This pandemic has brought out, both the best, and the worst in people.
Wonderfully, we’ve seen acts of great kindness and sacrifice. Health professionals have willingly gone into work, putting their lives at risk. Neighbours have gone out of their way to help the vulnerable. Strangers greet us as warmly when we’re out and about.
But sadly, we’ve seen a much darker side too. Panic buying by some, leaving the shelves bare for others. People selfishly refusing to abide by social distancing protocols, putting others at risk. Criminals seeking to make a “killing” by selling fake blood testing kits.
This crisis has shown us, what we’ve always known – the human race is capable of the most wonderful, thoughtful and kind acts of compassion and care. But also able to stoop to devastating depths of depravity.
And what is true of the human race as a whole, is evident in each one of us individually. We willingly self-isolate to protect others, but then, in frustration find ourselves saying the most hurtful things to those we live with.
And that same enigma runs right through creation. Go out for your daily exercise when the sun is shining, and the spring flowers are in bloom. Feel the gentle breeze on your face and the world is beautiful. Then come in from your exercise and turn on your television sets and you are confronted with the image of a virus, and harrowing pictures of people struggling for breath, and a death toll that is rising by the day.
Such beauty and splendour on the one hand. Horror and death on the other. How do we make sense of it?
Turn to the opening chapters of the Bible.
Genesis chapter 1 tells us that God made the world and that He made it good. And we see just how good his creation is as we look at the stunning majesty of his spectacular creation.
And then there’s the pinnacle of God’s handiwork – humankind. Declared by God as “very good.” Made in the image of God. As God’s image bearers, capable of reflecting the character of God – compassionate, gracious, abounding in love, faithful, forgiving.
But then there’s Genesis chapter 3. The human race turns their back on God, with disastrous consequences. Selfishness, jealousy and murder, enter the world, ruining relationships. And we’re told in Romans chapter 8, our rebellion has a disastrous impact on the entire fabric of the whole cosmos. The creation groans, because it is out of kilter with its creator. Death, sin and chaos run amuck.
It is this biblical analysis of why the world is such an enigma that, for me, best explains the world we live in.
But that’s not the end of the story of the world. Or the final fate of humanity. Our God doesn’t just leave us in this confusing enigmatic state forever.
Jesus died to reconcile us to God. And when His children are finally and fully adopted, and our bodies redeemed, the creation will be freed from this frustrating state of affairs.
In Christ, we can look forward to an eternal future, in the glorious new creation. Where everything is good. Very, very good. And free forever, from the enigmatic confusion of our present existence.