An earthquake force of a million
atom bombs sent tsunamis, a series of waves, surging 440 MPH
across thousands of miles of water devastating a vast arc of
eleven countries from Somalia, E. Africa, to Indonesia, SE Asia.
Over 150,000 people were killed with vast numbers of bodies
backwashed into the ocean, never to be counted. Over 5 million
are destitute of food and shelter.
Satirically, skeptics speak of
the tragic Southeast Asian Tsunami as God’s Christmas present.
Among Christians, reactions are mixed. Nominal, even some
sincere, Christians question, “Where was God?” Other Christians,
listening to the news flashes of the incredible mounting
disasters, are overwhelmed with grief. They better understand
why Jesus wept with Mary and Martha, sorrowing over the death of
their brother Lazarus.
Some Predestinationists are
smugly content in the “sovereign justice” of God. After all, the
victims were mainly Hindus, Buddhists and Moslems, along with a
few thousand vacationing Jews, who before birth were doomed to
everlasting woe anyway. If any of the vacationing Christians
were indeed God’s elect, divine fate ushered them into their
This begs the question—Why does
anyone, Calvinist or not, who considers unbelievers worthy of
eternal torment, grieve over this massive loss of unbelievers in
death? After all, they aver, God plans to imprison the vast
majority of His creatures in a calamity, to which all the
horrors of all earth’s tragedies by comparison are nothing but a
mere prelude to the most awful indescribable torment that God
with fiendish cruelty will perpetuate for eternity.
And why this punishment of
eternal torture? Simply because, when told by Christians that
such was God’s character and purpose, these unbelievers could
not love Him nor praise His “good and just” (actually,
diabolical) plan. Yet, other millions have died never even
hearing the name of Jesus, through whom alone is salvation. How
can anyone believe that thousands in the Indian Ocean’s
indiscriminate killing went straight to hell, never having had
an opportunity to believe in the Lord Jesus?
Where Was God?
But where was God in this
humongous tragedy? God was feeling the pain of this trauma. God
suffers with humankind in their disasters. Jeremiah uses the
imagery of God weeping or crying for Israel suffering tragedies
for their disobedience (Jer. 9:17, 18). How can the Omnipotent
One communicate His capacity to suffer with fallen man? God uses
imagery we can understand—tears. God doesn’t literally cry. Far
from being an indication of weakness, God’s imagery of shedding
tears assures us of a profound fatherly care and concern that He
is capable of feeling even during man’s waywardness.
Where was God?
The massive response of people around the world—their outpouring
of love and concern manifested in the monumental relief
effort—was overwhelming. All this love and sympathy in humankind
is only the remnant of the original divine likeness in which
Father Adam was created. This divine likeness was not wholly
effaced during thousands of years of mankind’s degradation in
sin. God is represented in every act of kindness, whether by
Christians or by others in the world. Certainly this outpouring
of love did not come from blind evolutionary development.
Impossible! These actions of love reflect a measure of God’s
However, this measure of love
has also been marred by fallen man. The US made a generous offer
of $350 million for the tsunami relief victims. Regardless of
our views on the Iraqi war, compare the $350 million relief
effort with the $177 million a day it costs the US to wage war
in the killing fields of Iraq. And, yes—Bush’s inaugural
celebration will total $45 million.
Awesome Power of God
miles below Indian Ocean floor equaled power of
l million atom bombs.
Island 100 ft.
Moved the North
Pole 1 inch.
earth’s rotation—shortening days by a fraction
of a second.
earth to wobble on its axis.
away from epicenter at over 440 MPH.
Shoreline hit by
waves over 90 ft. high.
Towns over 9,500
population completely wiped out.
Why God Permits Calamities?
A suffering God puts the
question of the permission of calamities in a practical
perspective. If God shares our suffering why would He conceive a
plan that would result in His own suffering? The question is no
longer—why do good people suffer or why do innocent children
suffer? Rather, why has God permitted a horrific human history
of not only calamities, but also of blood, tragedy, pain and
mental anguish that would just tear away at His Fatherly
emotions of love?
To fully understand why God
permits evil—including calamities—we must go back, back to when
God dwelt alone. God desired a family, to be a parent—a father
or life-giver—The Heavenly Father. The most loving parents are
not overly protective; rather, they are willing to permit hard
knocks realizing it will cost themselves dearly in pain as they
watch their children struggle to maturity.
