Most of us know that the State of New York has been the hardest hit region in North America when it comes to the Coronavirus. And as such, New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, has made a habit of giving long press conferences, explaining the situation. As such, he has become quite popular, for he is an able communicator.
In a recent press conference, Cuomo spoke about the flattening of the curve:
“It is directly a result of what you do today. The number is down because we brought the number down. God did not do that, fate did not do that, destiny did not do that, a lot of pain and suffering did that.”
He meant that the sacrifice of New Yorkers has accomplished this.
Since saying that, a great many Christians have been quick to criticize the governor. Might I suggest we give him a bit of a break? Many Christians have been saying the very same thing for years.
When asked why we have a global pandemic in the first place, many Christians would have said, “God didn’t do that!” It was either done because of the lack of care in a Chinese laboratory, or failure to clean up Chinese “wet markets”. Or perhaps it was because countries failed to immediately take proper pandemic protocols such as shutting down travel and so forth.
“But don’t blame this on God!”
It goes further. When there is an earthquake, cancer, a financial downturn, don’t blame it on God.
“God did not do that!”
But here is our problem. In our effort to defend God, we have created a vast piece of geography in which God is not involved. And then, once having secured such a worldview, we have negated any understanding of what causes things. A great many Christians are unable to articulate the difference between an immediate or secondary cause, and an ultimate cause. Here’s an example. Let’s say you are playing pool. You hit a ball, and it goes into the pocket. What caused that? If you answer, “the cue stick caused it”, you would be right. But that is only a secondary cause, not the ultimate cause.
Some Christians only see God at work when there is a miracle. I suspect that is the view that Governor Cuomo holds. And so, without knowing it, they become partial deists. That is to say, the world functions on its own, except for those few occasions when God intervenes in an exceptional way. What is lacking, of course, is an understanding of providence. The doctrine of providence holds that God sustains all things and that nothing can occur without His will.
Consider what the Bible says to the contrary.
- Amos 3:6 “Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it?”
- Isaiah 45:7 “I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the Lord, who does all these things.”
- Lamentations 3:37–38 “Who has spoken and it came to pass unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?”
- Jeremiah 10:23 “I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.”
- Matthew 10:29 “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.”
- Proverbs 16:33 “The lot is cast into the lap, but it’s every decision is from the Lord. “
- Psalm 115:3 “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.”
Perhaps, instead of criticizing the governor, we need to reexamine our own understanding of the deeds of God.