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Katrina


Hurricane Katrina is now the worst natural disaster the United States has ever faced. The entire city of New Orleans is being evacuated. Millions have been displaced and the loss of life is expected to go into the thousands. The destruction is spread across 3 states; Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. It is estimated that Katrina caused half a trillion dollars in damage. I have been moved by the many stories of loss, survival and heroism. We need to pray for our neighbors. They need our help and we need to do all we can to help.

 

Hurricane Katrina: Why Does God Allow Disaster?
Albert Mohler

 

Every thoughtful person must deal with the problem of evil. Evil acts and tragic events come to us all in this vale of tears known as human life. The problem of evil and suffering is undoubtedly the greatest theological challenge we face.

Most persons face this issue only in a time of crisis. A senseless accident, a wasting disease, or an awful crime demands some explanation. Yesterday, evil showed its face again as Hurricane Katrina came ashore on the Gulf Coast.

For the atheist, this is no great problem. Life is a cosmic accident, morality is an arbitrary game by which we order our lives, and meaning is non-existent. As Oxford University’s Professor Richard Dawkins explains, human life is nothing more than a way for selfish genes to multiply and reproduce. There is no meaning or dignity to humanity.

For the Christian Scientist, the material world and the experience of suffering and death are illusory. In other religions suffering is part of a great circle of life or recurring incarnations of spirit.

Some Christians simply explain suffering as the consequence of sins, known or unknown. Some suffering can be directly traced to sin. What we sow, so shall we reap, and multiple millions of persons can testify to this reality. Some persons suffer innocently by the sinful acts of others.

But Jesus rejected this as a blanket explanation for suffering, instructing His disciples in John 9 and Luke 13 that they could not always trace suffering back to sin. We should note that the problem of evil and suffering, the theological issue of theodicy, is customarily divided into evil of two kinds, moral and natural. Both are included in these passages. In Luke 13, the murder of the Galileans is clearly moral evil, a premeditated crime–just like the terrorist acts in New York and Washington. In John 9, a man is blind from birth, and Jesus tells the Twelve that this blindness cannot be traced back to this man’s sin, or that of his parents.

Natural evil comes without a moral agent. A tower falls, an earthquake shakes, a tornado destroys, a hurricane ravages, a spider bites, a disease debilitates and kills. The world is filled with wonders mixed with dangers. Gravity can save you or gravity can kill you. When a tower falls, it kills.

People all over the world are demanding an answer to the question of evil. It comes only to those who claim that God is mighty and that God is good. How could a good God allow these things to happen? How can a God of love allow killers to kill, terrorists to terrorize, and the wicked to escape without a trace?

No superficial answer will do. Our quandary is well known, and the atheists think they have our number. As a character in Archibald MacLeish’s play, J.B. asserts, "If God is God He is not good, if God is good He is not God; take the even, take the odd . . . ." As he sees it, God can be good, or He can be powerful, but He cannot be both.

We will either take our stand with God’s self-revelation in the Bible, or we are left to invent a deity of our own imagination. The Bible quickly excludes two false understandings.

First, the Bible reveals that God is omnipotent and omniscient. These are unconditional and categorical attributes. The sovereignty of God is the bedrock affirmation of biblical theism. The Creator rules over all creation. Not even a sparrow falls without His knowledge. He knows the number of hairs upon our heads. God rules and reigns over all nations and principalities. Not one atom or molecule of the universe is outside His active rule.

The sovereignty of God was affirmed by King Nebuchadnezzar, who confessed that God "does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’" [Daniel 4:36]. Process theologians have attempted to cut God’s power down to size, rendering the Creator as one power among others. The evangelical revisionists pushing open theism have attempted to cut God’s omniscience down to size, rendering Him as one mind among others.

Rabbi Harold Kushner argues that God is doing the best He can under the circumstances, but He lacks the power to either kill or cure. The openness theists argue that God is always ready with Plan B when Plan A fails. He is infinitely resourceful, they stress, just not really sovereign.

These are roads we dare not take, for the God of the Bible causes the rising and falling of nations and empires, and His rule is active and universal. Limited sovereignty is no sovereignty at all.

