Did God send us coronavirus?

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Did God send us coronavirus?

Within most of the religious confessions, a minority of people say God has sent coronavirus as a punishment.[1] However, many others have been quick to explain that this is not true at all.[2] Nevertheless, it can be argued that we are living in an apocalyptic time. In fact, many ecologists argue the same. They say we have to turn to a better way of life in order to avoid disasters. A common explanation for the Covid-19 pandemic is that nature takes revenge on what we imposed on it.[3]

This explanation is similar to some apocalyptic testimonies that we know from ancient times. Some of these testimonies can be found in the Bible. We will look at the biblical interpretations of calamities in order to find parallels with current explanations.

What we find in the Bible
In the Bible book Genesis is written that after the flood that destroys everything except Noah and his ark, God tells him he will never do something like this again.[4] In the New Testament,[5] Jesus explains that those who died from a larger event were not guiltier than others were. According to the Bible, God therefore promises not to destroy almost all of humankind again.

Nevertheless, God often intervenes in the Old Testament through devastating plagues. For example, when the pharaoh is stubborn, he has to be forced by God’s hand to free the Hebrews.[6] His people become invaded by frogs and locusts, a plague comes on all the animals, and sickness, darkness, and death come on the Egyptians. Later, God acts in the same way towards his own people, wanting to destroy them because they have angered him and because they have done what is evil.[7] In fact, the people of Israel were exiled during the fifth century BC. How is this understandable?

A clue to understanding those biblical passages
The Hebrews had to think about the reasons for their misfortune when they were exiled: God had promised them multiple benedictions through the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), and now they were far away from home, their people nearly destroyed. The later writings of the Old Testament are probably a testimony of those reflections.[8] There was an alliance between God and his people, but they breached it. They forgot God and they made sacrifices to other gods. They did not listen to the prophets saying they had to change their lives. Therefore, God allowed their enemies to invade them and to send them into exile. Only when they turned to the one God again, they were allowed to go back to their land.

A new interpretation through collapsology[9]
There are parallels between ideas about the current coronavirus situation and the situation of the Hebrews in the Old Testament: a disaster came to us, and we want to know why, in order to avoid a next similar disaster. As we said above, some minorities argue that God sent coronavirus to us, whereas others say it is only mechanical.[10] Collapsologists and many ecologists say disasters come and will come following our ecologically non-responsible behaviour. Global climate change comes from trends such as mass consumption and extensive travelling. It leads to floods, tsunamis, and the extinction of species.[11] Extensive travelling also makes it easy for a virus to spread. Collapsologists and other ecologists say we have to reduce our gas emissions and to change our way of life. If we do not, the situation will only get worse.

How not to see the parallels to the biblical stories of the Hebrews? The Hebrews said the problem was their devotion to other gods than their God. Collapsologists say we have given priority to consumption and well-being rather than to our planet. The Hebrews said they had to turn back to the God who had given them the clues on how to live in a good way – the commandments. Collapsologists say we have to turn to a healthy way of life – an environment-friendly behavior.[12]

The question of the prophets of the Old Testament, who try to understand their situation and to give clues for the future, becomes the question of the collapsologists: will we stop sacrificing to the gods of economics, money, consumption, travel, and science? In fact, the collapsologists ask for conversion, in a similar way to the Hebrews.

Emilie Eyer

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[1] For example: Coronavirus: Pour l’Etat Islamique, la pandémie est un “châtiment divin”
Israeli rabbi: Coronavirus outbreak is divine punishment for gay pride parades
Coronavirus is punishment by God, best cure is to pray: Samajwadi Party MP | City
Rick Wiles Says God Is Spreading the Coronavirus in Synagogues as Punishment for Opposing Jesus
Is Coronavirus A Punishment From God? (Catholic Chastisement)
[2] For example: Dieu nous a-t-il envoyé le coronavirus
La situation du coronavirus, est ce que c’était écrit dans la bible que nous allions vivre ça ?
Le coronavirus comme « punition divine » ? Une autre lecture spirituelle et philosophique
[3] Covid-19 et la tentation eschatologique
[4] Genesis 9
[5] Luke 13
[6] Exodus 10
[7] 2 Kings 21, 13-15
[8] Römer, Macchi, Nihan (ed), Introduction à l’Ancien Testament, Paris, Labor et Fides, 2009².
[9] Collapsology.
[10] Vatican official: Coronavirus “not God’s punishment, but our own self-punishment”
[11] Vital Signs of the Planet
[12] Coronavirus, Bible et théories de l’effondrement