Disasters

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Disasters

#1

Post by Silvertusk » Fri May 16, 2008 1:01 am

Over 100,000 dead in Burma. Nearly 50,000 dead in China. Even though I know God doesn't cause these disasters and they are made worse by Human selfishness and greed - I still question why God Permits these things. I have faith that God will bring the best situation out of these disasters but from our small human persepective sometimes it is really hard to see the bigger picture.

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Re: Disasters

#2

Post by bizzt » Fri May 16, 2008 10:23 am


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Re: Disasters

#3

Post by Canuckster1127 » Fri May 16, 2008 11:19 am

Silvertusk wrote:Over 100,000 dead in Burma. Nearly 50,000 dead in China. Even though I know God doesn't cause these disasters and they are made worse by Human selfishness and greed - I still question why God Permits these things. I have faith that God will bring the best situation out of these disasters but from our small human persepective sometimes it is really hard to see the bigger picture.

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Re: Disasters

#4

Post by bizzt » Fri May 16, 2008 12:32 pm

Canuckster1127 wrote:
Silvertusk wrote:Over 100,000 dead in Burma. Nearly 50,000 dead in China. Even though I know God doesn't cause these disasters and they are made worse by Human selfishness and greed - I still question why God Permits these things. I have faith that God will bring the best situation out of these disasters but from our small human persepective sometimes it is really hard to see the bigger picture.

Silvertusk.
It's difficult. The best answer I know is that independence from God doesn't come without cost.
:amen:

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Re: Disasters

#5

Post by madscientist » Sat May 17, 2008 3:09 am

Canuckster1127 wrote:It's difficult. The best answer I know is that independence from God doesn't come without cost.
What exactly you meant?

As for the disasters - yes it is bad. What i often hear people say "Doesn't God see that? Or is he not powerful enough? If he existed, he would have changed it. Or he cannot, or he doesn't want to". Those are the common arguments atheists use. But us Christians, we should see it differently. Then we hear evil is result of man's sin, not of God. But God still allows it to happen. Why He allows it then? That is the thing. One thing is wars by man, another is disasters. Are these caused by global warming and stuff? I don't think so. Earthquakes and stuff does not have much to do with how man manages the earth/resources. But - if the result of physics, chemistry, chaos theory, cause & consequence then... what to do? But also, if we are to believe God controls everything then what to say?

For a while I thought i understood. Thing is, not only non-believers pose this question. People such as my relatives or friendds ask the same thing and are deeply unhappy about such things, and so am I. So often I just do not want to watch the news. Bombings, wars, crises, leaders going corrupt, drought & floods, fires, earthquakes etc. People dying. How to be happy with this? Pray for things to change? One person does not make a difference.

Thing is - if God wants, HE can change it! As nothing is impossible for Him, He can make things better. Only - will He?
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Re: Disasters

#6

Post by Canuckster1127 » Sat May 17, 2008 9:25 am

madscientist wrote:
Canuckster1127 wrote:It's difficult. The best answer I know is that independence from God doesn't come without cost.
What exactly you meant?

As for the disasters - yes it is bad. What i often hear people say "Doesn't God see that? Or is he not powerful enough? If he existed, he would have changed it. Or he cannot, or he doesn't want to". Those are the common arguments atheists use. But us Christians, we should see it differently. Then we hear evil is result of man's sin, not of God. But God still allows it to happen. Why He allows it then? That is the thing. One thing is wars by man, another is disasters. Are these caused by global warming and stuff? I don't think so. Earthquakes and stuff does not have much to do with how man manages the earth/resources. But - if the result of physics, chemistry, chaos theory, cause & consequence then... what to do? But also, if we are to believe God controls everything then what to say?

For a while I thought i understood. Thing is, not only non-believers pose this question. People such as my relatives or friendds ask the same thing and are deeply unhappy about such things, and so am I. So often I just do not want to watch the news. Bombings, wars, crises, leaders going corrupt, drought & floods, fires, earthquakes etc. People dying. How to be happy with this? Pray for things to change? One person does not make a difference.

