Godonomics

Godonomics


Why didn’t God stop the tornadoes?

posted by chadhovind

The devastation in the news seems to get worse and worse.  Earthquakes are increasing. Tornadoes have been sweeping through the alley at a record pace.   Why do bad things happen to good people? The financial cost is devastation to towns, families, and individuals.  When many homeowners go to fix their home, they realize that their insurance doesn’t cover certain “Acts of God.”  This salt in the wound seems to imply that God is punishing them.

As we reflect on the tornadoes, we can’t help but to ask, Why, God?” In fact, Why doesn’t God stop evil in general?

In Mark 6, we see the pain of evil and unjust killing up close. I remember reading this passage ten years ago. Jesus’s cousin John the Baptist is beheaded in an act of senseless violence.

 

21 Then an opportune day came when Herod on his birthday gave a feast for his nobles, the high officers, and the chiefmen of Galilee. 22 And when Herodias’ daughter herself came in and danced, and pleased Herod and those who sat with him, the king said to the girl, “Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you.” And she said,  “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 And the king was exceedingly sorry; yet, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he did not want to refuse her. 27 Immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded his head to be brought. And he went and beheaded him in prison, 28 brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother.29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took away his corpse and laid it in a tomb.

Jesus didn’t stop the violence. Jesus felt the pain of human cruelty.  He gets the news on a busy day of ministry.  He is in pain. He is crushed. He knows what we felt on September 11th.   He lost his ministry partner, his friend, and his cousin.    If Jesus, who was perfect, experienced cruelty in an unjust world, why do we think we will be exempt?

What are the explanation for bad things happening to good people? There are many explanations that philosophies and religions give to this difficult question. Some of them have implied that God is angry. Others have suggested that evil is a reason not to believe in God.  Some have said that God is love, all powerful, and all knowing… But he only knows what might happen, not what will happen.   This explanation denies God’s power and his full omniscience.    So, what are our options to deal with the problem of evil.   The world’s religions can be reduced to 5 basic thoughts.  Here they are:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bible says that evil is NOT always your fault. It is NOT God punishing you. The Bible does NOT teach Karma, though many Christians are caught in the guilt laden thinking of karma’s “universe-is-punishing-you” for wrongdoing in this life and the last. The Bible does NOT teach that suffering is an illusion like Buddha. Evil is real. Pain is bad. Grief is heart breaking. The Bible also teaches that death is the “last enemy.” Death is not a normal part of life. It is not the hero and catalyst to our evolutionary progress. It is not a normal part of the cycle of life. I am afraid  Elton John is wrong as the Lion King sings about the “circle of life…” The Bible says that we were not made for this world. We were made for a world without death, suffering, evil, tornadoes, and devastation. The echo of that world still resides in our souls as we compare this world with its brokenness to a faint image in our hearts of the way things “ought to be.” The Bible agrees that things shouldn’t be the way they are. If you struggle with the problem of evil, you are already thinking like Jesus.

The Bible says that we live between two worlds. We live between the world that was perfect and the world that will one day be perfect again. We live in a war zone. We live in a battle zone between good and evil. Jesus says, “In this world, you will have tribulation.” Peter tells us not “to be surprised when the fiery trial comes upon us.” The Bible prepares us for the reality of a broken world so we will be prepared for the pain and be ready to help others. The Bible gives us full freedom to grieve and mourn at the pain because we know that it shouldn’t be this way. A combination of free choice and a broken creation causes pain and hurt. This world itself is broken causing hurricanes, tsunamis, and tornadoes.

So, why are there tornadoes, tsunamis, and 9-11 tragedies? The Bible is clear that the creation is groaning for God to come and fix this broken world.

Romans 8:22 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now

Jesus said that the brokenness of creation will increase like the birth pangs for delivery as we approach Christ’s coming. Jesus said that things will get worse as we and the world long for His return.

Now, the atheist will scoff at this idea. They will build an emotional arsenal of bad stories to prove a good God cannot exist; however, what is atheism’s answer to the problem of evil?  It’s one thing to critique Christianity, quite another to offer your own explanation.    While Jesus said, “NOT YET” to God’s fixing of evil… Atheism says, “NOT EVER!”   While Christianity says, “Death and pain are abnormal,” atheism says, “Death and pain are the natural part of billions of years of evolutionary process.”   Those who reject faith and become atheists because of the problem of evil are choosing the worse possible alternative.   They shake their fist at God… “You better fix evil and punish it.”  Then they turn around and say, “A loving God wouldn’t judge.”  Hmmm, which is it?      And then after the schizophrenic  outburst, he says, “Never mind. I have a better solution. There is no solution to evil and our study of the universe proves that it’s always this way. And death has made us stronger and helped us evolve.”    Ahhhh….   The solution to evil is “get used to it” and stop hoping for anything different… (Unless you want to use the argument to criticize people of faith… Then go ahead and use it regularly and often.)

