Biblical creationists speak boldly about God’s role in creation but become strangely silent when it comes to natural disasters in God’s world today. Why does God kill scores of people each day with sickness, disease, floods, landslides, earthquakes, hurricanes, typhoons etc…?
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”(Genesis 1:1)
“So Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread out his hands to the Lord; and the thunder and the hail ceased, and rain no longer poured on the earth.” (Exodus 9:3)
“Or the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and He will shut up the heavens so that there will be no rain and the ground will not yield its fruit; and you will perish quickly from the good land which the Lord is giving you.”(Deuteronomy 11:17)
“For to the snow He says, ‘Fall on the earth,’
And to the downpour and the rain, ‘Be strong.’”(Job 37:6)
7″Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
8lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do his bidding,
9you mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,
10wild animals and all cattle,
small creatures and flying birds,
11kings of the earth and all nations,
you princes and all rulers on earth,
12young men and women,
old men and children.” (Psalm 148:8, see also 33:7; 65:7; 89:9; 107:29)
“When He utters His voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens,
And He causes the clouds to ascend from the end of the earth;
He makes lightning for the rain,
And brings out the wind from His storehouses.” (Jeremiah 10:13)
These are only a few of what is implied throughout the Bible. It is almost too obvious for the writers to mention. In a pre-scientific world, God was literally the only explanation for the good and bad that befell mankind.
If you believe Jesus physically rose from the dead or any other biblical miracle, part of your mind resides in the Dark Ages. You may think this is a badge of honor but it is the tragic consequence of holding on to an ancient superstition. Jesus is dead. Get over it.
Now I say, “part of your mind” because Christians are reluctant to fully embrace biblical Christian belief for fear of embarrassment. Instead, the conveniently compartmentalize their faith into the spiritual and scientific. Yes, I said, “scientific.”
I have studied the Bible extensively from beginning to end for decades. One thing is particularly clear if you lived in Bible times. God controlled everything. Nature in all its expressions was carefully and specifically orchestrated by God’s hand. Wind, rain, lightning. crops, livestock, earthquakes, storms, volcanic eruptions, celestial anomalies, disease, fertility, sickness all feel within the purview of God’s sovereign will. No exceptions!
If you are a consistent Christian, you have to take the bad with the good. When God blesses you with health, happiness and wealth, you gratefully acknowledge it (Watch the testimony of any awards ceremony or sports championship winners). So when a mudslide wipes out a mountain side village in India or disease ravages an African town, it is the work of God.
Floods and hurricanes that claim entire cities or a global pandemic that kills millions must be traced back to God. I know some groups like evangelicals will blame natural disasters on Satan though nowhere in scripture can this be supported. However, even if one wants to resort to devil blaming, he must still submit to divine decree. In other words, either God causes or allows every event no matter how big or small to occur.
Evangelicals and other Christians delight in resting under the comfort of Jesus’ resurrection. It is their eternal hope. They cling to the divine authority of the Bible especially in matter supernatural. If the Bible can’t be trusted on the miracles associated with the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt or God’s provision during forty years wandering in the wilderness or the conquest of the land of Canaan under Joshua or the mighty works of the prophets Elijah and Elisha or the signs and wonders performed by Jesus during his ministry, the resurrection is in doubt.
Where are the miracles today?
Many readers may be unaware of the debate over whether or not miracles still occur. One’s position has far reaching consequences. I was taught in seminary they “ceased” because the alternative is unacceptable.
Here’s the bottom line: There is no biblical justification for miracles ending.
8″Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when completeness [‘telios’] comes, what is in part disappears.”(1 Corinthians 13:8-10, emphasis added)
Many non charismatic evangelical Christians build their case on this passage as evidence miracles ended in the first century. It is a flimsy defense that rests on the supposition that Pentecost marked the cessation of sign gifts except for the apostles who continued to perform miracles. However the natural reading of this text suggests the apostle had Jesus’ return in mind which he anticipated within his own lifetime.
So again we come to a theological crossroads. Non Pentecostals must find scriptural justification for rejecting a doctrine which other evangelicals enthusiastically embrace. Either charismatics are self deluded and dabbling in Satanic powers masquerading as God’s spiritual outworking, or a huge section of evangelicals are quenching God’s spirit and resisting his powerful manifestations. There is a more reasonable explanation.
