God and Birth Defects

As recorded in John Chapter 9, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”

Australian Nick Vujicic– born without arms and legs– is a living example of that passage. We say the man has a birth defect. But after viewing this, I think I have a far more serious attitude defect.

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14 replies
  1. John Tutten says:

    Thanks for posting. I really needed the attitude adjustment. After viewing Nick’s story, I’m ashamed for the burdens I bring to the Lord that I feel are too heavy to bear. God does not burden us, but provides opportunities to glorify Him.

    Reply
  2. Toby R. says:

    “I think I have a far more serious attitude defect.”

    How so?

    As an unbeliever I see it as a good illustration of survival instinct and adaptation. Nature of the beast as well, the mother not breastfeeding and kind of being uncomfortable for four months. The withholding of breast milk in animals amounting to the death of the cub or whatnot, most likely for the strength of the herd.

    I think this comes down to a person finding something they love. This guy found talking to large groups of people about his religion. People with disabilities learn what they can and can’t do and find a few things that keep them going. First for this guy were his parents. He even mentions that the thought of them kept him from killing himself.

    Though I do doubt it was a serious attempt at suicide. How can one drown themselves in shallow water without something that would keep them from being able to stop, or ignore, the urge to quit the operation (narcotics, devices that would make it impossible to stop, etc.)? Plus the guy was 8 at the time. do eight year olds understand the mechanics of drowning? There really wasn’t much choice for this guy in the suicide department. Faster means like guns would be difficult and if one were available would he have been around to be in this video?

    I think people without disabilities automatically assume the handicapped want to kill themselves. It’s like the undisabled imagine being without some limb or function and are horrified and think they’d want to die rather than be incomplete. But someone born without those functions or limbs wouldn’t know of any other experience, would have adapted from the beginning. It’d be the undisabled that would have to point out how disabled the disabled are.

    Reply
  3. luke says:

    Toby,

    “Faster means like guns would be difficult and if one were available would he have been around to be in this video?”

    This is a terribly inappropriate thing to say.

    I will refrain from harsher language, but come on…

    Reply
  4. Lion IRC says:

    It is a pathetic thing that the religious leaders whom Jesus confronted had overhead walkways built so they could travel between their own luxurious homes and the temple areas without coming into contact with “ritually unclean” sick people.

    Sick people prevented from entering God’s house. Sick people praying for a poolside miracle so the Pharisees wouldn’t prevent them from trying to get closer to God.

    Is it any wonder that God sent His Only Son to straighten out such horrible theology? What a powerful message to the religious hypocrites who labeled the sick “unwelcome” and whose money changers asked the poor…”are you sure you can afford God?”

    I think when our Lord contradicted the “den of vipers” by telling people …no, you’re not sick He showed that purity is not a physical thing but it is in ones heart.

    The fact that they were ACTUALLY then literally healed is almost incidental compared to the artificial barrier to God’s House which was broken down.

    The unrighteous religious leaders falsely placed importance on things of this world which afflict the body because they themselves were “of this world” and they completely overlooked what is most important. (Mathew 10:28)

    Lion (IRC)

    Reply
  5. Tim D. says:

    It is a pathetic thing that the religious leaders whom Jesus confronted had overhead walkways built so they could travel between their own luxurious homes and the temple areas without coming into contact with “ritually unclean” sick people.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I see a striking correlation between this story here and the way that people like Jerry Falwell have been treating the poor and indigent in today’s society — such as the push for the complete abolition of the welfare system. It’s as if such people sincerely believe that it’s always the fault of the poor/indigent family that they are poor or indigent, and so “if they got themselves into it then they can get themselves out.” The part that really irritates me is that this argument is so often heard from wealthy, white upper-class Christians.

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  6. Toby R. says:

    This is a terribly inappropriate thing to say.

    I will refrain from harsher language, but come on…

    I don’t think so. Certainly I had no ill intentions when I typed it. It was following my thoughts that I didn’t really think this was a serious attempt at suicide. He was 8 at the time, remember. Child suicide virtually never happens. According the CDC there were 33 suicides by children 5 to 9 in 7 years.

