Heaven. So the place where God's complete and total perfect will is seen in every possible detail is sickness and disease free? What does that tell us? It clearly shows us that sickness and disease is the complete antithesis of God's good and perfect will. Which also proves beyond a doubt He cannot be the author of sickness and disease.

 In summation, it's clear that God is not the author of sickness or disease. We live in a fallen fractured creation, that's the source of disease, not God. God is the source of life, not death. He is our healer, not the one who makes sick. He is not the source of disease and death. He is the light and life and in Him is no darkness at all. God is a good Father. 
Image by ErikaWittlieb from Pixabay  


Ben Nelson said...

Amen, John. I've always said there are three places you can clearly see the will of God in full display - the garden before the fall, heaven, and the life of Jesus.

If in fact, sickness is the will of the Father why was Jesus healing all those folks God was trying to help?

My absolute favorite argument is the Jesus is the express image of the Father and we never see Jesus inflict, only heal.

Thanks much!


John W Reed said...

Yes amen. Thank you for such encouraging words. Ben the idea that God makes people sick is foolish if you understand God is total perfection. To be total perfection that would mean all He does is perfect. Heaven is a place of total perfection for it it’s a place He resides. If sickness and disease was God’s will or His doing then Heaven will be the most disease ridden place known.