Coronavirus Q & A and the Bible

The following is a Coronavirus Q & A session I did for our church this week answering the following five questions about coronavirus and the Bible:

1. Is the coronavirus God’s judgment for sin on the earth?
2. If God is all-good and all-powerful, why doesn’t he stop the suffering?
3. Why do Christians sometimes get sick and die?
4. Does the coronavirus mean that Jesus is coming back soon?
5. How does God want me to respond to the coronavirus?

Coronavirus Q & A (Video length: 20:30)


1. Is the coronavirus God’s judgment for sin on the earth?

This is an important question that deserves a careful answer. And it really depends on what you mean by the question.

For example, if you mean by the question, is the coronavirus part of God’s general judgment for sin on the earth, then the answer is yes. The Bible tells us that this world is under a curse for sin, and the whole creation waits for that curse to be lifted. We read in Romans 8:20-21: “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Romans 8:20-21)

This is the reason why we have hurricanes, earthquakes, sickness and tsunamis. The world is under the curse and judgment of sin and awaits its full restoration when Christ returns. So, if you mean by the question, is the coronavirus part of God’s general judgment for sin on the earth, then the answer is definitely yes.

Now, if you mean by the question, is the coronavirus God’s specific judgment for specific sin, then the answer is, “We don’t know.” We don’t know because we don’t know the mind of God, and God has not sent us a prophet to reveal his mind on this specific issue. So, we don’t know. It could be a specific judgment for specific sin. Or it could just be part of God’s general judgment for sin on the earth.

Another thing we need to keep in mind is that all the temporary judgments we experience here on earth point forward to the final judgment. They are a reminder that this world in its present form is passing away. And they are a warning of the judgment to come. Especially when we experience a worldwide phenomenon like the coronavirus, this is meant as a reminder and a warning that the whole world will stand before God for judgment one day.

So, is the coronavirus God’s judgment for sin on the earth? Yes, in the general sense that the whole world is under a curse for sin. We don’t know if it is a specific judgment for specific sin. But it is meant as a reminder and a warning that there is a final judgment for sin to come.

2. If God is all-good and all-powerful, why doesn’t he stop the suffering?

There has been so much suffering that has come as a result of the coronavirus. There is the physical suffering of those who have contracted the disease. There is the emotional suffering of those who have lost loved ones. There is the social suffering of loneliness and the pain of isolation. There is the economic suffering of those who have lost income and jobs. There is a lot of suffering that has come along with the coronavirus.

So, the question is asked: “If God is all-good and all-powerful, why doesn’t he stop the suffering?” If God is all-good, then he wouldn’t want anyone to suffer, and if God is all -powerful, then surely he could stop the suffering. So why doesn’t he?

Now, it’s important to realize that this is not a new question that has suddenly popped up because of the coronavirus. This is an old question that comes up all the time whenever there is human suffering, whether from sickness or hunger or natural disasters or human evil. And the reason it come up again and again is that it is a very difficult question for us to answer. We know God is all-good. And we know God is all-powerful. So why doesn’t he end the suffering?

We’ve already learned that suffering in the world is a result of sin. If there were no sin, there would be no suffering. In Genesis 1-2, before sin entered the world, there was no suffering. And in Revelation 21-22, after sin is taken care of, we find that suffering will be removed. So, in the first two chapters in the Bible and the last two chapters in the Bible, there is no suffering. Why? Because there is no sin. In between those chapters what do we find? A whole lot of suffering, and a whole lot of sin.

And so, part of the answer to this question is that God will end the suffering one day. One day Christ will return. All sin will be judged, and there will be a new heaven and earth where there will be no more suffering or sickness or sorrow.

So why doesn’t God do that now? Why doesn’t God end this present world now and bring in the new world without any suffering? The answer is because God is patient and is waiting for people to repent. We read in 2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

When the time is right, Christ will return. The world will be judged, and sorrow and suffering will cease. In the meantime, God is with us in our suffering and helps us in our suffering. In Christ God left the perfect world of heaven and entered our world of suffering when he sent his Son, Jesus, into our world as a human being. Jesus came to live with us, to share in our suffering and to die for our sins.

God is all-good. He is all-powerful. God loves you so much he sent his Son, Jesus, to suffer and die for you. Jesus will return, and when he does, he will make all things right in his perfect time.

3. Why do Christians sometimes get sick and die?

The question here is really this. Even if sickness is part of God’s general judgment for sin on the earth, why then do Christians get sick and die. Hasn’t Jesus already paid the price for our sin? Doesn’t God give his children special protection?

If you are a Christian, yes, Jesus has already paid the price for your sin. And yes, God does give his children special protection. Trust me, when you get to heaven you will be astounded and grateful for all the times God protected you here on earth that you didn’t even know about.

