What Does the Bible Say about Pandemics?

"As believers, we easily mistake these kinds of events and developments as 'signs of the end,' becoming anxious or sensational in our outlook. Jesus jettisons this perspective, though, saying the opposite – that when these things happen, 'the end is not yet' (Matt 24:6)." - P&D

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John E.'s picture

Not that C.S. Lewis "atomic bomb" quote again. It doesn't work as a parallel for Covid-19. I can't inadvertently give those who are at high risk an atomic bomb (I can't inadvertently give anyone an atomic bomb, for that matter). I can, however, inadvertently give them this virus. Lewis' advice is bad advice during a pandemic of a highly contagious virus.   

Bert Perry's picture

It strikes me that one major exception to Tom's point is that the Torah spends a fair amount of time discussing leprosy, and many are of the view that this includes any number of infectious skin diseases.  You've got any number of regulations about how to deal with this, and this would put a major crimp in the style of many towns that really functioned as de facto fortresses--you had to rip rocks out of the walls for mildew, put people with disease in quarantine, etc..

We might posit that if people did indeed follow the Torah (ha ha, I know), the ancients had pretty much the same tools in place that non-medical personnel have today for dealing with infectious diseases.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TOvermiller's picture

John, my apologies for responding so late. I didn't realize that SI had reposted me here until now.

Your point is well taken. We cannot "spread" an atomic bomb to other people as individuals, but we can most certainly spread this contagious virus.On that note, I would (nor would Lewis, I surmise) encourage people to ignore stay-at-home orders/guidance to go "out on the town" at this time. That said, I shared this quote to encourage level-headed sanity. In our scenario, we should certainly do all that we can to prevent the spread of the virus - yet we should, within those parameters in our context, do all that we can to maintain life as normal, not huddled up in fear watching breaking news analysis at all times of day and spreading conspiracy theories and unprofessional advice all over the internet Smile

Thomas Overmiller
Pastor | StudyGodsWord.com
Blog & Podcast | ShepherdThoughts.com

TOvermiller's picture

Jim wrote:

The CS Lewis is appropriate in it's full context! I'm sure that if he were alive today, that he would advocate obeying the government and sheltering in place. View the CS Lewis post two above

I agree with you!

Thomas Overmiller
Pastor | StudyGodsWord.com
Blog & Podcast | ShepherdThoughts.com

John E.'s picture

Except those that I've seen aren't sharing the larger quote. Nor are they sharing the atomic bomb bit with with an added contemporary application for our current context. They are simply sharing the atomic bomb bit. And, again, Lewis' words are bad advice for the here and now. Considering the large amount of conservatives who believe that our President is doing a good job at the moment, the spreading of Lewis' quote without contemporary application is not wise. It reinforces the nonsense they're hearing from Trump on a daily basis.

Jim's picture

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/cs-lewis-coronavirus/

Editors’ note: 

A week has now passed since this was posted, and as the COVID-19 situation continues to worsen, we would like to highlight and clarify a few things. As the introduction states, this global pandemic is “deadly serious,” and therefore “all necessary precautions should be taken.” Nor do Lewis’s words map perfectly onto our present situation; they bear “some” relevance for today. Most readers, it seems, have gleaned a timely reminder without hearing marching orders in every detail. Nevertheless, we wish to be as explicit as possible: Lewis’s words are misapplied if taken to mean that COVID-19 is no big deal or shouldn’t disrupt life in any way. The reminder for us now—albeit in a different scenario seven decades later—is this: The threat of death is serious, but it’s never novel. So let’s not succumb to panic. Let’s not allow fear to dominate our minds and paralyze our hearts. Let’s keep living and laughing and serving and enjoying those we love (yes, even if from a necessary distance!). Because a good King is on the throne, we need not be slaves to fear.

Jim's picture

John E. wrote:

Except those that I've seen aren't sharing the larger quote. Nor are they sharing the atomic bomb bit with with an added contemporary application for our current context. They are simply sharing the atomic bomb bit. And, again, Lewis' words are bad advice for the here and now. Considering the large amount of conservatives who believe that our President is doing a good job at the moment, the spreading of Lewis' quote without contemporary application is not wise. It reinforces the nonsense they're hearing from Trump on a daily basis.

Your issue is the misuse of the Lewis quote and with Trump

As an aside - many think Trump's doing ok with this situation