COVID 19: Nature’s Payback or God’s Judgement?

As the number of bodies keep piling up,  many of the leaders in the environmental community are, if not openly cheering the current COVID-19 pandemic, at least pointing out some of the pandemic’s positive environmental benefits. 

News reports claim that pollution in New York has been reduced by nearly 50% because of the measures instituted to contain the virus.  In fact air quality in most major cities around the world has significantly improved since the outbreak. [Some] mining and logging activities have been shut down across the country.  Fewer consumer goods are being shipped around the world by large diesel powered freighters. Malls and retail stores are empty. Factories are closed and laying off workers.  Lack of demand is pushing America’s oil shale industry towards the brink of collapse. This is all good news, at least according to some of the leaders in the environmental community. 

In an article entitled, “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” , Vance G. Martin, President of the WILD Foundation,  claims the COVID-19 pandemic is payback for mankind’s environmental insensitivity.  While there may be some small grain of truth in this statement, Martin’s reasoning is distorted and downright deceptive.   

Martin writes, “We are in nothing less than a Nature Emergency…The emergency is compounded by the 6th Mass Extinction crisis unraveling the biological foundation of our world. A primary cause of extinction, of course, is human-caused habitat (ecosystem) destruction, which is a major thread in the tapestry of issues that brought us the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Martin goes on to say,  “Let’s flip the tragic elements of the pandemic on its side and for a moment consider some of its other effects. You’ve all seen the media reports: the world is a far quieter and less polluted place; traffic jams are gone; people are singing from their balconies. These “other effects” of the COVID-19 pandemic looks a lot more like the world we want and need. And this is the goal [emphasis added] of the World Wilderness Congress – a world of respectful relationships, people to people and people to nature.”

PASADENA, CA – MARCH 30: Aerial view of light traffic at the interchange of the 210, 134 and 110 freeways on March 30, 2020 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Martin is not alone in playing the blame game. In his bestselling book, “Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic”, c. 2012, author David Quammen prophetically tells us that the next zoonotic disease that will sweep the planet will likely come out of a wet market in southern China. Ouammen doesn’t stop there though, but goes on to claim that, “Mankind’s activities are causing the disintegration (a word chosen carefully) of natural ecosystems at a cataclysmic rate.”

Are David Quammen and Vance Martin correct that human caused habitat destruction and loss of biodiversity are “tearing the ecoystems apart”? Did climate change bring us the COVID-19 pandemic? Does the reader agree with the premise that our world would be perfect if it were not for man’s interference with it’s natural operating systems?   Is it really true that COVID-19, or some future virus potentially even more deadly, is nature’s way of evening the score?  

Well, if anyone is actually keeping score, the vast bulk of the animal world, at least by sheer numbers of species, is made up of viruses and bacteria. A plethora of harmful parasites and deadly diseases are at the very top of the food chain. Next we have some 30 million insect species, and although some are beneficial and provide essential functions such as pollination and decomposition, the vast majority live by causing harm to other species.

And then we have the “kill or be killed” and “survival of the fittest” reality of the world’s predator/prey relationships. Everything alive eventually dies or gets eaten by some other creature in this “perfect” world. Is death really the ultimate sign of perfection as the environmentalist’s believe? Does death, or what physicists call “the law of entropy”, truly reign supreme in the universe?  What is death anyway, and has it always existed or was it inflicted upon all of creation at some point in history as a judgment emanating from a living and omnipotent God? How you answer these questions will determine which side of the line you stand on.

It goes without saying that the value system of environmentalism worships entropy and elevates death dealing large predators over virtually any other species. If Dave Foreman, (founder EarthFirst and the REWILDING Institute), David Quammen, or Vance Martin have a “god”, then the savage wolf and the great bear are the epitome of deity. Not only that, but true eco-worshipers rank every creature on earth as having equal, or greater worth than humans. When environmentalists say that “man needs to learn his place in this world”, they are actually declaring that human beings must accept being at the bottom, or very near the bottom, of the food chain.

Of course the Judeo-Christian viewpoint is completely contrary to the environmentalist worldview. The Judeo-Christian worldview declares two things that environmentalists can’t stand. The first is that mankind has been given dominion over nature. This means that we are able to exert a significant level of God-given control and influence over our environment. This is not to say that we always make wise choices. Clearly we don’t.

