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Coronaviruses in creation

Does the recent coronavirus outbreak support evolution?

by

Published: 6 February 2020 (GMT+10)
National Pathogen Librarycorona-virus
An electron microscope image of the 2019- nCoV coronavirus

There is a new virus sweeping the world. Most people are calling it ‘coronavirus’. It was first noticed in Wuhan, China and is already popping up in multiple countries. Many people have died. What are we supposed to think about it? Do viruses support evolution? Can we explain them in a creation context? Can this be part of the ‘very good’ creation? Hold onto your hats, for I am about to turn what you think about viruses on its head.

Most viruses are beneficial

It comes as a shock to many people when they hear it, but most viruses are good for you. Have you heard that there are as many bacteria in and on your body as there are cells in your body? That is true. But it is also true that you have more viruses in your gut than you have bacteria! In fact, the viral population (called the ‘virome’1) plays an important role in regulating the number and types of bacteria in your body.2 Without them, we might be rapidly consumed by the hungry little bacteria that live in our intestines.

Have you ever gone swimming in the ocean? Then you were swimming in a highly concentrated bacterial soup. There are lots of bacteria in ocean water, with many different species. But, as in your gut, there are more viruses than bacteria and they probably play a role in maintaining and balancing the bacterial population in oceanic waters. Could we even have fish if there were no viruses? That is an interesting question that some enterprising young scientist might be able to answer one day.

Have you ever gone swimming in a lake? Then you were swimming in a soup of bacteria and viruses. Did that lake have ducks, swans, or geese swimming about? Then you were swimming among influenza viruses. In fact, aquatic waterfowl carry all possible types of the influenza virus, including the ones that do not infect humans. These viruses get introduced to the water as the birds defecate. But the presence of the virus usually does not produce disease in these birds,3 or in you, even though you are getting them in your eyes, ears, and mouth. An evolutionist might say the reason the birds do not (usually) get sick is because the two have been at war with one another for millions of years and they have settled down to a truce, where the virus does not kill the host and the host gives the virus a place to live. From a creation perspective, the influenza virus probably has a beneficial role for the birds, but it is doubtful that anyone has looked for it yet.

Some viruses might have escaped from the genome

Did you know that your cells produce many of the same things that viruses are made of? We make protein coats, we copy DNA and RNA, we have mechanisms of moving DNA to different parts of the genome, etc. Thus, some viruses might have originated in normal cellular operations.4 The parts are all there, sometimes the parts are assembled into things that almost appear virus-like. All it would take is for a few accidental changes and the assemblage could get out of hand and ‘go viral’.

Some viruses might have escaped their initial design constraints

pixabay.commandarin-ducks
Even though they are beautiful, ducks and other aquatic waterfowl carry every known type of influenza.

But not all viruses are genome-like. Many viruses that produce disease look like they are designed to do what they do. Where did these come from? Well, if a virus exists that is designed to infect the cells of a bacterium, or a mouse, or a person, there are probably checks and balances in that system. If one of those checks fails, the virus might be able to reproduce much faster than it was originally designed to do. This would result in disease. Thus, a ‘beneficial’ virus might be able to turn into a dangerous one. It might just take a few small mutations, like maybe a change in a cellular recognition factor that prevents the host cells from detecting, and therefore regulating, the virus.

Viruses that jump species are especially dangerous

We can now discuss the coronavirus, a virus that does not belong in humans. Viruses that jump between species are called zoonotics (notice the word ‘zoo’ in that name). We have lots of evidence for zoonotic viruses, including influenza,5 the coronavirus family (this new virus, SARS, and MERS6), and HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). All of these cause disease in humans. Some of them have persisted in the human population for a very long time. Happily, however, many new viruses burn themselves out. Viruses will also weaken over time. As they multiply, they pick up mutations and sometimes, those mutations will weaken them to the point where they are no longer transmitted. This is not always the case, though, and some viruses, like HIV or the human cold virus (yet another coronavirus), can continue to propagate despite picking up mutations. It depends on many different factors and no two viruses are alike.

