Genesis 1:31 tells us that immediately after creation week, “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good” (emphasis added throughout). If that is true, did God create the COVID-19 virus? The answer is both “yes” and “no.”
What we know and don’t know about microorganisms
First, we need to remember that God created all life-forms on earth, and all life is extremely complex.
“There’s been a huge amount of progress in the past several decades as well as ongoing studies in cell biology labs around the world to understand how aspects of our cells work and what happens when they stop working properly in disease and aging, but there’s still an astonishing amount that we don’t understand about this fundamental unit of life” (“5 Things We (Still) Don’t Know About Cells,” Allen Institute for Cell Science, Sept. 24, 2018).
Within this complex world of “life,” God created microscopic entities called bacteria. Bacteria are essential to the survival of higher life-forms, including humans. However, many types of bacteria can be either beneficial or detrimental, depending on where they are and how many there are.
For a human to be in perfect health, the thousands of species of bacteria—totaling trillions of bacterial cells—must all be in an enormously complex, harmonious balance. Likewise, the bacteria in the plant and animal world—including our environment and food sources—must all be in perfect, harmonious balance. Of course we know that is not always the case in our world.
God also created viruses. We typically think of a virus as being only harmful; but there are beneficial viruses that assist in the development of our immune systems, and others that destroy harmful bacteria or even other dangerous viruses.
“Medical Definition of Virus,” a virus is “a microorganism that is smaller than a bacterium that cannot grow or reproduce apart from a living cell. A virus invades living cells and uses their chemical machinery to keep itself alive and to replicate itself. It may reproduce with fidelity or with errors (mutations); this ability to mutate is responsible for the ability of some viruses to change slightly.”
Notice the part about reproducing with errors (mutations). A built-in capacity to become modified was a part of the original viruses God created.
Why Does God Allow Evil and Suffering?
A world cursed and cut off from God
Also remember that ever since the first humans rejected God’s authority (see Genesis 3), the world has been cut off from God and not functioning under His rule.
As Christ told His disciples shortly before His death, “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me” (John 14:30). The ruler of this world is Satan, from whose mind all the evils and suffering of this world have sprung.
This world of futility will be replaced by a better world
Romans 8:20-21 describes this current world in contrast to a perfect world that is coming in the future, with the establishment of God’s Kingdom on earth:
“For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”
God allowed the creation to be “subjected to futility” and under the “bondage of corruption” because mankind rejected His rule and the blessings it brought. God allowed the creation to be “subjected to futility” and under the “bondage of corruption” because mankind rejected His rule and the blessings it brought. But when Jesus Christ returns and God’s rule is restored on earth, the world will be freed from “futility” and “corruption”—as mankind learns to obey God and enjoy the blessings obedience brings.
“The LORD will take away from you all sickness”
After God delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt, He told them, “Then it shall come to pass, because you listen to these judgments, and keep and do them, that the LORD your God will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers. And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock, in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you.
“You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be a male or female barren among you or among your livestock. And the LORD will take away from you all sickness” (Deuteronomy 7:12-15).
The perfect, ingenious Designer has built into His creation the dynamic—or law—of cause and effect, which is predicated upon His eternal, living laws. In ways far above our understanding, the bottom line is that when God’s laws are obeyed, the creation is in harmonious balance and provides health, happiness and every good thing. When God’s laws are defied, the intricate balance of those wondrous systems breaks down, and every unpleasant consequence results.
Yes, God created viruses, but no, COVID-19 is not His fault
Did God create the virus that causes COVID-19? Yes and no. Yes, God originally created viruses as part of His astoundingly intricate—and good—creation. But the novel coronavirus—and its rapid global spread—came about as a result of the capacity for viruses to become modified, along with a world cursed by the consequences of sin and led by its ruler, Satan the devil.
In this world, the wonderful balance God intended for His creation has been devastated on many levels. In the world to come, that balance will be restored as part of the future “restoration of all things” (Acts 3:21).
COVID-19 is yet another reason we should pray daily, “Your kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10)
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