Unprecedented events are occurring all around us.
- Consider, for example, Hurricanes Harvey, Katia, Irma, and Jose as well as the wildfires raging throughout the West coast.
- Last week, Mexico experienced an 8.1 earthquake, the strongest in a century.
- In South Asia, flooding has affected more than 24 million people in the last two months.
While the list could continue, we’ll pause here to contemplate a question appearing in various forms throughout the news media:
Why are there so many natural disasters right now?
While there are no simple answers, we can look to both science and Scripture for insight.
Katherine Hayhoe, a climate scientist and co-author of A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions believes the earth is experiencing the severe effects of global warming. Other scholars like Oscar Schofield say atmospheric conditions such as warm water in the Atlantic Ocean create near perfect conditions for hurricanes. Scientists also predict we’ll experience “more and more of these extreme events” in the future.
While Scripture doesn’t speak about global warming, it does say the earth is “groaning” from the pains of childbirth (Romans 8:22).
As crazy as that may sound, Jesus used the phrase “birth pangs” when he described signs that would occur before His physical return to earth. Jesus said: “There will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea” (Luke 21:25 NIV).
Jesus knew fear could easily consume us. That’s why He wanted us to know this information in advance and told us not to be frightened (Matthew 24:6-8).
Novelist Joel Rosenberg believes these events aren’t random: “The God of the Bible is sovereignly allowing these events to shake us, to wake us, to get our attention, that we might turn to Him and ask Him to have mercy on us and help us.”
God welcomes our questions (Isaiah 8:19), and it’s a good thing He does because in today’s world questions abound and there seem to be no easy answers.
Personally, I believe both science and Scripture can help us understand why these catastrophes are happening now. I also think some of the answers we seek are not available this side of Heaven.
If God is indeed trying to get our attention, I hope we will listen.
About the Author:
Laura is a blogger and Bible study leader who leverages her experience as a former television news reporter, radio show host, and magazine editor to connect the relevance of Scripture to modern issues. She writes regularly about news and faith on her website.
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