Emerging viruses are a real threat

pixabay.compandemic

The human race has been struck with devastating epidemics throughout its history. Some of those, like the black death, are well characterized (this was caused by a bacterium spread by fleas). Others leave us scratching our heads. All we know is that multiple ancient kingdoms, civilization, and cities suffered through massive episodes of disease and death. Sometimes the records allow us to make an educated guess what caused the disease, but this is not common.

The initial creation had no disease (see our Death and Suffering Q&A), yet diseases have risen over the past six thousand years. If they rose once, there is no reason to expect another viral contagion to not appear in the future. This is not a reason to fear, but it should help us to soberly assess our sometimes tenuous position on this earth.

We have created all sorts of safety nets to prevent the spread of infection and the world is beginning to react more swiftly to emerging threats. Quarantines, hand washing, and vaccinations are all part of that strategy, depending on the severity, the risk, and whether or not we have figured out a way to vaccinate against them. Consider the most recent Ebola outbreak in Africa. We spent many millions of dollars helping those people through that terrible time and a worldwide outbreak was prevented, again. The coronavirus outbreak currently sweeping across China is another example. Mercifully, the death rate, which started at about 20%, has decreased by about half, probably due to doctors getting better at treating the disease. But even a rate of 1 or 2% would equate to many millions of people if it got out of control and became as common as, say, the common cold. But the scientific community responded very quickly. In a short time, multiple gene sequences for the virus were completed and posted to public databases and electron microscopes produced pictures of what we were dealing with. The speed of this was unprecedented.

The future of the coronavirus

If this virus outbreak follows the course of previous ones, the coronavirus might burn itself out. This is apparently what happened to the human H1N1 influenza virus that swept across the world in 1917, killing millions of people. It lasted for 40 years before disappearing. It was reintroduced from a stored laboratory sample in 1976 and lasted another 33 years before disappearing again during the 2009–2010 swine H1N1 pandemic, which was also not a particularly lethal virus. The later versions did not have the lethal nature as the earlier ones, and the fact that the human H1N1 could not persist in the human population is good evidence that it was undergoing genetic entropy. In fact, the virus was picking up over 14 mutations per year while it was active and more than 10% of its genome had mutated before it went extinct.7 This also matched previously published computer simulations.8

But the coronavirus is not the flu. We also are not certain where or how this virus originated, although it apparently came from bats, perhaps circuitously. Either way, it will have to be treated very carefully and our health care systems must treat it as a serious and immediate threat. We cannot wait decades for genetic entropy to take its toll.

How should we react?

Under the creation/curse model, there is no reason to expect new diseases to not emerge. Yet, when one does appear, we should soberly assess the risk and take proper precautions. We should also always be willing to help those in need, knowing that it could always have been us in that situation. Charitable giving, preferably though a Christian aid agency, is always an option. But we should also not let opportunities for sharing the gospel slip through our fingers, and very often, when a person realizes how fragile life actually is, they are more accepting of the hope offered by Jesus Christ.

Conclusions

Viruses are part of God’s created order. We can see that many of them play beneficial roles. Yet, we live in a sin-cursed world with much suffering, death, and disease. Some viruses have become dangerous, causing untold suffering across humanity throughout our history. These have forced us to develop innovative strategies to try and keep them in check. God has not promised us long life, nor good health. But He has promised to redeem this sin-cursed world and our disease-wracked bodies and so our hope is not here on this earth anyway. Let us look to Him for hope, for our redemption draws near.

