Tuesday, March 31, 2020

End Of The World: Science & Christianity Are In Agreement!

            Every sincere Christian would be longing for the return of the Lord Jesus in all HIS power and glory. Whenever we face severe adversity, we long for HIS Second Coming. Even now we pray, come Lord Jesus come (Revelation 22:20). Come and deliver us from all evil.

            We are aware that Christ’s second coming will usher the end of the world (Matthew 24:3b). The Lord’s second coming is imminent and will be sudden (1 Peter 4:7; Luke 12:40).

            Interestingly, secular scientists also think that the end of the world is closer than ever before. They moved the Doomsday clock 100 seconds to midnight on January 23, 2020 (and they did not even consider Coronavirus!):1

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists—a nonprofit group of scientists and security experts who monitor the possibility of Armageddon caused by humans—has moved the Doomsday Clock 100 seconds to midnight, the closest to midnight the clock has been in its 75-year history.
“Humanity continues to face two simultaneous existential dangers—nuclear war and climate change—that are compounded by a threat multiplier, cyber-enabled information warfare, that undercuts society’s ability to respond,” the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists said in a statement. “The international security situation is dire, not just because these threats exist, but because world leaders have allowed the international political infrastructure for managing them to erode.”
According to the Bulletin, the Doomsday Clock is a visual representation of how close humanity is to ending itself. Every year since the clocks inception in 1947, a group of scientists and experts gather to discuss the possibility of the end of the world and adjust the clock accordingly. It’s meant as a warning.
At 100 seconds to midnight, the Bulletin is saying it believes Earth is closer to global disaster than at any other time in its history.

            Eschatology is the study of the last things. Theologically it means the study of the consummation of history, the completion of God’s working in the world. Theological eschatology is the Christian eschatology, whereas Physical Eschatology is a scientific field of study.

            In science, Eschatology is a branch of Cosmology, and studies all things pertaining to the end of this world. Dr. William Lane Craig posits, “Eschatology is no longer exclusively the subject matter of theology but has in the last quarter century or so emerged as a new branch of cosmology (the study of the large-scale structure and history of the universe), being a sort of mirror image of cosmogony, that branch of cosmology that studies the origin of the universe. Not that the future of the universe will resemble its past; far from it. But just as physical cosmogony looks back in time to retrodict the history of the cosmos based on traces of the past and the laws of nature, so physical eschatology looks forward in time to predict the future of the cosmos based on present conditions and laws of nature.”2

            How would our universe end? Here’s what the scientists believe:3

Scientists believe that eventually even the universe will end. How precisely that will happen is a matter of debate, but scientists have come up with three main theories as to how the entire universe will die.
The first theory is called the Big Crunch. Essentially, the Big Crunch theory states that one day the expansion of the universe will reverse. Matter will solely become compressed until the universe returns to its state prior to the Big Bang and reforms the Cosmic Egg. From here, some people theorize that another Big Bang will occur and a new universe will form. That universe then will expand, eventually reach its full size, collapse in a Big Crunch, form a Cosmic Egg and repeat the entire cycle.
The second major theory is that of the Big Rip. The Big Rip is the exact opposite of the Big Crunch. In the Big Rip theory, the universe will continue expanding forever. Eventually, this expansion will become so great that molecules, atoms and even subatomic particles are torn apart. The very fabric of space-time will be shredded and all semblance of existence will cease.
The third major theory of the end of the universe is called the Big Freeze or, more ominously, heat death. Like with the Big Rip theory, the Big Freeze theory states that the universe will continue to expand forever. Eventually, it will become so large that particles can no longer interact with each other. The expansion of the universe will become faster than the speed of light, and the maximum entropy of the universe will have been reached. No more heat transfer or work can be complete from a physics standpoint, and the universe ends quietly and meekly.

            How do theological eschatology and physical eschatology compare? Dr. Craig says that they do not disagree, “…even on a purely physical, scientific approach to eschatology, there is the imminent possibility of an apocalyptic scenario that would involve worldwide destruction.”4

            Dr. Craig outlines a parallel between the theological eschatology and physical eschatology, “The parallels between the theological and physical eschatological apocalypses are striking and unmistakable: a complete and worldwide metamorphosis of nature, sudden, without warning, like a thief in the night, unavoidable, issuing in a new heavens and a new earth, a renovated universe.”5

            Where do physical eschatology and theological eschatology diverge? Dr. Craig outlines the disagreement between physical and theological, “The difference between the two is, of course, for Christians we look forward to this event as the Second Coming of Christ and the deliverance from this world and its shortcomings and being ushered into the new heavens and new Earth that God has prepared for us.”6

