Coronavirus: Oxford professor from NI says Christianity offers hope in Covid-19 crisis

A new book by an Oxford professor from Northern Ireland explores how a Christian worldview may help us make sense of the Covid-19 crisis.

Tuesday, 7th April 2020, 4:14 pm
Professor John Lennox.

John Lennox has been part of numerous public debates defending the Christian faith against people like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Peter Singer.

His book, which was written in one week, was published on Monday by the Good Book Company. In it, he attempts to answer the question ‘Where Is God In A Coronavirus World?’

He writes: “Nowadays, fewer and fewer people have any God-dimension whatsoever in their lives. Since all over the world churches are being closed in order to limit the spread of the virus, many are asking where God is — that is, if he is there at all?”

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Prof Lennox talks of two different evils in the world – moral evil and natural evil: “The coronavirus outbreak seems to be a case of natural evil (although moral evil lurks nearby in selfish panic buying and hoarding of food).

“Inevitably, conspiracy theorists will seek to put the blame on some human agent.

“Humans are involved in virus transmission, but not deliberately or selfishly — and the main presumption is that the virus jumped from animals to humans. That said, there is evidence that the authorities in China initially suppressed reports of a potentially devastating new virus.”

He said he hoped those reading the book would gain “an understanding why Christians are able to speak confidently about hope and to feel a sense of peace, even in a world of uncertainty in which death has suddenly loomed closer”.

He argued that not all suffering is God’s punishment for personal sin: “Beware of anyone who interprets pain caused by natural evil as a divine punishment. But equally, beware also of anyone who says that God has nothing to say through this pandemic, particularly to Western societies that have largely turned their back on him as culturally irrelevant.”

Addressing the worldview of atheists that coronavirus supports the belief that there is no God, he said: “Removing God from the equation does not remove the pain and suffering. It leaves them untouched. But removing God does remove something else — namely, any kind of ultimate hope.”

He comments: “Perhaps the coronavirus might function as a huge loudspeaker, reminding us of the ultimate statistic: that one out of every one of us dies.

“If this induces us to look to the God we may have ignored for years, but who wore a crown of thorns in order to bring us back into relationship with himself and into a new, unfractured world beyond death, then the coronavirus, in spite of the havoc it has wreaked, will have served a very healthy purpose.”

Prof John Lennox ‘Where Is God In A Conronavirus World?’ is available via www.thegoodbook.co.uk/where-is-god-in-a-coronavirus-world

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