Gabe Scuderi has been working for twenty-four years at a Lysol factory in New Jersey but says, “It’s the first time I felt this isn’t only a job. We’re on the front lines now.”
A grandmother named Estelle Slon is emailing riddles to sick children forced into isolation as they undergo treatment for cancer and other dire illnesses. More than a thousand volunteer groups have been set up in the UK to help the most vulnerable during the coronavirus outbreak.
How are we to account for altruism?
Writing for the Federalist, Glenn T. Stanton notes the “extravagant beauty” in nature that defies evolutionary explanation. His article describes in detail the contradictory ways Charles Darwin and other evolutionists have tried to explain beauty that does not seem to serve any evolutionary purpose.
Yale University’s Richard Prum’s theory is “captured in his simple phrase ‘beauty happens.'” The bottom line is that naturalistic evolutionists have no compelling explanation for what Stanton calls their “most persistent problem.”
The same can be said of humans who perform deeds of sacrificial altruism. If evolutionary theory is right in claiming that survival optimization is our basic drive, then why is this person taking such risks? If survival of the species is the explanation, then why isn’t everyone doing the same?
Here’s the biblical response: when we care for others simply because we care for them, we express a vestige of the divine image in which we are created.
God loves us because “God is love” (1 John 4:8). He loves us because it is his very nature to love, not because we have done or can do anything to deserve his love. When we love through service that is not earned and comes at great personal cost, we act as creatures who reflect the nature of our Creator.
What does this fact say about our Maker and his relevance to this day of pandemic crisis?
The beauty of St. George’s Chapel
The ceiling design in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in England is stunning. However, it can be painful to look upward for a long period of time, so a mirror has been placed on the floor.
When I have visited over the years, I always looked down so I could look up. But no one standing beside me thought the mirror was the origin of the incredible artistry it reflects.
Unfortunately, many make just this mistake with creation and its Creator.
I have known scientists who were fascinated with the incredible intricacies of the human body without giving a thought to the One who designed it. I have known artists who were grateful for their artistic gifts but never thought to express gratitude to their Giver.
It is as though a painting exists without a painter or a house without a builder.
I have never seen the Taj Mahal
It is conventional wisdom in our postmodern culture that reality is what we experience it to be. But the fact is, the world is what it is whether we experience it or not. God “created the heavens and the earth,” whether his creation recognizes or rejects this fact (Genesis 1:1).
I have unfortunately never seen the Taj Mahal. I have no personal proof that it exists. But my ignorance does not change its reality. I could explain its origin by claiming that “beauty happens,” but that wouldn’t change its actual history.
By contrast, God sees us when we do not see him. He knows us when we do not acknowledge him.
He said to Isaiah, “I will quietly look from my dwelling like clear heat in sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest” (Isaiah 18:4). His word is clear: “No creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). The psalmist noted that God “looks far down on the heavens and the earth” (Psalm 113:6).
And whether we believe it or not today, “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
I have spoken with skeptics who told me, “I don’t believe in hell,” as though their opinion changes hell’s reality. The tragic fact is, the less they believe in the reality of hell, the more likely they are to reject the grace that saves them from it (Revelation 20:15).
How “the truth will set you free”
Here’s my point: Satan wants to use the current pandemic to tempt us to neglect the Helper we cannot see as we focus on the help we can. When we face a medical crisis, we seek the help of medical professionals. When we face a financial crisis, we seek the help of financial advisors. As we should.
But we should also trust the Great Physician who owns “the cattle on a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10). We were created to need his omniscience and omnipotence today and into eternity.
John 8:32 is emblazoned over university arches across the Western world: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” But the previous verse states the condition that empowers Jesus’ promise: “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples” (v. 31).
Would Jesus say you are truly his disciple today?