The second declaration found in the Judeo-Christian ethic is that mankind is fallen, along with the whole world. Indeed, the entire created order does not function the way it was originally designed. And this is by the will of God, as a result of man’s disobedience, in order to demonstrate God’s power and glory through His righteousness, mercy, and grace.

In an interesting juxtaposition of the Genesis creation story, radical environmentalists are convinced that we still live in a proverbial “Garden of Eden”, even though they reject the biblical narrative as well as the notion of a creator God. They believe that by the very act of domesticating cattle, building homes from wood and steel, killing a wolf, or merely starting a fire to stay warm, mankind is causing profound injury to the “garden”. Our mere presence threatens this perfectly functioning natural world.  A plague that kills millions, or billions of humans, would restore a proper ecological balance.

“These “other effects” of the COVID-19 pandemic looks a lot more like the world we want and need. And this is the goal.”

Vance Martin – The Wild Foundation

C’mon people, either mankind is a part of nature, or he’s not!  Either we have the right to utilize our skills and intelligence to help our species survive or we don’t.  Granted, mankind has often failed to be a wise steward. We have undoubtedly caused unnecessary harm and added to the woes of the world we live in. Everything we do has an affect on some other species. Hopefully we are learning from experience. None of us want to live in a world that we have made unlivable by our careless acts.

Greed and avarice, if allowed to rule in the hearts of men, will always lead to destruction. That is why we have laws and regulations. That is why God has written His law in our hearts. We have a moral compass, we are not wandering aimlessly.  We need to learn from our mistakes and repent of our misdeeds.  But anyone who cheers on a pandemic simply because they think it will kill off surplus humans and protect the environment is neither rational nor righteous.  

“We must make this an insecure and inhospitable place for capitalists and their projects. We must reclaim the roads and plowed land, halt dam construction, tear down existing dams, free shackled rivers and return to wilderness millions of acres of presently settled land.

“My three main goals would be to reduce human population to about 100 million worldwide, destroy the industrial infrastructure and see wilderness, with it’s full complement of species, returning throughout the world.” 

– Dave Foreman – Founder REWILDING INSTITUTE

If there is one lesson to be learned from a global pandemic it is this:  Be humble, do good, and try to walk uprightly.  Don’t celebrate the suffering of others. Don’t put animals, the environment, or yourself, ahead of your neighbors, your brothers and your sisters. When in doubt, tread lightly, change course if needed, but keep walking. Understand that all we know could fit on the head of a pin compared to the immense complexity of the universe. 

Unlike God, human beings can’t see the end from the beginning.  We don’t know what tomorrow may bring. We need to stop acting like we do. We need to stop acting like we have it all figured out. Pride is a terrible thing, and it always comes before a fall.

Thanks to measures initiated to contain the Wuhan coronavirus, the air quality in Beijing is cleaner than it has been for decades.

Sources for this article include:

“Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic” c. 2012 David Quammen – https://www.amazon.com/Spillover-Animal-Infections-Human-Pandemic/dp/0393346617

“What’s Love Got to do With it?” c. March 30, 2020 by Vance Martin, President of the Wild Foundation. https://www.wild.org/blog/whats-love-got-to-do-with-it/

“Air Pollution Plummets as China, Europe, New York go on COVID-19 Lock Down”; March 27, 2020 by Jo Borras; https://cleantechnica.com/2020/03/27/air-pollution-plummets-as-china-europe-ny-go-on-covid-19-lockdown/

5 thoughts on “COVID 19: Nature’s Payback or God’s Judgement?

  1. A reader pointed out that most logging activities are continuing. Even Gov. Inslee’s proclamations count logging as an “essential” business. However, all 6 million acres of public land in WA state managed by the Department of Natural Resources are closed to the public by order of the governor due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But, “Consistent with the Governor’s order, essential business functions of DNR will continue on state lands. That includes timber harvests, which support the manufacture and distribution of forest products, and our agriculture lands that support our food supply. Social distancing will be adhered to by these workers, and any non-essential elements will be done via telework or suspended.”

    The USDA-USFS website warns that admin oversight and timber surveys may be curtailed. “For non-essential operations and functions, field work (i.e. timber surveys, permit inspections, prescribed fire, scientific surveys and forest health monitoring) related to critical research and forest health may be impacted temporarily or permanently with loss in annual data collection. The severity of impact, the loss of data collection will depend upon the critical nature of the program and connections with customers.”

