What does the Bible say about birth defects? Why does God allow birth defects?
One passage that offers some insight regarding birth defects can be found in John 9:2-3: "And his disciples asked him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' Jesus answered, 'It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.'" It is clear from these words of Jesus that birth defects are ultimately not due to the sin of the parents or child, but serve as part of God's plan for our lives.
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Though the Bible is clear that even birth defects serve as part of His divine plan, it is extremely difficult as humans to accept or understand when this takes place. As Christians, we are called to be sensitive and loving toward those affected by disability or birth defects, offering whatever help we can in the process. Rather than seeking to explain or claim to know the reasons behind a birth defect, believers are called to both care for those in need as well as to grieve with those who grieve in difficult situations (Romans 12:15).
Those personally impacted by birth defects, including parents and other family and friends, can be encouraged through the example of Job. Though he had lost nearly everything good in his life and desired to die, he responded with trust in God and continued to praise Him, saying, "The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD" (Job 1:21).
Another explanation for birth defects is the existence of a fallen, sinful world. Though God's creation is good, it is not perfect. Tainted by the sin that began with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3), all humanity to follow has been under the curse of sin in this world. Though Jesus offers a cure to sin through belief in His name (Romans 5:8), the consequences of fallen humanity continue to be displayed in a variety of ways, including in the youngest members of society.
Though we often simply do not know the specific reasons God allows a child to have a birth defect, we can know every child is created in God's image (Genesis 1:27), is loved by Him (John 3:16), and has an important purpose in this life (Jeremiah 1:5). Everything that happens, even the struggles of this life, can serve as part of the Lord's divine plan to change lives for eternity.
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