The recent news has been inundated with hurricanes, floods and earthquakes. Man routinely labels these as natural calamities, which implies that these are the random result of the unavoidable forces of nature. However, the Bible offers a different viewpoint.
- Result of sin: Going back to Genesis and analyzing the creation story, we find that God looked at all he had made and it was very good (Gen 1:31). But when man disobeys God in the one requirement he had for him and sin enters the realm of existence, the dynamic totally changes.‘To Adam God said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.——-” (Gen 3:17)No longer was the world very good, rather it had become tainted by sin and thereby was set in motion the deterioration of the world, making life painful for man who inhabits it. It is this deterioration that will culminate in the destruction of the earth as predicted by Revelation. Like a computer infected with a virus, it will run sub-optimally, causing much grief to the user and will eventually stop working prematurely.
- Caused by spiritual forces: To the naïve, all is natural, to the discerning, the spiritual world interacts with and in many ways controls the natural realm. The Bible makes it clear from the creation account that what is seen was made out of what was invisible. The foundations, so to speak, of the physical world are to be found in the spiritual realm. Imagine the physical world being supported by the invisible spiritual pillars erected by God who created the world. And so it follows that spiritual forces can cause natural events. In Job we find Satan, with God’s permission, causing both a deadly sandstorm and also ‘fire falling from the sky’ (could be interpreted as lightning, volcanoes or asteroids) (Job1). In Revelation, the angel of God throws down judgment on the earth in form of seals, trumpets and bowls, many of which are what may be called natural calamities, including fire, famine, earthquakes, asteroids, etc. Calamities like all else in this world, is anything by purely natural.
- Prelude to the end: When calamities strike, it is good to remember that this world is temporary just like our lives are. There can be nothing sillier than becoming too attached to this world when we know that we cannot possess it forever. One day, man’s eyes will grow dim, his strength will fail him and his efforts cease as death embraces him. Revelation teaches us that this world has an expiry date and if that is so, unfettered ambition, greed and hedonism are senseless. When the world around you shows signs of inevitable disintegration, the only anchor for the soul is the faith in the One who is beyond death, who lives forever and has overcome death by His spotless life and sacrificial death on the cross- Jesus the Christ.Revelation chapters 4 & 5 provide us an elaborate description of Christ at the center of all universe, with all created beings, men, authorities and all forces of nature bowing down in submission and worship. There’s really nothing else that can match the authority and stability that Christ brings to man’s life.
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