Is All Sickness Caused By Sin? Understanding The Doctrine Of Sin And Death

On occasion it becomes necessary to write concerning a particular doctrine of scripture that is misunderstood by many people. Yesterday I received a comment from a Christian who said I stated that children are afflicted with cancer because they have sinned. Of course this is not true, and no place in the Bible does God say that anyone gets cancer or any other disease, simply because they have sinned. The Bible does say that sickness and death were caused by the fall of man through Adam.

There Are Three Causes Of Disease And Sickness In The World:

  1. The genetic defect in our cell structure cause by the fall of Adam.
  2. The particular lifestyle of people that causes poor health.
  3. The personal choices of people who continue in sin.

The Bible teaches that all sickness, suffering, and death, are caused by Adam’s rebellion against God, which brought sin into the world: “When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.” ~Romans 5:12

God created Adam perfect and without any defect. It was by his choice to rebel against the commandment of God that sin, the defect of imperfection, came into Adam’s life. Every person who is descended from Adam inherited his defect of a sin nature. If we think it is unfair that we are called sinners because of Adam’s error, we must consider that each of us have made our own choice to also sin.

Moral perfection consists of obedience to the fundamental laws of God

  1. Worship only God.
  2. Make no images of God.
  3. Do not use the name of God without regard to His Holiness.
  4. Rest one day of the week.
  5. Honor your father and mother.
  6. Do not murder.
  7. Do not commit adultery.
  8. Do not steal.
  9. Do not lie.
  10. Do not covet what others have.

Every one of these laws are good, righteous, Holy, and perfect. God alone should be worshipped because only He is worthy of our worship. By His Eternal existence as the only perfect Being, possessing perfect love, justice, righteousness, and kindness, He is the only true God that exists. Making images of God is the first step in forgetting that our God is Spirit and has no form. We don’t need an image of God, we can worship Him anytime in our Spirit and according to the truth of who He is, as revealed in the texts of the Bible. Whenever we use the name of God it should be with deep reverence and respect, honoring Him in every way when we speak of Him.

Only God Is Perfect

Not one human being, other than Christ, has ever kept all of these laws. Jesus later clarified that even if we do not commit the physical act, we may still break these laws in our heart, and thus be guilty of breaking all these laws listed above (Matthew 5:28). James said that the standard God established for keeping His law is perfection. If we have broken even one of these laws, we are guilty of breaking them all (James 2:10).

Even before the 10 laws of God were given by God, people still died, because they had broken the law of sin and death. Born with a nature to sin, we are already guilty at birth. David said that we are conceived in sin and this is our nature even in the womb (Psalms 51:5).

The law of sin a death are the cause of our physical death, and our estrangement from God because of our sin. “Ezekiel 18:4: “Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father
as well as the soul of the son is Mine; the soul who sins shall die.” Genesis 2:17 “Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

It wasn’t the fruit that Adam ate that cause his death; it was his desire to know evil by experience, that caused his death. Before that moment Adam had no knowledge of evil; after his decision to disobey God’s command, evil, sin, became a part of Adam’s fundamental nature. For the rest of his life he would be infected with the defect of sin and pass this on to every person born after him.

When Sickness, Disease And Death Came To Mankind

Before Adam sinned against God there was no sickness or death. It was his single act of disobedience that caused Adam to die spiritually, and in his body, physically, over a period of time. This is the reason that God hates sin so much, it deprives us as persons made in His image, of the perfect and eternal life God intended we all have.

In the New Testament we find that the friend of Jesus, Lazarus, had died and was buried four days in his tomb. When Jesus came to Bethany where the sisters of Lazarus lived, Mary and Martha, Jesus went to the tomb of Lazarus. There Jesus looked around and saw the great sorrow of Mary and Martha and the people who were also grieving over the death of Lazarus. The texts say that when Jesus saw this, He was angry. Why was Jesus angry? He created us to live forever without the scourge of sin and death, and there before Him, the effects of sin and death were on public display in all of its horror and deprivation.