            Does physical eschatology believe in a sudden and imminent extinction of our universe just as theological eschatology (2 Peter 3:10-12)? Yes! Dr. Craig posits, “Doubtless, one of the chief difficulties presented by Christian eschatology is that it just seems incredible that next year, say, or next Tuesday the universe is going to be obliterated by the return of Christ and Judgement Day…physical eschatology itself contains its own apocalyptic scenario of impending worldwide destruction…it is unpredictable and could happen, in the words of Adams and Laughlin, "at virtually any time, as soon as tomorrow." [40]”7

            Finally, physical eschatology provides sufficient scope for the existence of a transcendent Creator of our universe. This is an intriguing likeness to the theological eschatology.8 

            Cosmologists agree that our universe could not have existed eternally. Our universe ought to have had a beginning. The beginning, then, should have had a beginner – the one who caused the universe to exist. Dr. Craig explains:9

Of course, physical eschatologists might ask whether there is any reason to take seriously the hypothesis of a transcendent, intelligent agent with requisite power over the course of nature to affect the projected trajectories of physical eschatology. Intriguingly, physical eschatology itself furnishes grounds for taking seriously such a hypothesis. As we have seen, already in the nineteenth century scientists realized that the application of the Second Law of Thermodynamics to the universe as a whole implied that the universe will eventually come to a state of equilibrium and suffer heat death. But this apparently firm projection raised an even deeper question: if, given sufficient time, the universe will suffer heat death, then why, if it has existed forever, is it not now in a state of heat death? If in a finite amount of time the universe will inevitably come to equilibrium, from which no significant further change is physically possible, then it should already be at equilibrium by now, if it has existed for infinite time. Like a ticking clock, it should by now have run down. Since it has not yet run down, this implies, in the words of Richard Schlegel, "In some way the universe must have been wound up." [8]
… Thus, the same pointed question raised by classical physics persists: why, if the universe has existed forever, is it not now in a cold, dark, dilute, and lifeless state? In contrast to their nineteenth century forbears, contemporary physicists have come to question the implicit assumption that the universe is eternal in the past. P. C. W. Davies reports,
Today, few cosmologists doubt that the universe, at least as we know it, did have an origin at a finite moment in the past. The alternative - that the universe has always existed in one form or another—runs into a rather basic paradox. The sun and stars cannot keep burning forever: sooner or later they will run out of fuel and die.
The same is true of all irreversible physical processes; the stock of energy available in the universe to drive them is finite, and cannot last for eternity. This is an example of the so-called second law of thermodynamics, which, applied to the entire cosmos, predicts that it is stuck on a one-way slide of degeneration and decay towards a final state of maximum entropy, or disorder. As this final state has not yet been reached, it follows that the universe cannot have existed for an infinite time. [11]
Davies concludes, "The universe can't have existed forever. We know there must have been an absolute beginning a finite time ago." [12]
… The plausibility of Christian eschatology vis à vis the projections of physical eschatology is thus inherently bound up with one's ontology. If, as physical eschatology itself intimates, there exists a personal, transcendent agent who created the universe with all its natural laws and boundary conditions, and if that agent has raised from the dead Jesus of Nazareth, who promised his eschatological return, then it is eminently rational to entertain "the blessed hope" of Christian eschatology, while accepting the findings of physical eschatology as more or less accurate projections based on present conditions.











Websites last accessed on 31st March 2020.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Why God Did Not Create A World Without Coronavirus (Evil or Natural Disasters)?

            We live in an unprecedented situation. This worldwide disaster resulting in curfews and lockdowns across the world with an impending [worldwide] economic catastrophe looming large is happening for the very first time in my 50 plus years of existence.

            Tsunamis, earthquakes, and typhoons result in localized disasters. But the Covid-19 disaster resonates worldwide.

            ‘Why did God create a world such as this?’ is a common yet honest question of a person in pain and misery. Agony & despair prompts this question.

            The question 'Could God not have created a better world than this wherein we need not suffer so much?’ need not include the innocence of the questioner of the previous question.

            The question ‘Why did God not create a world without Coronavirus?’ presupposes that God had the power to create a better world but chose not to create one. The question ‘Could God not create a world without Coronavirus?’ presupposes a notion that God may be powerless to create a world without evil i.e. Coronavirus.

            Whatever the case may be, these questions are legitimate because it is the sinking man who always extends his hands out for help. This sinking man has the right to ask such questions.

