John Piper has offered some thoughts on why God allowed the coronavirus pandemic to happen.
The Baptist theologian reflected on this challenging question in a recent episode of his popular "Ask Pastor John" podcast.
He referred to Matthew 4:24, which describes how the sick and "those afflicted with various diseases and pains" were healed by Jesus, as he considered how people might be able to make sense of the pandemic through the lens of a belief in the existence of God.
Despite the gloomy topic, Piper was upbeat as he said that people do not need to be afraid of death or the coronavirus.
"God is stronger than the coronavirus," the 74-year-old said.
"Jesus is more powerful than diseases — every one of them. In fact, over and over again, the Bible tells us that God commands the wind, rain, snow, lightning, plants, grass, grasshoppers, flies, frogs, gnats, worms, whales, birds, and everything else. He commands them where to go, what to do, and they do what He says. They have to; He's God."
He then went on to consider the question of: "Why is there a coronavirus, then? Why don't you, God, Jesus, please take it away, since you could?"
He conceded that God could end the pandemic "by snapping His finger", but he argued that the reason why God doesn't do this is because "He has a wise purpose for it".
"God is perfectly wise. That means He knows exactly what needs to be done to bring about what's best for all time," he said.
"That's called wisdom. When you know what is best to do all the time, you're a wise person. And God is perfect in wisdom. He knows what needs to be done: He knows how it needs to be done, and He knows when it needs to be done."'
He went on to argue that another reason why God allows the coronavirus is "so that people in the world who don't believe in Jesus would wake up".
"So that people would stop trusting in themselves and trust God. [And] to show us that we might be loving things more than we love God," he said.
He said that believing Jesus came into the world and died for our sins was the antidote to fearing God's punishment, death or the coronavirus.
"God is in charge of the coronavirus," he said.
"This is wonderful. That means we don't ever have to be afraid to die — not from the coronavirus or anything else — because when Jesus died and rose from the dead, He changed death from punishment into a doorway to everlasting happiness with Him."