Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Why I don't believe the tragedy in Japan is God's judgment.

Every time a massive tragedy happens - be it 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, or the recent tragedy in Japan - some presumably "well meaning" Christian says it was the judgment of God on those people. Just today, KVIA reported that a candidate for a city council position claimed this was God's curse on Japan. 

Apparently this man, not the Bible (which is the Word of God), is the spokesperson for God!

All sarcasm aside, I disagree with him and I think it's vile, merciless, and plain stupid to say that - especially while Japan is still in crisis. I mean, even China - one of Japan's enemies - is putting aside their animosity for awhile to provide help to Japan. Seems that even a horrible, ungodly government like China's is showing more grace to Japan than some Christians. 

I think there are some major flaws with the notion that every time something horrific happens, like the aforementioned events, they are God's judgment on evildoers. 

First, not EVERYONE in New Orleans (Katrina), Washington, New York City, and the United States (9/11) or Japan are vile, evil sinners worshiping false pagan gods. Many of them were regular, normal people living good lives. Sinners living apart from Christ, sure - but nothing blatantly anti-God, nothing outright blasphemous.

Second, what about all the Christians in those places? In the Old Testament, didn't God spare Israel from judgment at least because of the remnant of faithful God-followers? Since the Bible says God never changes, shouldn't we expect that He would at least offer mercy because of a faithful few?

Third, the Bible is very clear throughout the Old Testament and especially in the New Testament about God's grace - that He is being patient and restraining His judgment (see 2 Peter 3:9). And Romans 2:4 says it is God's KINDNESS that leads people to repentance. So if God wanted people to turn from their wicked ways, it would be in keeping with what the Bible says for Him to draw people to repentance through His kindness, not harsh judgment.

Fourth, if these are God's judgment, you have to ask - where was the forewarning? Throughout the Bible God always gave people a chance to repent before bringing judgment and destruction; Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Jonah are great examples of that. When did the people of Japan and New Orleans - as a whole, not just as individuals - receive a warning to repent? For God to bring punishment without first bringing a chance to repent seems very out of character for God; it would make it seem like God is a schizophrenic.

So could these events be God's judgment? Yes, that's possible. God is sovereign and is good and right and just in everything He does. If He were using these events to bring judgment, because He is God He has every right to do that and we cannot accuse Him of being unfair or unjust. BUT - from what the Bible says about how God chooses to relate to us right now in the age of grace and in the new covenant because of Jesus - I would say these things are probably not God's judgment.

So why do these things happen? Because we live in a broken, messed up world under the curse of sin where although Jesus is King over all, stupid satan still has some power as the prince of darkness. So I would attribute these horrible events to what Romans 8:19-22 says: these are the tragic effects of sin being played out in creation, but probably not the judgment of God.

As Christians, as followers of Christ - yes we need to speak the truth without compromise - but I think we need to be smart about it and be sensitive. Right now is simply not the time to pronounce God's judgment - not when they're still counting bodies.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...


Amanda Lyn said...

I agree. Some I could see their intentions being naive but others ignorant really. I do believe there is a reason for everything coming from gods will, but i do not believe that within every tragedy its come from "gods judgment" thats stupid. god would never punish us. he would teach us. and by guidance not despair. so glad i stumbled upon your blog because i hear people reference this subject all the time. I mean seriously, God did not send you a tsunami...

lion_moon said...

I agree with you, because it´s all that we are doing to the planet we are receiving. God doesn,t have nothing to do with this, instead people must help each other, not tell lies. I live in Brazil i love you blog. I have one, but is in portuguese...kisses, good luck (i hope you understand everythind a wrote). kisses

india celebreties said...

nice post...

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

The day before the earthquake, or even same day a few hours before, a French paper made a commercial for a her new manga: "Saint Young Ones", Jesus and Buddha living together in a flat taking a break from their paradises.

On the other hand there was mercy too: a boy and her granny were trapped under d├ębris, but survived some nine days eating yoghurt. Maybe because Japs are so caring when it comes to disasters?