Patricia Hofer

Does God cause natural disasters?

THIS WORLD IS A HARSH PLACE, THIS WORLD. The Zulu framed this proverb, and it leads me to question our tendency to connect God’s purpose to the goodness or badness of natural events. The laws of nature are not fair. They are neither good nor evil—they just are. No one in the Bible avoids the turbulence of life on earth. For example, being “chosen” didn’t protect Abraham from famine and loss and family strife. That was true for Jesus as well. He healed some illness, but not all illness. He stilled a storm, but not all storms.

And so we might ask, why did God send Jesus Christ? My answer to that question can be found in CS Lewis’ explanation of miracles. He wrote, “Nature is being lit up by a light from beyond Nature. Someone is speaking who knows more about her than can be known from inside her” (Miracles 194). God sent His Son to offer a glimpse “beyond Nature,” to show a life greater than what goes on here. We are greater than what goes on here. This life in God and with God is not harsh but loving. It is a present life and a continuing life, filled with promise.

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