By Edwin Crayton/Opinion
It happens all the time. A person goes to a doctor to see about one ache or pain and that illness reveals one or two other illnesses that have gone undiagnosed. Hopefully, the visit occurs in time to fix the issue. At any rate, just knowing what is happening is at least helpful, because the problem has been exposed and now can be dealt with and hopefully healed. In a similar way the Corona virus is a physical illness which has also exposed many social and moral ills. It is now generally agreed for instance that our medical system tends to favor the rich . Because of the nature of this disease, the world is also trying harder to house the homeless—although that is a work in progress. And we are aware that your race does indeed affect your health status: Poor African Americans with health issues are particularly vulnerable. Are we really surprised? Truth is, I believe we knew this stuff before the pandemic but ignored such issues for a simple reason: we humans are a selfish species. It was not until we were personally affected that we began to widely discuss these and other social ills exposed by the virus. As long as it was other people dying in other far off lands, it was not really on our radar screens, and I plead just as guilty as anyone else.
The Corona virus has convinced me that we humans simply do not know how to determine morality, chiefly because we tend to form everything we create in our image and design all things to cater to our selfish desires. The other, more important reason we cannot determine what is moral is because humans are fallible—not perfect. As a Christian my faith tells me that “All have fallen short of God’s glory” (Romans 3:23). That means none of us are perfect and so it is certain that at some point or another, even the best and brightest among us will make a mistake. Having an off day when you fly a plane, or drive a truck or even practice medicine is serious, but is not going to destroy the whole planet. Granted, it may cause harm to your clients or associates. But it will not typically lead to a worldwide crisis. However, designing a moral system is much more precious, more difficult and most certainly a more important a task. Create one faulty moral law and it can lead to slavery, a holocaust, genocide or the first (and last) nuclear war. Or it can even cost people their souls. Moral laws guide nations and rewrite history. The being who creates moral systems therefore must be someone special. He must know what he is doing. There is a zero tolerance for error. It is a unique qualification and only one being possesses such a qualification: God.
Only God is perfect. Only God is just.. Only God is always right. Only God is all three 100% of the time. The Bible says he created heaven and earth ( Book of Genesis, chapter 1). As creator, he knows how everything works and he knows how to make everything work. He has no rival. No one else has his power and righteousness. He is never wrong. That kind of judgment is mandatory to determine what is right or wrong for the entire world throughout history. When God designs something, it is good, perfect. He himself said so (Book of Genesis 1:31). God’s ideas do not need to be edited or changed. In fact, we Christians believe that it is a sin to disobey his designs which are delivered to mankind as commands, making it clear that God does not want his ideas to be altered ever. But I realize of course, this concept of faith in God’s sovereignty is not accepted by many people today. Many believe that they have the right to decide what is right for them and that the concepts of right or wrong are relative, meaning what is right for one person is not necessarily right for another. This idea, known as moral relativism is not really new. In Ancient Israel, God’s people began to question God and everyone decided for himself what was right. This angered God and he let it be known that those who would not obey him would be punished ultimately and only those who obeyed him would be truly blessed. Sure enough, Israel still did not listen and was destroyed, captured by an enemy nation. Throughout human history that struggle and tension has existed. Humankind has debated whether it gets to decide what is moral, or does God have the exclusive right to do so. We believers in Christ believe it is simple: only God decides morality because only he is qualified and his plans , commands and ideas are never going to be in need of the slightest revision anyway. Society may change marriage to allow same sex unions but we believe as our Bible dictates that it is a sin to change God’s design for marriage, which forbid such unions (Leviticus 18:22, Romans chapter 1). Society may approve of allowing men and women to live together without marrying, although the Bible says it is immoral (1 Corinthians, chapter 6). Society may make abortion legal. But we Christians see aborting life as killing a child, a violation of one of the 10 Commandments: “thou shalt not kill.” (See Exodus, Chapter 20.) These are just a few examples of the conflict between the Bible and the world in regards to what is moral. Clearly we Christians are in conflict with our times. But we have decided instead, to strive for what we believe is a more excellent standard, which is to be in step with God, author of true morality. If the world saw God as the sole authority on morality, would we be seeing the neglect of those who are poor and sick as we deal with Covid 19? For instance, in Matthew chapter 25, we are told to feed the poor and look after the sick and those in need. If we allowed God to rule morality in our daily lives, wouldn’t we pay more attention to the suffering of those in poor other nations? When we care for them, the likelihood that they will experience a deadly epidemic that spreads worldwide will decrease and all of us will benefit. Actually it should appeal to our selfish nature, because when we help others, we also help ourselves. What affects one, ultimately affects all, the philosophers have warned us for ages. But only a moral mind that does not make mistakes can help us create a more moral, more humane world. The catch is, God does not force us to obey. He wants us to willingly surrender our lives to him. His blessings are directly related to our obedience. Although he takes care of believers and unbelievers, those who disobey are not blessed in the same way as those who are blessed. That is what Scripture teaches. Further, unless they turn from sin, confess their sins, ask for forgiveness and accept Jesus as savior and lord, the disobedient and rebellious will ultimately be doomed for eternity. A terrible fate. Right now, we are experiencing a tragic epidemic that is destroying much of what we treasure and threatening to do worse. We do not know everything about why it is happening, but it is happening. Is this the time to reject God’s moral authority and risk disaster as the ancients did? Their nation did not survive turning its back on God and to be blunt, neither can America or the rest of the world. Only God has the power to end the Corona virus or to let it rage on. Perhaps it is time at last to ask a crucial question. Is this the time to humbly turn to God, accept his moral guidance and pray for his blessing on the world and deliverance from this brutal epidemic? Read the ‘Holy Bible and the answer should become clear and obvious.
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
–2 Chronicles, chapter 7, verse 14