by Matt Slick
We cannot say for certain whether or not the coronavirus (covid 19, wuhan virus) is from God or not. It could be that God purposely sent it. But it could also be that it's just the natural outcome of the effect of sin in the world - i.e., the failure of the Communist Chinese government. Various plagues, famines, and earthquakes happen because sin has affected the world physically. Remember, sin entered the world through Adam (Rom. 5:12), and once sin was here, we have catastrophes, wars, disasters, famine, plagues, disease, etc. They often appear indiscriminately and affect both the saved and the non-saved, the weak and the strong, the young and the old.
Biblically, some plagues and afflictions were from God
But we knew in the Bible when certain things were from God because it would tell us. We know, for example, that God sent the 10 plagues upon Egypt while freeing the Jews (Joshua 24:5; Exodus 7:25; 8:14, 17; 9:3, 18, 31; 10:13, 22; 12:29). God warned of penalties of sickness upon the people of Israel for their hostility to God (Lev. 26:21) and their murmering against Him (Num. 11:31-33). God smote the Ashdodites with tumors because they had captured the Ark of God (1 Sam. 5:1-6). And, it is God who makes people mute, deaf, seeing, and blind," (Exodus 4:11). But again, without direct revelation from God, we cannot know whether anything is directly from his hand or the general result of sin in the world.
Is the coronavirus from God?
When we ask whether or not the coronavirus is sent from God, we can answer both yes and no. God is the ultimate cause of the virus, but not the efficient cause. Let me explain. The ultimate cause of anything is God because he is the one who 'ultimately' created the universe. Nothing would happen to us if the universe didn't exist, and it was God who brought the universe into existence. However, God is not the efficient cause of our actions. He does not put his hand on our hand, put our hand on the gun, make us pull the trigger, and then blame us. Instead, we are the efficient cause of our own actions. In other words, we are the ones who directly choose what we do, and we are the ones who are responsible for our actions. God is removed from being the efficient cause of our actions. Therefore, he is not responsible for them. We are. Nevertheless, God has ordained that the coronavirus occur. But, when I say 'ordain,' I must clarify that this does not necessarily mean that he directly caused it. It means that he willed to allow it to occur. After all, he works all things after the counsel of his will (Eph. 1:11).
But, we don't have prophets today who can tell us whether or not any particular thing that occurs is from God or not.
We cannot say with certainty that the coronavirus is from God. But we can say that God has definitely permitted it to occur. Our job as Christians is to be smart and practice self quarantining so that it would not spread. we should also pray for one another and seek to be available to help each other when necessary. Pray for the wisdom of the leaders in the government to do what is right. And, finally, don't forget to praise God during the bad times as well as the good. Trust him.