References and notes

  1. This is a good summary of the virome, but from an evolutionary source so use with appropriate caution: sciencedirect.com/topics/immunology-and-microbiology/human-virome. Return to text.
  2. Here is a paper from a biblical Creation-Fall perspective about the important function of the mammalian virome: Francis, J.W., Ingle, M., and Wood, T.C., Bacteriophages as beneficial regulators of the mammalian Microbiome, Proc. Int. Conf. Creationism 8:152–157, 2018; creationicc.org. Return to text.
  3. Barber, M.R. et al., Association of RIG-I with innate immunity of ducks to influenza, PNAS 107(13):5913–5918, 2010. Return to text.
  4. Terborg, P., The ‘VIGE-first hypothesis’—how easy it is to swap cause and effect, J. Creation 27(3):105–112, 2013. (VIGE = Variation-Inducing Genetic Element) Return to text.
  5. Ma, W., Kahn, R.E., and Richt, J.A., The pig as a mixing vessel for influenza viruses: human and veterinary implications, J. Mol. Genet. Med. 3(1):158–166, 2008. Return to text.
  6. A coronavirus (similar to the new coronavirus), the cause of Middle East respiratory syndrome. Return to text.
  7. Carter, R.W., and Sanford, J.C., A new look at an old virus: mutation accumulation in the human H1N1 influenza virus since 1918, Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling 9:42, 2012. Return to text.
  8. Brewer, W., Smith, F.D., and Sanford, J.C., Information loss: potential for accelerating natural genetic attenuation of RNA viruses; in: Marks II, R.J., Behe, M.J., Dembski, W.A., Gordon, B., and Sanford, J.C. (Eds.), Biological Information—New Perspectives, World Scientific, Singapore, pp. 369–384, 2013. Return to text.