Jesus was angry because of what sin and death have done to us. Jesus came into the world to end sin and death by giving His life on the cross to pay the penalty of sin and death, and eliminate it forever.

The Texts of the Bible Teach That All Human Beings Are Born With A Sin Nature

In Psalms 51, David is grieving over his sin and confessing what he has done before God. At verse 5 David states that he and all humans were born into the world in sin, and our nature as fallen beings is because of the sin that exists in us, even at our conception:

Psalms 51:1-5 “Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. For I was born a sinner—yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.”

Hebrew scholar, Paul, confirmed that it was Adam’s sin and rebellion against God, that caused each of us who came after Adam, to inherit his sin nature:

Romans 5:12 “When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.”

From the beginning, in the Hebrew scriptures, starting with the Pentateuch and continuing throughout the entire body of texts in the Bible, the basic nature of all human beings is that of a sinner. We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners by nature. It is our fundamental nature as fallen beings descended from Adam, that our tendency is towards sin continually.

It was the sinless life of Jesus as a man, with the very Spirit of God living in Him; and the giving of His perfect life, with the power of an endless life as the Eternal God, to pay for all sin, that freed all those who believe, from the power of sin and death.

Romans 5:17-19 “For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.”

Understanding that the origin of all disease, sickness, suffering, and death, was the sin that Adam brought into human life, we can understand the reason we become sick and die.

There was a defect that came into the genetic makeup of Adam that ceased the eternal life he was given at his creation. It is sin that causes sickness and death, as is proven by the fact that no one became sick or died prior to Adam’s sin.

As Adam’s spiritual structure was corrupted by the sin he committed against God, this also altered his genetic structure and those of all human beings who came after him. Since the creation of Adam, and his fall, the DNA of all human beings has been gradually deteriorating with an increasing number of cell defects. As this process continues, more people get disease and become sick and die.

Children are born with defects in their cell structure and often acquire cancer and other diseases. The sin of the particular child did not necessarily cause them to get sick, but the defective cells they were born with, caused the disease to spread in their body. The root cause of this genetic defect began with Adam, when he sinned. and passed the sin nature and the physical defects it causes, to all of us.

Genetic Entropy

The study of genetic entropy, reveals a profound problem. Most geneticists acknowledge this problem; that bad mutations accumulate in the human genome. This is the condition that Adam’s sin caused in all humans born after him.

This entropy in cell degradation is best illustrated by simply considering these things on a personal level. Our bodies have about three new mutations every time our cells divide. This is the reason that we all die. It is the reason we get old. As we age all of our systems begin to break down.

It is because of this mutational process, an accumulation of bad mutations in our genome. This genetic entropy was not present in Adam until he committed sin against God. It is sin that caused the genetic entropy in his body, and this condition spread to all of us.

A 60 year old man has experienced up to 40,000 mutations per skin cell. The total mutations number in the trillions. It is for this reason that we have an upper lifespan

We all know that we are mortal, but we also transmit a certain fraction of our mutations to our children. As they age, they add more mutations; they pass their mutations on to their children. Each generation adds many more mutations to the next generation.

Logically, the human race is devolving, not evolving. The entire genome of all human beings is degenerating. Eventually it will wear out and natural selection cannot solve this problem.\

This Genetic Entropy Is An Impeaching Evidence Against Darwinian Natural Selection

If we take an entire room of people and kill only those with the worst mutations, we still have a room full of people that have from 60 to 100 more mutations than their parents.

Every generation of people are more mutated than those who came before. Natural selection can only slow down the degeneration by killing off the worst of those degenerating, but it cannot stop the mutations from increasing in the total population over time.

The implications of this reality is that genetic entropy is profound. This is not only because of how it impacts all human beings, but also that it demonstrates that natural selection does not cause evolution, but devolution.

