The Source of Sickness

In Genesis chapters 1 and 2, we are told that God made earth, and He made the first man (Adam) and the first woman (Eve).  Here are a few passages that tell us what life was like at that time in human history:

Genesis 1:27-31

God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.  God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply! Fill the earth and subdue it! Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every creature that moves on the ground.”

Then God said, “I now give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the entire earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.  And to all the animals of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to all the creatures that move on the ground – everything that has the breath of life in it – I give every green plant for food.” It was so.

God saw all that he had made – and it was very good! There was evening, and there was morning, the sixth day.

Chapter two gives us more details of the creation of man from chapter one.

Genesis 2:8-17

The Lord God planted an orchard in the east, in Eden; and there he placed the man he had formed.

The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow from the soil, every tree that was pleasing to look at and good for food. (Now the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil were in the middle of the orchard.)

Now a river flows from Eden to water the orchard, and from there it divides into four headstreams.  The name of the first is Pishon; it runs through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold.   (The gold of that land is pure; pearls and lapis lazuli are also there).   The name of the second river is Gihon; it runs through the entire land of Cush.  The name of the third river is Tigris; it runs along the east side of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates.

The Lord God took the man and placed him in the orchard in Eden to care for it and to maintain it.   Then the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat fruit from every tree of the orchard, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will surely die.”

Up this point, sin had not entered the world, and there is no mention of Satan having any influence.  Everything is wonderful.  There was no sickness or disease or death, and there was no lack (there was an entire planet’s worth of resources, and only two people to use it).  With everything in this state, God said that it was “good.”

Then, in chapter 3, we have the story of the serpent deceiving Eve, and then Adam making his decision to join Eve and disobey God.

Genesis 3:1-7

Now the serpent was more shrewd than any of the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Is it really true that God said, ‘You must not eat from any tree of the orchard’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit from the trees of the orchard; but concerning the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the orchard God said, ‘You must not eat from it, and you must not touch it, or else you will die.’”

The serpent said to the woman, “Surely you will not die, for God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will open and you will be like divine beings who know good and evil.”

When the woman saw that the tree produced fruit that was good for food, was attractive to the eye, and was desirable for making one wise, she took some of its fruit and ate it. She also gave some of it to her husband who was with her, and he ate it.  Then the eyes of both of them opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

At this point in our history, life on earth changed.  Originally, man was free from sickness, sin and death.  He had unhindered fellowship with God, and God had put him in charge of the earth.  But from this day forward, death enters the world, along with increasing amounts of sickness, sin, famine, and poverty.  Satan has also usurped man’s role as ruler of the earth (John 12:31, 1 John 5:19, Ephesians 2:2) and we get to see the results of his activities in the world around us from then until now.

If we fast forward, and look into what we know about the future, we see in the last few chapters of the book of Revelation that Satan will be removed from his current role, and cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).  After this everything goes back to being wonderful again.  There is no more sickness, no more death, no more poverty, no more sin, etc.

So, to summarize…

  • Before Satan gained influence in the earth, there was no sickness or sin.
  • After Satan’s influence is removed in the future, there will be no sickness or sin.

Sickness entered our world when man gave in to Satan’s influence and committed the first sin.  I have heard it said this way: “Sickness is the foul offspring of its father, Satan, and its mother, sin.”  This is the source of sickness.  This is where it came from.

I am not saying that every sickness is directly caused by Satan, or that every sickness is the direct result of a personal sin.  What I am saying is that without Satan and sin, we would not be dealing with sickness.  It would not be a part of life for us.

So, what should we do about it?

It is always wise to look at Jesus to find an example of how to think and act.  Did Jesus do anything about sickness and disease?  If so, what did he do?  What did that look like?

Acts 10:38 – God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

1 John 3:8b – For this purpose the Son of God was revealed: to destroy the works of the devil.

John 10:10 – The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Matthew 4:24 – Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.

Matthew 8:16 – When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick…

Matthew 12:15b – …And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all

Luke 6:19 – And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all

When Jesus encountered sickness and disease, He would remove it from the afflicted person.  He healed all that came to Him.  Then He sent out people to represent him, and He gave them power and authority to do the same thing (Luke 9:1-2).  Then He sent out more people in the same way (Luke 10:1,9).  Then He told all of His followers to keep doing these same things, and to make disciples and train them to do the same things they were doing (Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:17-20).

Sickness is a result of the influence of sin and Satan in our physical world.  Jesus gave us power and authority to do something about it, and we are to do it the same way He did.


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