How are we to make sense of the coronavirus pandemic that has dramatically changed our world? Where is God in all this, and why would he allow this to happen? On this program, Shane Rosenthal talks with Oxford mathematician John Lennox about the way people from a variety of worldviews have attempted to deal with the problem of pain, and why Christianity offers the best solution. His latest book is titled Where is God in a Coronavirus World?
Dr. John Lennox: I think atheism is illogical because if you take it to its logical conclusion, it undermines the very rationality we need to do science or to conduct any form of argument whatsoever. So, I reject it. But on the practical side, I think it’s quite important to say this, at least, that for my atheist friends, atheism removes an intellectual problem. “This is just what the universe is like.” But I also notice it removes all hope and because it denies anything after death, anything transcendent, no God, then there is absolutely no hope. It is a hopeless worldview and, of course, if it’s true, we’ve got to accept that. But as I watch the brave people that are fighting on the front line against the coronavirus, and trace back the legacy that Christianity has given us in this world… hospitals, hospices and all these kinds of things actually came from the Christian faith originally. Here are people offering hope, bringing hope. Is that all an illusion? No, I don’t think so, because I feel then, on the positive side, there are major evidences that Christianity is actually true.
Term to Learn
“Depression-Anxiety in the Psalms”
The Psalms treat depression more realistically than many of today’s popular books on Christianity and psychology. David and other psalmists often found themselves deeply depressed for various reasons. They did not, however, apologize for what they were feeling, nor did they confess it as sin. It was a legitimate part of their relationship with God. They interacted with Him through the context of their depression.
(Steve and Robyn Bloem, Broken Minds: Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You’re Losing It, p. 204)
Through the psalms God allows us as his children to scream out our most agonizing questions in his presence: ‘Why, O Lord?’ ‘How long, O Lord?’ ‘O Lord, where is your former great love?’ Such language is not off limits in prayer, but is welcomed by a Father who, somewhere in his mysterious love, has a place for suffering. The psalms help us get through those dark valleys of perplexity where God cannot be seen and his ways cannot be understood.
Then God graciously gives the eye of faith to penetrate the darkness of the cross in the light of the resurrection. Faith enables us to be certain of what we cannot see (Heb. 11:1). As the eye of faith peers up into heaven, it gazes upon him who is now crowned with glory because he suffered. It views the nail-scarred hands of him who ‘suffered for [us], leaving [us] an example, that [we] should follow in his steps’ (1 Pet. 2:21). It sees him saying, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt. 16:24).
(Mark D. Futato, “Suffering as the Path to Glory: The Book of Psalms Speaks Today,” Modern Reformation March/April 1999, Vol. 8 No. 2)