Why does the world we live in contain viruses and other ordeals that can harm humanity and even kill us?

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Many Christians thinking about sin, actually are only thinking about sins. They think about the individual acts and things we do that they know are wrong, sins of omission — things that we should do we don't do — or sins of commission — the bad things we do we know we ought not to do — but sin in the Scripture, first of all, starts with something that is infinite. And the reality is that what we have in Genesis 3 is not just Adam and Eve each committing a sin. It is humanity in Adam and Eve, particularly in Adam, falling into sin. It is giving ourselves over to sin.

The consequences for Adam and Eve were immediate. The moment they ate of that fruit, they started to die. Mortality entered into them, and so, all of a sudden, the word "death" now enters into the human scene, and it's directly attributable to sin. But it's not just death. It's violence. It's catastrophe. It's the existence of carnivores and viruses. It's the problem of mosquitoes and murder. All that we see around us bears testimony to the effects, the devastating effects of human sin and God's judgment upon that sin. It's cosmic. There are hurricanes and tornadoes and earthquakes. There are lightning flashes and all kinds of things that take place in the created order that are testimony to, as Paul writes in Romans 8, "creation groaning."

This is what makes our salvation so important, so precious to us, is that our salvation is not just "being saved," it's being saved from something. It's being saved from the wrath to come, from the just consequences of our sin. And not only do we need to be redeemed, but as the book of Revelation makes clear, so does creation itself. That's why it speaks of a new heaven and a new earth. The consequences of sin are not just the fact that it rains on the just and the unjust, and we have death in our bodies and a need for salvation. It's that every part of this created order is now waiting for a consummation, a judgment and a perfection that only Christ can bring.

Answer by Dr. R. Albert Mohler

Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr., serves as president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary—the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world.