With so many “experts” on media outlets creating a cacophony of opinions, the truth is often muddled at best, thwarted at worst. Dr. Robert Carter spoke with the Falkirk Center to lend his Creationism Science perspective to COVID-19. His thoughtfulness helps remind Christians that none of this is a surprise to God. We are suffering the consequences of a fallen work—yet He is in absolute control of it all.
Falkirk: From your perspective, Dr. Carter, what is the origin of COVID-19?
Dr. Carter: All the evidence as to the origins of COVID-19 is pointing from this coming from a wild population of animals (probably bats). This virus is particularly good at jumping between species. And when it jumps to people, it spreads quickly. There are actually a lot of viruses that jump between species and cause all sorts of problems, and this current scenario has happened before with SARS, H1N1, influenza, and others.
Falkirk: In terms of ongoing impact, will this virus go away, or will it remain cyclical?
Dr. Carter: If it was a small-scale epidemic (like SARS), it would probably go away. But since it’s spread to so many people in so many different countries, the probability of it totally disappearing is very low. The hope is that we’ll find ways to treat it more effectively. My personal hope is that it will attenuate—or mutate such that it becomes less and less effective. This happened in 1917-18 with the Spanish Flu. It killed a lot of people, but then the death rate plummeted until it just became only as bad as the regular seasonal flu. So, hopefully, it will attenuate quickly.
Falkirk: Starting with a Genesis framework, the Curse that was placed upon the world once Adam rebelled against God means everything is falling apart over time. Can you explain viruses in the context of this Biblical worldview?
Dr. Carter: My colleagues and I at Creation.com have written extensively about this very thing. You can read my full take on this here. But basically, it’s helpful to understand that most viruses don’t cause disease. In fact, we have more viruses in us than we have bacteria in us—and we have more bacteria than cells! Trillions of viruses live inside us—and they’re good for us. They regulate the species of bacteria and the number of bacteria in our gut, so we don’t get eaten up by that bacteria.
But sometimes, when a virus from one species hops to another species, the second species cannot control that virus. Or sometimes a mutation may occur in a virus within that species to which it made its escape, and that second species does not have the ability to control it.
This is all part of the Curse, the Fall, and the world in which we now live now. And, so, we’re struggling. The original Coronaviruses, I believe, were created by God to be beneficial for some species for some time. Through mutation and through time and chance, one of these viruses has hopped into people, and they’re not supposed to be here. And a lot of people are suffering and dying because of it.
Sadly, most doctors don’t think in Creation sense. They think bacteria are bad and viruses are bad. They believe that natural selection will produce something stronger and worse in the future. And that’s not necessarily true. We don’t want to kill off every bacteria and every virus, but we do want to target the ones that are causing problems.
The primary purpose of medicine, throughout history, is to reverse the effects of the Curse—even if unbelieving physicians don’t think this way. It’s to reverse suffering, reverse disease, slow down death. This is what Jesus did. Christianity and medicine have been hand in hand on this for a long time.
Falkirk: So, Dr. Carter, what is the end game of all this as you see it?
Dr. Carter: COVID-19 has a tail. We are seeing this as the cases go down and more information comes out. The morbidity is much lower than anticipated initially.
I am extremely hopeful. The infection rate is plummeting, the death rate is plummeting. The information we had two months ago was essentially all wrong. But we didn’t know that. We had to act upon the information we had—we had to act with caution. A key Christian principle is taking care of people who are vulnerable. We had to protect the vulnerable and have mercy. I cannot predict where it’s going…no one’s predictions (not even mine), have been correct. No one knows. And, by the way, no one can come through at the end and say, “I told you so.” Not possible. No one saw what was going to happen.
I’m very happy we’re opening up again. The goal of initially cordoning us all off in our homes wasn’t to eradicate the virus. It was to slow down the spread so the medical community could catch up and prepare. Now, if there is a second pulse—and there might be as we start ending the quarantine—there may well be a spread, but hospitals won’t be overwhelmed like we were terrified of a couple months ago.
Visit creation.com for more from Dr. Carter.