I suppose it was going to happen sooner or later. There are some who are saying the coronavirus is a judgment sent from God on wayward America, and there are probably more wondering if it is.
Of course, we here in America are not the only nation suffering, and experiencing judgment, if that is the case, but a contagion like this tends to make Americans more self-centered than they already are.
I like the answer Tim Keller gave to that question, is the coronavirus a judgment from God? He said “yes” and “no.” That is, the answer is more “nuanced” than can be answered with a simple yes or no.
We do not know what Creation was like prior to Adam and Eve introducing sin and evil into the universe. But it was probably very much different than it is now. When they fell to the tempter’s lie they died spiritually and their sin nature infected their offspring. Physical death followed, in some cases by disaster and disease, all because Edenic perfection had been subjected to imperfection.
So death and its many causes are God’s judgment on a fallen human race that has followed their first parents in the similitude of their rebellion to God.
Keller explains, “It’s just a way, I do think, for God to try to wake us up and to say, please make sure you’re right with me. Please think, think about, you know, where you are. So there’s a sense in which all these kinds of disasters are a judgment, but a judgment that’s not on the people who are suffering.”
Death is something that is common to everyone; nobody gets out of this life alive. Death is not something to fear; it’s just something we should prepare for.
Jesus said, “Do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish,” Luke 13:4. Jesus uses what was evidently a well-known tragic accident to make the point that death comes unexpected, don’t be unprepared.
So death, whatever form it takes is a judgment, but more than that it is a warning. The writer of Hebrews said, “it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,” Hebrews 9:27. This is the judgment one should be concerned about because “each one of us will give an account of himself to God,” Romans 14:12.
A tombstone had this poem etched on it: Listen my friend/as you pass by/as you are now/so once was I. As I am now/so you shall be/prepare for death/and follow me. Someone scrawled under it; To follow you/I am not content/for how do I know/which way you went.
One death, two very different destinations. Be warned; be prepared.