And yet as Christians we still live in a fallen world. The Bible tells us we are not exempt from suffering. In fact, it tells us just the opposite.

If we go back to Romans 8, the passage we looked at earlier that speaks of the suffering of creation, it specifically says that as Christians we also experience that same suffering. We read in Romans 8:22-23: “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” (Romans 8:22-23)

We also need to recognize that Christians get sick or die as a result of God’s discipline in their lives. There were members of the Corinthian church who were sinning against God in the Lord’s Supper. Paul tells them in 1 Corinthians 11:30: “That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 11:30) If we sin without repentance, God may discipline us for our sin, and that discipline may include sickness or even death.

What about God’s promises of protection? We talked about that in our message this past Sunday from Psalm 91 on “Coronavirus and God’s Protective Care.” How do we interpret these beautiful promises of protection in Psalm 91? We saw that we need to be careful not to limit these promises to this life only. God’s promises apply to your whole life, your very brief life here on this earth as well as your eternal life in the new heavens and earth.

God has not promised you that you will never get sick or die. Instead, he has promised you something much better. He has promised you that he will watch over you and protect you and be with you no matter what happens in this life. When you are in Christ, you are completely safe. God will either keep you from the coronavirus, heal you from the coronavirus or take you safely home.

As Christians we live in a fallen world, and we are not exempt from sickness and suffering. But we have a God who watches over us and protects us and promises to work all things for good. This is the same God who sent his Son to die for us, and so we can trust him in all these things.

4. Does the coronavirus mean that Jesus is coming back soon?

This is another common question I have seen online. Another way I have seen it phrased is this: “Does the coronavirus mean that we are living in the last days?”

Actually, the Bible tells us we have been living in the last days ever since Jesus came into our world. We read in Hebrews 1:1-2: “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.” (Hebrews 1:1-12) So when God sent Jesus into the world, that is when the last days began – Christ’s birth, death, resurrection and ascension. And so, we have been living in the last days for the past two thousand years.

But Jesus also spoke about the signs that would point to his soon return. For example, he told us in Matthew 24:6-8: “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.” (Matthew 24:6-8) Wars and famines and plagues and natural disasters are all signs pointing towards Christ’s return.

Jesus said these signs are like birth pains. Well, what do we know about birth pains? At first, they are less severe and more spaced apart. But as the time gets nearer, they become closer together and more intense. And so, we can expect that as the time for Christ’s return draws nearer, that these signs will become more frequent and intense. And so, yes events like the coronavirus and wars and earthquakes and hurricanes and the locust invasion taking place in Africa right now – these are all pointing us towards Christ’s return.

Jesus said we cannot know the day or the hour of his return, but we can know the season. He said in Matthew 24:32-33: “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.” (Matthew 24:32-33)

Will Christ return soon? We don’t know. The birth pains appear to be more frequent and severe. But we also need to remember that: “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” (2 Peter 3:8) What is soon for the Lord may still be far away for us.

The Bible doesn’t tell us the day or the hour of Christ’s returning. What it does tell us is to be ready. God tells us to watch and pray, to look for Christ’s return, and to be ready when he comes. That is far more important than knowing for sure when Christ will return.

5. How does God want me to respond to the coronavirus?

Let me leave you with five words of application in the wake of this coronavirus. How does God want you to respond? 1) Repent; 2) Submit; 3) Trust; 4) Love; and 5) Grow.

1) Repent: First of all, God calls you to repent. The coronavirus along with all other disasters in the world are a sign of God’s coming judgment. Remember, why doesn’t God end the world right now? 2 Peter 3:9: “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

2) Submit: Secondly, God calls you to submit. Humble yourself before the Lord. Submit yourself to him. We read in Hebrews 12:7-9: “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!” (Hebrews 12:7-9)

3) Trust: Thirdly, we should trust. God loves you. He is watching over you. He is with you every step of the way. Go back to Psalm 91 and review God’s precious promises to you in Christ. (Psalm 91:1-16)

4) Love: Fourthly, love. Jesus said the greatest commandment is this: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’…. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-38) As far as I know, the Great Commandment has not been cancelled due to the coronavirus. So, love God, and love and pray for others. Do what you can to encourage and help others through this difficult time.

5) Grow: And then finally, grow. Ephesians 5:15-16 says: “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16) You have a unique opportunity during this time of shutdown to study God’s word and to grow in your faith. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to look through the list of online resources that we have provided for you during this shutdown. Just pick one and get started. You will find it is a good and wise use of your time.


Related links:
Message: “Coronavirus and God’s Protective Care” (Psalm 91)
Message: “God and Natural Disasters” (various scriptures)
Recommended Bible Study Resources