Thing is - if God wants, HE can change it! As nothing is impossible for Him, He can make things better. Only - will He?
God is omnipotent. God could surely have avoided all of this by not creating us in the first place.

For Reasons I don't understand and presumably only known to God, God chose to create this universe and us and to voluntarily limit Himself in order to give us the ability to choose whether we would follow Him or not. We have the power to make those choices. We don't however, have the power to determine the consequences of the impact that sin has upon this world and that includes natural disasters, disease and sickness.

We live in a fallen world which is tainted throughout with the curse of original sin.

God has provided a means to redeem this world through the death, resurrection and atonement of Jesus Christ. The opportunity to move from death to life exists for all who receive that gift.

This sin tainted creation will come to a conclusion and God will at that time create a new Heaven and new Earth that will exist as God intends and those whom God has saved will live in eternity with Him.

God does not need the fellowship and choices of us, whom He has created. Nevertheless God, has created us and given us these abilities and for reasons that are good for Him he allows this system to continue and along with the good He intends there is the evil he allows. We judge good and evil by our perspective and how we perceive its impact upon us. God's perspective is often different and many things He chooses not to share with us.

That's the clearest manner I know how to expound further upon this issue and I hope this helps while I realize it will no doubt raise more questions than it answers for many.
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Re: Disasters

#7

Post by madscientist » Sun May 18, 2008 8:20 am

Yeah that is it - however, we as humans can for sure say that a calm world without wars and natural disasters would surely have been better... less suffering. We could say evil = suffering and vice versa. The result of sin is suffering; however, not each suffering is caused by sin, is it? Jesus had NEVER sinned but ironically, He was the one to carry the cross and die. Whilst some others have caused atrocities and left this world with a big smile on their face... (not to mention it's all there to be but still).

Now - does God allow evil? Is that the right word? And for good - does He also allow good? Now what is and what is not God's cause or His will? Everything is in a way. So yes, He could have avoided these disasters and stuff. But whom to "blame"? It is different to blame a volcano for erupting, or a leader for killing millions. Now if God wanted, such people could have been shot or simply not allowed the high position - e.g. imagine Hitler in the arts academy or what. Now according to the choice of the man who was responsible and did not take him there, the world turned out to be what it did. Think how shocking... maybe had that man taken him, or simply Hitler never made it there - to politics, the world would have been different. Now do we say God chose it to be so, or God simply "allowed" the man to choose, and the events to shape as they should - as God wished them to? If God wanted the events to turn out differently, He could have done so - then that would have been considered as His will. But whose choice was it what happened - God's or people's or both? It is very paradoxical this but if we have free will and God controls everything - there must be a way those 2 come together. Or there should be.

And what should our response as chrsitians be? Say "uff never mind it's just God doing His works it's inevitable part of His will" or really start thinking about this and feel sorry for the people who suffer due to war, famine, bombings, natural disasters? Surely sitting back and saying "it's God doing it I can't help it" is not the right approach... and how to explain this to non-believers or skeptics or believers who are driven mad due to this? I know MANY people who also say "Doesn't God see this happening?" and similar stuff. What should be our reaction?
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Re: Disasters

#8

Post by Canuckster1127 » Sun May 18, 2008 10:56 am

Best response I know is to read the book of Job.
Dogmatism is the comfortable intellectual framework of self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is more decadent than the worst sexual sin. ~ Dan Allender

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Re: Disasters

#9

Post by B. W. » Sun May 18, 2008 3:00 pm

madscientist wrote:Yeah that is it - however, we as humans can for sure say that a calm world without wars and natural disasters would surely have been better... less suffering. We could say evil = suffering and vice versa. The result of sin is suffering; however, not each suffering is caused by sin, is it? Jesus had NEVER sinned but ironically, He was the one to carry the cross and die. Whilst some others have caused atrocities and left this world with a big smile on their face... (not to mention it's all there to be but still).

