Tuesday, January 18, 2011

where is god in natural disasters?

Yesterday I posted some information on extreme weather events which seem to indicate that global warming is having an increasing effect. But these natural disasters also raise the question of where is God at these times, and why does he allow them?

different responses

Some people say that suffering and evil proves that God doesn't exist. But if we think there are good reasons to believe in God (like the creation of the universe, or its amazing design, or the life of Jesus), then this response is too simplistic. One negative doesn't outweigh those positives.

At the opposite extreme, some people seem to find no problem - that's just the way things are. But I can't put the problem aside that easily, for it seems to be lacking empathy for those who are suffering.

I think we have to recognise both sides of the issue - the world does include suffering and evil, it is really terrible, but there is more to the story than that. For example, there is also much beauty, and people worldwide are generally happy with life. Much suffering is caused by humans exercising their free wills in harmful ways - but who wishes we didn't have free will? Suffering is also caused by living in a physical world where nature can be both beautiful and merciless - but who would want to live in a bland world?

And how can we say the world is evil without a true ethical standard, and where can such a standard come from except God? So our reaction to suffering and evil demonstrates that a good God must exist at the same time as it makes us question "Why?"

Christians believe God entered the world in the man Jesus, and experienced suffering and pain as part of his mission to bring about a new world where suffering will ultimately be banished. So God is not divorced from the pain his creatures experience.

so where is god when suffering occurs?

I think he is right there with those who are hurting or confused - if only we will invite him. And he is also there through the efforts of those who come to the assistance of those who are suffering. I don't have any "answers", except to help where I can and to keep trusting him who has shown himself to be true. If you don't believe that, or haven't found that, then I can only encourage you to look again - perhaps consider ibelieve.

Think more about suffering and God at why does God allow evil?

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