The second great error is to ascribe evil to God. But the Bible does not allow this argument. God is absolute righteousness, love, goodness, and justice. Most errors related to this issue occur because of our human tendency to impose an external standard–a human construction of goodness–upon God. But good does not so much define God as God defines good.

How then do we speak of God’s rule and reconcile this with the reality of evil? Between these two errors the Bible points us to the radical affirmation of God’s sovereignty as the ground of our salvation and the assurance of our own good. We cannot explain why God has allowed sin, but we understand that God’s glory is more perfectly demonstrated through the victory of Christ over sin. We cannot understand why God would allow sickness and suffering, but we must affirm that even these realities are rooted in sin and its cosmic effects.

How does God exercise His rule? Does He order all events by decree, or does He allow some evil acts by His mere permission? This much we know–we cannot speak of God’s decree in a way that would imply Him to be the author of evil, and we cannot fall back to speak of His mere permission, as if this allows a denial of His sovereignty and active will.

A venerable confession of faith states it rightly: "God from eternity, decrees or permits all things that come to pass, and perpetually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and all events; yet so as not in any way to be the author or approver of sin nor to destroy the free will and responsibility of intelligent creatures."

God is God, and God is good. As Paul affirms for the church, God’s sovereignty is the ground of our hope, the assurance of God’s justice as the last word, and God’s loving rule in the very events of our lives: "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, who are the called according to His purpose." [Romans 8:28]

We dare not speak on God’s behalf to explain why He allowed these particular acts of evil to happen at this time to these persons and in this manner. Yet, at the same time, we dare not be silent when we should testify to the God of righteousness and love and justice who rules over all in omnipotence. Humility requires that we affirm all that the Bible teaches, and go no further. There is much we do not understand. As Charles Spurgeon explained, when we cannot trace God’s hand, we must simply trust His heart.

 

I would suggest that all of us do all we can to help. Some places that you can give to offer relief are;

 

http://www.redcross.ca/article.asp?id=014034&tid=001

http://www.salvationarmy.ca/home/default.asp

http://www.feedthechildren.org/site/PageServer?pagename=usw_hurricane_katrina&s_src=google_landingpage

 

Thanks to Launa of Launa’s Little Piece of Heaven for creating the Take a Stand For Jesus banner for me. Let everyone know you are taking a stand and copy and paste it into your latest blog. Turn your space settings from private to public.

 

 

I encourage you to join Awesome MSN Spaces and let your faith be shown!

 

 

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Comments on: "Katrina" (27)

  1. Hey Gerry, I really appreciated this teaching. I love how the author silences human speculation through His word. He is the great I AM. The Alpha and the Omega. The Beginning and the End. He gives, and He takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.Jason

  2. im starting a potition against the goverments tax on gas and i was wondering if you all would like to sing, just right your name in the guest book on my web site the url is on my spacethanks and peace and love, Jeff

  3. This is very true. I am currently reading a book by Jerry Bridges entitled Trusting God Even When it Hurts. In this book it goes into more specific detail of what Albert Mohler is saying here to do with the sovereignty of God. Thank you for this post, it is very relavant with what is going on right now in the world.Blessings,Bethany.

  4. Whoever just posted on my blog… have the courage to show yourself. Anyone who truly believes 100% that Christianity is flawless, post on my blog, i want to see what you think. And nice freaking sunflowers gerry.

  5. Hey there Gerry;Well someone was awfully nice and started a prayer chain for Hurricane Katrina sufferers. If you want you can refer back to my space to see how it works. I thought maybe you would be interested in perpetuating it seeing as it is for a good cause. God Bless Nicole

  6. Hello Kitty said:

    i agree with your input totally. To answer your commment as to why God allows evil, i think that this cannot be attributed to him….God gave man a choice…(don\’t eat from the tree of evil), and as weak as man has proven to be, he chose evil….This continues today…man still has choice, and many times, he still chooses evil…Nature is just nature…sin is everywhere anyway.

