A lot is being written about God’s role in the COVID-19 pandemic. Some are suggesting that it is Divine retribution for mankind’s wickedness. Others are promoting the idea that God is allowing it to happen in order to teach the world a lesson. Many are theorizing that God is doing it to get our attention.
Does any of that make sense biblically? Well, according to the promoters of such theories there is no lack of supporting Biblical texts. The case can be made, but can it be made honestly?
I do not believe it can, and here is why. God has already sent Divine retribution (reckoning) for mankind’s wickedness. It is our fallen nature, and the fallen world in which we live. God does not need to allow a pandemic to teach mankind a lesson. He has given us a whole Book of lessons – 66 of them packed from cover to cover with lessons covering every aspect of human life. God does not need to get our attention, He already has it – it’s built into the DNA of our very being.
Well, if God did not bring us the COVID-19 pandemic who did? That’s a no-brainer. We did. We (human beings), brought it upon ourselves. Probably not you personally (I sincerely hope not), but us – we the people – we did it.
We brought it upon ourselves through the heedlessness by which we do life, our customs, habits, personal hygiene, our social interactions, our lack of consideration for what we are doing and where we are going, our travel around the world, our entertainments, and just the fact that we are fallen creatures living in a fallen world pushing our fallibleness before us everywhere we go.
Let’s be honest, we brought it upon ourselves. Leaders in government, business, industry, and especially Biblically-based spiritual leaders who accept mankind’s responsibility can lead us to solutions for mitigating the impact and consequences of not only this pandemic, but so many other ills for which mankind is responsible.
However, what will not help is to promote the idea that God has no part in the pandemic. He has, and honestly, that is where are best hope is to be found.
God has mitigated the consequences of fallen human beings living in a fallen world by placing within us and the whole of creation an almost infinite number of solutions to problems both great and small. He has engineered into the natural world the tools for building everything from microwave telecommunications to disease fighting vaccines, and given to mankind the capacity to unlock the treasures of technology. In fact, around the world just now, these tools and treasures are being used by fallen human beings to bring an end to the COVID-19 crisis. Tools and treasures given to us by Almighty God!
And yet, as powerful as they are, such tools and treasures are absolutely ineffective in dealing with humankind’s most deadly pandemic – our fallen nature and its temporal and eternal consequences.
For that, God alone has provided more than mitigating tools and treasures, He has provided a total and complete answer to the cause along with a cure. The Bible is full of lessons pointing out the cause, and cure. Here is just one:
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God” (John 3:16-21 NASV).
Enigmatically, the apex of the 2020 world-wide COVID-19 crisis comes at exactly the same time as the world recognizes the life, death, burial and resurrection of the Person whose words are quoted above. That is not to suggest that God directed the crisis or its timing, but it is to suggest (actually more than suggest – to emphatically declare), that God is speaking in the midst of the crisis the very words of eternal life. Honestly!
by Dennis D. Frey, Th.D.