Summary: How does God fit into the natural disasters prevelent in our world?
Natural Disasters and the God of the Bible
We live in an age when even the church has tried to become politically correct. We have tried to candy coat God into a nice little good God who loves and never hurts anyone. He never gets angry at sin, or judges or condemns anyone -let alone send them to hell. In our efforts to sell God to the world we have sugar coated the awesome reality of God, and then we question why people don’t take Him or the Bible seriously. Why there is no fear of God in the world. In our efforts to get converts we have told only of God’s Love and have avoided his burning holiness and his fearsome wrath. We have left it in the OT as if God has changed (evolved) into a kinder, gentler God, who over looks our sins, and just wants to bless us. Church we are in for a rude awakening. We can’t keep avoiding the bible passages that speak of God’s wrath, and pretend like they don’t exist. If we do we are spiritually and morally negligent.
I The Fact of Natural Disasters
(rarely can they be blamed on man directly)
September 21, 1989—Hurricane Hugo strikes the southeastern coast of the United States. Over 25 people are killed, and over $10 billion worth of damage results. One month later—October 17, 1989—an earthquake registering 7.1 on the Richter scale strikes the San Francisco Bay area in California. At least 62 people are killed, and damage estimates are placed at well over $1 billion. August 24, 1992—Hurricane Andrew hits three counties in southern Florida. More than a dozen people lose their lives, and damage estimates are set at over $20 billion. A year later, on September 11, 1992, Hurricane Iniki devastates the Hawaiian islands. At least four people die, and damage is set at over $1 billion. In June 1993, huge portions of numerous states along the Mississippi River and its tributaries experienced the worst flooding in their history. Entire cities were covered with water measured not in inches, but in feet. At least 47 people died, and more than 25,000 were evacuated from their homes.
Do these types of natural disasters represent merely isolated, infrequent events? Hardly. Throughout history, man has recorded many such tragedies. In 526, an earthquake hit the country now known as Turkey and left 250,000 dead. A similar earthquake in China in 1556 killed over 830,000 people. Another quake in India in 1737 annihilated 300,000, and quakes in Central China in 1920, 1927, and 1932 killed 200,000, 200,000, and 70,000 people respectively. In 1889, the famous “Johnstown Flood” occurred in Pennsylvania. The dam of the South Fork Reservoir, twelve miles east of the city, burst during heavy rains. Over 2,000 people were killed, and property damage was estimated to be over $10 million. In 1969, Hurricane Camille killed more than 250 people in seven states from Louisiana to Virginia, leaving behind over $1.5 billion in damage. In 1983, Hurricane Alicia struck near Galveston, killing 21 and causing over $2 billion in damage.
It is rare indeed, it seems, for a single generation in a given locale to be spared at least some kind of natural disaster. Without warning, tornadoes sweep down from the afternoon sky and destroy in a moment’s fury what took decades or centuries to build. Floods cover “old home places,” and remove forever any vestige of what were once storehouses of hallowed memories. In a matter of seconds, earthquakes irreparably alter once-familiar landscapes. Hurricanes come from the sea, demolish practically everything in their paths, and then dissipate as if they never had existed. Each time humanity suffers. And each time there are those who ask “Why?” Why them and why now?
From “DO NATURAL DISASTERS NEGATE DIVINE BENEVOLENCE?” by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.
An old woman in a devastated village in Southern India’s Tamil Nadu state, wailed: “Why did you God do this to us? What have we done to upset you?” (From Dec. 2004 Tsunami)
II The Struggle to Understand a Good God and the Fact of Natural Disasters
a. Original Sin cursed the world (Genesis 3)
b. Mans Persistent unconfessed Sin opens the way for disaster to strike.
-gives Satan a place to establish a stronghold
c. Man’s sin takes him out of God’s protection (Especially Christians)
(An Umbrella can show us something of God’s protection. To be covered and protected we must walk close. If we walk out from under the umbrella we are no longer protected.)
d. There is an element of freedom in the natural world
-Not every body is 98.6 temp
III The Record of God -and his place in Natural Disasters
a. He is not in every storm (He allows them -in that he don’t stop them from Happening)