Answer by Diane Eager

First a summary of what is now known about how the virus gets into humans: According to articles in Scientific American 14 October and BBC News 19 October, scientists searching the source of the Ebola virus have tracked it to fruit bats. Researchers from International Centre for Medical Research of Franceville in Gabon have carried out a survey of 679 bats, 222 birds and 129 mice and other small mammals, testing them for the virus. They found immune responses and pieces of viral RNA in three different species of fruit bat. These bats are hunted in Africa as “bushmeat,” so it seems the current outbreak of the disease can be traced to a two-year-old child from the village of Gueckedou in south-eastern Guinea, whose family hunted bats. The bats themselves do not seem to suffer ill effects from the virus, but can pass it on to humans or to other animals if they bite or scratch them.

So did God make it to cause us to get sick, or so He could kill people?

We can dogmatically state that this virus would not have been a problem in the original good world that God made, because people did not eat bats. Genesis 1 tells us that people were originally instructed to eat plants, i.e. to be vegetarian. Therefore, they would not have hunted and killed bats, which in turn means the bats would not have bitten or scratched people. Likewise, humans were given authority over all creatures so no bat would have had the audacity to bite its earthly Lord. This means any microbe that is transmitted by direct contact with body fluids into a wound would not have had an opportunity to move from bats to humans.

Genesis 9 informs us that mankind was not given permission to eat meat until after Noah’s flood, so it was not until then that animal-borne microbes became a potential hazard for people.

The question of why viruses exist at all remains somewhat of a mystery, but the fact that they can only exist in total dependence upon complex living cells, and can definitely exist in some animals without doing them any harm, indicates that they do have a function. We also know that people can harbour what we normally think of as disease-causing viruses without ill effects, so they must be kept under control by that person’s immune system.

Furthermore, human to human transmission of many virus diseases, including Ebola, can be prevented by good hygiene and good infrastructure (clean water, effective sewerage, control of rubbish and pollution, etc), and lack of these is often due to human ignorance, corruption and greed, and we cannot blame God.

Overall, these observations indicate that viral diseases are the result of the degeneration in the environment, and/or human behaviour, both of which are the result of human sin and God’s judgement on sin. Therefore, we should look to ourselves before blaming God for the results of what we have done to the good world He created.

Related Questions:
AIDS Kuru: Who took these on the Ark? What sort of a God made such things? Answer here

.If all God made was good, why do we have Typhus? It only lives in man, so Adam must have had it. Answer here.

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