            Today we seem to be sinking. So we ask!

            What do we even hope to achieve by asking such a question?

            If this is the best world that God could have created then we could take comfort from the fact that God did HIS very best. It reflects upon God’s perfect goodness, knowledge, power, and justice.

            On the other hand, if God could have created a better world, but chose not to create, then it reflects poorly on God’s justice. It also portrays God as a weak or an evil being. Since we are in the midst of suffering, we could feel betrayed by God.

            So is this the best possible world that God could come up with?

            Gottfried Leibniz, the 18th century German philosopher, argued that the universe (as it is) is the best world God could have created. He argued that God, being omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent, created this world since HE knew that this world was the best of all possible worlds. This is commonly referred to as the Leibnizian Optimism.

            But J.L Mackie, an Australian philosopher, argued that the presence of an all-loving and an all-powerful God is logically incompatible with the existence of evil. In other words, if there is an all-loving and an all-powerful God, then there cannot be evil (because a good and powerful God should either overcome evil or should have created a world without evil). This is the Logical Problem of Evil.

            This is Mackie’s argument:

A. If God exists, God is an omnipotent and wholly good being.
B. A good being always eliminates evil as far as it can.
C. There are no limits on what an omnipotent being can do.
D. Evil exists.
E. Therefore, God does not exist.

            Alvin Plantiga, one of the most acclaimed Christian philosophers in existence, rejected Mackie’s claim and responded with the Free Will Defence.

            The Free Will Defender aims to show that there is a possible world in which God is omnipotent, omniscient, and wholly good, yet there is evil. So a world containing creatures who are sometimes significantly free (and freely perform more good than evil actions) is more valuable, all else being equal, than a world containing no free creatures at all.

            When God creates humans, HE creates them with free will - an ability to perform moral evil and moral good. If God had to eliminate evil, then HE should do that only at the cost of eliminating the possibility of doing moral good. Therefore, it is possible that God could not have created a universe containing moral good (or as much moral good as this one contains) without creating one containing moral evil.

            An objection to the free will defense is that it is logically possible for God to create a world containing significantly free creatures who always do what is right.

            But to cause free creatures to always do the right is to determine that they perform the moral good always. However, this condition can be actualized by eliminating or excising their free will. If so, free creatures are not free in reality.

            Therefore, one can conclude that evil can coexist in God’s presence. Alternatively, God can permit evil despite HIS presence (as an all-loving and an all-powerful God).

            Could there be a best of all possible worlds? Is our world the best of all possible worlds?

            In one of my earlier blogs, I wrote, “Alvin Plantinga differed from Leibniz by positing that there cannot be a best world, for one more palm tree or one more morally righteous person can make any world better. So Plantinga concluded that there is no such thing as the best world. [Even if God does not create anything, HE alone will exist as the greatest good (Summum bonum)]. Therefore, God is merely obligated to create a good world and not a best world.”1

            Yes, this is the best world or the good world that God could have created.

            But what about the natural evils such as the Coronavirus we are suffering from now?

            St. Augustine attributed natural evil to Satan and his cohorts. Since his rebellion against God, Satan has been wreaking havoc in the world. The result is natural evil. So the natural evil we find is due to the free actions of non-human spirits.

            Even in the instance of natural evils, we observe that the presence of natural evil (e.g. Coronavirus) is logically compatible with the existence of a wholly good, all-powerful and an all-knowing God. The free will of the non-human spirits (i.e. Satan and his cohorts) causes natural evil (e.g. Coronavirus) because God created both the humans and the non-humans with free will.

            A world with free will is any day better than a world without free will. 

            So God has done HIS best.

            Therefore, since we have been blessed with free will, we also need to endure the consequences of free will – which is evil.

            When we reel under the devastation caused by Coronavirus, let us understand that God has not abandoned us.

            God is with us. The Lord Jesus is Immanuel, which means God with us.

            If we seek Jesus, HE will carry us through. Even if we are to die, we will be in a much better situation, for those who believe in Christ will be with God forever and ever.


1http://rajkumarrichard.blogspot.com/2015/02/why-did-god-create-satan-knowing-that.html, last accessed on 30th March 2020.

Material for Free Will Defense of Alvin Plantinga has been sourced from: Adams & Adams, The Problem of Evil, Edited by Marilyn McCord Adams & Robert Merrihew Adams, p 83-109. 

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Did Human Beings Evolve Outside The Garden Of Eden When God Created Adam & Eve?