God knew His children could only
be happy individually and collectively if each one loved and
obeyed His laws for the well being of all. Therefore, God
created Adam and Eve in “His own image”—free will and moral
discernment. God could have programmed the ideal man and utopia
would have been inevitable, but man would be no better than a
robot, nor would he be happy. But free will has a built-in
dilemma. God told Adam that if he obeyed he would live. If he
disobeyed he would die—“dying thou shalt die” (Gen. 2:17).
Because of lack of experience God knew Adam or anyone of us
A parent will tell a baby not to
touch the stove because it is hot. But what does a baby know
about pain? Inevitably the baby will touch the stove. A wise
parent will lightly and quickly touch the child’s hand where the
heat is not too severe. Likewise, God is giving mankind a
controlled experience with sin.
Knowing man would disobey him,
God planned for man’s redemption before he even created the
earth and man. First Peter 1:19-20 speaks of Jesus as slain
before the foundation of the world. God lovingly planned the
best for His future human children. This meant a plan that would
deeply grieve His fatherly heart as He watched man trampled down
into death by the machinations of evil while learning the
consequences of sin. Also, it would cost the ultimate in
fatherly suffering—watching His only begotten son suffer the
agony of being vilified and crucified. God’s gift of Jesus was
the greatest demonstration of fatherly suffering in history.
When Adam and Eve disobeyed, God
withdrew His fellowship. Loneliness, stress, depression engulfed
them. The latest scientific research confirms the Biblical
account of man’s “Fall” into sin. Loneliness, stress and
depression render both the mind and the body prone to disease.
Fear, hostility and aggressiveness became the norm.
Exploitation, crime and violence were the inevitable
consequences. The body’s immunity to disease soon broke down.
The dying process had begun. Yes, Adam’s children, the human
race, were born sinners (Psa. 51:5) worthy of death (Rom. 6:23).
This is “the sore travail God hath given to the sons of man to
be exercised therewith” (Eccl. 1:13; 3:10).
The Unfinished Earth and
Since Adam and Eve disobeyed,
mankind is learning by experience the bitter consequences of
moral sin and evil that results in death. Additionally, they
were cast out of their Edenic paradise into the unfinished
earth, where the components of nature were still unbalanced.
Here mankind has “toiled by the sweat of their brow” and are
subjected to sporadic upheavals of nature. Perhaps these
upheavals of nature are gradually preparing the earth to become
the Edenic paradise in the 1000-year Kingdom of God.
Often parents, who remand a
disobedient child to their room for the evening, have loving
thoughts of their continued relationship. God has remanded His
human children to their room—the unfinished earth. In their
affliction, He is afflicted and He has wonderful loving
thoughts—recorded in the Bible prophecies—concerning their
restoration to His favor. Yes, Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:22,
“as in Adam all die” but he continues, “so in Christ shall all
be made alive.” Why? Because Jesus died “a ransom for all” (1
Tim. 2:6 and Heb. 2:9).
A Suffering Savior and
But before all are made alive in
Christ’s Kingdom, God has been training Christians—a “little
flock” (Luke 12:32), by contrast with the billions of mankind.
Why? That they might reign with Christ in his Kingdom as priests
and kings (Rev. 20:6). Like Christ, they are being made
sympathetic priests through suffering (2 Tim. 2:11-12). The
minds of men are scarred and twisted by tragedy. Christians
experience the same disasters (1 Cor. 10:13) but by the power of
the holy Spirit are healed and made compassionate. Why?
They will be able to heal the
minds of their fellowman when mankind comes forth from the grave
(John 5:28-29, NASV) to their “judgment” (Greek Krisis
denotes future probation) trial time in the Kingdom. Mankind
will have a vivid remembrance of the bitter effects of sin and
evil. Then they will learn the joyful rewards of living
righteously with their fellowman and make their choice for
eternity (Jer. 31:29-31, 34). Many scriptures reveal that the
majority of mankind will share the joys of eternal life.
God’s foreknowledge of His own
suffering in sharing mankind’s plight proves that the permission
of evil is a necessary experience for man’s eternal welfare.
God’s fatherly sorrow contains no anxiety like a human parent.
With Divine serenity, He knows the end from the beginning (Isa.
46:10). All the forces of evil are overruled for man’s eternal
welfare (Psa. 76:10). By faith we can have this same peace of
God (Phil. 4:7). The present sufferings are but a moment
compared with the joys of eternity (2 Cor. 4:17, 18).