There are children born ill, blind or have heart or mental issues etc.

But can an illness be a result of a sin:

  • If a child is born ill, is it possible because of the parents' sins ?
  • If someone becomes ill, is it because of his sins ?

John 9

9 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

Why the disciples asked him this question ?

What is the christian view in this matter ?


These passages might show a relation between sin and diseases/illness:

When Abraham hid the fact that Sarai is his wife:

Genesis 12:17

17 But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai.

What God said to Israel:

Exodus 15:26

26 He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.”

Deuteronomy 7:12-16

12 If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the Lord your God will keep his covenant of love with you, as he swore to your ancestors. 13 He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. He will bless the fruit of your womb, the crops of your land—your grain, new wine and olive oil—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you. 14 You will be blessed more than any other people; none of your men or women will be childless, nor will any of your livestock be without young. 15 The Lord will keep you free from every disease. He will not inflict on you the horrible diseases you knew in Egypt, but he will inflict them on all who hate you. 16 You must destroy all the peoples the Lord your God gives over to you. Do not look on them with pity and do not serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you.

Deuteronomy 28:15 and Deuteronomy 28:20-24

15 However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you: ...

20 The Lord will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him.[a] 21 The Lord will plague you with diseases until he has destroyed you from the land you are entering to possess. 22 The Lord will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew, which will plague you until you perish. 23 The sky over your head will be bronze, the ground beneath you iron. 24 The Lord will turn the rain of your country into dust and powder; it will come down from the skies until you are destroyed.

Deuteronomy 28:58-60

58 If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are written in this book, and do not revere this glorious and awesome name—the Lord your God— 59 the Lord will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses. 60 He will bring on you all the diseases of Egypt that you dreaded, and they will cling to you.


4 Answers 4


Ailments like sickness and bodily weakness are a consequence of the Fall, natural companions to the physical state in which we live. Not all are a punishment or result of sin, but some certainly may be.

James Talmage, a Biblical scholar in the early 1900s, has this to say on the matter (in Jesus the Christ), considering the healing of a man sick of the palsy:

The incident demands our further study. According to one of the accounts, the Lord's first words to the afflicted one were, "Son, be of good cheer," followed directly by the comforting and authoritative assurance, "Thy sins be forgiven thee." The man was probably in a state of fear; he may have known that his ailment was the result of wicked indulgences; nevertheless, though he may have considered the possibility of hearing only condemnation for his transgression, he had faith to be brought. In this man's condition there was plainly a close connection between his past sins and his present affliction, and in this particular his case is not unique, for we read that Christ admonished another whom He healed to sin no more lest a worse thing befall him.

We are not warranted, however, in assuming that all bodily ills are the result of culpable sin, and against such a conception stands the Lord's combined instruction and rebuke to those who, in the case of a man born blind, asked who had sinned: the man or his parents, to bring so grievous an affliction upon him, to which inquiry our Lord replied that the man's blindness was due neither to his own sin nor to that of his parents.

In many instances however, disease is the direct result of individual sin. Whatever may have been the measure of past offense on the part of the man suffering from palsy, Christ recognized his repentance together with the faith that accompanied it, and it was the Lord's rightful prerogative to decide upon the man's fitness to receive remission of his sins and relief from his bodily affliction. The interrogative response of Jesus to the unuttered criticism of the scribes, Pharisees, and doctors has been interpreted in many ways. He inquired which was easier to say, "Thy sins be forgiven thee," or to say, "Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk."

Is it not a rational explanation that, when spoken authoritatively by Him, the two expressions were of allied meaning? The circumstance should have been a sufficient demonstration to all who heard, that He, the Son of Man, claimed and possessed the right and the power to remit both physical and spiritual penalties, to heal the body of visible disease, and to purge the spirit of the no less real malady of sin. In the presence of people of all classes Jesus thus openly asserted His divinity, and affirmed the same by a miraculous manifestation of power.

(I had to manually add punctuation, and this may not be a perfect transcription; I also inserted some paragraph breaks!)