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Readers’ comments

Craig A P.
Could such periodic outbreaks of virus and other global catastrophes be judgements or warnings from God?
Robert Carter
That depends on your eschatology as far as the recent events go, but such things have been happening throughout world history.
David B.
It is a sad fact but true that, when people are staring at potential death in the face like the situation here, they are much more open to gospel inroads. I don't want to seem like a vulture or ambulance chaser but if they start to admit they can die even in an unpredictable way, you can start asking questions about how they feel about the topic. Usually, people just brush it off but when it is front-page news many want to open up about it. One guy was clearly bothered and afraid by the conversation. This gives the chance to talk about why they would be fearful. They are even admitting in their actions that they are afraid that there is an afterlife and a Holy God that stands there waiting for them. It is a very subtle message they send but many people will admit in a situation like this that there is a God in eternity and He is a God of just judgment...and that they fall short of that standard. This is where we can come alongside and offer hope and relief from that judgment
Peter B.
Tracking the published mortality rates - circa outbreak one week until 13/02/2020, my numbers came out at 2.14%, then 2.1%, then latest published at 2.4%. Fairly consistent - and historically speaking, this one is a lightweight. NOT to down play death of those impacted, but in direct comparison...not really distinguishable from a bad flu which kills the elderly and the immune-compromised. I contend that the known globalist puppet-masters may well be conducting test-and-response. The overwhelming majority are recovering or have already fully recovered.
Robert Carter
You cannot look at the total cases in a rapidly expanding epidemic. In times like that, most of the infections are new and one cannot know if the people will die or not. If, however, you look at the total number of cases that have reached a conclusion, you can simply divide the number of deaths by the number of deaths + recoveries. Doing this consistently gives you a number between 15 and 20%. As of February 18 (2020), there are 73,450 confirmed cases, of which 58,429 are still active. Among the finished cases, there have been 13,146 recoveries and 1,875 deaths, yielding a death rate of 12.5%. This is the lowest death rate I have seen since I began to track the numbers, but it is still over 10%, which is extremely worrying. The main problem with these numbers, and any others, is lack of quality data, so we cannot be certain about anything. But the numbers do indicate it is much more dangerous than you assume.
Ludwig L.
After reading that bats might be a probable source of coronavirus. I really wonder if one of the reason for strict dietary laws in Old Testament is to prevent zonotic deseases.
Robert Carter
See my earlier response to Julian F. There are plenty of zoonotics that come from clean animals. Worse, we tend to live in close proximity to clean animals, so the probability of catching something from, say, a cow, is higher then, say, a fruit bat.
Mike F.
Rational, informative, balanced. Thank you. Keep up the good work.
Geoff E.
Great article Dr Carter. Is there something to be said for the population density in China, and their control methods, compared to other nations, especially lower density ones like Australia, for why it hasn't taken off to the same degree in other regions (besides that fact that it originated in China of course)? I haven't looked into it much at all, but am wondering if simple hygiene could be a strong factor in restricting its spread. Many are saying that China is downplaying the seriousness of the outbreak. Not sure if that falls into 'conspiracy theory' territory, but is there much evidence that the situation is worse than we're being led to believe?
Robert Carter
I honestly can't answer most of these questions. It is spreading in China because it originated there. Population density really is not a factor because Chinese cities are no more dense than Lagos or Rio. It is also not a matter of simple hygiene. Is China downplaying the seriousness of the outbreak? We have no way of knowing, but would not the US or Australia do the same under similar circumstances? We will know how bad it is when and if it escapes into a major metropolitan area outside the originating country.
Julian F.
Interesting to review Leviticus 11 for the list of animals that should not be eaten. Compare with animals that are eaten and the diseases that seem to originate from them. For example Ebola from bats, MARS from camels and now this Corona virus strain maybe from or via Pangolins. All of these animals are off the Leviticus menu. Any thoughts on this? By the way really good talk and article on viruses and really appreciate all your genetics lectures.
Robert Carter
There are also all sorts of diseases we can get from 'clean' animals as well, including anthrax, tuberculosis, cryptococcosis, hydatid disease, leptospirosis, Q fever, tapeworm, toxoplasmosis (it is found in more than just cat feces), etc., etc. Yes, trichinosis is a problem with under-cooked pork, but under-cooked meat from cows, sheep, and birds is also a problem. In the end, I honestly think the Levitical dietary laws are for ceremonial, not biological, purposes. My thoughts only.
Mark G.
ha never my intention to tacitly insult ,only wake people up ,we are in days when even 'the elect will be deceived ', all we can do is get people thinking for themselves,researching, and praying . The fellow i follow said to one of his closest 'disciples 'get behind me satan ' , bit rough ,nothing tacit about it, just raw truth .Which is far healthier in the long run . my waking up ,was pretty painful , is a process ,and an on going one . Put on the whole Armour of God . And don't worry am huge fan of CMI , i think only missed a few months of the mag when it started , took ex nihlo for a while but just not enough hours in the day .Must add , my way of thinking has changed , we live in an age of data overload ,I do not think as black or white ,true or false as I used to , things like the flat earth are to easily disproven. but many other ideas,weird as they may seem have to be examined ,and left on the table until the weight of evidence accumulates for or against . I give things a % score . This does have the benefit of being more open to other peoples arguments ,as we are all together just researching ,or studying to know as we are commended to do . be blessed and keep up the great and valued work .MG
Henry V.
This is an interesting article, but it has an unfortunate characteristic - one that we often criticise evolutionists for: Part of the article is highly speculative and peppered with words like maybe, might, and probably. Urgent creationist research in this area might therefore turn out to be very beneficial, both to the creationist cause and to humanity as a whole.
Robert Carter
Scientists are trained to use specific words carefully. "Maybe", "might", and "probably" are used when there is uncertainty involved in the discussion, and there is a lot of uncertainty in this discussion. It is not a matter of sounding like an evolutionist so much as it is writing in such a way that one does not get backed into a rhetorical corner.
Robert P.
Hello again Robert, thanks for the link (https://creation.com/mutations-new-information). I read it all. But a virus seem to have such a well designed atomic shell and all, even though it can't reproduce without a host cell. So it seems somewhat implausable that a virus could have originated via the accidental assemblage of cellular detritus, consisting of escaped bits of genetic machinery......could you please provide a few comments? This issue may be connected to your comments from the above referenced article where you said: "Most people tend to think DNA (the ‘genome’) is the storage place of information. While it is certainly the location of a tremendous amount of it, this gene-centered view ignores the information originally engineered into the first created organisms. The architecture of the cell, including the cell wall, nucleus, sub-cellular compartments and a myriad of molecular machines, did not originate from DNA, but was created separately and alongside DNA." Does this mean that the cellular architecture molecular machinery and also virus architecture (the angular polyhedral shell etc.) is only preserved via replication and not via storage of its information somewhere (if not via DNA)? Thanks in advance for any insights you can provide on these 2 questions

Regards
Robert Carter
For the first question, see the article I referenced: Terborg, P., The ‘VIGE-first hypothesis–how easy it is to swap cause and effect, J. Creation 27(3):105–112, 2013.

