It has been one crazy year in Oklahoma. This past year we have had a snow storm that shut down the state, tornados that left trenches across counties, a drought that dried up nearly every tank , temperatures that averaged a high of 103.8 in July and 105.5 in august and this past week multiple earthquakes including the largest in Oklahoma history. What is going on? I’ve noticed whenever major weather events happen; conversation always turns to ask about God’s role in it. Are these catastrophes signs of the end times? What part does man play in their cause? Is God angry with Oklahoma? Is it His judgment?*
For me, I just don’t know if I can buy that these natural disasters are the purposeful acts of God. Don’t get me wrong God has used disasters and other means to judge men in the past, but he has always sent a messenger before it to communicate its purpose. Here’s my take.
1. God created the world perfect, man messed it up.
Oh no! Have I become one of those left wing, tree hugging, vegetable eating, love the earth people? Did I just say that the adverse weather that we are seeing more often today than ever before is man’s fault? Yep, and its biblical. God did create the world in perfection. “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31) In that though, before you and I ever existed, man messed up the earth. “And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you;” (Genesis 3:17)
2. A broken world will continue to get worse.
As sin was brought into the world both man and the earth fell under the same curse: death. I know that my body will never be in a better condition than it is in now. My body will only get worse until I die. I know that because sin is in this world my body will face its curse daily until I go to be with God. The earth has the same curse. Just like our bodies, the earth is slowly dying because of the effects of sin. I’m not a scientist and I cannot quantify how this will work. I am a theologian and I see scripture paints a picture of a dying earth suffering from the fallout of sin. We see more and more natural disasters because our world grows older more affected by the curse of sin.
3. Natural disasters should point our eyes to God’s grace.
Is there hope? Yes. When we attend the funeral of our dearly departed friends the message is always the same, our hope lies in eternity, not in today. Are we saddened by death? Yes. As we mourn we know that death is curse that we are still subjected to until Jesus comes back.
As we watch natural disasters it is much like attending a funeral. We look at the damage of a world cursed by death and are saddened. Our hearts do hurt when we see the destruction they bring along with the loss of life. We cannot look at these disasters without hope. Just as physical death points us to eternal life so the dying of this world should point us to God’s redemption of it.
“For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (Romans 8:20-25)
* Henry Blackaby- The tsunami was judgment http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=19983
* Pat Robertson- Haiti made a deal with the devil http://youtu.be/aQ4dA6kZsEs