Providence, Apocalypse, and the Pandemic
Seminar series - Theologising in the Shadow of a Pandemic

Keynote Speaker/s

Prof Neil Ormerod
Executive Officer (Research Analytics), Sydney College of Divinity

This is the last seminar in the 2020-2021 Seminar Series Theologising in the Shadow of a Pandemic, an initiative of the Sydney College of Divinity Theology Research Network. The series will culminate in the 2022 conference Theologising in the Shadow of a Pandemic to be held from 18-19 February 2022.

The seminars offer an opportunity to reflect theologically on our global situation. As theologians, we have a responsibility to our churches and to the broader community to reflect theologically on our current plight. The present COVID19 pandemic has been the cause of massive social, economic, and religious dislocation. It will impact personal relations, long-term financial and employment issues, how we view our international connections, and of course our relationship with God and our church communities. We have an opportunity to bring the resources of our faith traditions to bear, not to provide definitive answers but to explore these resources and share them both within our churches and with the larger society.


Providence, Apocalypse, and the Pandemic

Any major upheaval such as the present pandemic raises two profound theological questions: why does a provident God allow such things to happen? And, is this a foreshadowing of an apocalyptic end time? Both involve an attempt to understand the role and purpose of history in God’s creation. Where is God taking us, where is human history destined to go?

In the end, this paper argues that our view of providence is inseparable from our basic trust in God. Do we view God as infinite loving wisdom and wise loving or do we fear that there is, in the end, some darkness in God that makes God unworthy of our trust and more a bargaining partner? What role then will Covid have in human history for good and for evil that it too can be encompassed in divine providence? These are the questions that will be explored in this paper.

Find a Course
Back to top