COVID-19 Nature’s Judgement?

The Pope is quoted by a British newspaper as saying the corona-virus pandemic is “certainly nature’s response” to our failures in regard to climate change. I am not Catholic and I am not too familiar with the person of the Pope and what he might mean by this comment but I do find it interesting and want to follow the idea he presented as I understand it. I see some issues here that many Christians might be grappling with and I hope to provide clarity about the times we find ourselves.  

In this article the Pope personalizes nature and speaks of nature as if nature is sentient. Now he must be simply speaking in the same way one might personalize a boat or car and that is fine except as leader of Catholic Christians it is confusing especially when there are other religions that believe in “mother nature” contrary to the Christian Church. There is only one God and he created the physical world that makes up nature. Further down in the article the Pope is quoted “Fires, earthquakes … nature is throwing a tantrum so that we will take care of her.” Nature is not a personal being and we might casually give nature a personality when speaking about issues like hurricanes and pandemics however our leaders should be much more precise.

20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. Romans 8:20-22 ESV

Paul writes that all of creation, the earth, the universe, animals, and people are groaning under the weight of corruption. Nature is in the same boat as men. Nature is not apart from human kind. All of the creation is under a curse that came from Adam and Eve. The creation is subject to God and God should be the focus when we look at death and destruction. The Pope asks why a pandemic? And his answer is because we are bad stewards of the earth. This may well be true but it is only a small truth not the full truth. My frustrations with the Pope’s comments beyond personalizing Nature in the way he has done is that he limits our response to God.

God is in control of nature. God controls the wind, waves, and pandemic. They all move according to his will. Even if we were perfect stewards of this earth, and the Bible tells us we can’t be because we are sinners, the Earth would still be groaning and decaying because “the creation was subjected to futility” by God himself. This earth, this life, this world, and even this universe is no longer permanent. Just as my body is aging and will die not matter how much I take care of it so too the earth is aging and will one day be destroyed.

7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. 2 Peter 2:7 ESV

 Modern man is no less able to hold back God’s hand in wind, waves, and pandemics, than those that came before us. The Pope is not wrong that bad stewardship brings physical consequences. However, we must also know that God never promised a life free of hardship, a life free of death, or a life free of pain. What God promised is that if we trust him here and now and submit to Jesus Christ that he will give us peace in the storm. The storms will rage but my hope and my peace remain because of God

While we are in the midst of the COVID-19 storm where does your trust turn? In the Creator of nature and the person of Jesus or in the fallen dying creation be it science, government, or nature?

Day 14 at Home in a COVID-19 World

We have made it to the end of a second week living mostly at home. The impact to the economy is starting to set in. My employer sent notification that all salaried employees will have reduced pay by 20% going forward. I am grateful to still have a job and a paycheck as I know many who have lost their jobs or the sales have evaporated to the point that there is no paycheck for the job at all. I am hosting Sunday morning small groups over video and audio calls. I must say it is good to see friends even if just on a video call. I miss everyone.

With the economy on standstill all eyes are turning to the government. The president and governors are holding daily briefings. And we all wait for what looks like another 14 days isolated and cutoff from daily community life. This all begs the question for me and for my fellow citizens. Do we listen, trust, and obey the government?

Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.  1 Peter 2:13-17 ESV

Peter in his letter to the church was reminding them that they were responsible to the authorities. If the authorities say stay home then I should stay home. Seems simple enough however I know who these authorities are. They are the likes of President Trump, Representative Pelosi, and our local state governors. My respect for many of these self-serving political people is not high. Yet God tells me I need to follow their orders as a citizen of this country as a matter of conscience at the very least.

God operates on a model of authority. God is the highest authority. As a child I submitted to the authority of my parents. I submit to the authority of my employer. I submit to the authority of my pastor. And I also submit to the authority of the government. The government I submit to for all its faults is a gentle loving organization compared to the Roman government that Peter asked the church to submit. Whatever I think of personalities running the show there is no way the current government today is more corrupt that the government of Rome with the likes of Nero running the show. So if this could be said in their time the it is doubly true today.

So, I continue to stay home honoring the request of the authorities.

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. Titus 3:1-2 ESV

Day 7 at Home in a COVID-19 World

My family has spent a week at home limited with only required trips to the store. All children’s activities, all sports programs, all in dining restaurant services, all church services have been canceled. I worry the lock down will become even more strenuous. For me this first week was not difficult as my job being in technology allows me the ability to work remote from home. I like to be at home and I like to be around my family. While the first week was enjoyable working from home it is clear that the longer, we as a society are forced to restrain our relational nature the more difficult isolation will make our lives. My wife worries about the sickness infecting our home. I worry about the financial ramification to the economy and the ability to pay bills.

With that in mind here are some Biblical thoughts on concerns, worry, and anxiety. Where is your trust placed?