  7. Hey Gerry,I believe that this disaster is just another sign of the times that we\’re living in. We\’re living in the last days and if you look at the things going on in the earth these days, especially with natural disasters, the frequency at which these events are taking place is increasing. The Tsunami that hit was under a year ago…now this.SiYa LaTeRRyan

  8. I edited out all the false things in my blog, I was just angry at some person I know because they were forcing religion on me.

  9. Gerry,hurricane katrina really ocnfused me. read my blog for more detail if youd like. but, i dunno. i know its not God, i know its a human issue, but im so confused as to why on earth people are so uncivilized, that when a hurricane rolls through, people resort to looting, and violence and all kinds of terrifying things. im even more scared tho, because the economy\’s gonna go into a recession, maybe a depressoin because of the spiralling gas prices, and the oil refineries that got destroyed. its not fun when i start worrying about the economy! anyways, random rant done, good post y the way!

  10. ~ Pauline ~ said:

    Hi Gerry ,Thanks for the great inpiring read.I have been praying daily since this tragedy of nature took place. It\’s time for Leaders to allow God to be in the drivers seat.I feel sorrow and pain… I have wepted.Now I pray for repentence for that nation as well as ours.It\’s a sad thing.. and we all need to do our part and GIVE to a hurting nation. Pray without ceasing.. I know Good will come from this… God will show His Lovethrough this.. Lets Praise HIM…. I Praise you almighty Father.Thanks Gerry for your great webspace… God BLess… Pauline.

  11. What a great read!!! Thanks I am singing this song in my mind………. "you give and take away!" " you give and take away!" my heart will choose to say, Lord Blessed be your name……….. Bless you, Joanne

  12. Last year, when I was at Scripture Union Camp, I had to lead a study on some of Jesus\’ harder teachings in the Gospels. I was thinking of one of them while watching the news coverage regarding the aftermath of hurricane Katrina:"1Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.""You are totally right Gerry, it is not about how good or bad you are as a person. Jesus clearly says that in the above scripture. What Jesus seems to be saying is that the random nature of tragedy exists to make sure we take our eventual destiny seriously. If we go on thinking we can get our relationship sorted with God when we are old and grey, we deny God his rightful position in our lives. If we are reminded of the fact there might not be a tomorrow, sudden disaster can take any of us away… we are convicted into getting our relationship with God sorted as early as possible! It serves to give us who remain an urgency in making sure our lives are right before God… irrespective of how good or bad the world perceives us.I\’ve been deeply saddened by hearing the news from New Orleans. It\’s almost like one of those post apocalyptic films from the 80\’s… "Escape from New York" or something. We are praying for the people who are suffering.

  13. Gerry,Thanks for stopping by my space with your wise warning. It\’s nice to know someone\’s looking out for what appears on my blog! The end statement of your entry is so true… sometimes our finite minds just can\’t comprehend the "whys" of it all. May God bless!

  14. You speak of this lord as if he exsits, do you not realize that you are living in a world where gods do not determain your fate, you probably pray to god everyday hoping that he would make your life easier, why do you even waste your time? Everyone knows this figure you call God… is just a figment of your imagination to keep you calm, without it you wouldn\’t find any reason for living…. The fact still stands, there is no god, and never will be, so do yourself a favour and stop wasting your time…

  15. God, the faery taleOh but God does exist. He does speak to His children and we know His voice. But you have neither heard Him or know Him and unless He reveals Himself to you, you never will. The fool says in their heart there is no God. It takes more faith not to believe than believe. I dare you to check more deeply into Jesus or are you frightened about what you may find out? That He is exactly who He said He was.

  16. J.C Anderson said:

    Wouldn\’t you like to actually have proof that God exists? I mean Christianity just tells us to have faith, but don\’t you want facts? I personally find it hard to believe in God. Don\’t get me wrong I\’m not telling you that you shouldn\’t believe it, I just find it hard to believe that there was one being that created to whole universe. When we have proved that the earth, the stars, etc.. was created by matter.

  17. StarBreaker-Anderson And so where did all the matter come from? Is the matter eternal or did it just "poof" all of a sudden appear? God does exist. Millions around the world will testify to that. How sure am I? 100% Look into Jesus. Find out about Him. Dig deep. He is who He said He was.

