Invariably, after ever major weather calamity which strikes our planet, various and sundry ‘theological’ writers put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and flood us with responses to the question, ‘Where was God in all of this?’ And in most cases, these ‘theology’ writers put forth with the explanation that ‘this wasn’t God’s doing; this was a natural disaster; God wouldn’t do something like this.’
This happens after every major weather event: the tornado in Oklahoma, Katrina, Sandy, the tsunami in India, the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and, most recently, typhoon Haiyan. Daniel Burke, writing for CNN’s Belief Blog, writes a fairly good article on the religious reaction to the typhoon – by which I mean he interviews various religious (and non-religious) folks and asks their take on the presence of God in the storm.
In his article, he links to a post by Stephen Prothero in which Mr. Prothero does what I mentioned in the first paragraph: he tries to convince his readers that God didn’t do the storm (in the case of Mr. Prothero’s article, Sandy); that it was simply a ‘natural disaster’:
The overwhelming majority of Americans believe in God. But their God no longer acts out his fury as in Bible days. Our storms have not yet been tamed. But our God has.And for typhoon Haiyan, we have Ms Susan B. Thistlethwaite (and regular readers of mine know my opinion on her theology), who claims that, rather than God causing the typhoon, it’s all our fault:
These “superstorms” aren’t an “act of God,” but an act of willful disregard for God’s creation, and the neglect of the human responsibility to care for the planet.Now, I’m not going to get into just how off Ms Thistlethwaite’s science is (the Daily Caller does a fine job of that), but I want you to combine Ms Thistlethwaite’s opinion, Mr. Prothero’s opinion, and the opinion of the ‘theologians’ Mr. Burke interviewed for a moment. Each of these people does the same thing: by trying to absolve God of involvement in these major and catastrophic weather events, they are, in fact, denying God His sovereignty.
How do I know this? Well, interestingly enough, for the past two weeks I’ve been studying A. W. Pink’s The Sovereignty of God. Just two days ago I received an audio CD from John McArthur’s ministry titled Twin Truths: God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Responsibility.
Okay, I can take a hint.
The fact of the matter is, the Bible is loaded with Scripture references about God being in control of this globe’s weather; here are only a few verses that tell us so – Genesis 2:5; Genesis 7:4; Exodus 9:18; Exodus 9:23, 33; Leviticus 26:4; 1st Kings 17:1; Job 5:10; 28:26; 37:3, 6, 9-11; and Psalm 135:7.
And because God is sovereign, He controls everything that happens in His creation.
Where was God during this latest catastrophe? He was right there. He knew it was going to happen because He decreed it ‘before the foundation of the world’. And I can say that because it’s in the Bible; nothing, and I mean nothing, happens in this universe which escapes God’s attention, simply because everything that happens has already been foreordained and decreed by God.
Those who would strip God of His sovereignty by saying He wasn’t ‘in the whirlwind’ ought to re-read and study Job 38 – 40, where God, in a nutshell, tells Job, ‘Who do you think you are? I am God, you are My creation, you don’t have the right or privilege to question what I do.’
Or, as Paul puts it, ‘But who are you, O man, to answer back to God?’ (Romans 9:20a).