            Science and Historical Christianity have seemingly been at odds with each other. The study of Historical Adam & Eve is a topic that contributes a good deal to this conflict.

            Dr. Joshua Swamidass’1 recent book The Genealogical Adam and Eve: The Surprising Science of Universal Ancestry, however, strives to bridge the gap between evolutionary science and the conservative understanding of Adam and Eve.

            Proponents of evolutionary science believe that humans evolved as a population sharing common ancestors with apes and chimpanzees. On the other hand, a traditional or conservative understanding of the book of Genesis is the belief that Adam and Eve were created by God. They were the first humans. All of mankind descended from them.

            These two views contradict each other (or so it seems). 

            Dr. Joshua Swamidass’ position is that there is enough room to accommodate both these views and that they do not necessarily contradict each other.

            How is this possible?

            First, Dr. Swamidass establishes the distinction between genetics and genealogy within the context of ancestral study. Upon establishing that distinction, he posits the Biblical narration of Adam and Eve as the genealogical ancestry and that of science as the genetic ancestry.

            Second, he posits the presence of human beings outside the Garden of Eden. In other words, when God created Adam & Eve and made them reside in the Garden of Eden, there were other human beings outside the Garden, who were the products of God guided evolution. Thus he builds a bridge between theology and science.

            It’s quite important to note that Dr. Swamidass is committed to the de novo2 creation of Adam & Eve.

            In an interview with Christianity Today, Swamidass explains how these seemingly contradictory views could be true:3

There’s been a lot of conflict about how science expresses its understanding of Adam and Eve. It has to do with misunderstanding the word ancestor. We can understand it in the genetic sense, meaning someone we get our DNA from. Or we can mean it in a genealogical sense, meaning someone whose lineage we descend from.
Genetics works in a very nonintuitive way. For example, my parents are both equally 100 percent my genealogical ancestors, and the same is true with my grandparents and great-grandparents. But my parents are each only one half of my genetic ancestry; my grandparents are one quarter; my great-grandparents are one eighth. Genetic ancestry just dilutes to the point where the majority of our genealogical ancestors pass on no DNA.
Why is that important? Scripture doesn’t tell us about genetic ancestry. It does, however, tell us about genealogical ancestry. Historically, we’ve believed that Adam and Eve are the ancestors of everyone. We can ask: Does this mean genetic ancestors or genealogical ancestors? Well, Scripture can’t possibly be talking about genetic ancestry. It has to be talking about genealogical ancestry.
That recognition really opens up an immense amount of space for theology. As Christians, we’ve had a lot of anxiety over what science is telling us about Adam and Eve. But these conflicts are based on what science says about our genetic ancestors. If we focus on genealogical ancestors instead, there might be far less conflict than we first imagined.
…If we keep straight what the science is actually saying, the story of Genesis could be true as literally as you could imagine it, with Adam being created by dust and God breathing into his nostrils and Eve being created from his rib. But evolution is happening outside the Garden, and there are people out there who God created in a different way and who end up intermingling with Adam and Eve’s descendants. It’s not actually in conflict with evolutionary science [Emphasis Mine].

            While there seems to be a point of convergence between evolutionary science and Historical Christianity, there could be a number of theological conundrums.4

            First, the Bible seems to unequivocally imply that there were no humans before the creation of Adam and Eve (cf. Genesis 1 26-29, 2:18, 20b, 3:20). Dr. William Lane Craig explains, “When you look closely at the text itself, the text is pretty clear that there weren't any other people around. Genesis 2 says there was no man to till the ground and therefore God created Adam out of the dust of the Earth. And when it comes to finding a suitable mate for Adam, God parades all these animals before Adam and there was no one found that would be a suitable partner until God created Eve. And what was she then given the name? She was called “the mother of all living.” So I think that the story itself says pretty clearly that Adam and Eve were the only human beings around.”5

            Second, if there were humans outside the Garden, then, Dr. Swamidass cannot refer to Adam & Eve as the universal ancestors of mankind. At most, Adam & Eve would be the ancestors of their descendants.

            It is highly plausible that the humans outside the Garden would have had their own children and they would have had their own descendants. A part of these descendants would not, in any way, be connected with the descendants of Adam & Eve (they would not have interbred with the descendants of Adam & Eve).

            These people are then totally disconnected from Adam & Eve. If so, Adam & Eve cannot be the ancestors of these people. Therefore, according to Swamidass’s view, Adam & Eve cannot be the universal ancestors of all mankind. To consider Adam & Eve as the universal ancestors of all mankind would be incorrect.