Now - does God allow evil? Is that the right word? And for good - does He also allow good? Now what is and what is not God's cause or His will? Everything is in a way. So yes, He could have avoided these disasters and stuff. But whom to "blame"? It is different to blame a volcano for erupting, or a leader for killing millions. Now if God wanted, such people could have been shot or simply not allowed the high position - e.g. imagine Hitler in the arts academy or what. Now according to the choice of the man who was responsible and did not take him there, the world turned out to be what it did. Think how shocking... maybe had that man taken him, or simply Hitler never made it there - to politics, the world would have been different. Now do we say God chose it to be so, or God simply "allowed" the man to choose, and the events to shape as they should - as God wished them to? If God wanted the events to turn out differently, He could have done so - then that would have been considered as His will. But whose choice was it what happened - God's or people's or both? It is very paradoxical this but if we have free will and God controls everything - there must be a way those 2 come together. Or there should be.

And what should our response as chrsitians be? Say "uff never mind it's just God doing His works it's inevitable part of His will" or really start thinking about this and feel sorry for the people who suffer due to war, famine, bombings, natural disasters? Surely sitting back and saying "it's God doing it I can't help it" is not the right approach... and how to explain this to non-believers or skeptics or believers who are driven mad due to this? I know MANY people who also say "Doesn't God see this happening?" and similar stuff. What should be our reaction?
This subject is one of those 'deep things of God' that the bible speaks about in the book of Hebrews. There are answers in the book of Job when Elihu speaks and references would be too numerous quote here. Basically the case is made that through affliction God opens the ears of people to hear him.

Now -- Please do not equate affliction as meaning cruelty and massive suffering but rather think of it as the 'affliction of mortal living' and all that just 'basic living' afflicts us with. Things that press down on us.

For example, we now toil now to earn our bread. We have afflictions from work/employment, afflictions gained from raising a family. We all have varied all types of afflictions that run the full gamut of afflictions from the most mundane routine to the most catastrophic kinds.

Now read with caution:

Job 36:8-10, “And if they are bound in chains and caught in the cords of affliction... 10 He opens their ears to instruction and commands...” ESV

God uses these to open our ears to hear and eyes to see so we return to him. He also uses dreams, friends, foes, events, signs, etc and etc- all kinds of things to open ears and eyes so that people wake up and return to him.

Ponder this a moment -- We all live on a planet spinning in space around a nuclear furnace and below our feet a few hundred miles or less — we float on an internal sea of molten rock. Add the oceans and air currents — life is precarious and afflicted with uncertainty so that one can hear and see the need to return to God.

There is more here than I can write on and I do not want anyone to misunderstand what I am saying. People can twist things too much into error and some things remain 'the deep things of God' for a reason.

God speaks to us in various ways to return to him before it is too late and eternity seals the deal on our eternal state. God calls to humanity through various afflictions to have us stop hiding behind our fig leaves and return to him so he can cover our sins. I know this will sound like a cop out but God's ways are not ours and his ways are past finding out.

Job 36:26, “Behold, God is great, beyond our knowledge…” JPS

If one dares to look - read Elihu's words recorded in Job. There are answers within it pages and some answers may cause great trouble and inner affliction but these lead to other answers that will ease the soul on this matter. Not a book for the faint of heart or for those that trifle to make God look bad in order justify their refusal to hear and see...
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Re: Disasters

#10

Post by madscientist » Mon May 19, 2008 8:20 am

Aha ok... well I will read it then. Thing is, I am going through Bible right now, reading all in order... got to Judges 2... will read it after :) to make sure I read everything. And yeah I heard some like book of Job that it is nice...

