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Archive for August 3rd, 2014

INDONESIA QUAKE TIDAL WAVE

Why Does God Allow Disasters and Calamities? Part 1

Here is the second part of the post concerning disasters and calamities.  For the earlier points, please see part 1.  I pray that the Lord will provide His knowledge to you all from Scripture concerning this important matter.  The last point centers on the “why” question.  Much more can be said concerning this topic, but time is limited at this moment.

  • Point 4: The Big Why
    • As rational creatures, we want to know why? Some will take Daniel 4:35 into account concerning His will and sovereignty, but will still ask more questions:
      • How can a good and loving God do this?
      • If He is sovereign over disasters, then He is not loving and good.  So many deaths occurred from the tsunami and the disaster.  How can a loving God who claims to be sovereign, allow small children be wiped away from their mother’s arms?  My only son, daughter, child has been taken away from me.  The grief is unbearable.  Why did God allow that to happen to me?
    • Let’s turn to the Bible to answer this big Why question concerning man’s unbiblical perceptive concerning the function of God’s love and sovereignty.
      • The Bible states that God is behind disasters and calamities:
        • See the earthquake during the reign of King Uzziah. Amos says something about it. Amos 1:1; 8:8; 6:11; 3:14; 9:11
        • Zechariah (14:5) speaks about the earthquake during King Uzziah
        • When Jesus came back from the dead, there was an earthquake. God used nature to mark that event. Matthew 27:51-54
        • He sometimes uses nature to display or press upon man’s mind concerning His presence or judgment.
    • So the Big WHY: If God is all-powerful and loving, why does He allow natural disasters?
      • Many have provided wrong answers and have created a sentimental view of God rather that a view that is Scriptural.
      • The sentimental view of God is quite problematic because it has caused many to believe that a loving God will not hurt anyone. This is what happens when one does not have scriptural view of God.
      • Sentimental view: A loving God does not give pain, suffering, or causes disasters.
        • Many Jews who came out of the holocaust, killing fields, and other atrocities, could not believe in a good God because to some of them, a good God cannot allow suffering, pain, disasters, etc.
      • Idolatry is in the making when a sentimental view of God is the substitute for the biblical view concerning who God is and how He functions.
      • LET’S TURN TO THE BIBLE:
        • Attribute of God
          • Love:
            • I am addressing love, which is one of the attributes of God because it is one of the most abused and maligned attributes by the world, professing Christians, and even some sincere Christians.
            • The Bible is not imbalance whereby its sole focus is on the love of God.
            • In fact, both OT and NT were careful in terms of how the love of God is defined, used, and illustrated.  So careful that they used different words for love.
              • Eros (sexual, lust), Phileo (brotherly love), Agape (very few understood this; God-like type of love; i.e. the good Samaritan).
            • Only believers can truly understand and accept the salvific love of God.
            • I am not saying that the love of God can’t be mentioned in public, but one must use the notion of love wisely in accordance to Scripture.
            • The one thing that the Bible does not teach is salvific love for everyone. If that is true then there would be no Hell, hate, wrath, or justice of God (cf. Psalm 5:5; Psalm 11:5; Proverbs 6:16-19).  But there is a Hell.  The Bible never merely says, God hates the sin, but loves the sinner.  That seems like a unbiblical cliche that is never expounded.  He not only loves, but He also hates.
            • On another note, we must be careful to not be cold-hearted in our evangelism because there are a few verses concerning hate.  We must love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-45, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”)  My attention is not to expound on the topic of God’s hate.  Perhaps in the future, we can tackle it.  At any rate, one thing to keep in mind for now is that we must be nuanced and loving when explaining God’s love and hate (cf. John 3:16; 1 John 4:10).  We must make the Gospel call to sinners.
              • Psalm 7:11, “God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.”
              • Psalm 5:5, “The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers.
              • Psalm 7:12, “If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword; he has bent and readied his bow.”
            • Verses on the Love of God:
              • Psalm 100:5, “For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”
              • Psalm 145:9, “The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.”
        • Attribute of God
          • Sovereignty
            • A loving God does not operate apart from sovereign control.  This is important to note, because some will say, “I believe in God, but the supernatural had nothing to do with this because He is a loving God.”   It is a result of sin.
            • Question: But what does Scripture say?
              • ANSWER:
                • Romans 8:20, “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope.”
                • Colossians 1:17, “And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
        • Recap: God’s character (Love [Psalm 100:5; Psalm 145:9], hate [Psalm 7:11; Psalm 5:5; Psalm 7:12]) + Sovereignty (Dan. 4:35).  
    • SO HOW DO WE ANSWER THIS BIG WHY?
      • One possible response: God is punishing us (example: worldwide flood of Genesis]
        • Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
        • Romans 6:23a, “For the wages of sin is death…”
        • Deuteronomy 32:4, “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope.”
        • Each person, whether young or old deserve to die because we are all sinners.
          • So when God sends disasters, no one can accuse Him of wrong because everyone deserves to die because of the Fall.
      • Revisiting the tsunami and those who have been hurt by disaster:
        • Earthquakes, fires, other disasters are an illustration of the earth being subjected to futility. The same goes for sickness and diseases. The earth is stained by sin.
        • Although disasters and diseases are an expression concerning God’s rightful judgment on a sinful and fallen world, it does not mean that God is specifically punishing a specific group of people for specific sins.
          • Wicked people and righteous people died in many disaster and calamities together.  
        • SUMMARY: We can say that God revealed His judgment on unbelievers in those calamities, but He also displayed His goodness upon believers (brought them their eternal home) during those calamities (for believers, please see Romans 8:28).  God never promised that life would be a walk in the park.
          • The calamity is also a wake up call for unbelievers who are alive and a wake up call for Christians to be busy with His work on this earth, to test Christians’ faith in Him, etc.
      • I believe it is appropriate to end the with a quote and a few verses concerning the big WHY questions regarding calamities and disasters:
        • We must speak where the Bible speaks, and be silent where the Scripture is silent. Christians must avoid offering explanations when God has not revealed an explanation. Finally, Christians must respond to a crisis like this by weeping with those who weep, by praying with fervent faithfulness, by offering concrete assistance in Christ’s name and, most importantly, by bearing bold witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ—the only way to bring life out of death.” ~Albert Moher
        • Romans 11:33, 36 (PLEASE TURN THERE).  Everything happens for God’s purpose and glory.  God is wise in terms of how He chooses to orchestrate His will.
        • We can’t explain every disaster with exact reasons for every situation, but we could use those calamities to glorify Him (1 Corinthians 10:31).  Even in the most darkest and difficult times in life, God never tells us to cease glorifying Him.
    • Summary of foundational points for review.
      1. God is completely sovereign over disasters and calamities.
      2. God is good and loving even in disasters.
      3. God is righteous in all He does.  He is holy.
      4. Disasters and calamities display both God’s judgment and His mercy in a sin-stained world.
      5. Ultimately, God does all things for His glory—to display His greatness and worth (Romans 11:33, 36).
    • SCRIPTURE: Job 9:5-6; Psalm 135:6-7; Isaiah 45:7; Amos 3:6; Daniel 4:35; Psalm 100:5; Psalm 145:9; Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23; Deuteronomy 32:4; Romans 8:1, 20, 22; Romans 11:33; Romans 11:36

 

 


Works Cited

[1]Some notes are adapted from David Pawson’s Lecture and from Desiring God Ministries, Your Word is Truth, “Human Suffering—Disasters and Calamities.”

[2]All Scripture is quoted from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), unless otherwise noted.

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