Are disabilities in children a result of sins committed by the parents?

During Christ’s earthly ministry, the disciples asked Him about the reason behind children born with disabilities: “Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him” (John 9:1-3).

Jesus answered that neither the man sinned, nor his parents but as a result of his suffering the works of God will be made manifest in him. For those who love Him, God works all things for good (Romans 8:28). Thus, in God’s providence the misfortunes and disabilities from the devil are overruled for the good.

One might be the led to wonder what is meant by the verse in Exodus 20:5 that declares that the Lord visits “the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate” Him? In this verse there is a distinction between the natural results of sin and the punishment inflicted because of it. The Bible teaches that God does not punish one individual for the wrong deeds of another. For the Lord says, “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” (Ezekiel 18:20). Each person is responsible only for his own acts.

While we are responsible for our own acts and salvation, God does not interfere with the laws of heredity for that would be inconsistent with His character and principles. Generations do get affected by the unwise choices of their parents. An example: a smoking pregnant woman will negatively affect the health of her unborn child.

Satan is the author of all suffering and he introduced the philosophy that disease and death come from God as punishment for sin. The Jews believed this philosophy but Jesus tried to correct their thinking. He revealed that some physical suffering is not the result of sinning (Luke 13:1-4).

The story of Job is a clear illustration that suffering is inflicted by Satan and can touch even the righteous. Bad things do happen to good people but they are allowed as they can be used for purposes of mercy and a greater good. It is encouraging to remember that God is with us through all of our sufferings (Hebrews 13:5), Jesus knows our pain (Isaiah 53:3-4) and He will not allow more than we can handle (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

 

 

 

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