    Hurray for this guy for not fragging himself. But I don’t think that suicide is a default for disabled people. Many, many times I’ve heard in debates the cynical argument that without god then people would run around murdering at will or the similar argument that a life without a deity would be hollow and meaningless and there would be suicides aplenty.

    Perhaps it’s just that I adjust the Skepticism Alert Meter from yellow to orange when I see anything associated with Pat Robertson (the 700club website address at the end of the clip). yes, good old pat robertson. The guy that said Haiti was destroyed because they made a pact with the devil a couple of hundred years ago. And not to forget his lovely 9/11 comments.

    Also, when I see someone getting up on a stage in front of thousands of people, perhaps even recounting the same suicide story, I wonder who the glory is really for. The deity or the orator.

    Reply
  7. Jackson says:

    I can’t click on anything to get the video, but it sounds like the one I saw several years ago where he manages to get up without help, and the students who are watching are moved to tears. It’s very moving and inspirational.

    Regarding the Bible passage, it’s a pretty stupid question that the disciples ask. How could the person have committed a sin in utero that he would be born blind?

    I understand the message being conveyed, but it makes me wonder about all the other hundreds of thousands of deformed children born in remote tribal locations who were left to die shortly after birth, whose parents had never been exposed to the “word of God”. How is His work displayed in their lives?

    I read about the Roman emperor Tiberius who retired to his luxurious villa, and to the end of his days raped children under ten years old and had them thrown off a cliff when he was done with them. How was the work of God shown in their miserable lives?

    Reply
  8. Craig says:

    I have not seen the movie, but let me give my perspective on birth defects.
    I have a daughter that was born with a occipical encephalocele (brain ouside the head), mengesocele (a opening on top of the skull) the beginning of a encephalocele and a colaboma (blind spot on the retina of the eye) in her left eye. The irony is that I was a former board member of a Crisis Pregnancy Center where I lived. Sometimes God tests you and see what you’re made of.

    The question is often asked: why is there birth defects and why does God allow them. I believe birth defects go back to the fall of man in the Book of Genesis. Adam and Eve were warned and they disobeyed. So they were punished and creation was cursed. At that point they began to die physically. Over time and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics the reproductive system did not make perfect copies of the genetic code during reproduction. Also man has polluted the environment with man made chemicals and put them on our food to keep insects and disease from them and to preserve our food. We consume this food. These chemicals effect us in ways we don’t realize. I believe these man made chemicals affect our bodies reproductive system in some way. So birth defects can be blamed on us. We may not be directly at fault, but it is indirectly.

    Why does God allow birth defects? I believe for His Glory. As the Disciple asked Jesus who is at fault for the man’s blindness. His or his parents. Jesus stated it was neither, it was for the Glory of God. Sometimes God decides to use a birth defect to teach his followers something that can’t be learned any other way. Sometimes he may use it to start a Ministry to help others. A person with a birth defect or disability knows best how to minister to others with that same situation.
    Sometimes we just don’t why God allows a birth defect. We will find out when we get to Heaven.The Amish in Penna. have a saying about children with birth defects or a disabiliities. “It teaches us how to love”

    This life is but a vapor here on Earth, but there is the rest of Eternity.
    If the child’s birth defect or disabilitiy effects their ability to understand right and wrong and is unable to make a decision to accept Christ as Savior, that child is not held morally accountable by God and Christ’s Blood is full payment for their sin. They are living with Christ as whole persons for all of Eternity. And the short time lived on Earth is but a few seconds compared to eternity.

    Why does my daughter have this birth defect? I don’t know. But I have learned a lot from it. ‘It’s not easy to have a child like this in the family.
    It puts a strain on the marriage and the rest of the family. 80% of marriages fail with a child with birth defects. We need our local Church family and friends to help us. We have to depend on God’s Grace every day.