            Third, there is an ontological likelihood of a flagrant divergence between the humans outside the garden and Adam & Eve. While Adam & Eve were created in the image of God, the other humans, who were evolving outside the Garden would not be in God’s image.

             This then leads to another theological conundrum. Those created in the image of God are worthy of honor and respect; he is neither to be murdered (Genesis 9:6) nor cursed (James 3:9). Being made in the image of God also attributes characteristics such as ‘righteousness,’ ‘holiness’ (Ephesians 4:24), and ‘knowledge’ (Colossians 3:10) to man. Furthermore, those created in the image of God and those who believe in Christ are to be conformed to the likeness of Christ (Romans 8:29) and will one day be like Christ (1 John 3:2).

            Those evolved humans outside the Garden would have none of the above characteristics since they were not created in the image of God. Therefore, the evolved humans cannot be the recipients of God’s grace and beneficiaries of Christ’s atoning death.

            Here is Dr. Craig’s explanation of the situation, “What it would imply is there are people who are just like me and you in every way (rational, self-conscious, self-reflective, trying to do right and wrong, loving their children, having an aesthetic appreciation of beauty and ugliness, of right and wrong) and yet they are not in the image of God and therefore are not truly human and therefore are not recipients of God's grace or beneficiaries of Christ's atoning death. And I find that unconscionable…”6

            Dr.Craig also reminds us that if such humans do exist now, then evangelizing to them is totally futile.

            Fourth and finally, the traditional or conservative understanding of the term human is to reference it with the image of God i.e. every human is created in the image of God. But Dr. Swamidass disagrees with this definition, “One of the other surprising things in dialogue with theologians through this . . . one of the key things that I wrote was a chapter explaining how the term “human” has no precision in science to the point that really there's really no claim that scientists have to be normative in that discussion. Theologians really have the right to define “human” on their own terms. Right? But the problem is you go talk to theologians and they can't define “human” in an agreement with one another! They have a broad, broad range of views. One way to do it, which I actually don't think is a most helpful way, is by equating human with the image of God – saying if someone's in the image of God then they are human, and if they're not in the image of God then they aren't. I think that that's a problem actually. I don't think that that makes sense…”7

            Dr. Craig rejects Dr. Swamidass’ view that humans are merely descendants of Adam and Eve i.e. that humans cannot be defined as those made in the image of God, “I think this attempt to drive a wedge between the image of God and human is unacceptable. Listen to the words of Genesis 1:26 and following: “and God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion . . .” Then it says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.” That's clearly not just referring to Adam. That's referring to man generically. I think Mike was quite right in his comments. “Adam” is not used as a proper name in Genesis until later in the story, but here we're talking about adam meaning “man,” and it's used with regard to a plurality – male and female, them. So we mustn't, I think, try to drive this wedge between being in the image of God and being human. On the contrary, what makes us human is that we are in the image of God unlike all the rest of animal creation. No other animal in Genesis 1 is created in the image and after the likeness of God. That's what makes us human. Now, Josh says to be human is simply to be a descendant of Adam and Eve. In this way he can approximate the traditional view of Adam and Eve that in fact they are the parents of every human being that has ever lived but only at the expense of having these folks outside the Garden who look like human beings, act like human beings, but they're really not human. And that just gives me the chills frankly.”8

            To conclude, Dr. Swamidass’s endeavor to bridge the conflict between evolutionary science and Historical Christianity remains untenable. For instance, the four theological conundrums that are presented, which are the consequences of his theological position, deeply undermine the essence of Historical Christianity. In other words, Historic Christianity would be substantially diluted doctrinally, if Dr. Swamidass’ views are to be upheld.

            A liberal Christian or the doctrines of liberal Christianity (which has already compromised the core doctrines of Historic Christianity) may agree with Dr. Swamidass’s position. But the doctrines of Historic Christianity remain in conflict with his views. Hence, it could be reasonably concluded that Dr. Swamidass’ stand about the historical Adam & Eve does not reflect the essence of Historic Christianity.


1A Computational Biologist, who uses artificial intelligence to explore science at the intersection of biology, chemistry, and medicine.

2In the beginning, out of dust and a rib.


4Much of the information for this section has been sourced from Dr. William Lane Craig’s critique of Dr. Josh Swamidass. This is from two articles entitled Josh Swamidass on Adam and Eve – Part 1 and Part 2.





Websites last accessed on 28th March 2020.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Why Is God Not Evil Despite Designing The Coronavirus?