    Like most other industries, with the possible exception of the pharmaceutical industry, the timber industry is going to take a big hit if the economy doesn’t bounce back quickly. And that’s the point.

  2. A guy with a keyboard

    ‘When environmentalists say that “man needs to learn his place in this world”, they are actually declaring that human beings must accept being at the bottom, or very near the bottom, of the food chain.’

    That is not really true, at least I don’t think that. The point is that humans shouldn’t be arrogant as in thinking they are the ‘most important’ or worth more inherently. Pride comes before the fall, as you rightly say towards the end of this article.

    An example: A lot of insects pollinate crops. Without them the entire global agricultural process would collapse. Whales helps regulate the carbon cycle via their fecal movements. Humans can’t do anything like that naturally.

    I think it just hurts the ego of the Christian worldwide to know how insignificant you (humanity) is in the grand scheme of things and that without us, the world would just carry on as normal. You guys have trouble accepting that.

    Pride comes before the fall. Very true. Also very ironic how the same people who say that, inspired by Christianity, are quite often the most arrogant people on Earth, in terms of humanity’s role in the world.

  3. Thanks “Keyboard”, for sharing your viewpoint. There are several very interesting points to consider in your comment. You may be surprised that I agree with a couple points, with reservations of course.

    Let’s look at what you wrote….

    “The point is that humans shouldn’t be arrogant as in thinking they are the ‘most important’ or worth more inherently.”

    My response: When it comes to pride, everyone is guilty. Pride is perhaps the most dangerous and deceptive of all sins. The prideful are fooled into believing that they alone know what’s right or have all the answers, that their own limited viewpoint is above reproach. Sadly, pride is a disease of mankind, no one is immune. That said, Christians, myself included, get our direction from scripture. The first book of the Bible tells us mankind is “created in His image”, which is no small thing. Elephants and bacteria are not created in “His image”. Only man. However, it is also clearly stated that God cares for ALL of his creation, which would include the animal and plant world as well. It was Jesus who said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

    Worth “more than many sparrows”? Hmmm..

    God also gave man dominion over nature, but that does not mean the choices we make are without consequences. As I stated in several previous articles, those who are focused on exerting “dominion” without thinking about or accepting responsibility for their actions are a VERY dangerous bunch. Scripture tells us that no one person sees clearly, that we “all see through a glass darkly”. Which is why I wrote….”This is not to say that we always make wise choices. Clearly we don’t.” This COVID pandemic should force people to their knees, should force people to rethink their priorities and direction. We are reaping the consequences of our careless actions, i.e. a purposeful or accidental lab release of a pathogen we’ve been tinkering with, just because we can.

    You wrote:

    “An example: A lot of insects pollinate crops. Without them the entire global agricultural process would collapse. Whales helps regulate the carbon cycle via their fecal movements. Humans can’t do anything like that naturally. I think it just hurts the ego of the Christian worldwide to know how insignificant you (humanity) is in the grand scheme of things and that without us, the world would just carry on as normal. You guys have trouble accepting that.”

    My response- The God made universe and all the natural operating systems we can see are incredible and magnificent to behold. They are complex beyond our understanding. But it is a shadow of what was originally created, a broken system, a fallen system, a system that was not designed to operate this way for eternity. In our present world, everything eats everything else. Death is king in this world. And death would still be king if every single person were removed from the planet. Entropy is a result of the fall, but it will not exist in God’s eternal kingdom.

    In conclusion: My God is creating a new heaven, and a new earth, and He’s not doing so to populate it with arrogant people. Jesus Christ readily identifies His people. Those who would inherit the kingdom of God are the humble, the penitent, the faithful, the fruitful, the obedient, those who love their neighbor, forgive their enemies, etc…not the arrogant, lustful, proud, boastful, conceited, selfish, and certainly NOT THOSE WHO REFUSE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE CREATOR BUT INSTEAD WORSHIP THE CREATED ORDER where death is now king.

    This present world is not my home, only a temporary stopping point. There is judgment coming on this world and rightly so. COVID was no accident. It should get our attention, wake people up…..and no, not so they can fall on their knees and worship nature, but to see that a caring loving God exists, is in total and absolute control, and is waiting for us to turn to Him for answers, in humility, rather than placing our trust in vain philosophy and science.

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