I want to dedicate this piece to my mother, Mary Elizabeth Schott, who died of lung cancer in 2006; also to my brother-in-law, Gary Banks, who died of leukemia in 2015; to my dear friend, Lisa Laskovich, a sweet and godly woman, who died of brain cancer in 2016, to Bruce Rolland, who died of colon cancer in 2017, leaving behind a young widow and four children. There are a host of other friends and loved-ones who have been taken from us, in horrible suffering, by this evil disease.
I can’t tell you the number of times that someone has looked me in the eye with an angry heart and asked, “Why Does God Allow Cancer?”
Indeed. Why does God allow such evil to exist? But to more specifically answer the plaintive question of cancer and disease, we begin at the beginning, in the Book of Genesis, and note, in chapter one, that there is no mention of disease being created by God. The Scriptures never say, “…and God created cancer and saw that it was right and just, and it was evening and there was morning, the eighth day.”
The Holy Bible is God’s revelation of Himself to mankind and according to the testimony of the scriptures, God did not create disease upon the earth, nor any other evil thing, but, obviously, someone did. The creation scriptures, however, tell me that God was very aware of the evil that entered into the world, following His creation, a work that He saw and labeled, “Good,” on all counts. The Biblical proof that what God created was somehow corrupted after His Sabbath lies in the scripture following the creation of Adam, in Genesis, chapter two, verse seven. Because what God created before the Sabbath was, in God’s own words, “Good,” then God, in verse seven, formed Adam from the dust of a pristine world, as it is described in verses one through six.
Following that, I find it telling that God created an isolated garden, a special place for Adam to be separated from the rest of the earth, “eastward in Eden.” This garden, I’m convinced, was a place for Adam to be safe from the corruption and violence that God, in His omniscience, already knew was coming into the world. Otherwise what would be the point of the garden at all? Why wouldn’t God just grow the trees in the place where He formed Adam from the pristine dust of the ground, unless God already knew that something wicked was on its way?
I hope, as a Christian, you have an understanding of the phrase, “…and there was war in Heaven.” That phrase, from Revelation 12:7, is a vital key to understanding life on Earth. It is the key to understanding our world, its history and present, our relationship to God and the motivation behind His plan for us. It is the key to understanding the deeper meaning of so much of old testament scripture. For example, in the Book of Job, chapter one, beginning in verse six, a council of angels is called to present themselves before God and, according to the scripture, “Satan also came among them.” Because he is called “Satan,” and not “Lucifer,” we can know that his rebellion against God, in Heaven, has already taken place. Then the Lord asks him, “From where do you come?” Satan’s answer to this question should be of vital interest to every human being who has ever lived. He responds, “From going to and fro upon the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.“
Further evidence of Satan’s prehistoric war coming to Earth is given in the New Testament with Jesus’ revelation to His disciples, in Luke 10:18, that he, Jesus, “…saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” And again, His warning in Revelation 12:12, “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”
Remember, as you read these scriptures, that the authority who speaks to you is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the Living God, who created the Heavens and the Earth, the second of the Trinity, who identifies Himself in Genesis as “Elohim,” the plural God. It is the Apostle John who connects Jesus with this creator entity in the first chapter of his gospel, identifying Him as the “Word,” Who spoke the whole of creation into existence.
The story continues, however, in Genesis chapter three, where a sinister and subtle third party interjects himself into the relationship between God and the man He created. The Apostle John makes a connection between Satan, the “dragon” and “serpent” of Revelation 20:2, and the “serpent” in the Garden, who tempts Eve to self- destruction, and through her, Adam. Their fall results in the destruction of God’s immediate plans “to prosper” mankind in the protection of a pristine Garden He created just for that purpose. God is left with no choice. In order to prevent Adam’s sin, thus his separation from God, from becoming an eternal condition, God is forced to cast him out of the garden and prevent him from reaching the Tree of Life.
Many say that on the day of Adam’s rebellion, everything was changed, that all of God’s “good” Earth became corrupt in that instant, but the evidence, Biblical and otherwise, indicates that the world outside the Garden had long since been corrupted and Adam was desperate to get back into the Garden because of the corruption and wickedness of the world outside. Otherwise, why would God have sent angels to prevent Adam returning to the Garden? It wasn’t because Adam would first seek out the tree of life. Adam, like his descendant, Esau, had no interest in that inheritance. He could have eaten the fruit of that tree at any time, but he chose the fruit of knowledge. No, God sent cherubim with flaming swords because, in returning to the safety and ease of the Garden, Adam might discover the Tree of Life and its fruit. In Joni Mitchell’s song, “Woodstock,” she penned a line, “…and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.” Indeed we do, we like our father Adam, desperately need to return there, but, as Adam learned, and Joni didn’t, we can’t get there by ourselves. So it was, by Adam’s rebellion, called “sin,” in the Bible, that we have all been birthed into a fallen world, A world at war with God, because “sin,” our inheritance from Adam, is an intrinsic part of our nature.
Let’s begin there, in the knowledge that we are fallen people living in exposure to a fallen world. Where did the corruption and violence outside of the Garden come from? Let me tell you a story of rebellion and war, of the fallen “sons of God,” in Genesis six, called Egregore, or, as they were known by the Sumerians, the Urshu. These are only two of the monikers given the fallen angels of Satan’s rebellion, whose existence is recorded by every major civilization throughout the world. They are, in fact, the “gods” of ancient mythologies, whose stories are told in the apocrypha of The Book of Enoch. It is these fallen angels who were the true creators of disease, including cancer, all resulting from their failed efforts to foster their own race of eternal, hybrid beings through genetic engineering.