            In an unprecedented and sudden development, the entire world has slowed down. No longer can we blame time or offer time as an excuse for the intentional and the unintentional aspects we neglected. Thanks to Covid-19, time is our friend now.

            Just as time, uncertainty, worry and fear are also our constant companions now. Thanks to Covid-19.

            It is in this very precarious state of affairs that we need positive reinforcements to remove confusions and stabilize our thought process be it in the secular or the spiritual realms of our life.

            Knowing where God is in this situation would resolve much of our uncertainty, worry, and fear.

            First, did God create Covid-19 or did HE design Covid-19?

            Dr. S. Joshua Swamidass is the Associate Professor, Department of Pathology & Immunology and the Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He describes himself as “a scientist in the Church and a Christian in science.”1

            In a recent debate on God and/or Evolution Dr. Joshua Swamidass debated Dr. Michael Behe, much renowned for his book Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution.

            At that debate, Dr. Behe claimed that viruses are designed by God. In an article entitled Evolution, Design, and COVID-19, Dr. Behe claims the same, “So, do I think viruses were designed? Yes, I most certainly do! The viruses of which we are aware — including the coronaviruses, Ebola, and HIV — are exquisitely, purposively arranged, which is the clear signature of intelligent design….”2

            Although God designs viruses, the changes in the virus that increases its virulence to harm humans is a result of its interaction with the natural laws of our world, says Dr. Behe, “Certainly, if we were on a ship in a powerful storm, we might be excused for thinking storms are bad. But in calmer moments we understand that on balance the ocean is very good and that, given an ocean and the laws of nature, storms will arise from time to time. What’s more, we just might get caught in one. In the same way, most viruses do not affect humans and may well have a positive, necessary role to play in nature of which we are currently unaware.5 (I would bet on it.) From time to time a storm arises in the virosphere and affects humans. But that’s no reason to think either that viruses weren’t designed or that the designer of viruses isn’t good.”3

            Dr. Swamidass reiterates Dr. Behe’s point, “So, to restate his point: viruses are designed, but when a virus, like the one causing COVID-19, evolves, we should understand it much like a storm. The point here, it seems, is that the changes required for the COVID-19 virus to infect and injure humans arise from the natural operation of the world, not God’s intended purpose or design. To make this move, Behe is acknowledging some relative autonomy to creation, that it operates under God’s governance but also somehow “on its own.”

            So the virus is designed, but its evolution into a disease causing pathogen is not designed.”4

            Second, is God evil if HE designed the Coronavirus?

            No, says Dr. Behe, “…does that mean the designer is evil and wants people to suffer? No, not necessarily… I see no reason why a designer even of such things as viruses should be classified as bad on that basis alone.”5

            Similarly, God created angels even though HE knew that one rebellious group will reject HIM and cause evil. In a blog entitled Why Did God Create Satan Knowing That Satan Would Cause Evil? I wrote:6

First, did God know that Satan would cause evil? Yes, God would have known all about Satan. God is all-knowing (Job 37:16; Psalm 139:2–4, 147:5; Proverbs 5:21; Isaiah 46:9-10; 1 John 3:19–20), so God would have definitely known that Satan would cause evil and disaster in this world.
Second, could not have God created a world without Satan? Wouldn’t a world without Satan and evil be a better world than ours? In other words, is our world the best of all possible worlds?
One of the great thinkers of 17th and 18th century is Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. He proposed that our world is the best of all possible worlds. Leibniz's proposition was that since God knew all of the infinite possibilities, this world should be the best of all possible worlds, for God has actualized this world over the other possible worlds.
Christian analytic philosopher, Alvin Plantinga differed from Leibniz by positing that there cannot be a best world, for one more palm tree or one more morally righteous person can make any world better. So Plantinga concluded that there is no such thing as the best world. [Even if God does not create anything, HE alone will exist as the greatest good (Summum bonum)]. Therefore, God is merely obligated to create a good world and not a best world.
This world is a good world, since God has offered freedom to his creation. God has offered freedom to man to love HIM freely. The same freedom was offered to the angels as well. Some angels a.k.a. Satan and his demonic entourage abused this freedom and rebelled against God.
A world without freedom is not a good world. Therefore, as C.S Lewis wrote in ‘Problem of Pain,’ God has created a good world in such a way that the goodness of this world could be perverted into evil upon mankind’s rebellion or when creation is distorted.
In other words, free beings i.e. man could use their freedom to perform evil deeds by rejecting God, which in effect would destroy the goodness of God’s creation. Similarly man can tamper with nature to bring about evil e.g. destruction of coral reefs would bring about hunger, poverty and political instability.
As long as God offers freedom to his creation, the free moral agents (e.g. man) would possess the ability to do good or evil. So the question is not about Satan’s existence whereas the question should be about the presence of freedom.

