Question: What About Disease and Disasters?

themichaelwchen asked:
Hello 🙂 Thank you for the follow! I have a question that I hope you may be able to shed a bit of light on. Actually, it’s a question that my friend asked me and I’ve been a bit torn on how to answer. Does God create disease and natural disasters? If so, why? If not, why doesn’t He stop them? I would appreciate your response greatly! -In Christ, Michael

Please first know that we tiny little human beings with our 3 lb. brains and stupid idol-craving hearts couldn’t possibly answer the huge question of planetary problems.  The Bible (not surprisingly) doesn’t say much about it, except that disaster and disease will happen.  In other words, God doesn’t need to defend Himself since He’s God.

But I’ll try to provide some biblical and logical reasons here. Please note that to an unbeliever, these answers will sound stupid.  But the Bible told us that would happen, even when Jesus died, and believers will reason it out through His Spirit.  So I’m not here to convince anyone, but rather humbly see things from God’s point of view.

1) God did not originally design the planet or cosmos to have a chaotic nature. 
When Adam, the federal representative of humanity, chose to sin, this brought upon a curse that had repercussions in every single molecule of the universe.  Just think: we were all once perfectly aligned satellites to channel God’s glory, but kicking out one satellite disrupted all the others like collapsing dominoes.

Sin has caused three major problems: with People, the Personal, and the Planet. Between people there is conflict and competition, personally we are rebellious and fearful, and the planet has been fractured beyond the original design. This is why even inanimate creation cries out for rescue, which will be accomplished by Jesus who created everything and redeems it.

Since the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), then disease is part of the People/Planetary issue.  I would even argue that at least some disasters are indirectly the result of manmade structures, but mostly it’s a Planet problem.

2) So why doesn’t God stop it?  But let’s break this down a bit.

A dangerous weather pattern forms in the Gulf of Mexico, turns into a hurricane, reaches Tampa Bay, and misses.  We call that a “weather pattern.” Another hurricane goes right through New Orleans.  We call that “an act of God, a natural disaster.” Not very consistent.

The consequence of sin is that weather patterns act indiscriminately in apparent chaos.  Sometimes they affect us negatively; other times they do not (even forest fires are occasionally good).  But to attribute these to God is a shallow accusation. 

Inversely, God is in sovereign control.  So He does in a sense allow these things to happen. We don’t know the Ultimate-Why, nor are we allowed the grace of Ultimatum-Why.  When Job was struck down, he complained a whole lot but never asked about Ultimates or Ultimatums; only his stupid friends did.  So somehow, God uses even disaster to be glorified, in the same way that hell also glorifies Him. To even begin to figure out God’s mind in that is to reach for infinite intelligence.  I’m not stupid enough to be that smart.  Even if God in Heaven were to explain that to me when I get there, I would probably burst into flames.

3) Here’s the humbling part.  Let’s say God gave you the power to control disaster and disease.  That’s what most people are really saying: “Why doesn’t God stop it?  Because if I were God then I would stop it.”

Let’s break this down too.  If you were God and a tornado was approaching a house full of rapists, you wouldn’t stop it.  If an earthquake only killed an island full of child molesters, no one would complain or show compassion.  I’ll go one further: No one would thank God for it either. So whether it appears random or appears ordered, we would find ways to impugn God about it.

Let’s add more depth.  That house full of rapists and that island full of child molesters: at least some of them have parents, brothers, sisters, even children.  You might want them dead while their family might want them rehabilitated.  So who decides all these things about disaster and disease? You? With your agenda-filled, sin-broken heart? No thanks.

If each of us could control disaster and disease, think of how the world would look.  So God has effectively removed much of that power from us.  There may be a day when humans can control the weather and cure every disease on the earth, but we would be no less wicked.  Such god-like powers would actually consume us more.

Most of us have a problem with letting God be sovereign over the effects of sin, including natural disasters.  “Why doesn’t He do something about it?” The better question is, Why don’t we?  To complain about our current reality is like a goldfish questioning why he’s in water; the moment he leaves, he’s dead.  We live on a sin-wrecked planet where sin has indiscriminately wreaked havoc on us: that’s our reality.

I’m not saying God strikes us with death and disease simply to make us nicer.  But since sin will kill regardless of how we die, we get to choose how we react to that.  Shall we complain about God’s so-called lack of action? Or shall we share the Gospel to ensure the dying make it to Jesus? 

6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.

— Matthew 24:6-8


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