Is it hubris to believe we can control a virus?

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Glen Scrivener thinks it is. 

So today I am going to do the risky thing and attempt to disagree with a brilliant mind!  First of all, we need to distinguish between “Can we potentially control a virus.” And “have we been able to control this one” or “will we definitely be able to control it.”

It would be hubris to claim that we have controlled or beaten COVID-19 as clearly we have not. Furthermore, it would be hubris to claim that we are guaranteed to bring it under control and defeat it. I think one of the things God has used this horrendous virus to do is to remind us that we are finite and fallible. We have great confidence in our ability to do big things but we cannot stop a tiny little virus from causing havoc.

However, does that mean it is hubris to claim that we can, potentially control a virus? Is it hubris to attempt to control and defeat coronavirus? Are we living in unicorn world if we think we can beat this thing? Well, the evidence throughout history shows that we can and have controlled and beaten viruses in the past through vaccines, treatments, herd immunity and hygiene measures.

More importantly, it is something that we have been given a mandate to do.

26 Then God said, “Let us make man[h] in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” [1]

God gives us the authority and indeed the responsibility of subduing creation. What is involved in that? The answer is “everything.” Including bacteria and viruses? Yep, including bacterial and viruses, everything. Now, we know from Genesis 2 that the Fall results in toil and effort from us because creation resists and refuses to co-operate but that doesn’t change the instruction, we are still given the responsibility to subdue and to fill the earth.

Will we be able to subdue COVID-19?  I really don’t know. However, it isn’t hubris to try.

[1] Genesis 1:26-28.

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