Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | April 1, 2020

Why the Virus?

(5 Minute Read. 4/1/2020)

The Wuhan virus is currently ravaging the world with thousands of people all over the world sick and dying. Presently there is no known cure for the Wuhan virus (also called the China virus, corona virus, and COVID-19).

Economic repercussions are severe. The disruption to daily life is severe, practically paralyzing large segments of planet Earth.

As of March 31, 20020, over 189,000 have been diagnosed with the Wuhan virus in the United States, and more than 4,000 have died. My own state has over 7,600 cases and 259 deaths.

Worldwide, cases number over 858,000 with more than 42,000 deaths. The hardest hit country is Italy with over 105,000 cases and over 12,000 deaths.
(Click Wuhan Virus Stats for the latest figures on the virus from the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Global Dashboard.)

Dr. Anthony Fauci has been the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, and he is a lead White House advisor on the Wuhan virus epidemic. On Sunday, March 29, he predicted on CNN that the U.S. will develop millions of cases of the Wuhan virus and that 100,000-200,00 deaths will result.
(See Dr. Fauci Predicts Up To 200,000 Deaths From Coronavirus.)

Fauci thinks the U.S. fatality rate for those infected will be around 1%; this is ten times the 0.1% fatality rate for seasonal flu. Currently Italy’s fatality rate for the Wuhan virus is over 10%.

To put Fauci’s predictions in perspective, 12,000-61,000 Americans have died each year from the flu since 2010. In the 1918-19 flu pandemic, 675,000 died in the U.S.
(Click Coronavirus vs. Flu for charts comparing the Wuhan virus with the flu.)

The Wuhan virus situation in the U.S. and worldwide is extremely serious. It’s an unprecedented crisis for everyone.

Dr. Ben Carson, President Donald Trump, and Dr. Anthony Fauci
report to the nation on the Wuhan virus on March 21, 2020.

Is There a God?

Some people cite such horrible situations as proof that God does not exist. How could a good God permit so much death and suffering? They claim that the existence of evil is proof that no God exists. Is such reasoning logically valid?

No, it is not valid. The existence of evil in the world is NOT proof that God does not exist.

Evil is actually proof that God does exist!

There can only be evil if there is a moral standard identifying good and evil. And the existence of a moral standard requires a standard giver, namely God.

Without God there can be no evil – only social opinion.

The reason man can identify evil is that the Great Creator has written His moral law on men’s hearts.
For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness. (Romans 2:14-15)

If evil exists, then there must be a moral standard. If there is a moral standard, there must be a standard giver.

Why the Virus?

Why did God let the Wuhan virus happen? As the Creator, Ruler, and Sustainer of the universe, He could have prevented it.

How could a loving God permit such a plague and pestilence? How could He allow so much suffering and death?

To answer these questions, I will discuss three topics:
1. Purpose of Evil
2. Cause of Evil
3. Fix for Evil

Purpose of Evil

First, it’s important to remember that Yahweh Himself has suffered the worst evil ever. Jesus of Nazareth, the sinless and completely innocent Son of God, was cruelly beaten, tortured, nailed to a cross, and killed. The Apostle Peter said,
Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know — this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. (Acts 2:22-24)

This horrible evil of the Crucifixion had a purpose — the salvation of mankind.

Is it conceivable that other lesser evils that Yahweh permits also have a purpose in His sovereign plan?
In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:11-12)

A good example of a purpose behind affliction is the life of Joseph son of Jacob in Genesis. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and lived for years in an Egyptian prison. Later his brothers said to each other,
We saw the distress of his soul when he pleaded with us, yet we would not listen. (Genesis 42:21)

While suffering evil as a slave, Joseph did not know God’s purpose behind his travails. Only later did he understand God’s good purpose and supportive presence. Joseph told his brothers,
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. (Genesis 50:20)

Is it possible that likewise there is a beneficial purpose to evil and human suffering? Could inconvenience, sorrow, suffering, and even loss give rise to a much greater good as illustrated by Joseph’s case? His suffering resulted in the rescue of the entire clan of Israel and its growth into a nation in Egypt. Joseph’s life instructs us that God is always at work for our good, no matter how desperate the situation. (Romans 8:28; Philippians 1:12,19)

