Saturday, August 27, 2011

Natural Disasters or Acts of God

Q: Why are there earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, droughts and tornadoes?
A: Because all of creation is fallen!

Man is quick to justify natural disasters as either a part of the natural order of the world (perhaps an atheists' or naturalists' point of view) or an 'Act of God' (perhaps as divine punishment on some act of man). Alas, both points of view begin with a faulty view of creation because creation  is fallen along with humanity. Once we understand the curse placed on creation after the Fall, then we can understand that violent tempests are a part of the natural order of the world created by God!

Our world was supposed to be perfect, a paradise in fact! Man and woman could enjoy it along with the animals. Free food was everywhere. But man decided to live in the world without God. That is, he wanted to be like God himself. And this was foolishness. So God put man and woman out of the Garden. The ground was cursed. (Gn. 3:17) After Adam and Eve's disobedience, creation could no longer be the perfect gift it was meant to be. Imagine a teenager who is given a car for his sixteenth birthday. He is given a gift but his parents tell him with the gift is responsibilities. He can’t drive fast. He can only use the car to get back and forth to school, etc. But he disobeys his parents. He crashes the car because he wanted to do with it as he wished.  The car will never be the same nor will the teenager.  And thus we inherited the misuse of God’s creation. It is not the same anymore after our first parents disobeyed God. In fact, like the wrecked car, it reminds us of our need to always listen to God.

The tempests in our world remind us to look to Jesus and his salvation. Peter sank in the sea when he took his eyes off Jesus and looked at himself. (Mt. 14:28-30) The disciples were anxious because they did not know Christ was the Lord of Creation. (Mt. 8:23-27) Do natural disasters cause death. Yes, they do. But remember, the Christian has no fear of death as we have a dwelling place secured for us. In fact, it is not our place to justify why storms happen, but rather, see them as a sign that life is short and repentance is the gateway to salvation.  (Lk 13:1-9)

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." (Luke 13:1-5)