Where is God in a Coronavirus World?

@Interested_In_Ask_RZIM, @Interested_in_Evangelism,

This Wednesday, April 8, at 7pm EDT, join Prof John Lennox and Michael Ramsden for a discussion and Q&A!

We’ve been collecting your questions for this event and can’t wait to hear from these two deep Christian thinkers.

We’ll stream it here in RZIM Connect, on our Facebook page, and on our YouTube channel.

Check back tonight for the video embedded right here for an RZIM Connect watch party!

Please also take a second to share the event with your friends on Facebook.

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My question is: In this time of pandemic like the Coronavirus, how science and faith works together? How should someone find balance on these two?

Doms, from the Philippines

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@CarsonWeitnauer I am so excited to watch this! Can’t wait!

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Hello Friends! Welcome to the livestream and live discussion about John Lennox and Michael Ramsden’s discussion on Where is God in a Coronavirus World?

As you are watching, hop into the discussion with anything that you hear that stands out, with any thoughts that you have, or with any questions that you might want to engage with the other listeners here! You can join into the conversation by posting here in this thread!

As we are getting ready to hear this conversation, what are you most interested to hear John and Michael address?

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This is right now! Good morning everyone.

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We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

An apropos C.S. Lewis quote for our time! May it be true!

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I am going to focus on the chat in the Youtube. Don’t have the ability to do both :smiley:

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I find this to be such an encouragement, that in Jesus we find such an answer to each of our questions, whether intellectual question, emotional questions, existential questions, practical questions, and ultimately the ultimate questions!

I find John’s thoughts to be a great challenge as well: we can work to tease apart the various questions that we encounter to show how each type of question we encounter is answered in the person of Christ!

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God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart.

Charles Spurgeon, as quoted by John in his book

What a helpful and wonderful reminder!

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What a great conversation! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Please feel free to keep the conversation going here in this thread, even now that the livestream has ended.

Here is a link to John’s book if you are interested:

https://www.thegoodbook.com/where-is-god-in-a-coronavirus-world

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A comment I hear frequently from Christians that was not addressed as to the emphasis on the world out there but is the issue of this being the end times. Hasn’t that been the conversation through the black plague to World War 1 & 2? What are all of your thoughts on that?

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I caught some of this while fixing dinner, picking up while Mr. Lennox was talking about Mary and Martha. I hadn’t considered Martha as the intellectual sort! Hearing Mr. Lennox point out her responses did convey she was a matter of fact kind of girl. Why does logic (faulty or not) seem to war against faith?!

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This entire Q&A was absolutely amazing. I just started reading his book Determined To Believe? last night; how timely, given that he discussed the issue of free will in regards to one of Michael’s questions! I, too, firmly believe that you cannot discuss morality, responsibility, and evil without overlapping into the concept(s) of free will.

Some of my favourite points discussed:

  • As previously stated, free will.
  • The humble position of admitting that we do not know for certain what God’s ultimate intentions with COVID-19 are. Unlike the plagues in the Old Testament, for instance, we do not have a written, authoritative message from God revealing his ultimate goals with COVID-19. We must, therefore, seek grace and strive to learn what we can from it.
  • Jesus’ encounters at Lazarus’ graveyard met two very different needs:

Martha needed an intellectual issue addressed, and Jesus did so by proclaiming that he

is the resurrection.

Likewise, Mary needed an emotional issue addressed by seeing Jesus weep with her over the death of Lazarus.

  • The very astute observation of the insufficiency of the atheistic answer to the problem of evil; that is to say, even with the assumption of no God, our situation does not improve in the universe, and our lives are quite ultimately hopeless.
  • The stark and unsettling contrast that karma holds in comparison to Christianity.

The entire Q&A was excellent, as all discourses are with RZIM! Not only do the RZIM staff teach me the most about apologetics, but they also explicate Scripture with astonishing insight, the likes of which I do not find often!

Blessings, everyone!

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I appreciated the point Mr. Lennox made about a world without (flaws, basically) was a world without us.

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Leah,
I, too, had not considered Martha as an intellectual sort, but one who was very practical and “here and now” sort of individual. I would have considered Mary an intellectual “sitting at Jesus’ feet” learning. I’m going back to the passage to glean from it. Dr. Lennox’s statement about that made me sit up and listen a little more closely to all he was saying. Thank you for your comment.

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I missed it live do to a power outage here but watched it later. It was a blessing to see all the insight pulled from the story of Lazarus. And the two perspectives of Mary and Martha one in need of answers and one in emotional need. Some have asked about the end times perspective on Covid 19 and its correlation.

I have gotten many questions about that as well and much in emails linking the two to apocalyptic events, our no I wont say our, my take is that many try to link the two and it is possible. For each of us our when could happen any time.

Right now many hearts are failing for fear, and the video helped me and many to see more clearly. God bless be safe and abide in Him.
Mike

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Does anyone have an answer to my question as, in my world, t is so prevalent. Don’t you guys face the same issue?

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Hi @Tim_Ramey,

I think Lennox spoke most clearly to this here.

Lennox remarks that some plagues in the Bible are God’s judgment. So, if God tells us that a particular plague is his judgment, then we have his word for it. But we don’t have that clarity of revelation from him for COVID-19 or the Black Death.

Lennox goes on to say that we do, however, have Jesus’ comments in Luke 13.

"Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

Lennox’s take-away is that ‘we must be very careful before we ascribe pandemics or anything else to the judgment of God.’

Further, from a skeptical perspective, Lennox explains that when we tell others this is God’s judgment, that comes across as a rather arrogant conclusion. Who do you think you are…? This approach doesn’t help the skeptic consider what God might be doing in this time.

What’s better is to ask, together, “What can we learn from this?”

I would just add one footnote to Lennox’s comments in light of your particular question. I think we need to be slowed down and even stopped by repeated reflection on Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24:36:

But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.

If no one knows then it seems to me that any commentary on the matter can only be speculation. If someone argues, ‘yes, this is the start of the end times’ or that is countered with, ‘no, it isn’t,’ either way, Jesus has told us we don’t know the day or hour.

While we long to have certainty on God’s timing, he hasn’t seen fit to give that to us.

Rather, as Jesus goes on in Matthew 24:44,

Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Let’s press on to love God and love our neighbors in this time. When Jesus returns we’ll know soon enough.

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Carson, where I am coming from are Christians that have posed the question regarding the anti-Christ etc. It’s the scripture references in Revelation as well as the prophet’s intentions of 2Ch 7:14 “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

I am not one promoting that the end is here but don’t we meet the criteria mentioned in 2 Chr 7:14? This is much different than the judgements on a select few where they are warned of judgements personally. I understand what John Lennox is saying. I am paralyzed from a firefighting accident. I am sinful but it was not due to judgement upon me. But when it is so widespread, is it not a wake-up call?

I’ve been a bother regarding the prayer issue but I think I do heed what 2 Chronicles 7 is saying. I think we need revival and it starts in what it says in Chronicles - with His people who are called by His name. It starts with the church - not the world. Is the Lord not shaking this sleeping giant to wake up?

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