Just because we don’t understand God’s purpose for suffering does not mean that a good purpose does not exist. My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts, declares the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Possible reasons behind tragedy, catastrophe, and evil include these:

  • Tragedy may be a consequence of individual sin.
    King David’s first son by Bathsheba died as a punishment for David’s adultery with Bathsheba. (2 Samuel 11:1 – 12:23)
  • Tragedy may be designed to teach a lesson.
    King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was plagued with insanity to teach him to give glory to God (Daniel 4).
  • Tragedy may be designed to glorify God.
    Jesus said a man was born blind in order to showcase the work of God in him (John 9:1-11).
    Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
    Jesus said that His good friend Lazarus got sick and died “for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” (John 11:1-45)
  • Tragedy may be designed to prompt repentance.
    Jesus said this about the fall of the Tower of Siloam that killed 18 people (Luke 13:1-5).
    Do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
  • Accidents may be natural consequences of human choices.
    Here is an example of a park ranger who ignored safety policies, took shortcuts, and misfelled a tree onto an outhouse. (See Tree Accident.)

Cause of Evil

Second, the fundamental reason behind why anything goes wrong in the world is Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). All the trouble in the world flows from that one act of rebellion against Yahweh. As a result we live in a broken, cursed world where everything that can go wrong, does go wrong.

The cause of all the evil in the world is the Eden Virus started by Adam. The universe is broken and cursed due to Adam’s sin. Man’s rebellion against Yahweh has resulted in a broken world full of suffering and evil.

Fix for Evil

Third, the Great Creator has an ongoing plan to fix evil and restore His original perfect creation.

We live in the midst of Yahweh’s work to redeem our broken world. Evil, pain, and suffering is part of this process, including Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross and our suffering. Yahweh is preparing “the glory that is to be revealed to us” in His future grand redemption of all things.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:18-23)

God is wiser than man and uses suffering and evil for His good purpose (John 9:3; Romans 8:28). In the face of evil and suffering, our responsibility is to trust in the love and wisdom of God as He uses our afflictions to produce for us an eternal weight of glory. (2 Corinthians 4:17)

Easter is all about the victory over evil and death. It’s a celebration of a key part of Yahweh’s redemptive plan — the Resurrection of Jesus.

These perspectives clarify why Jesus said,
In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33)

The Cross (Crucifixion) and the Empty Tomb (Resurrection) guarantee salvation and the eventual restoration of all things.

Jesus of Nazareth died for people’s sin with the result that anyone who places their trust in Him as Lord and Savior will be reborn to eternal life.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Let us focus our minds and hearts on the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and rejoice!

Questions to Ponder
  1. How do you respond to tragedy? Do you blame yourself, others, or God? Or do you seek God and His lesson for you?
  2. Think of a recent accident, catastrophe, or tragedy in which you were involved. Can you see how God is using it in your life? Can you trust Him?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria. Alere Flammam Veritatis.

Read the prequel:
1. The Eden Virus

Read the sequels:
3. Handling Virus Fears
4. Plague, Pestilence, & Pandemic
5. Virus and the Bible
6. Virus Defenses
(with video)
7. Virus Prayers
8. Kepler Gives a Virus Briefing
9. Virus Stimulus Package

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday April 1, 2020 A.D.

For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. (2 Timothy 1:12)

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Responses

  1. Dear friend, I have enjoyed reading your posts and sharing your blog with my colleagues at the Christian school where I teach for 3 years now. I even sought out your permission to paint your slogan “ Teaching thinkers to believe; teaching believers to think.” up on the wall of my classroom. As a sister in Christ I would like to ask that you consider the choice to refer to the COVID-19 virus as the “Wuhan Virus” very carefully. While I realize that the first major outbreak of the virus did occur there, I am also well acquainted with many Chinese brothers and sisters in Christ through my parents and others who have served as missionaries in the cities of Wuhan and Jengjou for the past 18 years. Many of our missionaries there had to endure through 7-8 weeks of shelter-in-place orders with citizens of those cities. They have been in communication with the members of their house churches through the internet, much as we are doing now, with many who are just beginning their walk with Christ as new believers. They are very concerned that the United States is blaming them for the pandemic. It has become a barrier to many of their friends and neighbors who know these new Christians to have come to believe in Jesus because of the teachings of the Americans who are working there. I have seen your heart for Jesus in your posts and I believe that you would intend no stumbling block for any who profess faith in Jesus as the Son of God. You are correct in recognizing sin as the cause of all sorrow and trouble in our world, but the people of Wuhan are themselves not the cause of the virus. Your voice on the internet is a powerful one. I hope that if I am doing a poor job of communicating why this distinction matters that God will make up the difference for my short comings. I will continue to look forward to receiving emails with each of your new posts and I will be in prayer for you as you continue to give glory to the name of Jesus.

