“God is good all the time. There are Churches that have been deprived of the real Gospel that they have formulated ways of thinking that are anti-Christ of nature. They are called ‘spiritual’ that deny the very nature of God and that embrace sickness & disease as a gift from God to help us become better people. It’s a lie from Hell, I’m telling you it’s blasphemy to attribute to God the very work of the Devil. It is inconsistent.”
– A comment by a Protestant Christian who claims all illness and suffering are from the Devil alone.
Before we begin we need to first establish a couple of things. There are temptations and trials. Temptations are not from God! If you fail a temptation, we fall from our present spiritual position and are brought down. Examples of temptation are whether to lie, steal or murder. A trial is something that God blesses us with. If we succeed in our trials we tend to move closer toward God. A trial is sent from God to mould and refine us into spirits of pure gold. Examples of trials are the loss of a job, the spreading of false claims or rumours about you, having difficult people in your life and, as this article will hopefully prove, sickness and disease. As King Solomon mentions;
“Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself. As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to Himself.” (Wisdom of Solomon 3:5-6)
Dionysius of Alexandria says, “…the wicked one, when he tempts us, draws us into the temptations, as dealing himself with the temptations of evil; but God, when He tries, adduces the trials as one untried of evil. For God, it is said, ‘cannot be tempted of evil.’ The Devil, therefore, drives us on by violence, drawing us to destruction; but God leads us by the hand, training us for our Salvation.” (An Exposition of Luke 22:46)
It is true that some sickness can come from the Devil, as is seen in the story of Job. Satan approached God and asked Him to allow intense trials and temptations to come upon Job. God replied to Satan and said, “All that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” (Job 1:12) So even whilst we are being tempted and tried, God never allows us to be pushed beyond what we are capable of. This is consistent with what St Paul says: “God is faithful and will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) So yes, it is true that Satan may be given power over our bodies and may make us ill but this is all within what God sees as fair.
However, illness can also be from God, for a purpose, as is seen in the case of St Paul. St Paul says that he had a “thorn in the flesh” which most Biblical commentators say was a physical illness. He prayed three times that God would remove it but He didn’t. St Paul’s illness really kicked in at a time when God wanted Paul to adjust from being an aggressive passionate Preacher to a more loving and wise Pastor. Having said that, there is nothing wrong with passionately preaching but this style had served its time in the preaching of the Word and now was time for Paul to take a calmer pastoral role. St Paul would never have been able to make this change until he realized that his “strength was made perfect in weakness” and that “Gods grace was sufficient for him”. This understanding, however, only came about by Paul’s trial of illness, which was from God.
Yet illness in and of itself is not from God or from Satan, but is in fact apart of our fallen nature. When Adam and Eve fell, and separated themselves from God they, by direct consequence of their actions and not as punishment from God, introduced death into the world and with it came all sorts of physical corruption and illness. So sickness and disease cannot always be attributed to either God or Satan but as is most often the case, is apart of our natural human nature; that death and sickness is prevalent in our lives.
Furthermore, it is very common nowadays for certain people to step forward and say they have the “power” to heal diseases as the Holy Spirit is stronger in them as if the Holy Spirit is like “the force” from Star Wars. But as is seen in the case of Job, Satan may sometimes be given power over human bodies (usually due to the submission of that person to sin and Satan, but that is not our argument). Therefore, as Satan has the ability to bestow illness upon someone, he likewise has the ability to remove the same illnesses he has bestowed. This is very scary as most people will call upon the name of Jesus in the performing of these “healings” and “miracles” and deceive many, including themselves! This makes the saying of Jesus very clear when He says, “Many will come and say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out Demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:22-23)
So why is it that there are only some illnesses from Satan? And why can’t all diseases and illness be healed? Well Jesus says that if you have faith as a mustard seed you can move mountains and do many wonders including healings. However, no mountain will be moved unless it’s within the Divine Will and Providence of God. As was seen in the case of St Paul and Job (and various other Biblical figures), God can clearly use illness for His Divine purpose. Therefore not all illness is from the Devil, in fact that claim is anti-Christ!
– Meena Awad.