How Sin Is Imputed

According to Hebrew tradition, it is through the father that sin is transmitted to a baby, not through the mother.⁠[1] If God were to implant the Seed of His own Son in the body of a human being, that Seed would be the Son of God. The Messiah would be both God and Man together in a single human body.

Early church Theologian and Philosopher, Augustine, wrote that sin passed to a baby through the father.⁠[2]

Today, medical science confirms that a fetus does not receive its blood supply from the mother but from the father. An ovum begins to produce its own blood supply immediately after the father’s sperm penetrates the egg held in the body of the woman. An unfertilized ovum can never develop blood, since the egg of the female does not contain the elements necessary for the production of blood.[3]

According to the Bible, sin is transferred to the child through the father, not the mother.

“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.”[4]

In this, we understand the importance of God imputing to Mary the Seed that would cause the birth of Jesus. If Joseph or any other man were Jesus’ father, this seed would pass the defect of sin to Jesus, and He could not be the Savior of the world. By Jesus’ conception through the Holy Spirit, He was born sinless. If He could maintain this sinless life for all of His life, He could offer Himself for the sins of the world.

The Need for a Savior

All those who are born into this world are lost and in desperate need of a Savior. This was the purpose for which Jesus came into the world as the Messiah. As the sons and daughters of Adam, we are born into the world with a natural tendency towards sin. The Pharisees believed that because they were the descendants of Abraham, they were righteous. Jesus makes it clear that only those who experience a second spiritual rebirth, known in the third chapter of John’s gospel as “born again,” are the children of God.⁠[5]

Jesus Said That Some People Who Sin, Cause Sickness In Their Bodies

As we now understand that sickness and disease are caused by a fundamental defect in our DNA, originated from the sin of Adam, we also learn that wilful sin by a person, can also cause them to become sick and die (James 5:13-16).

In John chapter 5, Jesus heals a man who had been sick and paralyzed for 38 years. We don’t know the source of this affliction, but we do learn that Jesus healed him and then warned the man not to sin after he had been healed, or, “something even worse may happen to you.”

John 5:1-15 1 Afterward Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days. Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches. Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches. One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?”

 “I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.” Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”

Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath, so the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, “You can’t work on the Sabbath! The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat!” But he replied, “The man who healed me told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’” “Who said such a thing as that?” they demanded.

The man didn’t know, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd. But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.” Then the man went and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had healed him.

It is possible for a person to sin and then become sick because of the sin. This is not to say that all sickness is caused by a person sin by someone, but that some sins are a direct result of personal sin.

It would be wrong to attribute the sickness or disease of every person to their personal sin. It would be equally wrong to deny that sin is the cause of some sickness for a particular person.

In every instance where a person has become sick, the first action that should take place is an person examination of ourselves to see if we are practicing a sin that should be ended. If it is found that this is true, a genuine repentance of this sin, may result in a healing of the condition we are suffering from.

“That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died. But if we would examine ourselves, we would not be judged by God in this way. Yet when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned along with the world.” ~1 Corinthians 11:30-32

In the case of a child who acquires a disease like cancer, it is highly unlikely that a personal sin has cause their disease. We cannot attribute all sickness to personal sin; but we also cannot exclude personal sin as a cause of sickness.

The plan of salvation that is revealed in the Bible, through Jesus’ death and resurrection, provides a way that any person can end sickness, suffering and death, in their own life. God created us to live in a perfect world. The way that He has chosen to make this possible is by our choice to join Him in His kingdom of perfection, or reject His offer. When God has offered all those He has chosen to hear and respond, and their choices have been made, this present world will end and the new world He planned from the beginning of creation, will begin.

You are invited to join all of us sinners who are saved by the marvelous grace and kindness of our God.