  18. God is God, and nothing can change that. We do not always understand His ways, but He can allow things to happen and He can stop things of happening. I am sure that in the future we will hear from victims of Katrina how God helped them.Years ago, I went to a healing seminar. Many people were healed that day. I was extremely ill all though the seminar. A friend offered to take me home at one point but I insisted to stay. After the seminar, a tiny woman came to me to pray for me. I had a very crooked spine and it bothered me a lot. She prayed for me, and while she prayed my spine moved into place. It was a miracle and the feeling in my body indescribable. Funny thing though, I was never healed of the illness that plagued me that day. Later we remembered that we never asked God to heal the illness, so we did, but this time He did not answer instantaneously.Why would one wonder? Only one answer, God is God and He alone knows why He allows things to happen. In the midst of tragedy, I am sure people are praising God. My heart goes out to all who are suffering right now and I pray for them.Thank you for this teaching GerryGod BlessAngelika

  19. The-Country-Cowboy said:

    Hey Gerry, Thanks for the warning, isn’t this the same guy who was making rounds under the name Alan a few months ago?By the way how is Tamara doing?

  20. Just stumbled across your blog. And from one Chiristian to another, I just want to say, "May the blessings of our Lord Jesus be upon you." I am very sad reading about the tragedy caused by Katrina. When there is a disaster, people try to get answers, people always want to rationalize. As a suggestion, those who are reading this may want to read the message preached by Charles Spurgeon in 1861:http://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/charles_spurgeon/sermons/0408.html

  21. God bless you GerryFirst off, thank you for being a watchman in these times of deception. I read your post just before I was about to check this guy outThis is an excellent entry. I have been following the events all week and My Husband and I gave to the Red Cross, but plan to make it a monthly donation. Aside from the money needed for years to come we as believer\’s can stand together and pray without ceasing for the Lord to give us all wise counsel as to how to continue working with the people and Leaders to bring about the Lord\’s plan for healing and restoring all that was lost in a short time.What went wrong is now under great scrunity. But we are part of the solution. Please pray for ALL LEADER\’S .

  22. J.C Anderson said:

    I have to admit I love your logic and your desire to have absolute faith in God.I see your point in my earlier reply. And I have no response, haha… never go unarmed into a battle. I see my fault. I won\’t press any more on the issue.I truly admire you for your strength in God. :)Perhaps I will look more into Christianity, I do go to a Catholic school.. maybe I\’ll learn something I can share with you.

  23. Katrina made death more of a reality and less of a statistic for the average north american. Mass-deaths occur worldwide all too often yet we\’re quick to shake it off, however, with a castastrophe so close to home we come together as a people for the greater good.Be it God\’s will, or a freak act of nature travesty is necessary at times.

  24. please comment on my most recent blog: i have a goal whats yours?thanks heaps,Penny

  25. HELLO! have you heard of the new planet that has been found? Do you believe it could posibly be the planet god said he would make for his people, called the new jerusalaum. Sorry i forgot how to spell it so so sorry.

  26. my dad said that Huricane Katrina is a wake up call to the u.s. or was it new orleans there was a lot of bad things happing there so thats why it got hit by the huricanewell i don\’t remember everything he said but i think thats good enough but we still need to pray for our neighbors

  27. The source of all evil comes from our ego.Our mind.. We make it up. We love stories.. Not to just name a few but all stories in any form are captivating and bring a change in perspective. To escape from this world. Where is the door? Flip our theology on its head. The way humans have embraced this is so moving.. Searching for a salvation that can only come from within. Observe the things that motivate you. Jesus is the way.. Before he showed up on this plan we were basically histerical. Truly Lost Sheep. Look at the cross but don\’t dwell on it. Heavan is there. It is completly separate from this world at the moment. Be love and his wish which is his command will be fulfilled on eart as it is in heavan.He is collecting us as we speak. My roots are firmly attached to him. It is all I want and desire. To work for him to guide people to the Way.PeaceDarren

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