Did you ask this question too when the coronavirus deaths hit millions? Many of us did. We questioned God and His existence because He seems too quiet. If you are still trying to comprehend where is God in a coronavirus world, this book will help you get a grip on things.
John C. Lennox, the author, who is in his mid-70s, wrote this 65-page book while in lockdown for eight months. All of us are vulnerable to this deadly virus, regardless of age, race, social standing, and health status. One of the earlier deaths was a marathoner, who was physically fit but fell victim to his microscopic killer. How can that be? Where is God in a coronavirus world?
The Two Sources of Suffering
Lennox shares the two sources of human suffering: natural evil and moral evil. Humans did not directly cause natural evil, which includes natural disasters, cancer, and coronavirus. While man is the source of moral evil, which includes violence, hate crimes, murder, and abuse. He connects moral and natural evil with the origin of coronavirus.
Lennox details the concept of animal to human transmission of the virus from the wet market in Wuhan, China. There is also a suggestion that there was human to human transmission in December 2019, and Chinese authorities allegedly blocked any reporting.
The Different Worldviews
Lennox presents different worldviews on the pandemic. He says that atheists call for the abandonment of the belief of God because the universe is “hard and unfeeling, caring for nothing whether we live or die.” And man should expect pain and suffering because there is no solution to the problem of natural evil. The universe has nothing to offer man. It has no purpose, no design, only an uncaring DNA.
Theists say that natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, and the coronavirus are God’s judgment of man. When Typhoon Yolanda hit our country or when the tsunami ravaged Japan, people were quick to conclude that God is punishing them.
Some pantheists believe in the never-ending cycle of cause and effect. People experience pain because of the sin in their past lives. The suffering they go through is for purification for the next life.
So Lennox says our worldview reflects our response to suffering and natural evil, particularly this coronavirus.
It’s always a good thing to go back to Genesis. Remember how God created the world? “Let there be…and there was…” The heavenly bodies and all of nature came into being because God said so. He created everything by His words. And at the end of each creative session, he confirms his creation as good.
But the creation of man was special. God fashioned man out of his own image and breathed life into him. Man breathed because of God. After fashioning the man, God’s words were, “it is very good”. Man is higher among God’s creation. Aside from being fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), man is the only creation that has free will. Man can choose. Animals have no moral obligation not to eat their prey. They do it instinctively. Man has the power to love or hate and do good or evil.
We can choose to do right with God or not. The first man and woman exercised their free will when they disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit. Their sin led to humanity’s spiritual death and physical death. That’s why we have diseases, calamities, terrorism, hatred, bigotry, and all kinds of violence.
God is still God amid the coronavirus. We can choose to blame him or human race for this pandemic. But what matters in the end is our response to God, ourselves, and others.
I appreciate how the author presented the different worldviews on coronavirus. There are many insights about the origin and even the purpose of this deadly virus, which led people to question the role of God. Did He cause this? Is He punishing humanity?
In the end, I realized the relevance of the God’s gift of free will. How we use the freedom to choose determines how we are going to live. As we continue to live with the virus, here are the choices we can make:
- We can choose to know God more and obey Him rather than follow our worldly desires
- We choose to blame other people for the evil that is around us or take the introspective path and examine ourselves
- We can choose to take God out of the equation and live according to our standards or put our faith in God and trust Him
- We can choose to respond in love in times of crisis or cater to our selfish needs
You can order a paperback copy of Where is God in a Coronavirus World? by John C. Lennox at CSM Publishing. The book costs 99 pesos and shipping fees apply.