    Yours in Him, Tammy Tuell Jacksonville, FL

    Like

    • Thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate the kindness and restraint with which you expressed your perspective. I understand your views while not entirely agreeing. I refer to the current virus epidemic as the Wuhan virus or China virus because that was its origin. The practice of naming a disease after a people or place of its first major outbreak or diagnosis is common. Here are some examples (and more could be listed), including some in the U.S.

      German Measles was named after German doctors who first described it in the 1700s.
      Lyme disease was named for the towns of Lyme and Old Lyme in Connecticut because of an outbreak there in 1975.
      Legionnaires’ disease was named after an American Legion convention in Philadelphia where the lung infection was first identified in 1976.
      West Nile virus named after the West Nile district of Uganda in 1937.
      Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever was named in 1976 for the Ebola River in Zaire.
      Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever was named after the mountain range of western North America where it was first recognized in Idaho in 1896.
      Avian flu was named for its origin in birds.
      Norovirus was named after Norwalk, Ohio after an outbreak in 1968.
      Spanish flu got its name after Spanish newspapers began reporting deaths from the flu.
      Zika Fever discovered in 1947 was named after the Zika Forest in Uganda.
      Japanese Encephalitis named after the first case in Japan in 1871.
      The Eden virus was named for its origin in Eden.

      Somebody in Wuhan, China bears the primary blame and responsibility for the virus, and I don’t think this should be obfuscated by referring to it as COVID-19. From the beginning, the communist government of China has systematically lied about the origin, transmission, and lethality of the virus they unleashed, and they should be held accountable and responsible.

      I do happen to have a number of good friends who are Chinese who themselves call it the Wuhan virus. And I definitely agree that people should be treated with respect and with the love of Christ.

      While we disagree about how to refer to this virus, I appreciate your gracious comment on the issue. Thank you for reading, commenting, and sharing the blog and for your prayers.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bill, one of your best.

    The Bible is God’s revelation of that which He chooses to reveal of Himself to man: His being, some of His characteristics, some of His mind, etc. By His good will, God wants man to know about His grace and His mercy. By our sins and by the useful mechanism of evil, we are allowed the choice to truly experience, and therefore truly know of, His grace and His mercy.

    Thanks for this theologically rich post.

    John

    Like

    • Thanks, John. I appreciate your encouraging words. I especially like your point that through “the useful mechanism of evil” we can experience and know God’s grace and mercy.

      Like

  3. Hi Bill
    I found the article above very interesting and strongly agree that suffering doesn’t disprove the existence of God. I also agree with what you’ve said about man’s suffering starting with Adam’s sin back in Eden.
    I do feel though that there is a very logical reason why God ‘allows’ suffering. When Adam chose to live his life his way and not God’s way it wasn’t just a preference that Adam had it was actually a challenge of God’s ‘right to rule’ his own creation. God being a just God addressed this challenge in a fair way. God had given Adam free will so he respected his right to choose but also knew that Adam had made the wrong choice. God could have started all creation again but that wouldn’t have been just, wouldn’t haved solved the issue and wouldn’t have looked right in front of the heavenly realm of angels.
    So the only just way that God could have this issue of sovereingty solved is if he allowed humans to become indepent of Him and rule themselves. When this independance gets to the stage where it is proved beyond doubt that humans cannot rule themselves and that they need God’s direction then he can justifiably step back in and get humans back on track. We are still living in this time of human indepenance and God cannot intervene otherwise the results of the test could be questioned. This issue of sovereignty is one that needs to be sorted out once and for all.
    The above logically explains to me why suffering happens and it also shows how much God loves humans and proves he is not cruel. The cruelness of this world is down to ungodly humans themselves and the unforeseen influence mentioned in 1 John 5v19.

    Like


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