Bible Question:

Can the devil cause people to be sick and die?

Bible Answer:

Yes, Satan, who is also called the devil (Revelation 12:9), can cause people to be sick and die, but he cannot do anything without God’s permission. The book of Job contains two passages that reveal this is the correct answer.

The Devil can cause sickness and death.

Satan’s Discussion With God About Job

Job 1:6-12 describes a conversation between Satan and God in heaven. We are told that Satan and a host of demons (sons of God) came before God. After Satan and his other evil angels arrived, the man Job became a topic of discussion.

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. The LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” Job 1:6-8 (NASB)

God informed Satan that Job was a blameless and upright man who feared God and turned away from evil. God said that there was no one like him. That motivated Satan to obtain permission to afflict Job in order to encourage him to blaspheme God. Therefore, Satan asked that God drop the hedge around Job, that is, to stop God’s protection.  God agreed and allowed Satan freedom to afflict Job, but Satan could not afflict Job without God’s permission.

Then Satan answered the LORD, “Does Job fear God for nothing? “Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.” Then the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.” So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD.”  Job 1:9-12 (NASB)

Satan Can Cause People To Die

Then Satan and his followers motivated the Sabeans to kill Job’s oxen and donkeys and the attending servants (Job 1:13-15). Next Satan caused fire to fall from heaven and kill Job’s sheep and servants (Job 1:16). Verse 17 states that the Chaldeans raided Job’s camels and killed the attending servants. Verses 18-19 report that a wind caused the oldest son’s house to fall resulting in the death of Job’s sons and daughters. All of this was caused by Satan, since this happened immediately after Satan had permission to afflict Job. Notice the power of Satan. He could manipulate the wind, fire and people. He could control the weather and motivate people to do evil. Verses 20-21 reveal that Job was in grief. But he did not blame God.

Satan Can Cause People To Be Sick

Satan failed to make Job blaspheme God. Therefore, he decided to try again. He returned to heaven and visited God one more time (Job 2:1-8). He wanted to see Job blaspheme God. The conversation is almost identical to the first visit.

Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the LORD. The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” The LORD said to Satan, “Have you  considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him to  ruin him without cause.” Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life.“However, put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse You to Your face.” So the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your  power, only spare his life.” Job 2:1-6 (NASB)

This time Satan does not explain what he did because he understood that God already knew. Therefore, he just wanted for permission to hurt Job’s physical body. Satan said, “Skin for skin!” He said that a person will give up everything for their body. Then he asked for permission to touch his bone and flesh. God granted him permission. Verses 7-8 reveal that Job eventually had boils all over his body.

Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and smote Job with  sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a potsherd to scrape himself while  he was sitting among the ashes. Job 2:7-8 (NASB)

This reveals that Satan is able to make people sick.

Conclusion:

The above discussion reveals that Satan or the devil not only can manipulate the weather and influence people in order to kill people he wants to die, he can also cause people to be sick by touching their body.

The New Testament also reveals that Satan can make people sick. There are numerous examples of people who were sick due to demon possession (Matthew 9:32-33; Luke 13:11). Demons can afflict a Christian with sickness (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).

Can the devil cause people to be sick and die? The answer is yes!

Reference Links:

The Grief of God
Who or what are the sons of God in Genesis 6:2-4?
When someone dies is God always in control their death?
Angels – Good and Evil
Has God appointed a time for us to die?
When someone dies is God always in control their death?