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Pestilence as a punishment from God according to the Bible.Old Testament and science in times of pandemic

Subject and Keywords:

Old Testament   plagues   pestilence   disease   pandemic   inner harmony   harmony with the world   punishment for sin   happy life


In the Old Testament, the belief that plague was God’s punishment for sins is quite widespread. A conspicuous example is the story of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt, which occurred as a result of the ten plagues sent down on this country (Exod 7:14–13:16). The purpose of this study is to answer two questions. First: Why were plagues, pestilences and other misfortunes conceived as God’s punishment? Second: Do images taken from the Bible contradict today’s teaching? We ask these questions especially in the context of the prevailing SARS-CoV-2 virus pandemic. Literary analysis with elements of the historical-critical method will help us cope with the problem. We will focus on those Old Testament texts which feature the Hebrew terms maggēpāh, qeṭeb and deber. From the analysis of these concepts simple conclusion that suffering, sickness and pestilence are the consequence of wrongdoing are to be dismissed. Rather, the problem should be seen much more broadly, as a disturbance of the harmony of the world that manifests itself in the appearance of “strange” viruses, diseases and other misfortunes that befall man. The Old Testament sees it in terms of the sin of our first parents, who were supposed to make the earth subdued (Gen 1:28), and by disturbing this harmony caused the earth to bear “thorns and thistles” (Gen 3:18). Thus, this disruption of harmony in four dimensions (within man, with the other man, with the surrounding world and with the Creator) brings about negative consequences that also affect health.

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doi:10.34616/142075   ISBN 978-83-66601-61-1 (druk)   ISBN 978-83-66601-62-8 (online)



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WR U/PAdal