New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Thursday that the state is banning all gatherings with five hundred people or more. This is an effort to reduce the spread of coronavirus, as the number of confirmed cases in the state has grown to 328, 112 of which are new.
For venues and gatherings under five hundred people, capacity will be slashed by 50 percent. The order impacts Broadway theaters in Manhattan at 5 p.m. Thursday and everywhere else at 5 p.m. on Friday. It does not impact schools, hospitals, mass transit, or nursing homes.
At the same time, all non-medical visitors will be barred from nursing homes. The governor explained that his focus is on cutting the density of people to slow the COVID-19 outbreak in order to ensure that there are enough hospital beds to accommodate the most severely ill patients.
Why did God allow the Fall?
Christians understand that coronavirus is just one consequence of the first human sin. When the first humans rebelled against God, all of creation was affected (Genesis 3:17–19). As a result of the Fall, “the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now” (Romans 8:22).
So, we understand that our broken planet is not God’s fault but ours. There would have been no coronavirus pandemic in the Garden of Eden.
But here’s the prior question: Why did God allow the Fall?
In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis asks about our broken and rebellious planet, “Is this state of affairs in accordance with God’s will or not? If it is, he is a strange God, you will say; and if it is not, how can anything happen contrary to the will of a being with absolute power?”
Lewis then answers his question: “But anyone who has been in authority knows how a thing can be in accordance with your will in one way and not in another. It may be quite sensible for a mother to say to the children, ‘I’m not going to go and make you tidy the schoolroom every night. You’ve got to learn to keep it tidy on your own.’ Then she goes up one night and finds the Teddy bear and the ink and the French Grammar all lying in the grate. That is against her will. She would prefer the children to be tidy. But on the other hand, it is her will which has left the children free to be untidy.
“The same thing arises in any regiment, or trade union, or school. You make a thing voluntary and then half the people do not do it. That is not what you willed, but your will has made it possible.”
God made us to love him and each other (Matthew 22:37–39), but love requires a choice. Thus, he made us with the ability to choose. And he considers our capacity for relationship with him and others to be worth the cost of misused freedom.
Lest anyone think that our Father minimizes such cost, remember that our sins sent his Son to the cross. But also remember that our Savior’s death makes possible such reconciliation with our Father and each other that we can be change agents for eternal good in this temporal world.
We can ask why God allows our planet to be broken, or we can join with him in doing all we can to improve our world for his glory and our good.
How will you join your Lord in changing lives today?