[1] Shaul Magid (2008). From Metaphysics to Midrash: Myth, History, and the Interpretation of Scripture in Lurianic Kabbala. Indiana University Press. p. 238.
[2]  Saint Augustine of Hippo, (De civitate Dei, XIV, 16; CCL 48, 438-439 [1-10]). See also: Schmitt, É. (1983). Le mariage chrétien dans l’oeuvre de Saint Augustin. Une théologie baptismale de la vie conjugale. Études Augustiniennes. Paris. p. 97.. See also Augustine’s: De continentia, 8.21; PL 40, 363; Contra Iulianum VI, 19.60; PL 44, 859; ibid. IV, 14.65, z.2, s. 62; PL 44, 770; De Trinitate, XII, 9. 14; CCL 50, 368 [verse: IX 1-8]; De Genesi contra Manicheos, II, 9.12, s. 60 ; CSEL 91, 133 [v.31-35])
[3] Howell’s Textbook of Physiology, Second Edition, pages 885 and 886
[4] Romans 5:12
[5] John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Categories: Children who die, God is Eternal, God Is Holy, God is perfect, God's Sovereignty, His Compassion, How Salvation Occurs, Justification, Religion vs. Relationship, Robert Clifton Robinson, Salvation, Salvation is a free gift, Suffering and Trials, The Suffering of Jesus, Those Who Have Never Heard, Understanding Suffering, We must repent, Why God Allows Evil, Why Jesus Suffered

Tags: , , , , , ,

10 replies

  1. If you read the essay, it states that Exodus 20 is the giving of the law; Exodus 34 is the addendum to the Law from Ex. 20.

    This is a common and well know procedure in Hebrew writing.. We see the same procedure in Genesis 1-2.

    Genesis 1 is the summary of Creation; Genesis 2, is an addendum, filling the details of creation.

    Critics like yourself see these instances as two separate events, but the Hebrew people who received these texts from Moses, saw them as one cohesive event.


    • You said: “If you read the essay, it states that Exodus 20 is the giving of the law; Exodus 34 is the addendum to the Law from Ex. 20.”

      From my last comment: At the beginning of Ex. 34, God says, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.”

      No, not an addendum. The same thing.

      You said: “Genesis 1 is the summary of Creation; Genesis 2, is an addendum, filling the details of creation.”

      One chapter uses “Yahweh,” while the other uses “Elohim.” This and other clues are why scholars say that these chapters came from different sources.


      • Your criteria for determining authorship, then, is the usage of more than one name for God in the Pentateuch?

        There are 950 names for God in the Bible. Does this mean there are 950 writers? How exactly, does using Elohim in one chapter, and Yahweh in another, prove two separate authors? Elohim is the plural name for God as a compound unity; Yahweh is the general name for God, the same name given to Jesus in the New Testament.

        In Genesis chapter one, God wants Moses to show the world that God is Elohim, a compound unity of three—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—who were all actively involved in the creation of the Universe, and human life on earth.

        In Genesis chapter two, God wants Moses to show the world that God is Yahweh, a personal and knowable God who any person can have a relationship with.

        Every name that God is known by, in the Bible, defines Him in a unique way, so that we might apply who He is and what He is capable of to any needs or situation we have in our life.

        You state that, “scholars” say the usage of two different names for God proves two authors, but who are these scholars? They are atheists and progressives who don’t believe the Bible is true in the first place.

        Atheist and progressive scholars are a very small minority of the general population of scholars who have examined these texts. If scholarly consensus is the criteria, then the majority of scholars who have examined the texts of the Pentateuch, support Moses as the only author.

        When Genesis was written by Moses, dictated to him by God, there were no chapters and verses. The creation narrative was one cohesive story.

        Hebrew writers use the outline/addendum form often in their writing. It never means two events.

        I realize you are trying to impeach the biblical texts, but it doesn’t work. Moses wrote the Pentateuch, not the unknown JEDP writers.

        Throughout the entire history of the Jews, Moses has been the singular writer. God told the people that He only trusted Moses; only spoke to Him.