  • Thank you for this answer, sorry but what do you mean by "consequence of the Fall" ?
    – Pierre
    Jan 16, 2013 at 18:52
  • 1
    Adam and Eve were cast out of God's presence in the Garden of Eden. There is no corruption, like sickness, in God's presence. Being out of God's presence is essentially the reason that maladies of this world exist with us. However, there may be some specifics of this belief which vary across different Christian denominations.
    – Matt
    Jan 16, 2013 at 18:57

Death itself is a consequence of original sin as are all sicknesses. Specifically, it does seem that some sicknesses are a direct result of sin, sometimes as a byproduct but other times as a direct judgment of God.

Paul wrote to the Romans points out that some of the believers were taking communion in an unworthy manner. He then notes that this results in judgment, and then states that this is why some people were sick and some had even died.

27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 1 Corinthians 11:27-31 ESV

So, yes, some sickness can certainly be a direct judgment of God. Of course, some sins expose people to sicknesses to which they would otherwise not be exposed. In such cases, it would probably be better considered just a consequence of sin rather than a specific judgment of God.

Alternatively, we know that some sickness is not the result of any sin at all, as Jesus told the disciples about the man who was born blind:

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. John 9:1-3 ESV

If it is, in fact, a judgment of God, it is good to note the reason for the judgment. God disciplines us for our good, as a father disciplines his own children.

And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” Hebrews 12:5-6 ESV

  • Great answer, but can we interpret what Jesus said about the man who was born blind in another way ? that people are born ill because of a sin but this particular man's illness is not a result of a sin but that the works of God might be displayed in him, so this man was born blind so Jesus will cure him and show the works of God.
    – Pierre
    Jan 17, 2013 at 9:16
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    @Peter That's certainly a possible interpretation. However, we would then need evidence to suggest that this was the only case where someone was born ill when it wasn't because of sin. We don't have any such statement, so since this is not identified as an exception, it seems more likely that it isn't, but is a normal occurrance.
    – Narnian
    Jan 17, 2013 at 14:41

Yes: This is very closely related to cause and effect, some cause is of sin - some cause (of illness) is not of sin. i.e - (removed example of sin -> illness, need a better one)However, eating only processed food or uncooked food because of lack of knowledge on how to cook, nutrition etc, (not sin) can still lead to getting sick, cancer, etc...illness (and for the later one, there are many things we don't know, that we don't understand, that may effect our body).

However, it is very intriguing to point out a fact that there are people who intentionally sin as part of their life style with exceptional health, wealth and well-being.

So this question really fall under the umbrella of of the fall like mentioned above, that all good or bad are susceptible to the effects of "darkness" (evil, devil):

(or the opposite, that God will let "light" be shown to the good and the bad)


Matthew 5:45

Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

45 If you do this, you will be children who are truly like your Father in heaven. He lets the sun rise for all people, whether they are good or bad. He sends rain to those who do right and to those who do wrong.

  • If one has unprotected sex and falls afoul of HIV, it's because the other partner had HIV and HIV is an infectious agent. This can occur even in a monogamous, married not-sinful relationship -- the partner could have inherited the HIV, or received it accidentally another way. To ascribe this to 'sin' as if you can avoid them just by avoiding actions deemed sinful is dangerously wrong.
    – Kaz Dragon
    Jan 21, 2013 at 12:11
  • @KazDragon: removed example.... Jan 22, 2013 at 1:29
  • Really appreciated. I think it's fine to say that it's supported by the Bible that death and illness and all sorts of things entered the world due to the nature of sin. But to say that certain afflictions are due to certain transgressions, especially when we know the physical, "post-fall world" cause of said afflictions, goes a step too far, IMO. It's not philosophically different from saying that hurricanes hit the east coast of the USA because of gay people.
    – Kaz Dragon
    Jan 22, 2013 at 8:27

Yes it is. But you will not go to hell cause you got sick. If any one tells you that look at them and say every BOLDLY get behind me satan. This is the hard part about the word of God. I said word of God, He watches over his word to perform it, not his will but his word, he uses his word to do his will. Read it again. When you understand that it is the word that is being done that is when you will make your words line up with his "God's" will and the sickness and the sin will leave. Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. This has to be growing in you before it will produce the harvest. That is what you looking for. It is right there Matthew 13, Mark 4 and Luke 8 sow the word of God reap the will of God and that is what over comes the world.

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