Natural disasters/suffering in light of God's sovereignty

Post Reply
User avatar
RICHinCHRIST
Posts: 361
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:27 am
Location: New Jersey
Contact:

Natural disasters/suffering in light of God's sovereignty

Post by RICHinCHRIST » Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:48 pm

I was thinking about this recently and wondered if I'd be able to give a good reason to a nonbeliever if they asked this question:

If God knows the future and has power to refrain natural disasters from occurring, why does He allow them to occur in the first place?

The Calvinist could simply say that God in His meticulous sovereignty caused natural disasters to occur because it was His will for them to occur. Non-Calvinists would say that God simply allowed natural disasters to occur but didn't purposely cause them to occur. How is this view any different than meticulous sovereignty? If God had the power to refrain from allowing droves of people from dying (as in the case of the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami), how is His passive onlooking any different than Him causing it to occur in the first place? If He desired for those people to not suffer, He could have refrained from allowing it to occur.

I remember listening to a debate on theism vs. atheism where the topic of gratuitous suffering was a major issue. William Lane Craig argued that gratuitous suffering was a mere illusion but that God could work all suffering out for good in eternity somehow. How is this the case if most people in natural disasters end up in an eternally lost condition with no future opportunity for redemption?

User avatar
darinhouston
Posts: 2230
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:45 am

Re: Natural disasters/suffering in light of God's sovereignty

Post by darinhouston » Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:53 pm

RICHinCHRIST wrote:How is this the case if most people in natural disasters end up in an eternally lost condition with no future opportunity for redemption?
I suppose this could depend on your view of hell, but also we don't know that this is so -- I pose this as a question because I don't know, but it strikes me we haven't seen a significant number of such large scale disasters in considerably "churched" or "evangelized" areas, have we? Could it be God's special dispensation towards these lost who would have likely remained in their state regardless of the disaster but through no flaw in their heart or the disposition they might have had towards Him had they known of Him ?

nancyer

Re: Natural disasters/suffering in light of God's sovereignt

Post by nancyer » Sat Jul 12, 2014 4:22 pm

I tend to go with "we don't know God's ultimate purpose for us or the planet" and we couldn't comprehend it if it was told to us, so what is the point of trying to figure it out? God is so far beyond our limited minds' ability to grasp that there can be no explanation acceptable to everyone. If you listen to Andy Andrews The Butterfly Effect it gives a nice explanation of how decisions made by individuals effect other individuals which effect their decisions and so on and so on. He theoretically could take his train of thought back to Noah, possibly, and it helps you see how things are all connected. What initially appears to be a trajedy or chaos can have profoud, positive effects for someone years, decades or centuries later. Check it out, very well done and interesting.

User avatar
dizerner
Posts: 1221
Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2014 4:43 pm

Re: Natural disasters/suffering in light of God's sovereignt

Post by dizerner » Sat Jul 12, 2014 6:52 pm

I was greatly helped by Ravi Zacharias' talk on evil and suffering.
~ Classical Arminian Christian Mystic ~

Post Reply

Return to “Christian Evidences & Challenges”