Were viruses created good? Are they still good?

Most people think viruses are bad. But the Book of Genesis says “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31) Now a book has been written – “Viruses: Essential Agents of Life” (2012) – explaining how viruses are actually essential for life, so how could they be “bad”?  Here’s a book review.  I’ll give you some excerpts:

Today you can peruse any virology textbook and get the impression that less than two dozen viruses represent the entirety of Earth’s virosphere.

Viruses: Essential Agents of Life (2012, Springer), edited by Günter Witzany, is a great way to kick off the next 100 years of virology, with nary a reductionist thought to be found within its 427 pages.

Viruses are everywhere and in abundance, and the time has come to sit up and take notice.

Marilyn Roossinck suggests that the focus on viruses as agents of disease has led to a bias in our understanding of viruses in nature, that we ignore “the probability that viruses may play important roles in the ecology of their hosts [italics are mine].”

One Response to “Were viruses created good? Are they still good?”

  1. Dan Grubbs says:

    One difficulty that many humans, even Christians, have is the idea that we’re supposed to die of illness and injury. Since the fall of man, creation in its cursed state is not now as it was originally designed. Additionally, I believe creation is experiencing entropy and that ever-degrading environment spurs new and varied things that are harmful to humans, or at the very least, make us toil more for our survival.

    I’m not necessarily saying viruses qualify as a product of entropy. But I make this proposal: that in God’s infinite wisdom He could have created viruses to be an agent of one of the many consequences of our sin. From God’s perspective, that would be good! But, humans struggle with this kind of idea.

    Do viruses have a role in the biosphere? That is undeniable. But, to see it more clearly, we might want to look at the biosphere from a non homo sapiens-centric point of view.

    There is a perspective that holds the notion of strengthening the heard by subtraction of the weak – and disease can speed that along. I guess that would demonstrate the usefulness of viruses in a Darwinian sort of way.

    However, I tend to TRY to see things from God’s perspective (a biblical world view). Viruses exist and that has to be either by God’s creation or by God’s allowance. If so, there has to be a reason. As king Solomon wrote, we cannot grasp the whole of God’s plans and how they thread through time eternal. This would then lead me to believe that God allows and uses viruses for His purposes and we are in no position to question the Devine and Self-Existent Eternal God.

    The example of viruses can point the seeking mind back to God just as all of creation – even in its cursed entropic state – is a witness to Him.