        God said to critics of Moses at that time, that He chose Moses specifically because of his qualifications and background:

        “The LORD said to them, “Now listen to what I say: “If there were prophets among you, I, the LORD, would reveal myself in visions. I would speak to them in dreams. But not with my servant Moses. Of all my house, he is the one I trust. I speak to him face to face, clearly, and not in riddles! He sees the LORD as he is. So why were you not afraid to criticize my servant Moses?” ~Numbers 12:6-8

        Every credible Hebrew scholar from antiquity adamantly declares that God imparted these texts seen in the first five books of the Bible personally to Moses by direct revelation, and all of these texts are the word of God.

        Where does this historical attestation reside? In the preserved records of the Hebrew people over the past three Millenia. There is no critical argument against the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch found anywhere prior to the seventeenth century.

        The JEDP hypothesis is a new argument postulated by atheists and progressive scholars, who do not believe God exists or the Bible is the word of God.

        Any person who simply reads the Bible for themselves quickly notices that all of the Old Testament affirms, in 720 citations, the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch. When we arrive at the 260 chapters of the New Testament, we find the writers citing Moses in 96 citations. The 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament state over and over again—Moses is the singular author of the first five books of the Bible.

        This historical attestation to Moses’ authoritative authorship cannot be overcome by the assertion of multiple authors and differences in writing style or name usages for God, asserted by critics.

        Your attempts at bifurcating Ex. 20 and 34, and Gen. 1-2, are unsuccessful. The entirety of the 66 books of the Bible names only Moses as the author, 920 times.

        In my book, “Proving The Pentateuch,” I prove the Documentary Hypothesis, JEDP assertion, is untenable.


  2. The version of the Ten Commandments you are using is from Ex. 20. That’s the set that was smashed. The set that was put into the Ark of the Covenant comes from Ex. 34. It’s a very different set.

    Ex. 34:28 says, “Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.”


    • The Ten Commandments, given by God, have never changed.


      • But this doesn’t solve the puzzle. Aren’t the Ex. 20 and Ex. 34 lists different? And didn’t the Ex. 34 list replace the prior list?


      • There is no, “puzzle.” there is no contradiction between Exodus chapters 20 and 34, only a misunderstanding of the text, with a false assertion made by critics of Mosaic Authorship, by JEDP proponents.

        I published an answer to this alleged difficulty. The following is the link to this essay:

        Examining The Alleged Contradiction Of Exodus 20 And 34

        See also, my book, “Proving The Pentateuch.”


      • “there is no contradiction between Exodus chapters 20 and 34, only a misunderstanding of the text, with a false assertion made by critics of Mosaic Authorship, by JEDP proponents.”

        I read your critique of the Documentary Hypothesis. We’re still stuck with the fact that when you read the two chapters, it’s easy to see that the lists are different.


      • Yes, this is the atheist view. It does, however, fly in the face of the historical, textual evidence. There is no contradiction.


      • Uh … I guess I admire your doggedness. But you’re not addressing the question directly. So I will. Here’s an abbreviated list from Ex. 20:

        3 “You shall have no other gods before[a] me.
        4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.
        7 “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God
        8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
        12 “Honor your father and your mother
        13 “You shall not murder.
        14 “You shall not commit adultery.
        15 “You shall not steal.
        16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
        17 “You shall not covet

        At the beginning of Ex. 34, God says, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.”

        So far, so good. But then look at this very different list (my divisions into individual commandments was arbitrary):

        12 Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you.
        14 Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
        15 “Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land
        17 “Do not make any idols.
        18 “Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread.
        19 “The first offspring of every womb belongs to me
        21 “Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest
        22 “Celebrate the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Ingathering at the turn of the year.[b]
        25 “Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast, and do not let any of the sacrifice from the Passover Festival remain until morning.
        26 “Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the LORD your God.
        “Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.”

        That’s a very different set. And this section ends: “[Moses] wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.”

        Conclusion: two different lists.


Please see, "Guidelines For Debate," at the right-side menu. Post your comment or argument here:

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: