A Question I Was Asked:


Is God Now Judging the World?

LEGAL NOTICE:During this ongoing series, nobody's privacy is invaded. We are granted permission to use the question in a completely anonymous fashion. We retain no email address and these emails are then destroyed. In every one of these cases, these people freely chose to email a question to us on the understanding that we might use it (anonymously) in this series.


Is God Now Judging the World?

UK Apologetics Reply:


Is God Now Judging the World?

Please, Please Ensure That You Read This!

A few years ago, in answer to a question, I wrote 'Why Would God Create Crocodiles and Killer Viruses?' In response to the present Corona virus I provide a link to that article at the foot of this article. I recommend that we all read it again.

The present covid 19 virus has killed thousands of people already and that is truly tragic but - as Christians - it is essential that we keep a wise and sensible approach to these things. Already various apocalyptic-type print-outs are appearing and being sent to Christians all over the place. Some of these contain dramatic startling predictions of how God is going to use this virus to destroy us all, or to judge us all. These things all tend to have one thing in common: they quote Scripture but then pull the Scripture out of all context and the setting as it appears in the Bible. It slightly alarms me how easily some appear to fall for this stuff. The one I have in front of me says that we are all being brought into judgement and that covid 19 is "the finger of God," this is a quote from Exodus 8:19 which pulls that verse out of all context, I might say. It's as though the writer is claiming that he has been directly instructed by God to make this claim (we all know that such is not the case).

Dangerous viruses are always a possibility in this world; in the quote to follow I explain why, but first let us just consider other viruses and pandemics because we need to get some perspective and balance here.

Some Plagues and Pandemics of the Past as a Comparison

PLAGUE OF JUSTINIAN (541-542 AD) Killed around 25 million. Cause: Bubonic Plague. Thought to have killed perhaps half the population of Europe, the Plague of Justinian was an outbreak of the bubonic plague that afflicted the Byzantine Empire and Mediterranean port cities, killing up to 25 million people in its year-long reign of terror. Generally regarded as the first recorded incident of the Bubonic Plague, the Plague of Justinian left its mark on the world, killing up to a quarter of the population of the Eastern Mediterranean and devastating the city of Constantinople, where at its height it was killing an estimated 5,000 people per day and eventually resulting in the deaths of 40% of the city’s population. This appears to have been a brief, year-long localized epidemic, but one of great severity.

THE BLACK DEATH is estimated to have killed between 30% and 60% of Europe's population; the plague may have reduced the world population from an estimated 475 million to 350–375 million in the 14th century. Once thought to have been spread by fleas living on rats, modern scientists are now far less sure of this. Surely this was the most vicious of all the epidemics.

1968 HONG KONG FLU PANDEMIC Sometimes referred to as "Hong Kong Flu," the 1968 flu pandemic was caused by the H3N2 strain of the Influenza A virus, a genetic offshoot of the H2N2 subtype. From the first reported case on July 13, 1968 in Hong Kong, it took only 17 days before outbreaks of the virus were reported in Singapore and Vietnam, and within three months had spread to The Philippines, India, Australia, Europe, and the United States. While the 1968 pandemic had a comparatively low mortality rate (0.5%) it still resulted in the deaths of more than a million people, including 500,000 residents of Hong Kong, approximately 15% of its population at the time. A man I personally knew very well died in this epidemic although he had appeared fit and strong; others, even some not in good health, appeared to brush it off.

SPANISH FLU PANDEMIC (1918-1920) Killed between 20 and 50 million, second or third in the list of the most savage disease outbreaks of all time; it occurred between 1918 and 1920 a disturbingly deadly outbreak of influenza tore across the globe, infecting over a third of the worlds population and ending the lives of 20 - 50 million people. Of the 500 million people infected in the 1918 pandemic, the mortality rate was estimated at 10% to 20%, with up to 25 million deaths in the first 25 weeks alone. What separated the 1918 flu pandemic from other influenza outbreaks was the victims; where influenza had always previously only killed juveniles and the elderly or already weakened patients, it had begun striking down hardy and completely healthy young adults, while leaving children and those with weaker immune systems still alive.

