The corona virus pandemic – a spiritual perspective
The coronavirus pandemic is currently affecting most countries of the world in a crisis that was hardly known until now. According to the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, there are more than 6 million confirmed cases worldwide. More than 350,000 people have already died of the coronavirus-induced lung disease Covid-19. Moreover, the economic consequences of the protective measures to contain the pandemic are catastrophic, like economic recession and unemployment. Many people ask how God could let this happen. Others go even further and name God as the author of the virus.
The German Protestant news agency idea which is closely linked the Evangelical Alliance published in April a debate of theologians on the question: Is the pandemic a punishment from God?
One can quote biblical statements according to which suffering is spoken of as God’s punishment for the sin committed by human beings. It can be personal misconduct, to which God reacts, e.g. 2 Sam 12, where it is reported that the child who was born of David’s illegitimate relationship with Bathsheba died after seven days, or sins of the whole people which brought to them in consequence plague, epidemics and other sufferings (Deut 28:58-61; Ez 14:21). It is too easy to say that the New Testament totally rejects this view, but it brings a new perspective by rejecting human accusations for illness in the lives of individuals, e.g. Mark 2:1-12; Luke 13:1+2; John 9:1-3.
If this view of a punishment does not reveal itself to us, what spiritual perspective can be thrown on the present events?
I do understand the crisis that has just gripped the world as a mirror that God is holding up to us. What false securities determine our lives, such as the self-evidence of health and prosperity? The crisis shows us that our strength is limited, that our life is finite and that we are responsible before our creator.
In some areas the crisis can be seen as a stop sign from God. It shows us the dangers of global interdependencies, the dangers of an unhealthy, unbalanced lifestyle and is therefore an admonition to a balanced, level-headed life.
The biblical warnings of plague and misfortune are usually connected with the call to conversion to God, in whom alone our trust should be placed, e.g. Deut 28; Ps 91.
It is very much to be hoped that this wake-up call will be heard from many people.