    Reply
  9. Nathan barley says:

    “A person with a birth defect or disability knows best how to minister to others with that same situation.”

    That’s a bit of a circular argument Craig.

    Reply
  10. Nathan barley says:

    “Sometimes God decides to use a birth defect to teach his followers something that can’t be learned any other way”

    God is supposed to be all knowing and all powerful. How could making small children suffer so much be the ONLY way?

    Reply
  11. Ed says:

    Craig says: The question is often asked: why is there birth defects and why does God allow them. I believe birth defects go back to the fall of man in the Book of Genesis. Adam and Eve were warned and they disobeyed. So they were punished and creation was cursed. At that point they began to die physically.

    So the reason for birth defects is because a woman who was made from a rib ate from a magical tree after having a conversation with a talking animal? Science has a much better explanation for birth defects.

    Craig says: Over time and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics the reproductive system did not make perfect copies of the genetic code during reproduction.

    Do you even know what the 2nd Law of thermodynamics states? If you did you would not make such a ridiculous statement.

    Craig says: Why does God allow birth defects? I believe for His Glory.

    God allows birth defects to glorify him self? That’s like saying Ford makes lemons to glorify their car company. It’s absurd. What kind of egomaniac needs to make innocent people, children suffer for his glory? Birth defects are God’s punishment for the disobedience of two people? Again, I hate to be the one to inform you of this but we already have very satisfactory naturalistic explanations for birth defects. Leave it to religion to give us ridiculous a fairy tale explanation for something we already have provable naturalistic explanations for.

    Craig says: If the child’s birth defect or disabilitiy effects their ability to understand right and wrong and is unable to make a decision to accept Christ as Savior, that child is not held morally accountable by God and Christ’s Blood is full payment for their sin.

    Where in the Bible does it say that exactly? Nowhere. Doesn’t the Bible say you shouldn’t add things to it?

    Craig says: They are living with Christ as whole persons for all of Eternity. And the short time lived on Earth is but a few seconds compared to eternity.

    What empirical evidence for the afterlife is there? None, it’s a pipe dream, an escapist and life-avoidance religious fantasy that has no basis whatsoever.

    Craig says: Why does my daughter have this birth defect? I don’t know. But I have learned a lot from it. ‘It’s not easy to have a child like this in the family. It puts a strain on the marriage and the rest of the family. 80% of marriages fail with a child with birth defects. We need our local Church family and friends to help us. We have to depend on God’s Grace every day.

    Eventually most birth defects will be cured in the womb. That’s because of embryonic stem cell research. In countries where the Christian religion isn’t still trying to stymie scientific progress like it does in the U.S. doctors have been able to fix most birth defects in the womb by using embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cells can be turned into any kind of cells the doctors need to cure defects. Adult stem cells cannot. So God supposedly allows birth defects to glorify him self and man then cures these defects to ease human suffering and make the world a better, healthier and safer place. I think that demonstrates where we should put our trust. It’s no wonder Christians fear and fight advancing science so vigorously. Mankind is slowly cleaning up the mess God has made of this world.

    So Craig, if doctors could cure your daughter using embryonic stem cells would you let them?

    Reply
  12. Charles says:

    I feel for you Craig and my prayers are indeed with you and your family. Christianity is not easy living. Something not well understood by secularists is Spiritual implication or sensitivity to Spirit. It’s not a magical or superstitious thing to Love God. One thing that I believe needs to be understood is that, and I dare not limit God’s resources, God often speaks to us through our circumstances, even our infirmaties. It is good when we are able to discern our remedies when we understand what demons we are fighting. Yes, science, technology and the medical community are all seeking to cure disease and have come a long way from the likes of the bubonic plague and malaria, but who says God doesn’t inspire certain advances in medicine, especially holistic medicine. There are often natural remedies and preventative measures for certain things, but “the secret things belong to God” There are concepts within the Kingdom of Heaven that we could never fathom with a carnal mind.

    Reply

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