Climatic and Environmental Convulsions
3-D Image of Joplin's 2011-05-22 Tornado
Q. I live near Joplin, MO where an F5 tornado struck last weekend. Please help me because I know as I go to Joplin and help with our church I will be asked why God allowed this to happen, and I would like to be able to answer them from God’s word. We don’t know why God allows storms or stops storms or why they hit where they do. But He is in control of them and He sees the big picture and He’s God who are we to question Him, so basically I feel confused. Also there are a lot of people saying that when disaster strikes it’s God’s judgment on their sin and if that’s the case wouldn’t all of us need to take cover because we are all sinners?
A. For me this is a simple issue. There was no bad weather before there was sin. You can make a circumstantial case from the Bible that it had never even rained on Earth before the Great Flood. Extreme weather is one of the enduring consequences of that judgment, so if you’re looking for someone to blame don’t blame God. Blame the one who brought sin into the world and made the judgment necessary. As far as weather is concerned the only thing God promised is that He would never destroy the Earth by water again (Genesis 9:13-15).
I also don’t think the Bible supports the “God is in control” idea in the universal sense in which most people think of it. Certainly it’s true that eventually God’s will is going to be accomplished on Earth and in Heaven, but for now the whole world is under the control of the evil one (1 John 5:19).
As for judgment, the Bible says when God uses weather as a tool of judgment men’s hearts will fail them for fear (Luke 21:26) and the hail stones will weigh 100 lbs. each (Rev. 16:21) so you really won’t want to be around when His judgments begin. Thankfully, God won’t judge the world until He has taken the Church out of the way (1 Thes. 1:10).