If so, why? If not, why? If he didn’t create it, didn’t he at least know it would happen since he knows everything? Did he allow it to happen anyway? What reasons do we have to know this? Mention any relevant philosophers. I’m curious to see what people think...

  • God created dark by making night. So when you stub your toe in the dark is it God's fault!? this might help hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/50546/…
    – steveowen
    Jun 28 '21 at 6:00
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    Hi Isabella, this question needs a bit of focus, but the answer is just going to be a discussion about the passive will of God and theodicy and the same things we talk about all the time. If there was something special about the covid pandemic you'd like to ask about (the virus or the reaction; which some people think is worse) please edit that into your question. But a general "why does God permit evil" question can't really be asked here because the answer needs to be narrowed down to a faith tradition or a teaching authority - not general philosophy.
    – Peter Turner
    Jun 28 '21 at 13:31
  • Hi, oh ok I understand 😄 thank you! Jun 29 '21 at 9:36

The simple answer is YES. In Christianity, God is the author of life. God creates everything that has life. We need to also remember that coronavirus is just another virus. We might as well ask why God created the 1918 Spanish flu virus which also killed millions, or why God created the 14th century Bubonic plague bacteria which killed 30-60 percent of the European population!

At the same time, God also allows the virus life to be studied scientifically. This is due to a very important feature of God's creation: its orderliness and its openness for empirical investigation, which we shouldn't take for granted. In other words, it's stable enough (unlike quantum particles) and visible enough to be observed (unlike a ghost). Without this feature, science cannot operate. So God allows science, and we should be thankful to God that this enables us to have advances in microbiology, medicine, supercomputing (for DNA sequencing), refrigeration (for the vaccine), transportation, scientific institutions (CDC, labs, pharma companies), established sharing of information via journals and Internet, etc. which allow us in the 21st century to minimize casualties compared to previous pandemics.

The hard question is: why God allows those pandemics to happen? This question is made even harder to answer because Christianity holds that:

  • God is omniscient, which includes even knowledge of the future (if you're not an Open Theist), so God should anticipate how this little being could wreak havoc.
  • God is good, so creates the perennial question on why a good God would allow suffering on such a wide scale to happen.

Several clues for the answer can be found in the following established Christian teachings:

  • Death and disease are evil, a fact of the fallen human nature (after the Fall of Adam) as well as fallen nature in general, groaning to be made anew (Rom 8:19-23).
  • God, by undergoing incarnation in Jesus, can sympathize with a human person's weaknesses and suffering
  • God, by virtue of being outside time and space, can be present in every moment of our lives, so we are never alone (see my other answer for in depth explanation)
  • Suffering and death don't diminish our capacity to be saved, sanctified, and unified with God. In fact, it can help us, if we see those from proper perspective.
  • Life on earth, which is a shadow of what is to come, is not the ultimate reality, not the place where we can expect ultimate happiness. Death or disability by Covid is not the end.
  • What God wants from us most of all is that the strong should not oppress the weak (this is part of his notion of justice), which implies that we should not turn a blind eye to our suffering neighbor (cf. the good Samaritan).
  • God is love and God expects human societies to be Christianized, in the sense that each society should embodies the divine love by each member participating in God's love through grace and THEN by sharing this love to others.

Based on the above, we can then hazard some guesses:

  1. God is using Covid to re-kindle love among people of the Earth, to remind us that at the core we are united in ONE human nature, despite of our nationalities, ethnicities, religions, languages, races, and sex. Everyone is susceptible to Covid infection, everyone knows someone who suffers / dies because of Covid, everyone has the opportunity to love.
  2. God wants to remind us that despite our technological advances we can never be God and should never try be God, and thus we should not repeat the mistake that Adam made in the garden of Eden, or at the Tower of Babel. We should be concerned that in the past 100 years there are many philosophical and scientific positions that negate God's rightful & exclusive privilege in setting the moral standard as well as to relate to us as Creator. Thus, the past 100 years have witnessed yet another (and more serious!) rebellion of people against God:
    • The culture of death in which moral crimes such as abortion and euthanasia are viewed as individual rights.
    • "Make your own ethics" (moral relativity) promoted by philosophers such as Nietzsche, Sartre and Camus.
    • Scientific materialism that asserts how every part of human nature is simply a function of the brain's neurochemistry and neural network, expressed in the belief of Cryonics .
    • Denigrating the image of God in us by saying that someday in a singularity emergent consciousness in Artificial Intelligence will render human nature obsolete.
    • Using genomics and IVF to create designer baby which in turn can lead to injustice, such as explored in the movie Gattaca
  3. God wants us to use Covid as opportunities for mercy and for the stronger to help the weaker, such as when developed countries which have more resources have opportunities to assist developing countries in obtaining vaccines. Or at a smaller scale, how the younger can help the often forgotten and vulnerable elderly to be protected from Covid. We have seen many first responder heroes as a result.

Further Reading

  1. Why is God allowing the coronavirus pandemic? by Stuart Briscoe
  2. When Someone Asks Me Why God Allows Covid-19 by Kirk Durston who wrote several journal articles on God and evil
  • 1
    "The hard question is: why God allows those pandemics to happen?" is equivalent to "Why does God allow people to light their cigarettes?", which can perhaps be answered by considering "What would the world be like if God blew out your match whenever it got near the end of your cigarette?", and then generalize it to include everything else that is bad for us. Jun 28 '21 at 15:05
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    @RayButterworth Do we really want to put them in the same category? Two key differences, in my opinion. First, the lethality of corona/flu/bubonic virus/bacteria is beyond the ability for one person to handle; one can still easily catches it even after reasonable precaution, and may have life-long consequences. This makes coronavirus closer to death, another thing that people can only postpone. But refraining from cigarette is totally within one's control. Second key difference: many innocent people died because of coronavirus, while only the heavy smokers (who are culpable die). Jun 28 '21 at 19:35
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    God of justice and love is supposed to protect the innocent and the weak, but the pandemics expose both to death. It makes sense to compare pandemics to natural disasters like tornado / volcano (or famine and wars in the OT) which kill the innocents as well as the wicked. So this is an age-old question, the Psalmist has been complaining to God about it. Something is wrong in the creation order, and only God can fix it, and thus the perennial question. On the other hand we don't implicate God for allowing smokers to light their cigarettes, because they have the choice to save their lives. Jun 28 '21 at 19:40
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    Or, we could note that God gave us dietary and hygiene standards that would have prevented this disease ever infecting humans in the first place. Like AIDS and most influenzas, COVID-19 originated in animals that wouldn't normally have contact with people, and which the Bible designates as unfit for human consumption. Jun 28 '21 at 20:43
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    There’s a big difference between causing/creating the pandemic and allowing the pandemic. Just because people are sometimes born with birth defects doesn’t mean that God created or wanted them to be that way, but sin has distanced humans from God. Likewise, God doesn’t create diseases that kill indiscriminately; his goal is to eliminate disease completely along with all sin. Isaiah 33:24
    – user32540
    Jun 28 '21 at 22:09

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