• Philip

One Virus, Two Gods

I've been thinking. Why is Covid-19 (Coronavirus) generating so much fear in the world? What is it about this particular virus that is causing nations to react in such radical ways to stop it? Don't get me wrong. I'm not criticising the approach, or trying to argue against the need to act. But why is it that it's become such a huge thing when the numbers involved are, comparatively, quite small when looked at in relation to other viruses and bacterial infections that affect the world on a daily basis? I'm not one to over-spiritualise things (although I definitely agree that there is a spiritual dimension to our world), but I've started to wonder if the level of reaction has something to do with it challenging two of the most powerful gods of our time: science and money. The god of science likes to put forward the impression that it can solve any problem; even that one day it will solve the problem of dying and enable us to choose whether we want to continue living or not, and in what form. At the root of that has to be an ability to minimise or remove the impact of anything that kills us. It's an attractive god, because if you're unsure of what the bigger picture is of life, or its purpose, or what happens after you die, then anything that promises to delay that point when physical life ends is a hopeful proposition. Medical science has achieved many wonderful things: elimination of smallpox, vaccines against many different diseases, penicillin, sterile operating environments, all of which help to prolong life. But here's something for which it doesn't currently have an answer. Something that threatens its ability to deliver on its apparent promise. Again, don't get me wrong - science is a wonderful expression of God's creativity, a way to help understand the 'how' of this created universe, and I'm really grateful for all that it's accomplished so far. I genuinely hope that scientists can develop a vaccine for Covid-19. But it's not God. Ultimately it can't save us, release us, know us, or love us. But Covid-19 is challenging it, showing it to be currently impotent, and no god likes that. The god of money is something that Jesus spoke about, as did the prophets before him. How quickly did the reporting about the virus shift from the human cost in lives to the financial impact on the markets? Did you notice the change in direction from talking about the health impact of the outbreak to the productivity impact in industry and finance? The god of money, or Mammon, doesn't like being displaced by care for people or concern for one another, and so it used fear - fear of loss of earnings, fear of reduced dividends and profits, to drive the market indices down as traders lost confidence in the growth engine of the far east. It's a fear of a lack of provision that is driving some behaviours like fighting over toilet roll in Australia. Just when humanity should be looking at how we can help one another, this fear of poverty, of lack of provision, is driving selfishness and even violence in how people interact with each other. Jesus said that it is the love of money that is evil, not money itself, and so it's the worship of Mammon that is again driving behaviours that are about trying to cling onto what we have or feel we should have rather than trusting in who God is, what he's done and looking to him to provide for what we need. Covid-19 does concern me. It sounds like it's a really nasty virus to contract, and for a few it's sadly deadly. But let's not get duped by the gods of science and money into thinking that they have the final say on what's important in life. Jesus is the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the God of all gods, and at His name every knee shall bow.

Let's pray for breakthrough, for healing, for peace, for stability, but let's also pray for people to discover a deep trust in His name, the name that releases us into eternal life and freedom from death.

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