Does God Make People Deaf and Blind?
September 20, 2018 Bible Answers That Make Sense, Blogs, Life's Tough Questions by: Tim Jennings, M.D.

This is Anisha, and I’m thirteen. I loved reading your book, The God-Shaped Brain, but I still have some doubts that needed clarification. Dr. Tim, in chapter 8, pages 116 to 118, you explained that God does not create all the health disorders that the human race suffers today, so how are we to fit the following verse in?

Then Moses said to the Lord, “Please, Lord, I am not a man of words (eloquent, fluent), neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and tongue.” The Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute or the deaf, or the seeing or the blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and will teach you what you shall say.” But he said, “Please my Lord, send the message [of rescue to Israel] by [someone else,] whomever else You will [choose]. EXODUS 4:10-13

Thank you for reading The God-Shaped Brain and for your diligence in studying for yourself and asking questions of clarification, Anisha. Your willingness to study and to clarify an apparent contradiction demonstrates real maturity — well done.

In regards to your question, “Does God use His power to create various sicknesses, diseases and congenital defects?” the answer is No. He created perfect, flawless, and sinless beings and it is sin that damaged God’s creation, resulting in the diseases and defects that we see.

In ancient times people believed that God caused everything to happen just the way He wanted it to. So, when Adam sinned, God wanted him to; when a person was murdered, God wanted it to happen; when a child was born blind or deaf, then God was making the child that way. This led to ideas that health and wealth were evidence of God’s blessing and that sickness and poverty were evidence of God’s cursing — both of which were connected, in their understanding, to sin. Therefore, if a person had a health problem, then they were ostracized as sinners.

The book of Job illustrates the wrongness of this type of understanding. In Chapter 1, God declares that Job is righteous and perfect in all his ways, but Satan alleges God is lying and that Job only pretends to be loyal to God. God grants Satan permission to have access to Job and what does Satan do? He brings disease. This is a critical point, because God did not require Satan to bring disease. Satan could have easily given Job more wealth, property, or popularity, but he didn’t, because Satan is a destroyer. In doing this, Satan revealed his true character. Furthermore, Job’s friends came along and accused Job of sinning and that God was punishing him with sickness, but the friends were wrong. God did not bring this upon Job.

Jesus dealt with the same misunderstanding in His day and this is why many of the religious leaders were angry with Him. In their limited understanding, they believed that He was placing Himself above God by healing people. To them, the sicknesses were God’s punishment on people and when Jesus healed them, they believed he was overruling God’s judgement.

So, what exactly is God saying to Moses in Exodus 4:10-13?

It is very simple. God is saying, “Moses, I am the Creator and I am the one who built human beings with the ability to speak. Don’t be afraid. I can give you the words to say.”

God was merely speaking in various figures of speech to give Moses reassurance that God would be with him when he went to confront Pharaoh.

Additionally, the text is about God creating the human species, not the diseases with which we suffer. The text says, “who makes the mute or the deaf, or the seeing or the blind” not who makes “people mute, deaf, and blind” or who makes “muteness, deafness, and blindness.” Thus, He is saying that all people are His, those with diseases and those without.

As the Bible teaches, God used his power directly in the creation of only three human beings—Adam, Eve, and the incarnation of Jesus. All three were sinless, but only Jesus stayed that way. When God created Adam and Eve, God built them with the ability to procreate beings in their own image. When they broke away from God’s design for life (His Law), they changed themselves and all their descendants were born damaged (“born in sin, conceived in iniquity” Psalms 51).

All human beings that have been born into the world (with the exception of Jesus) are a result of humans exercising the ability God gave them, yet without God directly intervening to make it happen a certain way. This includes the miracle births described in the Old Testament like Isaac, Samson, and Samuel. In those cases, God did not cause the pregnancies; God healed a health problem (infertility) and those human beings (husband and wife) chose to have intimate relations, which resulted in the pregnancies. If, after God healed those fertility problems, those women never had physical relations with their husband, then no pregnancies would have occurred. However, these miracle births were NOT what happened to Mary. The Holy Spirit came upon her and a pregnancy resulted by God’s direct action. The miracle births in the Old Testament were the result of two sinners procreating a new human in their own image.

God created the design for human procreation. He built the world in which we live, provides the sunshine, rain, nutrition, and the air we need in order to thrive. He sustains the laws of physics and the laws of health upon which life operates and in this way, God is involved. But, God does not cause the defects in His creation. Those occur simply because human beings have broken His design and God, through Christ, is working to restore His creation back into perfection — back to His original flawless design.

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Tim Jennings, M.D. Timothy R. Jennings, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist, master psychopharmacologist, Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Fellow of the Southern Psychiatric Association, and an international speaker. He served as president of the Southern and Tennessee Psychiatric Associations and is president and founder of Come and Reason Ministries. Dr. Jennings has authored many books, including The God-Shaped Brain, The God-Shaped Heart, and The Aging Brain.