SIXTH CHOLERA PANDEMIC (1910-1911) Like its five previous incarnations, the Sixth Cholera Pandemic originated in India where it killed over 800,000, before spreading to the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe and Russia. The Sixth Cholera Pandemic was also the source of the last American outbreak of Cholera (1910–1911). American health authorities, having learned from the past, quickly sought to isolate the infected, and in the end only 11 deaths occurred in the U.S. By 1923 Cholera cases had been cut down dramatically, although it was still a constant in India. The famous composer Tchaikovsky died in this pandemic after carelessly drinking unboiled water.

ASIAN FLU (1956-1958) Death Toll: 2 million. Asian Flu was a pandemic outbreak of Influenza A of the H2N2 subtype, that originated in China in 1956 and lasted until 1958. In its two-year spree, Asian Flu travelled from the Chinese province of Guizhou to Singapore, Hong Kong, and the United States. Estimates for the death toll of the Asian Flu vary depending on the source, but the World Health Organization places the final tally at approximately 2 million deaths, 69,800 of those in the US alone. Others insist that the final toll was much higher, possibly closer to 5 million.

COVID 19? There is no doubt that the current virus is dangerous but few expect its final toll to be anywhere close to Spanish flu and certainly well short of the 13th century Black Death plague, though at this early stage one cannot be entirely certain of this.

A Comparison

So just looking at these other famous viruses and pandemics we see that they are not new and some have been far more dangerous than the present one. Why does God allow them? Such things are the sign of the 'fallenness' of society, that is, a society and civilisation which is not living according to standards of godliness. These things are part of the 'deal' - along with things like earthquakes, dangerous snakes, droughts and extreme weather storms. Until the full realisation of the Kingdom of God, they will continue. This, of course, means that we should all pray for protection, probably much more than we all do.

Okay, I finished my 2010 article on this general topic in this manner:

...Viruses are much more complicated, we are all surrounded by organisms which can kill the weak but are actually beneficial to the strong and healthy. Vulnerability in this area may simply be part of the price to be paid for a human body which has greatly degenerated in strength and vigour since the Creation of Adam. Yet Original Sin has an involvement there too .....

[Following the Fall] God also removed His protective hand from the creation in other ways, so there are sometimes earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, extreme cold in some regions and unreasonable heat in others and always the possibility of droughts. Yet God also gave men and women a fine, reasoning mind and a level of intelligence which reflects His own so He also knew that people should be wise enough to avoid many of these natural calamities, for example, in not building homes on flood plains, or near known or suspected volcanoes, and in seeking out more temperate climates.

So there you have it: we can be sure that the original Creation in which Adam walked with the Lord was entirely perfect and fully beneficial to mankind but rebellion always exacts a price and we see that today in our 'fallen' Creation; yes, this world is still often very beautiful but it is now potentially-dangerous, such is the price of sin. So while modern-day sin does not cause dangerous animals or earthquakes, the original sin in the Garden has set up a pattern which will be continually repeated until the 'restoration of all things.'

So we may see that "deadly crocodiles, killer snakes and killer viruses" (to quote the writer of the original e mail) do indeed have a relationship to human sin.

For our part, as Christians we should take sensible precautions when cold, flu and viruses are going around; don't go visiting, mix as little as possible, in the current coronavirus situation follow government guidelines! Usually, as warmer summer weather returns to the northern hemisphere, these things tend to go away. For the present we should all avoid crowded environments wherever possible, this is just sensible. This is especially so for those with other major health problems.

But Could God Use Things Like Covid 19 to Punish Us?

The answer, of course, is clearly yes just as He could have used the Plague of Justinian to punish the world of the Mediterranean ports for sinful behaviour back in 540-541AD; similarly one could look back to several or all of the past plagues and pandemics and very possibly see the same thing. That area is God's prerogative, He does not need to instruct, nor to consult with us. For our part none of us dare to step in and claim that such is definitely so, as though God has personally instructed us to that effect. Don't forget that even Moses was punished by God for going beyond his mandate in striking the rock in the wilderness; let all of us hold back from 'striking' the Scriptures by giving the slightest impression that we hold a 'hot line' to Heaven! Beware the severe warning of Deuteronomy 18:20-22!

FINALLY: Be wary! Be Cautious! Avoid Crowds! Follow Your Government's guidelines. But - above all - Don't panic - there is nothing new about pandemics! Most important of all: it has no bearing on our Lord's promise to grant salvation to His people!

Robin A. Brace. April 3rd, 2020.

Why Would God Create Crocodiles and Killer Viruses?