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Volcanoes, earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, hurricanes—and their place in human suffering

Why does God not prevent tsunamis?

Postby Corinthians » Sun Aug 27, 2017 5:48 pm

Why does God not prevent child cancer or tsunamis?

Re: Why does God not prevent tsunamis?

Postby jimwalton » Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:02 pm

OK, so we're at the point where we understand that the existence of suffering (pain, evil) does not necessarily preclude the existence of God. While we may not like the pain and suffering part, and we wince at the evil part, it doesn't require that God doesn't exist.

Now we're left to deal with the particulars—those poor children in the cancer wards, suffering as they do at such a young age. It honestly breaks my heart. And that awful tsunami in Japan a number of years back, and Indonesia before that. We are not denying the realities we see around us.

The Bible says that God created the world with cause and effect, and he lets it run that way. Humans give birth in an incredible and complex process whereby another human being, of 10 trillion cells, comes into being. The odds of each one being perfect are staggering, so much so that we have to exhibit honest shock that ANY of them come out "normal," let alone most. But the mechanism works well, and most of us come out, um, "normal". Again, how often and when should God intervene in the normal processes of cause and effect to mitigate abnormalities? We find that he hardly ever does. He lets things run their course. The Bible teaches that while there is value in the physical body, the real treasure and what God seeks is the soul. Most of his work, according to the Bible, is in creating relationships with humans and rescuing them from sin, not in interfering the cause-and-effect sequences of the womb, or even afterwards. His concern is salvation, redemption, and character, and that's where he does almost all of his work, according to the Bible. (A careful reading of the Bible will reveal that he hardly EVER heals physical ailments, except explosively during the ministry of Jesus. Check out the rest of the Bible; you'll hardly find any besides a handful.)

As far as tsunamis, same idea. God created the world with cause and effect. The earth is at an angle. It spins. Warmth and cold patterns, along with the spin, create winds. The winds have a beneficial effect on the earth; we couldn't survive without them. The earth crust rests on tectonic plates. Again, these are a benefit to life on the planet. But God lets cause and effect take its course. That's the way the world was set up (and frankly, that's the only way science is possible). If there was so much intervention that regularity was unachievable, there would be no such thing as science. But God lets the world do what it does. It's an incredible system for sustaining life. But there is a hurricane season, a tornado season, and occasional earthquakes. These are part of life-allowing characteristics of our planet. God doesn't stop them. I wouldn't expect him to. Can you imagine the disruption to our ecosystem if God were to do that? And, of course, scientists would throw up their hands, knowing that any study was ultimately futile. Actually, I think the balance is good. The earth is generally a life-giving, life-sustaining place. There are occasional events that disrupt human life and cause human suffering, but on the whole our planet is remarkably stable.

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