IS GOD STILL IN CONTROL?
Tragedies cause many people to question God’s goodness. It is distressing that natural disasters are often termed “acts of God” while no “credit” is given to God for years, decades, or even centuries of peaceful weather. God created the whole universe and the laws of nature (Genesis 1:1).
The Bible proclaims that Jesus Christ holds all of nature together (Colossians 1:16-17). Numbers 16:30-34 shows us that God sometimes allows natural disasters as a judgment against sin. The book of Revelation describes many events which could definitely be described as natural disasters (Revelation chapters 6, 8, and 16). Is every natural disaster a punishment from God? No, it is not.
IS GOD RESPONSIBLE FOR NATURAL DISASTERS?
In much the same way that God allows evil people to commit evil acts, God allows the earth to reflect the consequences sin has had on creation. “And unto Adam He said, “Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying, `Thou shalt not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life (Gen. 3:17).
Romans 8:19-21 tells us, “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.” The fall of humanity into sin had effects on everything, including the world we inhabit. Sin is the ultimate cause of natural disasters just as it is the cause of death, disease, and suffering.
God is not in the business of causing natural disasters and calamities. On the contrary, He is the giver of life. The Bible says, “for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but My salvation shall be forever, and My righteousness shall not be abolished” (Isaiah 51:6).
WHY DOES NATURE SEEM TO BECOMING MORE AND MORE DESTRUCTIVE?
The descendants of Adam became so violent and corrupt that God allowed the world to be destroyed by a global flood (Genesis 6:5,11). The fountains of the deep were broken up (Genesis 7:11). There was great volcanic activity. The layers of the earth’s crust were formed and nature was turned out of its God-given course. The stage was set for earthquakes, and killer storms.
As the consequences of sin have progressed from that day to this, the natural world is nearing its end; the results of our first parents’ disobedience are becoming more and more evident as this world is wearing out. But God is still in the business of rescuing, helping, and healing. He holds out salvation and everlasting life to all who will receive Him.
WHY DOES GOD GIVE SATAN AND NATURE PERMISSION TO DESTROY?
Because Satan had tempted the first humans—the head of the human race—into sin, Satan claimed that they had chosen him as the god of this world (see 2 Corinthians 4:4). He claims to be the rightful ruler of this world (see Matthew 4:8, 9). Through the ages, Satan has been fighting against God, trying to establish his claim to this world.
Many choose to neglect God’s offer of a new life and choose to live outside God’s will. By so doing they support Satan’s claim against God. The Bible says that this situation will only get worse as time goes on. In the last days, “evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13). As men and women remove themselves from God’s protection, they are subject to Satan’s destroying hatred.
Those who choose to follow Satan are free to do so. And God will allow Satan to demonstrate to the universe what the consequences of sin really are. In the calamities and disasters that befall the earth and destroy lives, we can see what sin is like, what life is like when Satan has his own way.
Speaking of those who choose to follow Satan, God says, “I will forsake them, and I will hide My face from them, and they shall be devoured. And many evils and troubles shall befall them, so that they will say in that day, ‘Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?’ ” (Deuteronomy 31:17). This is the message that we may learn from calamities and natural disasters.
For one thing, such events shake our confidence in this life and force us to think about eternity. Churches are usually filled after disasters as people realize how tenuous their lives really are and how life can be taken away in an instant. God can, and does, bring great good out of terrible tragedies (Romans 8:28).
WHY IS IT SO OFTEN THE POOR, THE ELDERLY, AND THE CHILDREN WHO SUFFER THE MOST?
Where is God when all this happens? Do not good people pray for safety? The Bible says, “Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off?” (Jeremiah 23:23).
God gives life and love to all. Every day, billions of people wake up to fresh air, warm sunshine, delicious food, and comfortable homes—because God is love, and He showers His blessings on the earth.
But when disasters happen, the real point is that they could also happen to any of us at any time. We have no individual claim on life, as though we had created ourselves. We must acknowledge that we live in a world that is subject to death from a variety of sources. Calamities serve to remind us of the fact that apart from the salvation that Jesus offers, there is no hope for the human race. We can expect more and more destruction as we come closer to the time of His return to earth. “Now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11).
NO MORE PAIN
The calamities and catastrophes that engulf our world serve as reminders that this world of sin, pain, hate, fear, and tragedy will not last forever. Jesus has promised that He will return to Earth to save us from our world that is falling to pieces. God has promised to make everything new again and that sin will never rise up again (see Nahum 1:9). God will live with His people, and there will be an end to death, crying, and pain. “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:3, 4).
(Additional sources: Bibleinfo.com and Gotquestions.org)