I have heard some really alarming thoughts about COVID-19 and God so this is my take on it. I am not necessarily right about any of this, but I offer it as one possible way of understanding God’s Hand in this global pandemic.
First, God is the Creator of all things. My belief is that this includes the COVID-19 virus.
Second, I believe that God is in charge. He didn’t suddenly lose control of His Creation when the coronavirus happened along. It didn’t surprise Him.
Third, God chose to give His people free will (c.f., Adam & Eve). He gave us the ability to choose sin. That doesn’t mean that we should. More about that later.
Fourth, I believe that God also gave us science. Not all science, nor all ways of using science, are right. Some (in my opinion) are wrong. But that means that we need to look at science that does exist and (I think this is the exercise of discernment, although I might not understand that correctly) we need to figure out whether the science we’re looking at in each particular instance serves God or serves Satan.
I believe that the science of epidemiology, our understanding of how His creation works including those tiny germs that make us sick, serves God, not Satan. I believe He wants us to study His creation, including viruses, and learn about the amazing beauty (even!) and complexity of that which He has created. I also think He wants us to use that knowledge to protect other parts of His creation (people, for example). In other words, He has given us the virus but He has also given us knowledge about how to protect ourselves and other vulnerable members of the community from needless suffering. Its no different from His teaching us to make warm clothes and build warm houses. He didn’t expect us to wear fig leaves in Arctic climates. He expected us to use our knowledge of His creation to help us thrive in it.
In otherwords, I do not believe it is somehow “against God’s will” to wear a mask or follow experts’ advice regarding hand washing, social distancing, etc.
I have actually heard people say that they have no need of wearing a mask or handwashing or social distancing, because if God wants them to catch the virus they will and if He doesn’t, they won’t, no matter what they do. I believe that is a simplistic view of God’s relationship to us. If you are driving a car and heading straight for a person walking across the street, I believe God expects you to apply the brakes, not keep going and expect that He will protect the pedestrian regardless of what you do, if that is His will.
Another thing I have heard that I disagree with is that God protects His chosen people from getting the virus, and if somebody catches it, that means they are out of favor with God. So if you are a good Christian you won’t get sick. And only bad people get sick. I disagree with that. I don’t believe God created the Coronavirus in order to have a way of marking whom on Earth He favors and whom He doesn’t. I have seen this theory about a number of things: If God favors you, you’ll be rich, and if you’re poor that means you aren’t one of God’s chosen. Or if you are a king or a queen God favors you and if you are a peasant He doesn’t. I think Jesus laid that idea to rest.
Back to sin. I do think sin comes into play here, but maybe not in the way that some people think. It’s not a sin to get sick. And getting sick doesn’t designate you as an unredeemed sinner.
But I do think that when God has given us the knowledge of His virus to know that there are certain ways of protecting the whole community (for example, not having large indoor gatherings when the virus is circulating in the community). If we have that knowledge but choose to endanger the whole community with our behavior, then I believe that is a sin. We are not loving the people God has created – we are treating them in careless and harmful ways for selfish reasons, just because we can. I believe that is a sin.
All this may be worth nothing at all — it is just my own opinion, and I may be totally wrong.
But I also might not be.
For what it’s worth.