The New York Times had an article on the “blog wars” over the Tsunami disaster, which has now taken over 150,000 lives and expecting to recover perhaps double that number. The blog wars center on the reasons for the earthquake. Some in the D.U. (Democratic Underground) blogs even blamed the war in Iraq for the disaster. “Well, America is using tons of bombs over there and you can expect something of that nature to occur when our world is continually being bombed.” I don’t think I need to make any intelligent observations on this comment. But my main concern today is over the many prophetic voices rising up in the evangelical community with the last voice on the matter. As if they were saying: “See, I told you so!”
Several days ago I posted a few comments on biblical sobriety in times of disasters. It seems sobriety is almost impossible in these times. Christians are claiming divers’ visions and warning the community that Christ will return at any moment. As I bluntly told a friend of mine recently, when you find one Christian having visions about earthquakes and catastrophes, you will find another religious man making similar claim. Well, at least here is one proof of that from the New York Times’ article:
Norodom Sihanouk, the former king of Cambodia, posted a message in French to his Web site, www.norodomsihanouk.info, saying that an astrologer had warned him that an “ultra-catastrophic cataclysm” would strike the region, but Cambodia would be undamaged if the proper rituals were observed. King Sihanouk said that the thousands of dollars he spent on the ceremonies protected his nation from the disaster, and that he would donate $15,000 to disaster relief.
This morning on the Pat Campbell show (a Florida radio program) I first heard of the Bishop of Canterbury Rowan William’s remarks. He said that the: “The tsunami disaster in Asia begs the question why we believe in God, The Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the worldwide Anglican church, admitted.” He goes on to say that: “The question: ‘How can you believe in a God who permits suffering on this scale?’ is therefore very much around the moment, and it would be surprising if it weren’t, indeed, it would be wrong if it weren’t.” Though many who called in the program gave foolish answers such as “God had nothing to do with this,” others were helpful in observing that the way one views God will in essence answer the problem of evil that the Archbishop raises.
Gary Demar wrote a few days ago that this is not the biggest earthquake in history. In fact, earthquakes were occurring even in the first century. I will not attempt to give my explanation of theodicy since philosophers have already covered that sphere. However, I will make at least two bold comments that may spark some reaction. The first comment is that only a Calvinistic worldview can answer these questions adequately. Only a “sovereignty view” of life can enable Christians to see this tragedy as a reminder from God that He is still in control of the cosmos. Calvinism alone can explain that these events are not the product of chance or man-caused accidents, but they come directly from God’s supreme power over creation. Secondly, as covenant-breakers throughout history have been cursed by God, covenant breakers today will be cursed as well. In Thailand where child prostitution is the trademark of that nation; in Indonesia where most terrorists find refuge; I think these are a few of many reasons why God would cause such destruction.
As a committed Christian Reformed student, I believe wholeheartedly that God acted purposefully in this dreadful event a week ago.