May 12, 2020
It is a question that we regularly hear and read. Some see in it the direct hand of God, of the punishing God who wants to say to people that they have strayed too far from His commandments. We hear these voices especially in America and Africa. Others see in it a sign that God gives indirectly and wants to point out to us the ecological mistakes we have made by not respecting His creation. The latter have a point, of course, because even today I read a scientific article saying that we can expect even more epidemics that are difficult to contain, because there has been a large-scale destruction of ecological systems causing a profound disturbance of the natural balances. Many people in Western countries see no connection at all between the coronavirus pandemic and God, because they have completely removed God from their mindset so that He no longer has anything to do with what is happening in the world. Some are calling God to account and wonder why God is allowing this to happen and why He is not intervening. Still others find solace and strength in praying to God at this time. Now that there could not be any Easter celebrations in the churches, the number of viewers on the internet and on TV watching the Easter celebrations turned out to be very high. When people are in distress, a lot of people apparently find their way back to the church, to prayer, and to God. Once again, He becomes the certainty at a time when all other supposed certainties fail.
But where is God really in this coronavirus pandemic? Is He there or is He not? And if He is there, what connection can we see between God and corona?
We cannot give a conclusive answer to this question. Nonetheless, as Christians, it is worth taking a moment to reflect on this fascinating question.
In earlier centuries, illnesses or anything that could not be explained were directly attributed to the intervention of God. When the plague broke out in the Middle Ages, society considered it a punishment for the sins that people had committed, both personally and as a community. However, science was able to identify the causes of the plague, and there are scientific explanations for the coronavirus as well, although they are not unanimous at this time. They are still guessing at the true origin and the way in which the virus has been able to infect humans. In any case, the coronavirus can be scientifically explained. Is it completely absurd, then, to speak of God in the context of a pandemic?