Ok so afflictions - yeah but exactly there are different kinds. I heard stuff like "suffering makes perseverance" and so on for a believer and that it's necessary to shape us into believers. But why exactly those kinds? Wars, famine, natural disasters, etc etc - it's numerous. And why it is that the innocent suffer mainly? Imagine war... leaders sit in their chairs, command, see everyone dying and laugh... soldiers are the ones who do the murdering, but are told to do so and it's absurd how they cannot choose who to fight for but fight for their "country" killing "enemies" who are actually enemies only because their leaders are... but enough on this now. Thing is, why God uses this evil... - both man-made and non-manmade such as natural disasters. Result of physics/metaphysics, someone's will? Then do we say God allows it or that God does it?
Sometimes God does not allow - e.g. imagine people who have tried to commit suicides. Apparently there was someone who had 40 unsuccessful attempts! Now that means something. Others die trying to save their lives while someone risks it 40 times and remains alive?? Or imagine the lucky moments when someone almost died - or was shot but a miracle he survived. 8) So - how to explain it? Pure metaphysics, or laws, or luck, or God, or God + man + Satan + physics = final result?? I think that's how I would explain it...
Now who should be attributed for this - God, people, or also stuff like Satan and demons? If someone has a car accident for example, was it the other who caused it, or God, or Satan? And does every "evil" need to be caused by Satan, and only "allowed" by God? We never hold God accountable for anything bad by saying he only "allows" it but never causes it. Why, for example, cannot something good be also result of Satan? Or that God actually "allows" a bad person to do something good?

And - does this evil and afflictions always end up good and opening people's minds rather than making them harder towards God and accepting Him? And for the sufferers or who actually have to die - how do they benefit?
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Re: Disasters

#11

Post by B. W. » Mon May 19, 2008 9:17 pm

Good questions and ones that deserve an answer. It is best that others chime in too. I do not have much to say other than that we live in a fallen world where people sin, accidents happen, etc...

Others can answer better than I regarding how some people take certain biblical truths and fail to balance these with other scriptures. For example, you sneezed today for some reason — did God make you sneeze or was it due to dust in the air? Some people go overboard with this and teach that God made you sneeze for some great spiritual lesson.

God knows everything and even that you would sneeze today but did he cause you to sneeze or was it how he designed the human body to remove dust from the sinuses?

God upholds the world by the word of his power. Laws of physics indicate this to be true. Things were set in motion in this natural world. Earthquakes do happen. God can use earthquakes no doubt for his purposes but are all earthquakes caused by God or by how things were set in motion in the natural world? If you read the bible on God's use of natural disaster — it was to bring judgment upon a people or used to cause them to repent. These were specific types of natural disasters and God sent messengers to warn of these. What happens when there are no messengers?

Here is a case in point. In the Caribbean there is a City that disappeared under the waves, it was nicked name Sin City. There were warnings given to the people there to repent and the people openly refused. Earthquake did strike and the city plunged into the sea where to this day divers can dive in the waters and check it out. This city remains judged and uninhabited due to the ocean.

Now, somewhere, without warnings from any messengers, an earthquake strikes due to where people build. Was that a judgment of God or more from plate tectonics'? The people rebuild and the city remains. Everything has a purpose and a reason.

Best I can say is that from this — we need to trust God and return to him through Christ as this mortal life is short and eternity is without end.

Job 34:23, “For God has no need to consider a man further that he should go before God in judgment.”

Job 34:21"For his eyes are on the ways of a man, and he sees all his steps.”

God knows everything about us before we were ever born — Notice it is man's own steps that he foresees from this foreknowing, God can predestine as he so wills without violating any form of justice —perfectly. This is a mouthful to swallow and is one of those deep things of God that well meaning people can distort into error - so take caution in how you read and be sure to balance with other scriptures.

Job 34:12, “Of a truth, God will not do wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice.”

