John 9:1-5 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither has this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
‘Who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jews believed that pious souls were reincarnated as a reward, not punishment; and that the wicked were put into eternal prisons to be tormented forever (Josephus, Antiquities, Book 18, and War, Book 2). Some Asiatic nations and some Jews believed souls came back into bodies as a penalty for sins committed in a preexistent state. Controversies raged over whether some physical infirmity was the result of one’s sins before birth, even in the womb, or sins by the parents. They held that marks on the body proved sin in the soul. Some false religions identified the sins of a previous life with afflictions of the present. For example, headaches were for irreverence to parents; epilepsy for poisoning someone; pain in the eyes for coveting another man’s wife; blindness for murder of mother; etc.
‘Neither has this man sinned, nor his parents’ Neither: all the theories of reincarnation, preexistent sins, physical infirmities proving personal sin is involved, and all fallacies that go with such paganism are unscriptural. Personal and immediate sin is not necessarily involved in the imperfection of reproduction. Mental, moral, and physical wrecks are caused by the fall and sin of man, by satanic powers (Eph. 2:1-3; Luke 13:16; Acts 10:38), by continued depravities and sin, by imperfect and undeveloped cells, and by overwork, worry, accidents, and violation of natural laws.
‘But that the works of God should be made manifest in him’ this was not the cause of his blindness, but a simple declaration that the works of God were to be manifest regardless of the cause. Jesus answered their question as to whether the man or his parents had sinned. He did not state the cause, but it is certain God was not the cause. God was the healer and satan was back of the cause (Matt. 12:22; Acts 10:38; John 10:10; 1Jn. 3:8).