Certainly, NOT all sickness is due to direct sin. Ultimately, however, all sickness “goes back” to the garden of Eden and has its “roots” in sin, by virtue of the fact that we are born into a fallen, imperfect, world.
Paul himself says in Romans 8 that all creations “groans” on account of the fall, when he states, “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” (Romans 8:22) Paul does not say that this “groaning” is due to direct sin on our part. But rather, he is quite clearly referring to the fact that this is something that has been passed down to us on account of “original sin” … Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden.
Because of original sin, God cursed the ground, so that it would, with difficulty, bring forth fruit, for example. We have all been ‘straining’ under the stress of that burden since the time of the fall, and none of us has been exempt.
Some Biblical references are as follows:
1. In Genesis 27:1, it is said that Isaac’s eyes were “dim” on account of him being old. No mention is made to sin here, but rather simply the fact that he was getting old.
2. In Genesis 48:1, we are told how Joseph is told about his father (Jacob) being sick. No mention is made of sin on Jacob’s part. Again, in Genesis 48:10, the reference is now made to Jacob not being able to see properly. Again, age is indicated as the reason – and of course, this ties in with the fall of mankind, but not to Jacob’s sin directly.
3. In 2 Kings 13:14 we read that “Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died.” No mention is made of sin on Elisha’s part in this passage. But rather, this was the method by which God would bring him home to be with him. Once again, we see that even the very “best” of God’s people are not exempt from the curses brought forth as a result of original sin.
4. In Philippians 2, Paul talks about Epaphroditus, who was sick, but no mention is made of any sin on the part of Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25-27).
5. In 2 Timothy 4:20, Paul refers now to Timothy, whom he “I left at Miletum sick.” Again, there is no mention of sin on Timothy’s part, only the fact that Paul had to leave him there.
Obviously, from these references, and others that we could find, we know for certain that it is possible to be sick and not be in sin. We could also name David, who was unable to keep warm in his old age, or Job, who was sick on account of a “deal” that God and Satan made (for this is essentially what happened). So sickness may come for a variety of reasons.
Having said this, if a person is in sin, God can and does exercise his right and authority to permit that person to be afflicted with disease sometimes. This happened, for example, in the case of the Corinthian believers who were abusing the Lord’s Supper (communion table). Paul wrote to them, saying, “For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep (ie. Have died).” (1 Corinthians 11:30)
Again, in Psalm 106:15, we read about how God permitted a “wasting disease” to be put upon those who were disobedient. This was a form of discipline on God’s part.
Again, in Hebrews 12, we read of God’s discipline upon his people, with the reference, “Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.” (Hebrews 12:12-13) The reference, here, is to a physical problem which may be healed by heeding God’s discipline.
While this study is certainly not all inclusive, I hope that it does provide some basic understand of why we suffer sometimes, from physical problems.
The Lord bless you as you consider these things.