Jesus spoke in Luke 13:4-5: “Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." ESV

Let us trust God returning to him through Christ as mortal life is short and eternity is without end.
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Re: Disasters

#12

Post by madscientist » Tue May 20, 2008 6:22 am

Yeah exactly! like the sneezing - is it... random, or God wanted it, or no purpose, or all of the above? And could I have changed it? Also another example - e.g. if I don't pay attention on my life, and say "ah i don't need to be careful because if God wants me to live I will, if not then even if I pay attention and He wants me to be dead he'll do so". However, we have seen that for example wearing a helmet on a motorbike does increase chance of survival... So - do we die due to our choice such as lack of attention/carefulness on ourselves, or is it ALL due to God and cannot do anything?

Stuff like the Sin City... yes I actually have an explanation. Maybe someone may think I'm crazy but I have a theory! Also for prayers... SO: God knows what will happen. God knew that those people will be evil. Hence, He organized the world to make it to be sunk. However, if the people repented - then God would have also known that. So, because He foreknew, He had organized the world so that the outcomes are what they are to be - but we only see the surface, not the whole image... For example, if I pray today that something is to happen tomorrow, God foreknew already that I would pray on this day, and made the world so that tomorrow it works out - all without my knowledge. May seem krazy but it's the only reason how I can picture it and so it actually makes sense... This is also how I explain why prayers work. Even if it may be late, God knew we'd pray and preorganize the situation in that way. Or maybe not - maybe He suddenly changes events - but either way we have the same outcome! Any thoughts? ;)

The tower - does it mean the ones who were killed were no worse than the rest but they ended up in hell? Just as the others? The perishing - earthly or eternal?
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Re: Disasters

#13

Post by Cross.eyed » Tue May 20, 2008 11:00 am

For anyone inclined to read books, The Problem With Pain by C.S. Lewis gives at least some understanding of events like these and pain on a personal level also.

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Re: Disasters

#14

Post by B. W. » Tue May 20, 2008 8:20 pm

madscientist wrote: Yeah exactly! like the sneezing - is it... random, or God wanted it, or no purpose, or all of the above? And could I have changed it? Also another example - e.g. if I don't pay attention on my life, and say "ah i don't need to be careful because if God wants me to live I will, if not then even if I pay attention and He wants me to be dead he'll do so". However, we have seen that for example wearing a helmet on a motorbike does increase chance of survival... So - do we die due to our choice such as lack of attention/carefulness on ourselves, or is it ALL due to God and cannot do anything?

Stuff like the Sin City... yes I actually have an explanation. Maybe someone may think I'm crazy but I have a theory! Also for prayers... SO: God knows what will happen. God knew that those people will be evil. Hence, He organized the world to make it to be sunk. However, if the people repented - then God would have also known that. So, because He foreknew, He had organized the world so that the outcomes are what they are to be - but we only see the surface, not the whole image... For example, if I pray today that something is to happen tomorrow, God foreknew already that I would pray on this day, and made the world so that tomorrow it works out - all without my knowledge. May seem krazy but it's the only reason how I can picture it and so it actually makes sense... This is also how I explain why prayers work. Even if it may be late, God knew we'd pray and preorganize the situation in that way. Or maybe not - maybe He suddenly changes events - but either way we have the same outcome! Any thoughts? ;)
Wow, very good! Keep this in mind when you read Job. When reading Job, I suggest that you read the first two chapters and then read chapters 32-42 where Elihu and God speak before reading chapters 3 through 31. This helps to keep the focus of the book together: Like reading the beginning and the end first before the rest of the story. I also suggest you re-read chapters 32-41 several times before reading the middle parts - then read the book in chapter order.

This may sound like an odd way to read the book of Job but with this book - things make better sense this way when you read chapters 3-31. You gain insight, I think a person may other wise lose. Try it and let me know what you think. I'll be praying for you too as you read...
madscientist wrote:The tower - does it mean the ones who were killed were no worse than the rest but they ended up in hell? Just as the others? The perishing - earthly or eternal?
Good question -- Like Cross-eyed suggested try reading - 'The Problem With Pain' by C.S. Lewis sometime as it can help answer your question.

