February 15, 2016
Zika is an emblem of evil, but we humans are not completely without fault when it comes to the rapid spread of the disease.
The human sin problem alone is bad enough. Demonic influence takes advantage of human brokenness. The call to both an environmental and health science solution seems louder when amplified by a damaged child. Also we need to reach across cultural and racial barriers to find solutions not wait until it threatens us, because what harms our "neighbors" harm us.
Virus...mutation....disease...all part of the natural order. Yes, we are called to care for our neighbors. But genes have been mutating since the Creation. There is nothing new under the sun. Or, Son.
I am a missionary from the United States located in Carpina,Pernambuco, Brazil (Northeastern Brazil). The threat is very real in our area. Many people live in Favelas (a Brazilian slum). The homes/ shacks are nearly built on one another and often trash is thrown out or burned on the streets. The trash problem and rainy season breeds a terrible situation with mosquitos in general. After reading the article above please pray specifically for Northeastern Brazil. You can follow the provided link to watch a CBS broadcast where they visit Recife which is about an hour from where I live. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/brazil-town-epicenter-of-zika-virus-recife/
Well said, Clayton. Where are the people of God in leading the fight against human damage to the world? Sometimes it takes severe consequences to wake us up, not that this is rational or right. As you present it, the Zika situation makes one see that waiting for consequences to happen before taking a stand on wrong is also a bankrupt way of living.
I think it is a little disingenuous to suggest that our fault in spreading Zika is due to our lack of "creation care". Shall we also blame humans for the historical bubonic plagues that have devastated societies due to their unsanitary processes? Or shall we also suggest that humans are at fault for spreading Zika through air travel? "If only we didn't have planes - then none of this would ever have happened!"
I think it's important to not conflate causation of Zika (or other issues) with struggles to respond to it. Humans did not cause the Zika outbreak. It exists because ALL of creation tends toward disorder and decay. This will not change until Christ returns to restore the new heaven and earth. The spread of Zika is no more our fault than is the flu or the common cold or any number of viral infections humans face daily.
I also disagree with your contention that Zika exists because of our failure to address it appropriately in time. I've not read anything that shows that scientists purposefully ignored studying the virus or developing a vaccine because "it was a small outbreak, in a small country, among small babies". Rather, a lack of attention to this virus probably stems from the fact that it does not pose a serious health risk to adults. my guess is that scientists and researchers rightly have spent more time and medical resources studying and developing a response to viruses like influenza or ebola that have been far more catastrophic to human loss of life and suffering than Zika has.
In Reply to Jeremy (comment #27903)
Thank you for reading and thinking carefully about the issues. I agree with you completely when you say, "Humans did not cause the Zika outbreak. It exists because ALL of creation tends toward disorder and decay." All of creation bent, broken, and less than it should be. We, microbes, mosquitoes, and the rest of creation eagerly await the day when the reign of death to come to a close. But we live in the already but not yet. Jesus has begun his redemptive work in creation and it is our responsibility as his followers to work in ways that bring life, wholeness, and flourishing to all of creation. When we do less, and make choices in line with this broken world, it has consequences. This outbreak is undeniably worse because of the extraordinary high levels of this species of mosquito. That population has been shown to reproduce in our trash. Our collective choices have made the outbreak worse, but we agree that the brokenness of creation is why the outbreak exists in the first place.
The declaration by the WHO shows that scientists consider the ties between microcephaly and Zika to be a significant threat to human health. There was an opportunity after the outbreak in 2013 to address this looming crisis and speed up funding for vaccines and treatments against the virus that was missed. I suggest that the scientific (and media) community were not alarmed enough by the 2013 outbreak and what it foretold to raise an alarm. Instead we collectively waited until the virus was already spreading widely to announce the call to arms. This delay will cost lives. I don't think the delay was rooted in any malice, but was instead another example "of creation tends toward disorder and decay."
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