The Anger of God and World Calamnities

I recently became aware of Our Lady of Akita. I watched the following video:

I finished watching it and thought, wow, this is really Latin. It suggests God is extremely angry at our sins, and that we need to “soften” the anger of the Father. Also central is the idea that God creates chastisements (e.g. tsunamis, earthquakes, mass death) upon mankind to reveal his anger at mankind and so hopefully effect conversion.

I find the video a rather shocking and unpleasant portrayal of God–along the lines of “Sinners in the hands of an angry God.” It’s quite different from the portrayal of God I recently read in David Bentley Hart’s book, Doors of the Sea: Where was God in the Tsunami? The Latin view seems to be that God deliberately creates death and destruction as punishment, while the Eastern view (as given by Mr. Hart) is that God does not will these horrible things (they can even go against his will) but nonetheless allows them.

What do other Easterners think of this claimed Marian apparition? Do you think the video corresponds with the Eastern approach?

GOD wished to kill all the Isrealites when Moses came down from the mountain to find HIS people worshipping idols - as we do today - but Moses stayed HIS hand. Still thousands were slain that night by the sword, and the rest were punished by growing old and dieing in the desert. And this after 400 years of slavery at the hands of the Egyptians.

Yes, GOD allows the movement of the earth and stars and moon which lead to tides, and earthquakes and tornadoes and floods that kill, but GOD will also strike, when after many years of patience, we continue to sin “as if” GOD does not exist.

There are three areas of our lives that keep us from GOD, and one of those three is the desire for “self-rule; governance; set our own ways”. And after 2011 years, as the world continues to move away from GOD - as the Isrealites did after just 40 days - should we be surprised if with the movement of the earth, which man cannot control, man suddenly realizes how foolish his decision have been in setting his own path and course with such things as nuclear reactors built over the cojoining of three major faults beneath a small island nation?

I cannot say GOD did this for I do not know. But I do know we have been warned by many saints of dire things to come if we do not change our lives and return ourselves back to GOD.

I think the Church has approve the apparitions surrounding Our Lady of Akita.

God loves man with an infinite love and when He punishes, He does so with reverence, almost fearing to hurt. - St. Padre Pio

Thanks for your input.

The same account of the Golden Calf can also be read as God “changing his mind”. God says he desires to destroy all the Israelites (He actually calls them Moses’ people, not His people) and begin anew with Moses; and yet Moses has to remind God of the promises He made, and how the victories He wrought would become discredited in the eyes of the nations.

I do not believe, however, this reading arrives at the true import of the story. I think passages like these need to be read according to the spiritual sense rather than the mere letter. I believe early Christians such as Origen and St. Dionysius the Areopagite have expounded on this.

This quote strikes much truer than the words in the video. Thanks for sharing it.

Question I have: what reverence and almost fearing to hurt is there in a raging tsunami?

The elements repond in a certain way…why blame God…as some evidently do in their distress (while others may do so in judgement which actually belongs only to God. Time and time again Jesus told us not to judge others, and if we do we earn the judgement ourselves, He said. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. Luke 6:37)

For instance What causes an earthquake?
It makes no more sense than blaming God because someone is careless or in the wrong place at the wrong time and there is an accident,…some human choice of some sort is involved, God does not program us to be involved in an accident… or we become ill because of perhaps lifelong unhealthy elements in our diet or other natural and practical causes. God doesn’t make us ill or cause disasters.

