It Was Very Good: Genesis and The Pandemic

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on

 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. 

Genesis 1:31

Five times God looked at what He had created and saw that it was good. But at the end of the sixth day He looked at everything that He had made and it was very good.

We read the Bible to learn more about God. But I believe that we can learn about Him by looking at His creation also, which He deemed very good.

Many people, myself included, can look at majestic scenery and feel God’s presence in His glorious work. But God sees not only the large scale scenery, but also all the intricate details of how He knitted together His miraculous creation. He is pleased with it. And I believe we can learn about Him by studying the amazing details of that which He created and with which He was very pleased.

That is science. I believe that science is pleasing to God. Think about when your child or your best friend has made something they are proud of. It is pleasing to them when you take the time to show real interest in the details of what they have made. And you learn more about the one who made it by looking at all the intricate details they crafted than you learn by just taking a passing look at the thing-as-a-whole. I believe that God appreciates it when we look at the details of His creation. So I believe it is a false dichotomy to pit science against faith. I believe that science can be a big part of faith, and that God approves.

Can science be used in sinful ways? Of course it can. But so can virtually everything. God gave Noah fruitful vines but Noah used them in sinful ways. God gave us the ability to speak and to reason, but Heaven only knows that those gifts can be used in sinful ways. It doesn’t mean that the gifts are evil.

God knew what He was doing when He put the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden and gave Adam and Eve the ability to decide whether or not to follow His command not to eat from it. It wasn’t like He said, “Oopsie, didn’t see that coming!” when they rebelled against Him. He gave us the ability to decide how we will act, and with that comes the responsibility to act according to His will.

The same is true of science. I believe that the study of science is pleasing to God, but with the knowledge that science brings comes the responsibility to use that knowledge in service of God’s will.

And discerning God’s will can be hard. That’s why He gave us prayer, and the Holy Spirit to guide us. And we don’t always get it right. But God is loving and merciful, and doesn’t condemn us to Hell when we make mistakes. He wants us to learn and to grow.

So these are the Biblical tools we have to help us decide how to respond to the Covid pandemic … remembering, of course, that it is God’s pandemic. He didn’t say, “Oopsie, didn’t see that coming!” when Covid-19 arrived on the scene.

I don’t have the answer to how everyone “should” respond to the pandemic. But I do find some help in the Bible.

  • I believe it is the wrong answer to reject science in thinking about how to respond. It reminds me of the joke about the Pastor and the flood, in which the punch line is when God says to the Pastor who arrived at the Pearly Gates still praying for help, “I sent you two boats and a helicopter. What kind of help were you waiting for?”
  • I believe it is the right answer to pray and ask God what His will is when deciding how to act in response to the Covid virus.
  • I believe it is the wrong answer to make a decision based on what politicians say we should do, or what we read on the Internet, without asking God how we best serve His will.

23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 

1 Corinthians 10:23-24

I believe that Jesus told us to love our neighbors … and science tells us that the best way to love our neighbors is to get vaccinated if we are able to do so, and to wear masks and socially distance ourselves while the virus is circulating widely in our community.

I am also humble enough to know that I may be mistaken about what God wants. But in the past year of praying nearly continuously about this, God has never yet answered me with a command to reject science and follow the advice of a worldly celebrity or politician who gets his or her information from the Internet.

And He has also never yet answered me by commanding me to create rifts and hard feelings within my church by judging and condemning those with opinions different from mine on this issue. I believe He wants us to work it out, and He is using this to grow all of us in Christ.

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