Why are there natural disasters?
If there is a good God, why are there natural disasters that cause suffering? This question comes to mind in the light
of the tragic earthquake and tsunami that has devastated Northern Japan in March 2011. Below is an effort to think the
question through logically from what the Bible teaches.
1) God initially made the world good, with no suffering and no natural disasters.
2) God made men and women with choice. If God did not allow people to choose to sin there would not be true choice.
Life constantly presents people with moral and spiritual choices.
3) Mankind could have lived forever without experiencing death, if they had not sinned.
4) Adam and Eve, the first human beings, sinned. This affected them, their descendants, and nature itself.
5) From creation to the Flood (1656 yrs) God gave mankind the chance to live in the original Earth in spite of sin.
Mankind became more evil in spite of living in a very good environment. Less suffering did not make men and
6) Just as Adam and Eve lost the provision of the Garden of Eden after they sinned, mankind lost the provision of
the beautiful preflood Earth as a result of sin and the global Flood.
7) Suffering helps motivate men to seek their Maker, though some choose to react against God. Thus suffering
presents people with a spiritual choice.
8) God's attributes are revealed in the personal ways He helps people through suffering. Thus Christians have
found suffering in natural disasters helps people learn healthy attitudes and learn about God.
9) All people are sinners and thus do not truly "deserve" to live. The Bible says "the wages of sin is death."
Therefore no one is wronged by God if they die in a natural disaster, even a newborn baby. God allows
people to live out of goodness and mercy, and for his purposes for each person's life, not because we deserve it.
10) God, as Creator and Judge of mankind, has the right to decide who lives and who dies. He can also choose
when and where natural disasters occur and control how they happen.
11) The Noahic Flood caused planet-wide changes in the Earth that led to continued natural disasters on an
occasional basis. Thus, mankind must live with a less pleasant environment than the original preflood Earth due
to mankind's collective sin.
12) Though God is sovereign over the timing and devastation of natural disasters, we should not assume that
particular disasters happen because of certain sins of the people who were victims. These events should be
reminders of what mankind collectively has lost. They should also motivate people to work together to help
with human needs when disasters happen. Natural disasters affect Christian and nonchristian alike.
13) Jesus came into our suffering world as one of us to redeem us. This gives people power to overcome
sin in their life and enter a restored relationship with God. This helps people deal with suffering now in this life.
14) God has a plan to do away with the fallen corrupted world we live in and create a new heavens and a New
Earth in the future, where there will be no more suffering. It will be the home of God's people.
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