God and Coronavirus

With the global Coronavirus pandemic (more specifically, COVID-19), it raises the prospect of god and evil.

The problem of evil is one of the oldest and most persistent in all religious debate.
Epicurus is credited with the first formulation of this problem at around 300 BCE with his Epicurean Paradox or Trilema:

  1. Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
  2. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
  3. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?

Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

An omni-benevolent god would want to prevent something like coronavirus.
An omniscient god would know every way in which coronavirus could be prevented.
An omnipotent god would have the power to prevent coronavirus from coming into existence in the first place.
Therefore, a god who knows every way in which coronavirus can be prevented, who is able to prevent it from coming into existence, and who wants to do so would prevent the existence of coronavirus.

And yet, coronavirus exists, and by acknowledging this fact, we refute the existence of said god.

The most common religious attempt to defend against this problem is to claim that evils like coronavirus is caused by humans, not by god, and that humans were granted free will by god because he wanted them to choose good over evil of their own accord.

The problem with this defense is that if god granted humans free will, knowing full well (by means of his timeless omniscience) that this would produce things like coronavirus, then it cannot be said that god didn’t knowingly create coronavirus. He just deliberately created it through humans, knowing in advance what would happen. This escapes neither god’s plan nor his deliberate, knowledgeable doing. It would be like a novelist blaming the characters he himself created for supposedly breaking away from what he wanted them to do.

 

Get the Debating Religion book now and start debunking common religious arguments in real time. This is a practical hand-book comprised of short segments that introduce common religious arguments followed by bullet-point replies that debunk them—simply, quickly, straight to the point.

ACX image

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “God and Coronavirus

  1. Shallow. If you haven’t read further on this topic you aren’t going to convince anyone with a passing read of CS Lewis “The Problem of Pain” or “A Grief Observed” let alone actual trained theologians. Even the average Christian knows the Bible starts with the premise that the ‘creation’ is ‘fallen’.

    If you’re going to put up a website like this find people of substance to write stuff for you. Otherwise seekers will just google the obvious Judeo-Christian responses that have existed for millienia. It’s like Sam Harris rabbiting on about the evil in the world and starving children etc as if he’s the first person to ever have thought of this problem. Guess what, it’s foundational in Scripture, in church fathers, in modern re-popularisers.

    So to leave such a shallow article up really does no good.

    1. // Even the average Christian knows the Bible starts with the premise that the ‘creation’ is ‘fallen’.//
      Justifying biblical claims by means of biblical claims is a perfectly circular argument.
      Please try again.

  2. Good point. But Christianity is largely (at least outside your country) not about memorising Bible verses and dogma, but about wrestling with deep questions about how we should live and interpreting all the questions like “Why is there something other than nothing?” and “Why is mathematics so effective” and trying to understand things like Godel’s incompleteness theory.

    Careful with painting straw-persons, they get quickly recognised by the thoughtful people amongst the believers.

    1. I’m not sure which country you think I live in, but logic works universally.
      People have the right to subjectively wonder and ponder all they like. I do a good amount of it myself. But what you cannot do, at least without people debunking you, is make false, illogical, objective truth claims about the world we live in.

Leave a Reply to Jonathan Gunnell Cancel reply