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The Problem of Evil: Is Covid-19 Evil? (Part 2)

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Referring to the previous posting, I think that I know the question that’s on everyone’s mind; what’s the IP Address of the church’s Minecraft server? Weeeeellll I’ll have to ask Pastor Graham if he wants that released or not, so you’ll just have to wait.

On another note, we were discussing the problem of evil. We defined what it is, gave some examples of it, and discussed a few things about it. Now we’re going to delve deeper into the topic. I think that to get right to the heart of the problem we need to ask, is the Covid-19  virus evil?

Well is it?

In the previous post I asked you if getting sick with a cold is evil? What was/is your answer to that? Do you have the same answer for a cold as you do for Covid-19? 

Does our definition of evil, which is:  anything that goes against God’s will, nature, character, and His holiness, tell us if the Covid-19 virus is evil or not? Weeelll kind of eventually yes, it does tell us that. Let’s start at the beginning, and yes I mean all the way back to Genesis and also to look at the end, Revelation.

I have the same question about the beginning and the end. Before the fall, was there disease? After the second coming, will there be disease? The answer to both is no. Let’s look at the life in Eden first.

First it says in Genesis 1:26  “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” As well as Genesis 1:25, “God made the beasts of the earth after their kind… and God saw that it was good.” And finally Genesis 1:31, “ God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” All three quotes show that God did not originally make disease. 

            When we look at the end, Revelation, we also see that there will not be any disease.

In Revelation 21:4 it says, “and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be anymourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” I think that the wiping away of tears and that there is no more pain shows that there will be no more disease. In addition to this, God is the only perfectly good and holy being. After the second coming we will live in perfect communion with God. This means that there will be no more sin, and therefore no more disease. 

So there was no disease before the fall. Notice that I did not say that there were no bacteria or viruses before the fall. Not all micro-organisms cause disease. Right now you have some of these in your intestines that help you digest food, and without them you’d eventually die. So there are helpful bacteria and viruses after the fall, and I think that the same can be said for before the fall. 

Is a virus, or bacteria in and of itself sinful? If a virus is sitting there in a petri dish, is it sinful? No. If you infect someone with that same virus, is it sinful? Yes. What’s the difference? 

The difference is that it now has a  negative and damaging effect on humans. All disease came into the world when Adam and Eve fell. If disease is not affecting us humans directly, then it is not evil. But it is potentially evil: once it affects us, then it’s evil.

Not convinced? Let’s look at a parallel example. See that sharp knife sitting on that kitchen counter? Is it evil? 

No.

If someone were to start cutting up another person with it, would that be evil?

Maybe.

If it’s a surgeon trying to save someone's life, then it’s not evil. If it’s someone trying to torture someone just for the fun of it, then yes it is evil. The knife in and of itself is not evil, it is not good. It’s what it does or what is done with it, that makes it evil or not.

So to FINALLY answer the question, is the Covid-19 virus evil, the answer is:  it’s not a good question. A better question is: Is the fact that people are getting sick with Covid-19 evil? The knife sitting on the counter is not evil. The Covid-19 virus sitting in a petri dish is not evil. Using/having either one of them affect humans in a negative way is. The second, better, question also gets rid of any ambiguity when we refer to our definition of evil. Having a disease affect us is not what God wanted or intended. Therefore disease that does this is evil.

OK, now this leads us directly into our next question:  Who’s responsible for this evil? Ask yourself this and let's see if we agree. I’ll see you all in the next blog post.

Posted by Kevin Casper with

The Problem of Evil: Is Covid-19 Evil? (Part 1)

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Have you Googled any of the following recently?

  • Pandemic
  • DIY bomb shelter
  • The Anarchists Cookbook
  • Essential Oils for Covid 19
  • What is the Bonnyville Baptist Minecraft Server IP address?
  • Is my cat plotting to kill me?
  • 101 ways to cook a bat
  • Are we in end times?

If you have looked up any of these then you may be wondering about some of the following:

  • Is God passing judgement?
  • Why is God doing this?
  • Is God doing this?
  • How could God allow this to happen? 
  • Why are we still on daylight savings time?

