God and the pandemic


Sir, – Canon Ian Ellis (Opinion & Analysis, April 27th) asks, “Where does God enter the frame as this Covid pandemic rages?”

Might the answer be that “God” does not exist, and therefore he does not enter the frame at all?

The god of the Bible is an interventionist god, who can and frequently does intervene in earthly affairs (often to extremely malevolent effect, including by spreading pestilence).

The fact that he visits pestilence (among a whole host of other unsavoury things) upon people prompts the question of what role such a god (if he exists) might have in the current pandemic and belies the claim that he (again, if he exists) is entirely benevolent.

God is an omnipotent, omnibenevolent, interventionist god when the outcome that he was petitioned for occurs, but when the outcome he was petitioned for does not occur, it’s a mystery, he must be having IT issues, or, as was argued in this newspaper last year (Letters, April 16th, 2020), he expects us to defeat Covid-19 ourselves.

As prayers for very good causes often go unanswered, one must conclude that there is a word for the phenomenon of when a prayed for outcome occurs.

It’s called a coincidence.

I am, once again, reminded of Epicurus: if God is unable to prevent evil, then he is not all-powerful. If God is not willing to prevent evil, then he is not all-good. If God is both willing and able to prevent evil, then why does evil exist?

This is the knot which a belief in an omnipotent, omnibenevolent, interventionist god creates for itself. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 16.