Why God has allowed the discovery of vaccines and antibiotics to cure illness? If diseases are punishment from God then if we cure them we go against the will of God who want to punish us. If vaccines and antibiotics are discovered because God want to bless us, then why did God contradict Himself by sending diseases and then sending the cures of the same diseases he has sent? And if vaccines and antibiotics are a blessing from God why did God deliver these blessings only after thousands of years and after millions of people already died from these diseases?
I believe that there is more than one false premise in the arguments above. First of all, it certainly is not true that diseases are a punishment from God. In fact, in John 9, the people assume that the blindness of the man is because of someone’s sin. Jesus refutes this belief. He was blind, at least in part, so that God’s glory could be revealed in healing him. Disease is not because of sin. Christians get sick equally often as non-Christians. No one lives forever. All of us die. Neither is death evil, nor is sickness evil. This physical life is accompanied by many kinds of suffering. Disease is as “natural” as the sun rising and setting. In fact, bacteria are essential to life of advanced animals, putting oxygen in the air and nitrogen in the soil. The premise that disease is a punishment from God is not correct. Therefore, the invention of vaccines is not a contravention of God’s will. Has anyone in all history ever been given an illness by God due to their sin? I suppose that this has happened at times. One example is found in 2 Kings 15:5 with king Azariah. However, as I understand it, this is certainly is not the pattern. Disease is natural. Believers are equally likely as non-believers to get an infectious disease and all–whether sinner or saint–will die.[an aside: Some have publicly stated that AIDS is God’s punishment on homosexuality. This is wrong on so many levels, I can hardly get started in my refutation of this outrageous claim. First of all, it assumes that a specific disease is God’s judgment for a specific sin. This is presumptuous to a breath-taking degree. Who gets the right to say this? Second, it assumes that homosexuality is somehow worse than adultery or premarital sex or any other kind of sex outside of the God-given gift of sex between a man and a woman in a committed marriage. Where did this idea come from? Third, given that most of the victims of AIDS are not homosexuals, this claim is both wrong and extremely insensitive.]
God gave us freedom of will as well as intellectual ability. God is not against us talking by phone or flying by plane or taking antibiotics to prevent disease. What verse in the Bible even hints that it goes against God’s will for us to cure a disease or to put a splint to help a broken bone to heal. In fact Jesus showed compassion for those who were sick, and Christians do so as well. For us to help avoid suffering through medical science is within the general will of God.
God wants to bless us, but the existence of disease does not contradict this fact. The blessings of this life are more spiritual and emotional than physical. In any case, God did not intend us to live forever in these bodies. Therefore, the fact that some of us die by accident or by heart disease or by pneumonia does not violate the will of God. Neither does it prove that God does not want to bless us. I have been greatly blessed by God. I could write many paragraphs describing the blessings of God in my life. Yet I do get sick and I assume that I will eventually die of one of those sicknesses, unless I am killed by an accidental death before sickness gets me.
As for vaccines, what would you propose? Should God have dropped vaccines out of the sky? Like I said, God gave us intellectual ability. He gave us the ability to discover natural laws through science. But he did not simply drop those laws onto our laps. He gave us intellect and the ability to create ideas and to research and understand the world. What a wonderful thing. Thank-you God for creating the laws of nature and for giving human beings the ability to discover such laws and to use them to relieve human suffering. And thank-you to Pasteur and Jenner and Salk for helping to discover the cures for some of these diseases.
So, the two incorrect premises in the question above are these.
- That diseases are, as a rule, a punishment on us for our sin.
- That God’s desire to bless us means that there can be no suffering, illness or death in our lives.