As to wars, attacks, and human tragedy, Jesus warned us that these are a horrible part of living in our broken creation. Jesus said:

Mark 13: 7 But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles.[a] These are the beginnings of sorrows.

The good news is that God will fix suffering. He does store up every tear and every prayer. He will judge evil. He will reward every good act. There is a solution to suffering. It may be frustrating that He has not fixed it yet… But He will fix it. We can rub that hope into our grief.

 

 

As you can see above, these are the 5 worldviews. These are the only answers to the problem of evil (except Scientology which blames evil on Aliens.) The Potato represents The Bible’s answer to suffering. The Tomato represents religion’s answer to evil (A Christianized version of karma that is foreign to the Scripture). The Cheesecake represents the teachings of Buddha while the hamburger explains the view of naturalism (the philosophy behind atheism). Finally, the bread offers the explanation of Hinduism. As you read them, you can both identify where you are, but I hope you can see the real hope offered by Jesus Christ.

For more information, check out www.godonomics.com As a pastor I walk with families through the worst of the the worst pain. Here is a clip from the DVD Godonomics where I explain the Bible’s answer to the problem of pain



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Grumpy Old Person

posted May 26, 2011 at 12:30 pm


Contrary to the teachings of Jerry Falsewell, the REAL reason God sends tornadoes and floods on America is her rejection of compassion, of truth, of love, of justice, of fairness. These weather phenomena are a direct result of homophobia and homo-hatred. Of all those Bible-belt States changing their Constitutions in order to kick God’s gay and lesbian children out of their protections and promises.



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nnmns

posted May 26, 2011 at 8:27 pm


You need to stop trying to put words in the mouths of atheists and pretending to know what we are thinking.

First, a naturalistic interpretation of good and bad is that both are natural and we should do what we can to encourage good behavior and good outcomes.

For instance, a bad outcome is when a breadwinner gets sick and can’t afford treatment so loses his or her job and a family has to go on welfare if it exists, or perhaps thievery if it doesn’t. A better outcome would be if they had good medical care available through the government like in the other first world nations.

A bad outcome is when a girl tries abstinence but it fails her, as it so often fails people, and she doesn’t know how else to protect herself so she gets a pregnancy and either has an abortion (if she’s lucky enough to live where they are available) or goes through a pregnancy that she and her family can’t afford. A better outcome would be if she’d had real sex education and knew that abstinence is important but also knew how to use effective birth control to protect herself should abstinence fail her.

A bad outcome is when a breadwinner works for a company that ignores safety and is badly injured. A better outcome is for there to be inspectors that would catch those unsafe conditions and require they be fixed.

I could go on and on. The Republicans in office are working hard at setting up bad outcomes. That’s real immorality.



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    chadhovind

    posted May 27, 2011 at 8:14 am


    I have No doubt you could go on and on.



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Ana

posted May 27, 2011 at 8:38 am


My heart goes out to the people of Joplin and all others who have suffered catastrophes like Tornados, Earth Quakes, flooding, etc. Folks we must remember that God gave Adam a perfect world. Adam sinned and gave that perfect world to Satan, who is now the God of this world. Why do we blame God for our misfortunes? God gave us free choice, we choose Satan, who was a liar and a deceiver from the beginning. If God intervened in every circumstance of our lives, we would all be spiritual babies with no choice in the direction of our lives. We are not puppets being pulled each and every way with God pulling the strings, we are free to make our own choices and we choose Satan. But each time Satan does something that comes to shake our faith, God, in His infinite mercy brings something good out of Satan’s mess. I choose to believe, as Job did, even though He slay me, yet will I STILL serve Him.



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Rick Gondella

posted May 27, 2011 at 8:56 am


I would suggest that you need to add “None of the above” to your selection. I’m not sure what the representational picture would be.

However, my relationship with Christ and with the Father are personal. My take on why bad things happen cannot be summed up as simply as the polls require.

My father had Lou Gehrig’s Disease. My mom had Alzheimer’s. I’ve had friends who died too young, and friends who suffered too long. All around us, there is sickness and suffering, homelessness, hunger, war… the list goes on and on.

Storms that spawn tornadoes happen in places where storms that spawn tornadoes happen. Earthquakes occur on fault lines — massive ones on massive faults. God gave us intelligence to understand such things, and free will to make the most of that understanding.

The Israelites were led to “a land flowing with milk and honey.” The only promise ever made to them was that they would prosper, if, and only if, they followed God’s commandments.