God gives us grace in our circumstances, happy, sad, disastrous…and we can accept the graces to live with love, faith, goodness…or not…

I think that your black and white characterization of the “Latin vs Eastern” view on divine punishment is very unfair. Can you find me even one example of a RECENT pope declaring natural disasters to be the wrath of God? I very much doubt it. I have heard countless Latin priests and theologians, from various eras, describing pain, suffering, and disasters along the lines of what you claim to be the “Eastern” approach…I am also sure that one could find examples of Eastern authorities, down through the centuries, who have described this or that disaster closer to what you see as the “Latin” approach. In the end a lot of it (though not all) comes down to semantics. Does God truly wish to hurt us? Of course not…EVERY Latin and Eastern priest worth his salt would heartily agree with this. But, that being said, nothing can exist nor happen without God allowing it to be so, and what God allows, even if contrary to his perfect will, some would say God ‘does’, in the sense that he ultimately put everything into place (including the gift of freewill which so often leads to his creatures acting contrary to His will). Scripture is clear that God does discipline us, but his discipline is firmly rooted in love and intended to bring us closer to the image of His Son.

“……To interpret sacred scripture correctly, the reader must be attentive to what the human authors truly wanted to affirm and what God wanted to reveal to us by their words. In order to discover the sacred author’s intention, the reader must take into account the conditions of their time and culture, the literary genres in use at that time, and the modes of feeling, speaking, and narrating then current……”

Catechism of the Catholic Church #109, 110

I think this is key in properly understanding the passages describing a ‘wrathful’ or ‘angry’ God.

Pope John Paul spoke at great length on the mystery of suffering (including disasters) and always emphasized its REDEMPTIVE nature, rather than the element of punishment. The element of punishment exists, but it is secondary. Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church (Col 1:24 NAB). This is key to the mystery of suffering…ultimately God wills that we embrace our suffering (whether personal or the result of a natural disaster or otherwise), uniting ourselves to the cross and participating in the great work of redemption. The deifiication of man is impossible without a share in the sufferings of the Savior.

But why did God not prevent the first man from sinning? St. Leo the Great responds, "Christ’s inexpressible grace gave us blessings better than those the demon’s envy had taken away."307 And St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, “There is nothing to prevent human nature’s being raised up to something greater, even after sin; God permits evil in order to draw forth some greater good. Thus St. Paul says, ‘Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more’; and the Exsultet sings, ‘O happy fault,. . . which gained for us so great a Redeemer!’”

Catechism of the Catholic Church #412

Yet God built the techtonic plates in a way that could cause earthquakes. Did he specifically cause this, or is it merely a consequence of the way he built it? We don’t know. God does not always move through direct action. It does not make more sense to claim that it was a direct action, or that it was a consequence of nature. We don’t know, as both could be true, or just one.

I do not think I’m being unfair here. It’s definitely a recognizable.strain in historic Latin spirituality. The most recent 2-3 Popes do emphasize the mercy and and loving care of God (in a similiar fashion to Julian of Norwich centuries ago, so I’m not saying these aspects of God are missing from the Western consciousness), yet in the not too far past, the Mass also was widely understood as propitiation to appease the wrath of God. This view of a God who waxes in wrath at our personal sins is rooted in Anselm’s theory of satisfaction, which did not affect the East, but which was transformative for the West, and still appears in Marian visions and locutions approved by the Vatican, such as the one presented in this video. .

When Adam and Eve fell into corruption, the whole universe also fell into corruption. The ancient Fathers refer to it as a cosmological catastrophe. Destruction and death were not God’s plans for the universe.

It may seem strange that Man (in this case, Moses) had to REMIND G-d of promises G-d made and, in a sense, caution G-d not to act too hastily. One might think the “roles” have been reversed. But, after all, prayer is also a kind of “reminder” toward G-d, as well, even though it may have been initiated by G-d rather than Man. And there is a custom in Judaism on the eve of Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) for Man to actually accuse G-d of committing sins against His people by, for example, allowing natural disasters to devour them. This is not considered rebellion against G-d but rather a fervent plea to G-d to have mercy on us for OUR sins by pointing out the punishment G-d has already inflicted upon us. This punishment itself is the beginning of our own atonement.

Interesting eve of Yom Kippur custom. This practice sounds similar to many Psalms, where the Psalmist brings complaints to God (e.g. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?)

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