For the second question, yes. Much of the 'information' in the living things was already there at the start and gets copied from one generation to the next without necessarily requiring instructions from the genome. The viral coat, however, has to be manufactured by the cellular machinery because it is made from proteins.
Sheila P.
How fascinating! Honestly, one reason why it's sad that Creation science isn't taken seriously by the mainstream - besides faith issues, of course - is that so many new scientific avenues are opened up when you change the foundational framework through which you view the data. I can imagine that evolutionists view viruses as inevitable invaders to be warded off by our immune systems... Which of course is not wrong, but if they considered the possibility that instead of eradicating a virus, it might be possible for our own bodies to live in balance with them, well it could open up whole new ways of viewing and dealing with disease. But who knows if they'll ever do it? Or maybe they'll come to the idea ages later than they could have, like they did with junk DNA or catastrophic geology. Sad indeed.
Catherine K.
Great article - but the Word is full of promises of good health and long life, conditional on us living by faith and looking to follow the conditions that accompany those promises.
Robert Carter
That depends on how you view certain aspects of theology, but this is not the place to get into such things.
Glynis H.
Excellent explanation of viruses and the role they play in our gut & in the oceans too. Things I've never heard about before. Even David Attenborough hasn't addressed that topic! Although if he did, he'd be speaking in millions of years, not thousands as the Bible shows.
Thank you so much!
Elizabeth G.
I saw your video last evening, and was alerted to this angle today. For what it's worth: "In this report we take an inside look at Event 201, which took place in NYC on October 18 2019. Event 201 is a high-level pandemic exercise hosted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This is extremely fascinating because this pandemic simulation exercise of coronavirus took place about 6 weeks before the first illness from the coronavirus was actually reported in wuhan china! Another fascinating connection, is the fact that not only did the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation participate in and help set up the pandemic simulation of a coronavirus outbreak, but they just so happen to fund the group who owns the patent to the deadly coronavirus and are already working on a vaccine to solve the current crisis. Again an incredible coincidence… In this report you will see footage from inside the event as the members of the emergency epidemic board in this simulation, which consists of representatives from major banks, the UN, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Johnson and Johnson, logistical powerhouses, the media as well as officials from China and America’s CDC just to name a few. This simulation also includes news reports that were fabricated just for this exercise, please keep that in mind because they are eerily similar to reports we are currently seeing regarding this real world coronavirus outbreak." (Etc.) Should the various "misinformation" turn out to be true, "how should we then live"?
Robert Carter
No, no, no, no, and no. 1. I think it is a very good thing that the major players that would be involved in suppressing a pandemic actively meet and strategize about how to effectively meet the challenges. 2. This was not the first such event, and it will not be the last. In fact, epidemiologists have been wargaming about pandemics since the dawn of epidemiology. 3. Yes, the scenario mentioned a coronavirus, but it specifically references SARS, a deadly coronavirus and a matter of grave concern in general. 4. Nobody owns a patent on the deadly coronavirus. 5. If there was a major world outbreak of some deadly pestilence, who do you think would be involved in reacting to it? Answer: the groups involved in the event.