            In the same vein, we can also claim that there is nothing odd or wrong in God designing viruses. The virus operates under a certain autonomy to change. That change causes the virulence in the virus to infect and injure humans. So God creating these viruses does not make HIM evil, especially because HE is not the direct cause of evil.

            Finally, how do we navigate these turbulent waters of lockdown and curfew that could lead to uncertainty, fear, and worry?

            Go to Jesus.

            Jesus lived in a time and age when people were dying of common cold, flu, and an abscessed tooth. Yet Jesus went to the sick and healed them.

            Our world today is much safer than Jesus’ time. We have overcome many problems that our ancestors were unable to. However, the problem we face today is certainly daunting.

            So let us approach the Lord Jesus. HE will never deny those who approach HIS throne of grace seeking healing, comfort, peace, and wisdom to navigate the turbulent times that we are living in:7

Christians believe that Jesus is fully divine and fully human. Yet we sometimes overlook the second part. Jesus of Nazareth was born into a world of illness. In her book “Stone and Dung, Oil and Spit,” about daily life in first-century Galilee, Jodi Magness, a scholar of early Judaism, calls the milieu in which Jesus lived “filthy, malodorous and unhealthy.” John Dominic Crossan and Jonathan L. Reed, scholars of the historical background of Jesus, sum up these conditions in a sobering sentence in “Excavating Jesus”: “A case of the flu, a bad cold, or an abscessed tooth could kill.” This was Jesus’s world.
Moreover, in his public ministry, Jesus continually sought out those who were sick. Most of his miracles were healings from illnesses and disabilities: debilitating skin conditions (under the rubric of “leprosy”), epilepsy, a woman’s “flow of blood,” a withered hand, “dropsy,” blindness, deafness, paralysis. In these frightening times, Christians may find comfort in knowing that when they pray to Jesus, they are praying to someone who understands them not only because he is divine and knows all things, but because he is human and experienced all things.

            Go to Jesus. HE is the bread of life. Those that are with HIM lack nothing.









Websites last accessed on 25th March 2020.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Did Rev. Paul Dhinakaran & Sylvia Browne Predict The Coronavirus?

            Jesus Calls, a ministry of Rev. Paul Dhinkaran, claims that he prophesied the Coronavirus pandemic in 2016.

            A YouTube video1 posted by Jesus Calls shows Rev. Paul Dhinkaran predicting a pestilence.2

            Did Rev. Paul Dhinakaran predict the Coronavirus in 2016?

            This is Rev. Paul Dhinakaran’s prophecy, “[Firstly, He showed me about China.] A pestilence shall first go across the nations of the East, even in greater China. When nobody else can help them they will cry out to me, says the Lord. As the pestilence goes across the land, my grace shall then follow and people shall be redeemed. My healing presence shall flow across the land of China and they will know that I am the only Savior and their only Redeemer. As waters flow from the high mountains so will My anointing and grace flow from China, then to all the regions around. There will be great joy. This is God’s prophecy or Word about China and the nations of the East surrounding them.3 

            How do we understand this prophecy?

            First, Rev. Paul Dhinakaran’s prophecy is not about Coronavirus. His prophecy is about redemption (of people in China and its neighboring countries). The pestilence is to be a means to an end.

            Second, according to the prophecy, the consequence of the pestilence is the redemption or salvation of people. This state is yet to be realized. If the redemption of people fails to occur through Covid-19, then the prophecy was not about Covid-19.     
            Third, this prophecy is far from being fulfilled. The prophecy states that China and its neighboring countries will be in a joyous state. Sadly though, at this time, uncertainty looms large everywhere. 

            So is this prophecy referring to Coronavirus?

            Maybe or may not be. If the prophecy is to be true, there should be a redemption of people in China and neighboring countries now (after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic). If the redemption of people does not occur, then the prophecy is not referring to Coronavirus.

            Why did Jesus Calls jump the gun to claim that this prophecy is referring to Coronavirus?

            I do not know.

            Having claimed, I wonder if they are seeking to validate Rev. Paul Dhinkaran as a trustworthy prophet of God.

            Moving on to Sylvia Browne…

            When Kim Kardashian shares a message on social media, that message has the potential to become viral. Combine Kim’s fame with Coronavirus, what do we get? An instantly viral message!

