Coronavirus: can we say if a disease or other disaster is a judgement from God?

Hi all

I live in Hong Kong. I get convicted about the current situation when I read the book of Jeremiah. The question is: do you think it is theologically sound to say that the current coronavirus is a judgement (or punishment if you think there is a difference) from God? What are the potential objections of this position?

Michael

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@Michael_Wong Good question :slight_smile: No, I do not think it is theologically sound to say that epidemics or natural disasters are direct judgments from God. The only way to know an event is a direct judgment from God is when God has sent a prophet who foretells the coming judgment—like Jonah who warned Nineveh or Isaiah/Jeremiah warning Israel.

In addition, Jesus made it clear on several occasions that when we try to determine when God is judging people through events we often get it wrong. Think also of Job, whose friends assumed God was judging him because of his suffering, but they were dead wrong. It is dangerous to try to connect the dots in this way unless God has done so explicitly.

Luke 13:1-5 - Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

John 9:1-3 - As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

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Hi @Michael_Wong I have been praying about your question for the past 24 hours and have been asking God to speak to me about this. I very much appreciate you bringing it up. I have come to the conclusion that it is not theologically sound to say that this current trial we are facing is a judgment from God.

I believe the same about the recent fires in Australia. The danger I see here is that some Christians who recently said the bushfires were God’s judgment put us on the wrong side of history once again and negatively effected our witness. Some other examples of this throughout history have been when Christians were saying the Sun travels around the Earth or that Adolf Hitler was the Anti-Christ.

I hope this answer has been useful. I am trying to learn to be an evangelist and I have learned that I need to be very careful not to put words in Gods’ mouth unless I am 100% sure, as it has done more damage than good. Even though I move in the gifts regularly I need to do so with wisdom. I have learned this the hard way :disappointed_relieved:

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Thought provoking question which several answers have addressed so well. I would only add care that our response to others not hide the beauty of Grace. Sometimes in horrible situations comments are made regarding God’s judgment that seem so hurtful and ill timed. There is a tension and, as our pastor says, we must not wreck upon either side. Some may miss the Holiness of God and the appropriate fear that should come with sin and disobedience. For many, including myself, it may be harder to imagine grace. Sin and its effects on individuals, communities, nations and the planet is very bad news. When the bad is fully apparent it is a timely opportunity for the message of grace and hope to be even more meaningful to the hurting. That said calls to repentance must be made as well. Would appreciate others thoughts on the balance.

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