Think about the most recent Ebola outbreak. It took millions of dollars, tens of thousands of people, dedicated effort, and a whole lot of communication and coordination across multiple countries and international businesses and NGOs to stop it. And praise God that it was halted! Had it reached a major African city, the science of germology tells us things could have gone south, and quickly.
David D.
Human Coronavirus is not a new virus. It can be killed w Lysol, which is merely saltwater that’s been electrically charged. Either nobody is dying and the demons are literally feeding on our fears or they’re killing innocent people w a lethal virus or other means, using the coronavirus as a scapegoat & the demons are literally feeding on our fears. Look at the back of your Lysol products. Why anyone still believes the mainstream media is beyond me.
Robert Carter
This is why science education is so important. It is a new virus in humans, Lysol is not saltwater, and an electrical charge cannot last in a plastic bottle or spray can. If we want people to take us seriously, we have to make sure what we say is accurate.
Mark G.
hmmn , love your work Robert ,but you may not yet be awake to just how active the enemy is ,and his minions . believe me there is more than enough evidence behind everything i say , it is time to realize that the whole 'conspiracy theory' idea was spread by C-A to label as nuts any one actually researching 'conspiracies '. Both the Lord and the 'loser fairey' have to work mainly through the sons of Adam. As history shows us 'the elites' conspire together ,ie. make plans to suit their agendas , seldom any Godly ways to bless mankind . Somethings don't change . We are living in an extraordinary time, you may still be under the illusion that main stream media is a source of accurate information ,from years of research I can tell you it is basically the propaganda arm of the enemy of mankind . This is why they still pedal 'islam is a religion of peace ',we know it is a satanic cult that has enslaved rather a lot of the arab world ,and is intent on world domination . Have you ever seen a fair Christian message ,or even any accurate reporting of the almost daily atrocities against Christians around the world in msm ?, it is ..sparse,!!. [ as is real creation research reporting ! ]. The good news is the enemy has stuffed up big time !,very simply, in an effort to become 'omniscient' he has given us things like the nsa and Inet , this means good and godly people have access to all the evidence they need to expose the true extent of the evil minions activity ,this is the heart of the 'Q ' phenomena , I believe when the mass of good hearted humanity see this evil exposed we will see a turning to God ,goodness ,truth ,and humanity like we have never seen before . PTL ,be blessed .MG
Robert Carter
You tacitly insult me be saying I might not be "awake" and that I "may still be under the illusion", then you say "believe me"? Why would someone believe you after that? I am glad we are on the same side, but you assume too much. Phrases like this tend to causes people to not listen to someone. So let us choose our words more carefully.
Mikkel L.
One of the most popular answers is that it most likely was designed, and set upon When's population, whether through bats or any other means. This could also be the case with the previous Evils outbreaks.
Robert Carter
We deliberately avoided the rumors going around that this was created by man. We simply do not have enough evidence to judge this one way or the other and it is unlikely that we will ever get a clear report on the issue from any government agency. Did Lyme disease and the West Nile virus and whatever it was that wiped out the Long Island duck industry originate in the US government's Plum Island facility? Good luck getting a straight story on that! As soon as we dive under the waves of conspiracy theories we lose sense of direction. There is too much misinformation floating around. Thus, we avoided the issue and tried to focus on what was important -- how these fit into a creation context and how this leads to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

