If God is real and powerful and loving, how can there be a pandemic like C19?

It is common that when epidemics and pandemics like C19 occur, people begin asking if it’s still meaningful to talk about a God. Or if it is, does this God care? If God does care, why didn’t He stop the virus before it hit? Or did He care, but not have the power? Or maybe, again, He just doesn’t exist — surely that would resolve all the confusion?

In this series (of about 5–6 parts), I’ll try to justify belief in not just a God but a loving one, despite the presence of things like the C19 disease (see Note 1). I’ll do this by addressing the “objections” presented in as straight-forward a manner as possible.

So, the first one:

1. “God created (or did not prevent) a virus which KILLED people, therefore He can’t be real. People died, so a loving/powerful God doesn’t exist.”

This is really a no-brainer.

Even if a million people died from the virus, this same one million people will eventually pass away, no? And should this same one million people die of non-virus or non-tsunami reasons, say, from cancer or heart failure, surely we wouldn’t suspect or deny the love (or existence) of God?

Or is God obliged to keep people alive forever? And speaking of life, is it really so terrible to see it as a kind of divine gift in itself?

Conclusion: The mere deaths of individuals cannot be the cause of our suspicion or denial of God’s existence or love. The mere fact of death can not be ‘data’ against God’s existence.

Now, the second one…

2.” God caused (or did not prevent) the virus which killed MANY people, therefore He can’t be real. An extremely high number of people died, so a loving/powerful God doesn’t exist.”

Okay, so maybe it’s not the fact of death which bothers us. It’s the fact that thousands lost their lives. How can Christians still believe in a good powerful God when SO MANY people died?

To respond- and again, without meaning to be insensitive- we need to ask a critical question: How many people must be saved (or, conversely, allowed to die) before we cross the threshold from belief or unbelief in God’s care? How do we come up with this ‘number’?

E.g. if only 10 people died, would we agree that God loves us and He exists? If yes, what about 100 or a 1000? If not, then how about 5, 4 or 3? What if we found out (through some heavenly news bulletin) that God’s intervention prevented an additional 10,000 from dying? Would that change anything?

Surely, if only ONE person died, we wouldn’t suspect God’s non-existence?! So, again, how many virus victims are ‘allowed’ above which we think it’s legitimate to question the existence of God? And — of course — how do we justify this number?

You see the problem? We have kinda set some arbitrary ‘standard’ of “Number of Allowed Deaths” which (we think) determines whether or not God is good or bad, whether He has power or no power. But how do we justify this? And, again, what about the number of people who were saved? Does God get any credit for that?

Conclusion: The number of deaths is IRRELEVANT towards deciding on the existence of a God who loves humanity.

(Q3 and Q4 coming later)

Note 1: I am putting aside the question of whether God ‘caused’ the C19 pandemic or not — this will come later. For now, I am merely challenging the argument that the mere occurrence of tragedies like a deadly pandemic renders the idea of a loving Creator invalid.

Edu-trainer, Žižek studies, amateur theologian, columnist.