With regard to the mechanics of the disease, I don’t know if you’re aware, but, by God’s design, we are continually renewed. Each day, millions upon millions of our cells die and are replaced with new cells. That is God’s plan for us, if not His original design, but cancer exists in defiance of God’s plan, as do the angels who unleashed it on us. The story of Henrietta Lacks has taught us that cancer cells tend to never die, at least not as long as they are supported metabolically. (ref. Rebecca Skloot) These virtually, “eternal cells,” were engineered to defy the natural entropy of the cells that God created for a temporal world. They came from genetically engineered cells, designed to defy God on Earth, in the same way that the fallen angels defied Him by their rebellion in Heaven. The disease of cancer is a corruption of normal cell growth by cells with altered DNA that rapidly reproduce without dying off, as they should. Their continual existence and rapid reproduction most often forms a living tumor, in effect a foreign entity, living within the body of its host, that begins to usurp the body’s supply, as any parasite would. Of course there are many forms of cancer, not all develop as tumors, but all of them function on the principle of altered cellular DNA that creates a variant cell, the result of ancient experiments gone awry in repeated, rebellious attempts to create eternal beings in the flesh. I think I hear you asking, “So why did God allow such experimentation?”
In this current age, mankind has just caught up to the knowledge that angels had way back then. Today, scientists and even hobbyists are busy altering DNA and splicing genes in order to create new life forms for, God knows what purpose. God allows it now just as He allowed it then, but, because He allows it, doesn’t mean that He approves. But these experiments are all part of the rebellion against Him, in which Satan is compelled to prove to the angels who joined in his rebellion, that he, like pharaoh’s magicians, can reproduce the miracles of God. So, you might as well ask, “Why did God allow the rebellion in the first place?”
The answer to that is a little more complicated. It has to do with what I will call God’s Prime Directive, that is, His principle of free will. I will go into the doctrine of free will in another posting, but for now, just know that free will is the keystone to God’s ultimate plan for His creation. As a result, the angels were free to rebel, to show their true colors and when they were cast out of Heaven, down to the earth, they brought their corruption with them.
“So what about cancer? Why won’t God prevent it, if He can?”
This question is the more appropriate one. God certainly can, but the answer to the question has everything to do with God’s mercy. It’s important to first understand that God’s mercy lies in the principle that He does not inflict upon us what we truly deserve as rebels against His rule. Bear in mind that “rebels” are what we are to God. As sinners we have rebelled against God’s rule. Thank God that He is infinitely merciful to us in that He does not rain fire down upon us, as He did on Sodom and Gomorrah. Of course He warns us in that example and in other prophesy that He will, someday, when the cup of our iniquity is full, as it was then for the people of Sodom. But in the day of His mercy God has warned us that His wrath is ever building against us in equal proportion to our sin, like water building up behind a dam. And that is the crux of it. God’s mercy is like that dam. There are limits, and one day the dam will burst.
There are a ton of other metaphors in the Bible for God’s mercy. I prefer Nehemiah’s wall because it illustrates our equal responsibility in maintaining the mercy we so desperately require. Without God’s wall of mercy surrounding us, we have no defense against the destructive forces that have been unleashed in our world, both by Satan’s prior rebellion and by Adam’s following sin. What we need to recognize is that we who believe are responsible to build and to maintain the wall of God’s mercy through a proper relationship with Him.
Just as in the day of Nehemiah, each family in Christ, and within that family, each individual has been assigned a section of the wall to maintain, remembering that the wall protects us all, in its individual sections, as well as in its entirety. Nehemiah’s wall is the essential representation of God’s Mercy. When I fall into sinful behavior, as I sometimes do, my section of the wall begins to equally fall into disrepair. If I continue in sin, my section of the wall begins to crumble and soon, there comes a breach. That breach is like a door opened to evil, through which all manner of depravity can enter. Whatever enters in through my broken section of the wall effects anyone and everyone within. Let me say that again. Whatever evil enters in through my crumbling section of the wall effects anyone and everyone within. That literally means that my failure to maintain my section of the wall could be the source of your cancer.
That’s a very hard truth to accept, but we must come to understand that God’s merciful protection of us is directly proportional to our obedience to Him. Jesus said, “If you love me, obey my commands.” What’s obvious, though left unsaid, is the converse. If you don’t obey His commands, it means that you don’t love Him, so don’t expect to have his mercy to protect you from the forces that lie in wait to consume you. God explains this principle of balance through the prophet Hosea in chapter five, verse fifteen when God’s people have once again turned away from Him:
“I will return again to My place
Till they acknowledge their offense.
Then they will seek My face;
In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.”
How true it is that we fail to seek God until we are afflicted. And you don’t have to look far today to see how afflicted we are, with disease and disaster, with depravity and moral collapse. We are drowning in a sea of sin and depravity. So let me ask you, how is your section of the wall. Is it crumbling? Somebody’s section obviously is, so much so, that, at times, it seems the wall has completely collapsed.
The time has come for God’s people, the Church, to get serious about sin. The time has come to fall on our knees and weep, to truly seek God’s face, to show our love for Him through obedience. The time has come to rebuild the wall, or suffer the consequences of its collapse.