What would you respond to somebody that says “no loving God would allow natural disasters?”
This is a hard one to overcome since to explain it you are going to have to hold their attention for longer than they care to listen. Their minds are already made up.
If they will listen try to explain that when humanity first sinned it had a consequence not only on them personally and their offspring but also on all of Creation. In other words this creation was originally made perfect but after sin it became a place that has both good and evil and that is why we have natural calamities. God permits it because its an artifact of our free will and in a mysterious way yet to be revealed a greater good will come out of all this if we can persevere in faith.
I’ve not been put to the test with that classic, but I’m tempted to be sly and just say, “huh?”
Then using a series of Socratic questions point out the non-sequitur fallacies of their logic. When they see that their pre-conceived notions don’t hold up, they will be more inclined to listen to the truth.
I see that the result of original sin caused a break in the relationship between God and Adam and Eve (mankind), but can it be explained that original sin results in earthquakes, floods, etc.? If someone says that God created the earth and it was good, how did original sin spoil the natural order of things.
I have a friend who is challenged by the concept of original sin and I could use some help in this area.
I’d just point out man’s sinfulness compared with God’s justice and how he will punish sin because He is good and righteous. If He was not going to punish sin, He would not be good.
Consider the following scripture verses to see the clear indication that Adam’s sin imparted a consequence to all of Creation.
19For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, **in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. **
17Then to Adam He said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18"Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field;19 by the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.*
There is clear scriptural linkage of Man’s sin effecting the entire natural order - the very same material matter from which Man was originally formed from. In essence Adam’s sin imparts or transmits the curse of guilt upon all of material creation from which he was formed even though it was originally created perfect and good by God.
Thus, we can deduce that the fall of humanity into sin had effects on everything, including the universe we inhabit. Everything in Creation is subject to “frustration” and “decay.” Sin is the ultimate cause of natural disasters just as it is the cause of death, disease, and suffering, conflicts of relations with fellow humans as well as inner conflicts and disorders of all kinds.
But “behold, I am making all things new” (Rev 21:5). After man is restored God will remake heave and earth.
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. *
Yup this is a tough one. If you are going to believe that natural disasters are a consequence of the Fall, then you are going to have to believe that natural disasters did not occur prior to the appearance of Homo sapiens sapiens, approximately 200,000 years ago.
This of course flies in the face of modern geological knowledge.
Plus, the dinosaurs may want to have a word with you.
I would say that God created an Order in the Universe.
When we sin, we not only offend God but that Order.
Now even though that Order of the Universe is not a sentient being, it is something that takes vengeance and trys to repair the damage. That is what happend with Adam and Eve.
Adam named all the animals and they obeyed him.
At his command an eagle would fly down so he can see it and a tree would bend and give him it’s fruit.
After the Fall, Nature revolted and we have our life today.
But when man sins like it did in Sodom and it worst now (sins after the Redemption are much more grave due to it)
are breaking with that Order, thus that Order takes its vengeance.
Only that God hold it back.
But God is not a “good ol’ buddy” that lets you slap Him in the face repeatedly and not say a single things.
He is one day going to let Nature do Justice.
What I have yet to resolve in my own mind is the consequence of Satan’s sin and the rebellious angels on Creation. Were angels part of the same “creative act” and did they participate with God in that act and did they rebel prior to, during or after material Creation of the universe? In other words is Creation effected by the fall of the rebellious angels as well as Adam’s sin? I have not given much though to this and this may also account for some thorny things.
Independent of that consideration though I don’t see a real issue here. The natural order is “good” in that it has systemic natural-laws and provisions for balancing climate, regulating the seasons, evolving the planet etc. What we can call natural disasters are things that effect humanity. It can be perfectly “good” that volcanoes and atmospheric disturbances can occur if they do not cause us harm. Even fallen humans are intrinsically “good” even while we have a proclivity to sin due to concupiscence. So I am conjecturing that the same pattern exists in nature that after man’s fall the elements which obey God’s natural laws became increasingly disordered as humanity increases its moral decline. Thus the elements become more wild and severe in their actions.
The dinosaurs becoming extinct can be seen as an aspect of the creative act and systemic order that God used to transform the planet and make it suited for sustaining man.
God Loves us More than we can know.
We Love our Children more than they can know.
We do all we can to protect our Children while also allowing them to grow and learn.
Sometimes that means letting them go into danger.
Not a great analogy, but I hope you see my meaning.
One problem people have is that we hold so tightly to this life. The Goal of this life is to prepare ourselves for the next one. Hardship is a much more potent teacher than ease is. Failure teaches more than success.
As a parent we often have to force our children to learn things they do not wish to learn. And oh-what-terrible-parents we are when we make them learn hard lessons. (anyone who has grounded a teenager knows what I mean) God can be a most stern and demanding Parent, but never should we think He doesn’t Love us. If He didn’t He could simply stop holding us in existance - Poof - Gone.
God is Love…As parents love their children, God so love Humanity (His Creation and Children) that he had sacrificed His only Son Jesus Christ our Lord on earth, so that we might all be redeemed from our weakness and sins and return to Him when we pass on…Our short life in this world is truly a prelude for the Peace & Serene Everlasting Life of the next…Imperfections and Human Sufferings (whether through nature or nurture) that are so abudantful and painful in our short life spam on this world is really quite minimal and insignificant when we compare it with the Eeverlasting Calm and Content Life that we are blessed with and will be enjoying in the life coming…Shalom!
Thank you for those passages about Original Sin. They seem to be quite good and worthy of contemplation.
I have been re-reading Genesis 1 and certain passages have stood out for me. In Gen 1:28 RSVCE it say that God wants man to fill the earth and subdue it. Certain preternatural gifts must have been given to do this if they were used properly within the correct context/relationship. This certainly has meaning for us today in terms of natural disasters and my apologies go out to the dinosaurs except the ones in Jarassic Park.
PS, I just bought a car on ebay and it is in FL. It would have been nice to pay you a visit since it was in central FL.