Why are there natural disasters?
Observation of Relevant Passages (Noticing what the author wrote)
1) Then to Adam He said, ‘…cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you…by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread…’ Genesis 3:17-19
2) For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it in hope 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. For we know the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. Romans 8:19-22
3) Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the
tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who
4) And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
5) ‘Tell us what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?’ And Jesus said to them…For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. Matthew 24:3-7 And the 7th angel poured out his bowl…and there was a great earthquake such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth…and huge hailstones about 100 pounds each came down from heaven upon men… Revelation 16:17-21.
6) During the good Samaritan story, Jesus said …and by chance a priest was going down that road… Luke 10:31. Speaking of the strong, wise, and wealthy, Solomon said, …time and chance overtake them all. Ecclesiastes 9:11
1. Who is involved? God and creation which has been cursed by God because of Adam’s sin. This is seen in Jesus day with the falling of the tower on 18 people. This curse goes on to the present day. In the future, the tribulation, natural disasters will increase in intensity as part of God’s judgment.
2. What is happening? The ground in being cursed and continues to be. This curse births natural disasters built into the natural world. God has planned these natural disasters which, by chance, happen. They are also planned to happen in the future Tribulation.
3. Where is it happening? These natural disasters take place on earth in the past, in the present, and in the future as a result of the curse.
4. Why is it included? The ground is cursed because of the sin of Adam. God causes all things, including natural disasters, to work together for good but we may not know what that good is and have to respond in faith that God has planned this event in a cursed world to accomplish His good purposes.
5. How is it carried out? God cursed the ground. Creation groans as a result. Natural disasters happen as a result. Planned natural disasters as part of God’s judgment and chance events of a cursed world both God’s plan and result of real consequences of Adam’s sin.
6. Anything repeated, contrasted, compared? Creation is cursed, it groans, subject to futility, in slavery to corruption, suffers the pains of childbirth. God curses and God causes. Chance disasters happened in Jesus’ day with the falling of the tower.
7. Any commands, solutions, direction? The ground is cursed and still is. Creation longs for and waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. Creation hopes to be set free. God causes all chance events, natural disasters, planned disasters to work together for good. We can expect chance events to overtake us.
8. Summary: The disasters of the natural world are a curse from God. God will also punish the whole world during the coming Tribulation. Chance events planned by God are characterized as natural disasters in a cursed world.
Subject: God has cursed this world
Predicate: resulting in chance events planned by God like natural disasters.
Big Idea: God’s curing of creation results in chance events planned by God as natural disasters.
Interpretation of Relevant Passages (Understanding what the author wrote)
1. Genesis 3:17-19 Natural disasters, be they personal or global, are because we live on a planet caused by God when he cursed it because of Adam’s sin.
2. Romans 8:19-22 Nature itself is described as being in slavery to corruption and something which groans and suffers. The ecosystem of this planet balances itself with some pretty severe events. Any living thin standing too close gets hurt. Earthquakes, Tsunami’s, wildfires, tornados, floods, storms, heat, cold happen because, by chance there is too much pressure on a fault line; it rained too much or not enough; low and high pressures effected temperatures and weather. Infants are born with birth defects because, by chance, their parent’s genetics combined themselves that way.
3. Luke 13:4-5 The collapse of this tower killing 18 people is a tragedy by natural causes. Jesus says it was not because these were worse sinners than others that was cause of tragedy. So to suggest that a disaster occurring today is some specific punishment from God is an unwise speculation.
4.Romans These chance events are planned by god and the natural disasters planned by God are chance events. But all things will work for good only for some—that is those who love God and are called according to His purpose. But that is certainly not everybody, and it is not according to our purposes or pleasures, and it is not now! When I am suffering, I not only want relief, I want the problem to have not happened in the first place. I may ask God for a miracle by which He intervenes in the natural order He has established after the fall of Adam. I want Him to remove chance with a contrary-to-nature miracle. Of course, God could do that, but then what would be the point of the curse? If the curse is not to be real, then Adam’s sin was not real. Actions without consequences are not real. God has promised to ultimately destroy suffering for His saints in eternity.
5. Matthew 24:3-7; Revelation 16:17-21 God will cause natural disasters to punish the earth during the upcoming Tribulation. But we are not in the Tribulation, and Jesus strictly warned against interpreting chance disasters as a punishment from God (Luke 13). Today, God disciplines His children and is conforming them to the image of Christ. But, except for what is stated in scripture, we do not know what God is doing.
6. Luke ;Ecclesiastes God created the universe with real chance events. There are no accidents—that would suppose God is not in control. God not only knows everything, he has planned everything. Chance is something God has built into the fallen universe. While God is sovereign over everything, we have real choices we make and chance disasters are planned by God in the sense that He is responsible for the plan that includes a cursed world with chance natural disasters.
Application of Relevant Passages (Using the Author’s Intent)
1) Genesis 3:17-19
INTENTION: The world is still cursed so we can still expect chance event natural disasters.
APPLICATION: Expect natural disasters to continue to happen in my lifetime.
2) Romans 8:19-22
INTENTION: Natural disasters are connected to the curse of creation and as such cannot be avoided by any manmade prevention. At best we can warn but not prevent.
APPLICATION: Be vigilant and preventative but realize natural disasters may come without warning or unexpectedly.
3) Luke 13:4-5
INTENTION: Chance events can occur suddenly and destroy people’s lives. Don’t speculate that God is punishing anyone when it does.
APPLICATION: I can never assume that God is punishing anyone through chance disasters.
4) Romans 8:28
INTENTION: God plans everything including natural disaster’s and brings about good from them.
APPLICATION: Most often I will not comprehend the specific good from a chance disaster but I can be confident that God is not only in control but bringing about good purposes.
5) Matthew 24:3-7; Revelation 16:17-21
INTENTION: God will cause natural disasters as part of His punishment of earth during Tribulation.
APPLICATION: Believers can expect God’s discipline in this age not punishment by disasters.
6) Luke 10:31; Ecclesiastes 9:11
INTENTION: Chance disasters are built into the fabric of a cursed planet by God because of sin.
APPLICATION: Natural disasters are unavoidable but will disappear when the curse is removed.