            When Kim shared that psychic Sylvia Browne predicted Coronavirus 12 years ago, that message went viral. But is this prediction factual?

            Sylvia Browne’s prediction is inaccurate according to an article on the website of CFI (Center for Inquiry):4

In her 2008 book End of Days, Browne (who died in 2013) predicted that “In around [sic] 2020 a severe pneumonia-like illness will spread throughout the globe, attacking the lungs and the bronchial tubes and resisting all known treatments. Almost more baffling than the illness itself will be the fact that it will suddenly vanish as quickly as it arrived, attack again ten years later, and then disappear completely.”
This led to many on social media assuming that Browne had accurately predicted the Covid-19 outbreak, and no less a respected authority than Kim Kardashian shared such posts…
… Let’s revisit the passage in question: “In around 2020 [sic] a severe pneumonia-like illness will spread throughout the globe, attacking the lungs and the bronchial tubes and resisting all known treatments. Almost more baffling than the illness itself will be the fact that it will suddenly vanish as quickly as it arrived, attack again ten years later, and then disappear completely.”
There’s a lot packed into these two sentences, so let’s parse this out. First, we have an indefinite date range (“in around 2020”), which depends on how loosely you interpret the word “around”: Browne doesn’t write “In 2020,” which would narrow it down to one calendar year; she writes “in around” whose grammatically awkward construction suggests to the editor in me that she (or her editor) added the word “around” in a late draft to make it more general—a typical psychic technique. What “around 2020” means varies by subjective criterion, and could plausibly include a range of plus or minus three or more years: Most people would probably agree that 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022, and 2023 are “around” 2020. Using this range we see that Browne’s spread is over seven (or more) years—well over half a decade.
So what did Browne predict would happen sometime during those years? “A severe pneumonia-like illness.” Covid-19 is not “a severe pneumonia-like illness,” though it can in some cases lead to pneumonia. Most of those infected (about 80%) have mild symptoms and recover just fine, and the disease has a mortality rate of between 2% and 4%. There are two types of coronaviruses—Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome—that “can cause severe respiratory infections,” but Covid-19 is not among them; both SARS and MERS are far more deadly.
Where will it go, according to Browne? It “will spread throughout the globe, attacking the lungs and the bronchial tubes.” Covid-19 has now indeed spread throughout the globe, though the phrase “attacking the lungs and the bronchial tubes” isn’t a prediction but merely restates any “pneumonia-like illness.”
But Browne also offers another specific characteristic of this disease, that of “resisting all known treatments.” This also does not describe Covid-19, which doesn’t “resist all known treatments”; in fact doctors know exactly how to treat (though not effectively vaccinate or quarantine, which are very different measures) the disease, and .it’s essentially the same for influenza or other similar respiratory infections. There’s nothing unique about Covid-19’s resistance to treatment.
In the second sentence she further describes the illness: “Almost more baffling than the illness itself will be the fact that it will suddenly vanish as quickly as it arrived, attack again ten years later, and then disappear completely.” This is false, at least as of now. Covid-19 has not “suddenly vanished as quickly as it arrived,” and even if it eventually does, its emergence pattern would have to be compared with other typical epidemiology data to know whether it’s “baffling.” Infectious diseases (especially ones such as respiratory illnesses) have predictable patterns, and modeling outbreaks is a whole branch of public health. Given a normal distribution (bell curve) of cases, it would not necessarily be “baffling” if the disease subsided as quickly as it arose. In fact what would be astonishing is if it did not; in other words if over the course of a week or two, the infection rates plummeted inexplicably as no new infections were reported at all. That would be an amazing psychic prediction. Furthermore note that the prediction couldn’t even be mostly validated until 2030, since it references a recurrence of the disease ten years later—a neat trick for a prediction made (or at least made public) nearly a quarter-century earlier. And as to whether it would “then disappear completely,” I suppose that could be determined true or false at some point around the end of time, so expect a follow-up piece from me then.
So we have a two-sentence prediction written in 2008 by a convicted felon with a long track record of failures. Half of the prediction (the second sentence) have demonstrably not happened. The other half of the prophecy describes an infectious respiratory illness that does not resemble Covid-19 in its particulars and that would happen within a few years of 2020.


2Merriam-Webster defines pestilence as a, “a contagious or infectious epidemic disease that is virulent and devastating.” (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pestilence)

3https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JExOAjgVXZ0; Time: 1:12 to 2:08.


Websites last accessed on 17th March 2020.