This article is a little bit too strong compared to your comment, but please see Why CMI Rejects 'Conspiracy' Theorizing. I am going to be posting links to this in many of the following comments.
Kerry M.
Thanks for the insights, and the calming comments regarding the conspiracy theories. One thing caught my eye, and it took a couple of reads before I figured out what seemed odd: Instead of "tenable" in "...our sometimes tenable position on this earth," did you possibly want "tenuous"?
Robert Carter
Yes, thank you. We fixed it.
Russel L.
Robert I support your position of not supporting a conspiracy theory. Although my comment does seem to support that this virus is man made and I do believe that as it exists now. I do not however feel it was intentional on the part of the Chinese authorities to release it. I have a medical background and understand the disease process and how viruses and bacteria can change (adapt) to it’s need to survive and replicate. It is the the transitions this virus has done in a very short period of time related to how it has existed for likely thousands of years. Something had to precipitate the two major changes it had to take to get to it’s currant form. History has shown that man is responsible for most pandemics in one way or another. Current infection control processes would limit or stop any viruses of history, the Coronavirus “seems” to be working itself around those safety protocols. If so why? Certainly not evolution and based on current information not natural adaptations. My views are theoretical but we can not close our eyes to the facts; nor the possibility that these mutations were engineered. Thank you CMI for publishing my first letter.
Robert Carter
One paper that was posted to BioRxiv claiming it was man-made has just been withdrawn. Other claims are not holding water. The early reports singled out bats, a more recent one, from Chinese scientists, identified pangolin (with a 99% sequence identity). The jury is still out on this one, but at the time of writing, I have seen zero solid evidence that traces it back to any laboratory. This is not impossible, mind you, and things could change quickly, but the evidence is not there. I am not confident that current infection control policies could stop every known virus and certainly not every potential emerging virus. We are getting better, but the methods China had to employ are positively draconian and I can only imagine how Americans would react if we tried to wall off a major city (I think the US would have a harder time of employing a quarantine).
Marc J.
What a great article! Thanks so much!
Linda W.
Robert: thank you for explaining so clearly for lay people—and with a Biblical perspective.
John N.
With man being born with a sin nature and man's desire for power would an altered virus used for germ warfare act the same as a naturally occurring virus?
Robert Carter
An altered virus would act the same, yes. But let us not jump to conclusions.
Robert P.
Hello Robert, An interesting article. Notable was: "These viruses get introduced to the water as the birds defecate. But the presence of the virus usually does not produce disease in these birds, or in you, even though you are getting them in your eyes, ears, and mouth." Eww!! But I do have problem with a phrase/word you have used. This objection might be perceived as pedantic or peevish. However I hope to show that it is a valid concern. The phrase is contained in the following sentence you wrote, viz: "Under the creation/curse model, there is no reason to expect new diseases to not emerge." The word I am objecting to in this sentence is "model". The Merriam-Webster online dictionary has multiple meanings for this word. But the most likely meanings I think, to be construed by the reader, in this context would be: 1. (Noun) Archetype or idea 2. (Adjective) Serving as or capable of serving as a pattern. Both of these definitions evoke the idea that there is an alternative, or that the object under discussion is merely an idea, not a unique or singular truth, but is instead, a contestable concept. Given that you are in the role of an apologist for the historical veracity and reliability, of the opening chapters of Genesis, I submit that this is not a good word to use. Why not write instead: "Given the Biblical truth of the cursed, originally good creation, there is no reason to expect new diseases to not emerge"? Similarly, you wrote: "our sometimes tenable position on this earth." I think you meant to write "our somewhat untenable position" or perhaps "somewhat precarious". But once again, this is viewing things from a human perspective. God is Sovereign. Also, escaped bits of genetic machinery turning into a viable virus, sounds like "information adding" evolution...
Robert Carter
Thanks for the comments. I think the dictionary missed an important definition of 'model'. The way we use that word in science is very different from the definitions you provided. And, yes, there is an alternative - evolution. This does not mean that evolution is a viable alternative, but it is certainly the model we are contrasting when we talk about the creation 'model'. And be careful about the 'information' question. There are things that add 'information' in the creation model. See Can mutations create new information?
Ian B.
It is now evident from many reliable sources around the world that the Corona Virus is a released biological warfare agent from the Wuhan Laboratory. This information is being heavily censored by all main stream media and Governments. When mankind interferes with God Creation for evil purposes, this is the result. It could also be Gods Judgment on those perpetrating these crimes. The high death rate in the 1917 flu epidemic was caused by the treatment ( Aspirin ), not the virus. The Truth will set us all free.
Robert Carter
