Is the coronavirus pandemic an “act of God” as some claimed HIV/AIDS, Hurricane Katrina, the Black Death, and the Mt. Vesuvius eruption were?
So far, I haven’t heard anyone say so. But then, Jerry Falwell is dead. The pope knows better. And the doddering Pat Robertson has “underlying conditions.” He could be next. He’s sweatin’ Bibles.
Back in the day, when I was an apologist for theism, the categorical claim “act of God” made me bristle. What’s up with that? Does God only wreak havoc? Why are only floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and pestilences “acts of God”? What about a gorgeous day? Can’t that be an “act of God”?
Surely God needs a better PR department, I thought. Where were the Mad Men when God needed them?!
I heard of an Australian fisherman who lost his boat to a lightning strike. It wasn’t a leisure boat. It was his livelihood.
The insurance company refused payment since the strike was an “act of God.” The fisherman sued the church hierarchy. After all, they claimed to be God’s representatives on earth.
The case went to court.
For thousands of years, God was the only explanation for every unknown. And for just as long, God was the only hope of mitigation. Many looked to God for deliverance from pandemics and pestilences. Now most of us look to science for explanations and mitigation.
Still, I’m not ruling God out of this pandemic. Not quite yet.
Let’s say this pandemic is an “act of God” like “the plagues of Egypt.” Who, then, would be the blustery, belligerent, bully Pharaoh, who thinks he’s all powerful and all knowing, holding sway over the world? Who needs to be humbled?
I’m pretty sure it’s not Tom Hanks.
See Paula’s photograph on the home page.