Sin is a thought or action associated with deviation from a righteous life and violation (direct or indirect) of God’s commandments.
Religion considers sin a crime and the cause of a person’s soul’s “illness”. Ancient religious figures noted that sin works against both the soul and the body. In their view, by preferring sin, a person subjects themselves to self-destruction.
According to the religious perspective, a person is spirit, soul, and body. This hierarchical sequence, as religious authors believe, is evident in both human life and the onset of diseases: diseases of the human spirit negatively affect both his psyche and his body.
Spiritual-Religious Authors on the Connection Between Sins and Diseases
To more clearly reveal the essence of our topic, let’s consider the works of some spiritual-religious authors and priests.
For example, A.I. Pechenkin is a spiritual-religious writer who united scientific, religious, and esoteric teachings about God and the Universe, nature, and man into a single harmonious system.
Any disease (both physical and mental) A. Pechenkin explains by the presence in a person of destructive energy that they themselves have created. Reminding that thought is material and has energy, the author emphasizes that if a person generates evil in thoughts and deeds, they concentrate negative energy within themselves. Over time, this energy, having gained potential, turns into disease.
Hence, religion (including Orthodox Christianity) asserts that “it is not God who punishes man with diseases, but man himself punishes himself with the fruits of his behavior”.
The church sees the causes of human diseases as the violation of God’s commandments. A person who violates these commandments disrupts the integrity of their organism. By breaking the commandments, they activate the mechanism of both internal (soul) and external (physical) self-destruction. The signal that a person has strayed from the right path is pain in the body.
In the article of Archpriest A. Moroz, all existing diseases are divided into two groups:
- Diseases arising due to the violation of the natural laws of nature: from improper nutrition, overheating, hypothermia, overwork, etc.
- Diseases arising due to the violation of the spiritual laws of the Universe – God’s commandments.
This author emphasizes that while diseases from the first group can be cured with medicine, diseases of the second group cannot be cured in this way.
Sins and Passions as Spiritual Causes of Diseases
Considering the causes of diseases, A. Moroz notes that diseases are given by God in the following cases:
- For sins, for the atonement and purification from sins.
- For the sins of parents (children become ill for the salvation of the parents’ souls: so that the parents come to their senses and change).
- In connection with the special life calling of the child.
- For the cultivation of humility and patience.
- To prevent evil and deadly acts.
- To avoid a greater misfortune through a lesser misfortune (disease as a minor inconvenience, taking out of the course of life, saves from an impending great misfortune).
The Archpriest writes that diseases are caused by various passions. As an argument for this connection, he cites excerpts from the Holy Scripture: “Jealousy and anger shorten days…” (Sirach 30:26) and others.
Then the author provides an Orthodox explanation of the spiritual causes of diseases of some human organs. For example, let’s consider the explanation of the causes of heart diseases.
According to Christian belief, the heart is the center of a person’s spiritual life. Hence, “a heart poisoned by sin does not cease to generate from itself… sinful sensations and thoughts” (St. Ignatius Bryanchaninov).
Thus, Orthodoxy considers that the payment for anger and malice are such diseases as: hypertension, ischemic heart disease, angina pectoris, myocardial infarction, strokes, urolithiasis and cholelithiasis, neurasthenia, psychopathy, epilepsy.
The payment for vanity, which is accompanied by anger, are diseases of the cardiovascular system and neuropsychiatric disorders.
Considering that “what a person sins in, they hurt in” (I. Sanaxar), religious authors provide the following causes of diseases:
- Lack of faith leads to venous disease.
- A disrupted value system leads to diabetes.
- Gluttony leads to gastritis, ulcers, and other digestive system diseases.
- Envy leads to liver and gallbladder disease.
- Offenses lead to diseases of the organs of the thoracic cage.
- From slander, teeth decay.
- Aggression towards the opposite sex leads to diseases of the genitourinary system.
- Adultery leads to the most terrible and bad diseases.
- Homosexuality leads to AIDS.
- Unforgiven offense leads to oncology.
- Greed and jealousy lead to kidney diseases.
- Excessive ambition leads to adrenal gland diseases.
- Cunning leads to stomach diseases.
- Dwelling on the past leads to spinal diseases.
- Suspicion leads to lymph diseases.
- Unwillingness to have children, contraception, and abortions lead to diseases of the organs in the abdominal and pelvic area.
It should be noted that in the book of the Orthodox doctor K. Zorin “Stand up and walk”, a more detailed list of sins and related diseases is given.
Passions as the Cause of Diseases in Children
According to Hieromonk A. Berestov, many passions begin to develop in a person from early childhood: gluttony (overeating), pleasure-seeking (passion for particularly tasty treats), etc.
The author asserts that loving parents, grandparents, and other relatives actively help develop these passions in the child. They spoil with various delicacies and treats, stuffing them with delicacies.
Such “care” by relatives leads to such consequences as disorders in the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, intoxication of the child’s body and brain, decay of milk teeth, constipation, diabetes, obesity, etc.
Another cause of serious diseases in children, as noted above, are the sins of his parents or other close relatives (grandparents, etc.).
This issue is more fully disclosed in K. Zorin’s book “The Sins of Parents and the Diseases of Children”.
Paths to Healing
A. Pechenkin believes that for healing, the patient needs to recognize by the disease his sinful act in the past and understand how sin turned into disease.
A. Moroz in his articles asserts the path of healing by Divine power. But, the archpriest writes, this path is given only to a person with a purified heart. Therefore, first of all, it is the heart that needs to be corrected and renewed through repentance.
The Archpriest asserts that with the right attitude towards diseases, they bring only benefit to a person. This is because physical illness brings a person humility, and thus eradicates his spiritual illness. And for the church, healing, primarily of the human soul, is important, as it is eternal.
In this regard, A. Moroz highlights the Christian attitude towards disease, which includes:
- humble acceptance of God’s will;
- awareness of one’s sinfulness and the sins for which the disease is given;
- repentance and change of lifestyle.
Archpriest A. Moroz suggests such Christian ways of healing as: pure and frequent confession, periodic communion, the Sacrament of Anointing (unction), taking holy water and prosphora on an empty stomach in the morning, bathing in holy springs, anointing with consecrated oil, frequent reading of the Gospel and Psalter.
Among the healing means recommended by the archpriest are prayer, fasting, almsgiving, gratitude, and other virtues.
I wish you to live with a pure heart!