See my earlier response to M.L. and please consider Why CMI Rejects 'Conspiracy' Theorizing. And no, the high death rate of the 1917 H1N1 influenza was not due to aspirin. Pneumonia was the main cause of death and it killed off mainly the young and fit because their immune systems were strong enough to mount a strong defense. This produced what is called a cytokine cascade. See More evidence for the reality of genetic entropy and follow the links to my secular publication on this virus.
Steve B.
Could this virus and others that have caused harm to man come to resided in the human body because of certain animals going extinct ie. looking for a new home.
Robert Carter
I would assume that if a virus could infect multiple species it would infect those species. The virus would not know its host is going extinct.
Nicholas M.
Good article. By any chance, do you know of any Christian aid agencies who are helping to combat this threat? I would love to donate to one
Robert Carter
We cannot recommend any specific agencies. You'll have to do your own research.
Mark G.
good article , I would love to do a study of viruses ,have suspected for a while that they were originally a part of his design to adapt and connect us to our local environment /biosphere , to help us thrive . There is good evidence that the spanish flue was an engineered bio weapon out of usa ,to try and end the war sooner . Also very strong evidence that this latest .corona ,is a bio weapon taken from a Canadian lab to the Chinese bio weapons facility in Wuhan , The probable leak is a result of a political system of fear ,not the way to get the best quality control out of team . Sadly the tech now exists to do genetically targeted bio weapons ,yuk , and the cost of doing it makes it possible for companies let alone nations to have a play ,note Iran has a very unbalanced proportion of bio researchers ,Why ??. We may also have seen the actual figures of bodies incinerated in an accidental released from china ,was in the 10s of thousands , in an internal communique . Bible code scholars are finding some very interesting links . and revelations does warn of pestilences ,even beasts of the earth ..bacteria ? . being a problem .doesn't say whether from natural causes or the shenanigans of man . Which ever way we look, we see the results of a fallen world ,it is easy as Christians to forget the god of this world is driving his minions to try and destroy us ,his time is short and getting rapidly shorter ,absolutely nothing they can do can stop The plan of our creator .
Robert Carter
I am sorry, but what you write is full of misunderstanding and misinformation. See my earlier response to M.L. and please consider Why CMI Rejects 'Conspiracy' Theorizing and Hidden messages in Scripture? and What about the Bible 'codes'?
Donald S.
Great article! I've often wondered if viruses are created from rotting flesh. Dying carcasses start to decay and maybe encapsulate some DNA or RNA into a protein capsule. This helps explain retroviruses (I think), because they would come from the initial DNA and then so easily attach to that species DNA? Also, the scriptures are full of warnings and law regarding carcasses. Just curious.
Robert Carter
Viruses need living cells to reproduce, and they are very temperature dependent, so carcasses would not be a good source for them. Carcasses, however, are a source of all sorts of dangerous bacteria.
Michael S.
I think an important thing to note about this argument, a side-issue if you like, is that I think all disease and things like new viruses, are a good way of proving an initially good creation, simply because all such problems ARISE IN TIME. That is to say, if we trace diseased back in time, it very much usually is a case of a "new" virus or disease, meaning they can't have been present in the past. And if we add up the tally of diseases that arise in time, we know about, we can infer logically that they can't have been present on the planet thousands of years ago, and just think how long the list is for disease? Does this not show a pattern that as more time passes, more things go wrong? Yet we can deduce that all such new diseases provably could not be present at the time of creation, because they arise in time. This is expected as a prediction of creation, but it is not expected under evolution.
Russel L.
All the information you all provide is great. There is something different about this Coronavirus? It was common in animals and we knew about it. It was spread by contact and was among the animal community and did not effect humans. Now it is spread by airborne and droplet and can be hosted by God’s children. That mutation that fast is very unlikely. Straight up, man made those changes. There is a microbiology lab 50km outside Whu Han, coincidence I do not think so. Also this virus seems to be selective as it’s ability to effect the host where SARS was not. No one wants to say what the mounting evidence seems to be pointing too, but let’s call it out because It looks really suspicious not to mention how and the details of how China is handling this!? Food for thought Brothers and Sisters
Robert Carter
See my earlier response to M.L. above and please consider Why CMI Rejects 'Conspiracy' Theorizing.
Christopher S.
This entire article was fascinated, especially the bits about the positive role viruses may have played prior to the fall of Adam and Eve. I also appreciated Dr. Carter's level headed approach to the situation as outlined in the section, "The future of the coronavirus." This final bit, "But we should also not let opportunities for sharing the gospel slip through our fingers, and very often, when a person realizes how fragile life actually is, they are more accepting of the hope offered by Jesus Christ" was an excellent Gospel Appeal and I am glad that Dr. Carter took the time to bring this subject back to the Gospel. May God guide us all and may God bless the work of Creation Ministries International.
Eric P.
Just an cheeky observation. You write: "Some of those, like the black death, are well characterized (this was caused by a bacterium spread by fleas). Others leave us scratching our heads." Was the scratching caused by the fleas?
Robert Carter
The pun was intended.

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