Randy and Katy Smelser

Americans living in Germany but citizens of heaven

Is the Corona Virus from God?

Is the Corona Virus from God? Yes! No! Maybe?

Someone asked me recently if I think the Corona Virus was sent by God as punishment. And the answer is a definite Yes! No! Maybe? We cannot always know the ways of God. His thoughts and purposes are too high for us. Yet we can look in the Bible to see how he has dealt in the past and that might give us some ideas for the present. I have just been reading in the Bible the stories of the Plagues in Egypt, of Job, and John’s Revelation. These are possibilities I see:

1. This Virus was sent by God as a direct punishment for sin. We see in the 10 Plagues of Egypt that God sent to crush the gods of Egypt (Ex12:12). Several times God says that His goal was “that you may know that I am the Lord.” (Ex.10:2 NIV see also 7;5,17; 8:6,18; 9:14-16;14:4,18).
2. Then we have the Revelation of John. This would be an indirect punishment for sin. Plagues are part of the Seven Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls. God sent angels and horses out with plagues. Some people see the book of Revelation as lineal; i.e. chapter one was the time of John (AD 90) and the book progresses along a time line in as straight line until Christ’s return. I tend to believe that the revelation is not lineal but is circular; i.e. the first chapter tell of the time until Christ’s return with emphasis on the present (AD 90) and very little of the moment of Christ’s return. With each circle the story is told with more emphasis on Christ’s return and less on the present, becoming more and more intense throughout the revelation. Thus, the plagues mentioned in the book have been happening since AD 90 and will continue until Christ’s return. We can look in history and see this is not the first plague to hit the world. The Roman Empire was almost brought to her knees because of a plague or several plagues in the second and third centuries. It may have been small pox or the black plague or something else. But through history we see plagues reported (small pox, black plague, typhoid, cholera, TB, Ebola, Spanish Flu, etc.) and we only know a little of the history of the world because most of it was not recorded. Again, the purpose of these plagues was not just because God is bored and wants to watch people squirm but to bring people repentance (Rev.16:8-11)
3. Another indirect action of God is the result of the Fall of man in the Garden of Eden. We are going to die. Because of this, many bad things happen in the world. They are the result of sin and punishment (earthquakes, volcanos, storms, disasters, diseases, cancer, old age, etc.). The children of Israel wandering in the wilderness for 40 years is example of this. Some of them were directly killed by God for rebellion (Num.16:1-35) but most, the passive majority, just went along with the rest and they died “natural” deaths in the wilderness over the 40 years.
4. The Virus and its spread is the fault of man and God has just let is take its course. We will not go into the various conspiracy theories as to the origins of the virus. But we know now that many of the initial cases in Germany came from the Alpine ski resorts. There were known mild cases among workers at bars and the resorts that were kept quiet because of financial reasons (greed?). The few cases until that time were under control and these few were from direct contact with China. But as people returned home from ski vacation, they unknowingly quietly and massively spread the virus. That was not God’s doing, it was man’s.
5. And lastly, we have the case of Job. Poor Job! He was a good man, God liked him, and everything was going great until Satan comes on the scene. Satan, not God, is the one who is bored and looking for trouble. Satan, not God, is the one who likes to see people squirm under his mean tricks. But God allows it to happen. Job’s friends blame all the problems on Job’s sin, which was totally off. Job has many questions he would like (demands) God to answer. But in the end God comes, answers no questions as to why, but Job is satisfied to be in the presence of God. God makes it clear that He has things under control even if Job does not understand. And the book ends with open questions but a happy ending.

So all said and done, what do we know? This virus may be from God but it might not be also. It might be direct result of sin but it might not be. I do not think we will know this side of heaven. But there are couple of themes that keep showing up. 1) God is not just playing around with us for some kind of sick fun, watching humans run around like crazed animals and dying. His original purpose for men was good and His long term purpose remains good. 2) God wants all mankind to come to recognize that He is Lord (1.Tim.2:4). 3) God is in control (not men). This is the main purpose of the revelations of Daniel and John. 4) The way to inner peace in this troubled time is not to know all the answers to all the “why?” but in the presence of God (Ps.62,1-2, 5-6; Psalm 23). At the end, this is what gave Job peace and what will give us confidence to continue.

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
My hope comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
He is my fortress, I will not be shaken
Ps 62:5-6 NIV