I'll comment more on this later as it is getting late and I am getting sleepy...

God Blessings to you....
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Re: Disasters

#15

Post by Dazed and Confused » Wed May 21, 2008 5:30 am

Matthew 24:8 "But all these things are the beginning of birth pangs.

I see some of these disasters as signs and warnings from God. A recent example: Franklin Graham declared that he would not encourage the preaching of the Gospel during the Olympic Games to be held in China this summer. An article found on christianpost.com dated May 10th stated "While some Christian groups have said they plan to proselytize during the August games, Graham said he was against that because Chinese law does not permit such actions "I would not support any illegal activity at all," Graham said". Here is a world renowned Christian Evangelist, the son of Billy Graham, elevating man's law above God's and he is doing so for the entire world to see. On May 11th "Franklin Graham addressed the 6,000-seat Chong-Yi Church — China's largest". Then on May 12th China is struck by a major earthquake. You can look at this from several diffrent angles, but I feel it is God giving another sign to a fallen world. I hope Franklin Graham reconsiders his stance on this issue, to deny the Gospel for whatever reason is completely unacceptable. China is a whole other issue. They are currently making efforts to stop any proselytizing during the Olympic Games and have continually persecuted Christians. The earthquake in China is indeed a tragedy, but will pale in comparison to the "great and terrible Day of the Lord". I dont look at these circumstancs lightly but with fear and trembling.

Some more examples of God using nature as a sign and a warning...
The Madrid Conference October 30, 1991 — President George Bush sponsored and signed the Oslo Accord which was the beginning of the “Land for Peace” process. This accord required Israel to surrender some of her land in exchange for peace from the Palestinians. The basic idea was that Israel would give up land and the Palestinians would stop the terrorist attacks. A record-breaking storm struck along our Atlantic seacoast on October 30-31, 1991 following the signing of the Oslo Accord. This storm was called the “Perfect Storm” due to the improbability of factors which caused it to form. The first place the storm struck was Kennebunkport, Maine were George H Bush's summer home was destroyed by thirty foot waves.
Round Six of the Bilateral Peace Talks August 24, 1992 — The peace talks moved to Washington D.C. were the Madrid Conference continued. President George H. Bush and his administrations gathered again asking that Yitzhak Rabin come to Washington and meet with Yasser Arafat to further discuss the “Land for Peace” process. The same day Hurricane Andrew hit Florida doing $30 billion worth of damage and destroying 180,000 homes. This is the second costliest natural disaster to hit the United States.
President Bill Clinton in Geneva January 16, 1994 - Hafez el-Assad the president of Syria meets with President Bill Clinton in Geneva. They discuss a peace agreement that would require Israel to surrender the Golan Heights, again another attempt to divide God's land. Early the next day January 17 the Northridge earthquake struck Southern California with a magnitude of 6.7. This is currently the third most economically devastating natural disaster to occur in America.
The Middle East Peace Plan April 30-May 4, 2003 - U.S. Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer presented the "Road Map" peace plan to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, calling for a surrender of the Golan Heights. Over the next 7 days, 412 tornados tore apart the Central United States the largest cluster ever observed by NOAA since it began its record keeping in 1950. The previous record had been 177 in 1999.
The Gaza Withdrawal August 7-22, 2005 - Nearly 9,000 Jews are forced to leave their homes in Gaza. The withdrawal ended on August 22, and on the very next day, the government of Bermuda announced that a tropical depression had formed off its coast. Dubbed "Katrina," the storm quickly developed into the most powerful hurricane in modern history. It slammed into New Orleans and the Mississippi coast four days later on the 27th.
The above facts were originally documented from the book "Eye to Eye" by William Konieg. http://www.watch.org/resources/index.php
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

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