Corona QnA: How can I make sense of what's happening?
Everyone, at some level, is trying to understand what is happening in our world today. The internet has provided us with a slew of information, but how do we discern the truth from the falsehoods, how can we make sense of the information and then redirect our response accordingly?
In formulating a thoroughly biblical and Christian understanding, it is essential that we recognize the two major categories of truth we are dealing with: 1) material truth and 2) spiritual truth. Put another way, there are scientific, naturalistic explanations for what is happening in our world today and there are spiritual, theological explanations for what is happening. It seems obvious to me that many Christians are having trouble reconciling these two categories of truth into a unified response. So on the one hand we have Christians taking their cue from the bible and talking about God’s judgement on the world, biblical prophesy, and God’s sovereignty. Mixed into these spiritual explanations are some biblical falsehoods which are calling for faith in God’s special anointing, or miraculous protection, or special healing, which would render believers immune to this virus and make any form of quarantine, social distancing, or hygiene, not only irrelevant, but an act of faithlessness and spiritual apostasy. On the other hand, we have Christian doctors and scientists speaking of mortality rates, incubation periods and “flattening the curve” and calling for a response to this pandemic which makes God insignificant, if not irrelevant to the containment of this pandemic. The average Christian is left feeling somewhat schizophrenic. Put simply, what do prayer meetings have to do with disease containment methods? How should Christians brings these two categories of truth together into a unified and God-honouring response?
“Science” comes from the Latin word meaning “having knowledge.” The Christian and the Scientist are therefore in pursuit of the same thing, an accurate knowledge and understanding of the world. A comprehensive and accurate understanding of any phenomenon must take into account both the material and the physical. Medical science can help us appreciate what the Bible means when it says “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps 139:14), and it can give us great insight into how I was “woven together in my mother’s womb” (Ps 139:13). But it must sit at the feet of Scripture to learn why we were made or how our bodies should be used to glorify the One who made us. “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Cor 6:19-20). A person is both body and soul, material and spiritual. While medical science can tell us much about the physical nature of man, it cannot enquire into the nature and functioning of the soul. And yet, no accurate and comprehensive understanding of man can ignore such a significant component of our being. Neither will it do for us to treat these two natures independently, as if they are not united in one whole person (Gen 2:7). So, how can we combine a scientific explanation of this pandemic with a biblical one such that we can glorify God in our bodies, with our minds and by our response? In part 1 of this “mini-series” I will seek to provide a material explanation, in part 2 a biblical perspective and in part 3 a synthesis which aims at a holistic, God-glorifying response.
As you wait with baited breath for the next three parts, meditate on this reality: You are living in God’s world, God’s universe. The universe as God has created it is composed of both the material and the spiritual, the seen and the unseen, the temporal and the eternal, heaven and earth. Are you processing this pandemic taking His reality into account?