To the unbiased natural mind, Paul was addressing a problem plaguing the Corinthian church. There was an abuse of spiritual gifts resulting in disunity and confusion. He wanted to make it clear Jesus’ imminent return would obviously eliminate the need for these gifts, so in preparation for that event the church was to focus on that which would never cease — love.
The implications of this if you are a Bible believing Christian is the kingdom has been in a perpetual state of “arriving” since Jesus said it had “already” begun to arrive.
15“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”(Mark 1:15)
No amount of hermeneutical chicanery can conceal the plain fact Jesus and his followers were persuaded they were standing on the doorstep of kingdom of God. The corpus of New Testament writings reflect this undeniable perspective. Then the focus was shifted to Jesus return to inaugurate the kingdom which also never transpired. Thus, without the arrival of “the perfect” the outpouring of God’s spirit has not stopped neither therefore have the supernatural expressions attending it.
I feel it necessary to pause and emphasize the blatant irrationality that pervades evangelical Christianity. Unwilling to accept the fallaciousness of their core belief, the resurrection of Jesus, despite having no reliable data to support it, the devise an argument based on the presupposition of the miraculous. When pressed to support this claim they default to the Bible which contains supernatural data but to accept its reliability requires one to grant it unfounded authority. For instance, using predictive prophecy as proof of biblical authority requires one first accord the writer/speaker supernatural ability. And then an esoteric interpretation is unquestionably accepted without previous warrant as proof of divine origin.
For centuries after Pentecost, Christians continued to believe in miracles. The advent of science put an end to that. While some Christians continue to maintain a belief in miracles as loosely defined, not a single independently substantiated miracle as ever been recorded. An against odds recovery from sickness or unexpected promotion do not constitute bonafide miracles.
We as a global community have witnessed a pandemic which can be traced with all probability to the consumption of an infected animal. Five hundred years ago, it would be regarded as an act of God as would any natural disaster. What has changed, God or man?
Rarely do you hear preachers stepping in front of the cameras when a typhoon kills hundreds of people on a remote Island. Clearly, God is the author of such a catastrophe as he is of every natural phenomena. So why don’t evangelicals stand up and defend God for his actions? They prefer to take shelter beneath a canopy of cowardice rather than accept responsibility on God’s behalf.
God is active in bring great success to Christian athletes, entertainers, politicians and business people, but nobody explains why he inflicts children with terminal cancer or watches them wither away from deprivation. Either God is active and intimate in the world or he is not. Pick a lane and stay there.
Evangelicals secretly or when talking amongst themselves do see the hand of God in ever drought, forest fire (by lightning strike), hurricane or affliction that befalls mankind and typically blame it on failure to recognize God’s glory. Some occasionally make their thought public and are vilified by the press for it. Homosexuals are a favorite target of blame but society’s general lack of compliance with New Testament ideals covers all sins.
Really none of this matters because as we stated at the beginning, evangelicals live in the realm of the irrational when it comes to their faith. They may be neurobiologists, historians, mathematicians, teachers, lawyers, bankers or anything else but they will reserve a section of their brain exclusively for irrational faith. The is what makes the evangelical so enigmatic. They live in two worlds, the spiritual and secular, at the same time but keep each separate from the other.
In conclusion, none of what I have said would matter were it not for their incessant intrusion into the lives of others who do not share their ideology. Evangelicals are not content to focus on their own personal piety, which is often ignored, but direct their attention on reforming society in accordance with their beliefs. The irony is the moral standard they hold others to they themselves are unwilling to aspire to.
Today’s American evangelical has become a moral crusader on a few pet issues while neglecting their own sanctification. To the casual observer, there is no appreciable difference between an evangelical and an unbeliever when it comes to biblical morality. Greed, pride, avarice, lust, hate, gossip, envy, anger and worldliness are found throughout evangelicalism despite being condemned throughout the scriptures. Attacking the LGBTQ community, secularists and liberals has become the defining difference between evangelicals and most of society.
As a former evangelical for fifteen years who spent a decade in formal theological training and ministry, I have seen the rampant hypocrisy that permeates evangelicalism first hand. It is discouraging to see so many aspiring to spiritual mediocrity despite clear biblical guidelines. Sexual permissiveness and materialism are so common as to be barely noticeable. Divorce, drunkenness and pornography are tolerated. While perhaps as little as ten percent truly endeavor to live out their faith, the rest remain mired in complacency paying lip service to ensure a free ticket to heaven.