In my reading of the Bible, the two overarching commandments are:
1. Put no God before the One God, and
2. Love one another.

Let’s don’t blame God for tornadoes and earthquakes. That’s too easy. Let’s do the HARD work — God’s work — and love one another, and take care of the homeless and the hungry, the sick and the naked, no matter who they are or where they live.

rg



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Carl Blue

posted May 27, 2011 at 9:48 am


It’s so easy to overvalue our lives here on earth. There are preachers who preach that if I give 10% to him I will have prosperity–prosperity, meaning, more money, larger swankier houses, new clothes, younger looking skin, or in other words a better life right here on earth. But, when Jesus told Peter to follow him, he meant, take up your cross and follow me, leave those fishing boats and nets for somebody else. The only prosperity possible is of a spiritual nature. If God is favoring those who are prosperous he must love us and hate those in the Sudan and all over Africa who people are straving and dying of AIDS. We know that’s not true. Prosperity is the illusion. This earth is not a peaceful place to live. We all die at some point, and this life will be over. That’s hardly happiness ever after here on earth anyway.



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Timby

posted May 27, 2011 at 11:04 am


Isaiah 57

1 The righteous perish,
and no one takes it to heart;
the devout are taken away,
and no one understands
that the righteous are taken away
to be spared from evil.
2 Those who walk uprightly
enter into peace;
they find rest as they lie in death.



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g

posted May 27, 2011 at 11:32 am


The tornadoes are not sent by God. The tornadoes are a NATURAL phenomenon that occur in many places where NO PEOPLE EXIST INCLUDING OTHER PLANETS!!!
Tornadoes existed before man even walked on this planet!As did earthquakes and volcanoes and hurricanes etc.

The fact that people build cities and homes in the areas of tornadoes is the reason TORNADOES STRIKE! PERIOD!! If you build your home on operational railroad tracks, don’t call it God’s Judgement when the train drives through your living room!!

Now, if a tornado suddenly struck in an area where there has never been a recorded tornado, and hit an area known for some outrageous evil THEN maybe I would consider that an ‘Act of God’. Anything else is NATURAL ‘and AMORAL and not a judgement.

I wish I was born a thousand years from now, by then hopefully this archaic and superstitious belief system will finally be dead.



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pat

posted May 27, 2011 at 7:53 pm


nOW COMES ME I AM IN AWSOME THAT THERE ARE SO MANY OUT THERE WITH OPIONS,i KNOW gOD SAID TO WATCH AND WHEN YOU SEE ALL THE THINGS THAT ARE HAPPENING IS FOR 2012,THEN gOD IS GETTING THEM OUT OF THE WAY SO EVERYONE CAN BE IN HARMONY,THAT WANT TO BE,YOU KNOW IT ALL LINES UP IN THE HEAVENS, SO BER FAITFUL AND TRUE TO YOUR SPRITUAL HERTAGE,CAUSE IT REALLY IS TRUE/GOD BLESS AND KEEP LOOKING UP.



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Notys

posted May 27, 2011 at 8:47 pm


First of all, this is not God’s allowance but the devil’s retaliation towards God’s children. The devil is going to do all he can to kill, steal and destroy. These storms and earthquakes and other disasters is the devil fighting as hard as he can because he knows his time is up. If you all recall he had dominion, but Jesus is on his way back. The devil is doing all he can to upset the homecoming…but I am fully pursuaded that my God shall prevail. I read the end of the book and we win!



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NAS

posted May 27, 2011 at 10:38 pm


2 Corinthians 4: 7-9 7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

Trials are part of life and if bad things only happen to bad people, then when would they have a chance to redeem themselves. I am glad I do not serve man because even people who do some of the worse crimes, have chance to repent and receive everlasting life according to the grace and mercy of God afforded to us through Christ. Do I believe God is angry? No, but I do believe that He is allowing some things to happen good and bad in our lives so that he can remind us that He is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore! It is just funny that people that don’t believe in God are quick to blame bad things on Him, but when good things happen in lives of others like births, new houses, marriages, promotions, spared from accidents that would’ve cost you your life, then they say they are lucky or fortunate. Please Believers pay no attention to the God-haters and keep spreading His love to others regardless of your circumstances. Be Bless now so you can be a blessing!!!



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g

posted May 27, 2011 at 11:09 pm


No it ain’t the Devil..it is NATURAL PHENOMENON..NATURAL AS IN FORCES OF NATURE> Dragons don’t exist, Unicorns don’t exist, Man exists, natural forces exist. Ain’t Satan..it is weather fronts moving over one another , happens even where there are no humans .like other planets..Unless God is judging that evil methane gas and rocks and stuff becasue we know how sinful plain old rocks can be!



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