If you’re wondering about these types of questions, welcome to the problem of evil. John Stonestreet, who is the President of The Colson Center for Christian Worldview, has said that the battle of ideas is mostly over definitions. So let's first define what the problem of evil is, see if the Covid-19 crisis fits the definition, and then look into what part, if any, God plays in all of this.

Evil is anything that goes against God’s will, nature, character, and His holiness. Evil, doing something that is evil, is a moral category. If you do something that goes against the character of God then you are doing something that is morally wrong; i.e. evil. When free willed moral agents do this, meaning humans and angels, we call it sin. All sin is against the moral character of God and is therefore evil. 

Clear? Got it? Understood? Hmmmm, let’s look at a few examples to be sure. Please answer if the following scenarios are evil or not:

  • John murders George.
  • John kills George.
  • A wolf kills a rabbit.
  • An angel rejects God and goes his own way.
  • A human rejects God and goes his own way.
  • A dog never accepts Christ.
  • The Covid-19  virus spreads across the world.
  • You get sick from having a cold.
  • The Covid-19  virus kills a person.
  • The Chinese government withholds information about the Corona-19 virus.

Not so easy is it? Some are easier to answer than others. Why is it that we may have difficulty figuring out if something is evil or not? There are several possible answers to this:

  1. Nothing is right and or wrong. 
  2. There are no clear answers. 
  3. There are answers, we just may or may not know them. 

Answer one is moral relativism and moral relativism is bad. It is the idea that people or cultures get to make up what is right or wrong. This is bad. Did I mention that this is bad? If relativism is true then the Nazi’s did nothing wrong, or the Hutu led government did not commit evil when they slaughtered millions of Tutsi. 

In addition to this, the first answer is false, and everyone knows it. There are people who say that they believe that nothing is right and nothing is wrong, but as soon as someone scratches the door to their new pickup truck, they’re outraged that something wrong has happened. 

The second answer may be true for you, but overall it is false. Let me explain:

Again, everyone knows when something evil has been done to them. Rape, murder, and other forms of abuse are clearly wrong. We are made in the image of God and part of being made in His image is that we have morality at the core of our being. I’m talking about your soul here. Because we’re made in His image we all know right from wrong. 

There are exceptions to this, such as very young people (like babies). Or those who are severely mentally handicapped, such as people who are mentally much younger than their physical age or the elderly with dementia. 

OK, so with a few exceptions we all know right from wrong because we are made in the image of God. Now this inner morality is meant to guide you to doing what is right. Does it always work? No. It is always clear what the correct moral answer is to a given situation? No. This explains the part where I said “The answer may be true for you.” To you, to us humans, there may not be a clear answer to a given moral situation. 

Now here comes the second part, “but overall it is false” that there is no clear answer to whether something is evil or not. God knows whether it is evil or not with 100% certainty, 100% of the time. Just because a fallible human, in a fallen world, who is permeated with a sinful nature, cannot tell whether a certain scenario/event is right or wrong does not mean that there is no clear answer to whether it is right or wrong. The Author of morality, God, knows the answer.

So now we are getting into answer three: that there are answers, but we may or may not know them. God knows them 100%, but we’re not God. So what are we to do? Well that answer is pretty simple, do your best. 

As an apologist I often get asked moral questions, then a follow up question, then another, and another. What is happening is that the person is not actually interested in the answer, but is trying to get me into a situation where I can’t answer the question., “What is the morally right thing to do in this situation?” Why? Then they think they would be able to say, “See! You don’t know what to do! You did something immoral!” or “See! You don’t know what is right or wrong. There is no God!”

Just because I, or you, cannot give the correct answer, doesn’t mean that there isn’t a correct one. It means that I cannot know or figure out what the correct answer is. Unlike in Hollywood movies, it is almost always clear what you should morally do in a given situation.  Most moral decisions are obvious. Doing what you know to be right, that’s another topic entirely. 

OK, that’s enough for now. We’ve laid some of the groundwork in helping us answer the problem of evil. In future episodes, we will continue to address whether the Covid-19 is evil, did God cause it, and what to do if I think my cat is actually trying to kill me. For now, smash that like button, subscribe, link this blog post to all of your family and friends, and buy low sell high. Me, for now, I’m logging onto the Bonnyvillebaptist Minecraft server. I got a sweet base going on and I just found a Nether Fortress. See you all in the next blog post. 

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