Natural Disasters—God Getting His Revenge?

Quick Takes

on January 1, 2018; last featured January 22, 2023
Featured in Answers Magazine

From violent hurricanes smashing into Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico to large-scale earthquakes rocking Mexico and forest fires destroying whole communities in California, it seems you can’t turn on the news without hearing about another disaster.

Some well-known Christians say this is God’s special judgment on the earth.

Conservative Christian pastor John McTernan, for example, said, “God is systematically destroying America” out of anger over “the homosexual agenda.”

But is God really causing these storms to “get back at us”? We need to be careful.

In Luke 13:4–5, Jesus addresses this question. Speaking of a disaster where a falling tower killed 18 bystanders, he asks, “Do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.

As severe as some recent disasters seem, huge natural disasters have always been common in human history. The Black Death, for example, killed perhaps half of Europe’s population. We need to be very careful not to apply inspired prophetic judgments clearly decreed for a specific time or people to modern conditions. By misusing the Bible to speak on things it doesn’t, we can bring the Lord’s name into disrepute—to our own shame.

Because of Adam’s sin in the garden of Eden, we all live in a fallen, cursed world and share the consequences. Natural disasters are part of that curse. Instead of looking for someone to blame, we should look at ourselves. As sinners, we all deserve judgment; but God loved the world so much he sent his Son to offer salvation to those who believe. Although our current physical bodies die, if we repent and trust him, we will not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16).

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