Hurricane Irma – God or Nature?

One of the movies with the greatest potential that I have ever watched is “The Secret”, based on the Best Seller book by Rhonda Byrne. It is an amplified, magnified presentation of “The Law of Attraction”. It very accurately sums up the macro picture of the Universe and our role in it. But it stops short at a critical point. There is no mention of the God of the Universe… yes, the God who created the Universe. And immediately following is the next question. Having created the Universe, has its Creator God placed it on auto-pilot, or is He personally directing all of its twists and turns as billions of people on earth relate to it as less than 1 quadrillionth of 1% of its mass?

The answer to these question is no secret. Between the Bible and corroborated Science, we have all the answers we need. In a word, it is, “both!”

Some pseudo-Scientists are still having a difficulty arriving at the ultimate cause of all that is. Think of a little child… just fresh from the presence of God. One of the most endearing, and potentially annoying qualities of most children is their inquisitive mind.  They best express themselves with a simple question – why?   And it really does not matter what you answer is, their predictable next question, if you have not already restrained their creativity for asking too many questions is – why?  Thinly veiled in the innocent questions of a little child is the conviction that there is an ultimate cause that finally brings the meandering trail of “why”s to an abrupt halt.

The Bible, God’s revealed will to man, written by Holy men who were inspired and directed by God, reflects an appreciation of the need for the ultimate answer to the basic question – why? Genesis 1:1 states, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Now it is quite understandable that anyone trying to be a smart donkey could then ask, “who created God?”  But that will simply indicate their lack of understanding of the word “beginning”, and any basic dictionary will help resolve this problem. Let us try Merriam-Webster – “The point at which something begins or starts; origin; source”   Therefore, to refer to anything before the beginning, is to change the reference point for the beginning. So we can fiddle with the reference point as much as we want and as far back as we can go. And as soon as we determine that we can go no further, the Bible will repeat its answer – “ In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

Let us leave philosophy for a moment and attempt to address some of the problems that pseudo-scientists face that prevent them from accepting the Genesis statement. Perhaps the greatest is their ego.   There is something in us that naturally elevates our importance and relevance to our immediate reality as a self-actualizing mechanism.  Many of our self-help motivational books tell us that we are the answer… and we have the answer… and it is all in our grasp… and thoughts are real, therefore think positively. But life tells us otherwise.  Life reminds us that we need people on whom we can rely to feed us and change our diapers when we are babies; and to teach us when we are at school; and to drive us to where we want to go before we get our own wheels; and to employ us when it’s time to work; and to join us in sexual intimacy if we ever want to have a baby.

The concept of the God of Genesis is a clear and urgent threat to our uncultured ego. For He is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. He is the personification of independence. He lacks nothing. Owns everything, and owes nothing. We are totally and completely out of his league and quite often we personify the opposite of God’s characteristics. He is ultimately strong and we are weak. He is ultimately rich, and we are relatively poor. He is independent and we are dependent. He is the ultimate threat to our ego. Our only possible meaningful interaction with Him is worship. We must either rein in our ego, or get rid of its threat. Pseudo Scientists and many unlearned people have chosen to hold on to their ego and get rid of the God who threatens it.

Pseudo-scientists and many others also have a problem with double-standards. They know that survival in the laboratory relies totally on precision and accuracy. The combination of two parts of Hydrogen and one part of oxygen produces water. But three parts of hydrogen and one part of Oxygen creates hydroxonium. All of the advances we have made in astronomy, engineering, aeronautics; and medicine depend on perfect precision and accuracy in measurement. We also rely on the Universe to be consistent in its expectations, and to always behave the same way under identical conditions. The earth’s gravitational pull will cause a heavy object thrown into the air, to fall regardless of the day of the week. Hence the sun will always rise in the East and will always set in the west, on condition that you do not live near the South Pole or North Pole.

While acknowledging and relying on the accurate precision of every aspect of the Universe, man has failed to create anything in the absence of intelligent design on his part. It takes more than some rubber, different metals, plastic, cloth and oil placed side by side to make a motorcar. And even if you add all the necessary tools to the mix, you still don’t have a car. And even if you add workers to the mix, without a grand plan to coordinate their activities, you still don’t have an operational car. And that necessary plan by definition requires the input of someone with knowledge of all the components and their interaction with each other, to put it together. And when buildings are being erected, not only is the Architect the person that begins the process, he or she is never discharged until the project is completed. Scientists accept these realities as they apply to all of their inventions from basic to complex. And yet, when they look at the most complex and grandest and largest creation called the Universe, they claim that it all happened without an Architect and without intelligent design. Enough of their garbage.

The real serious question is how does the Architect and Creator of the Universe relate to it today? Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and all our 2917 weather patterns prompt us for an answer. Is Irma the result of God or Nature?

Nature in all its forms is the collective creative work of God and consists of every living thing and especially lower animal life and all plants; as well as animate and inanimate objects in the skies, on earth and in the sea. The Oxford dictionary says – “the phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth, as opposed to humans or human creations:” But built into all of God’s creations are laws that dictate how each aspect of His creation operates and inter-relates with each other.  Therefore the question of whether Irma is of nature or of God is a moot one. However, there is a valid question to be addressed.

To what extent God allows the laws that He has put in place to determine what happens on earth, versus the extent to which He actively and arbitrarily suspends His laws and directly determines the outcome of events.

To address this question we need to establish some principles. We know from God’s Word that there are three kinds of storms. The first is the kind that is a direct result of the interaction of the laws of nature.  These are predictable because they are directly influenced by the identifiable laws of nature. The second kind are those that are created or influenced by the Devil. The third kind is the storm that is sent by God and controlled by God.

Of the three the least important is the kind of storm created by the Devil. There is nowhere in the Bible that the Devil is given credit for creating dangerous weather patterns, except when he did so with the restrictive permission of God as in the case of Job (Job 1:16-19). So whereas we acknowledge that the Devil is no little plaything to be trifled with, we also recognize that, like us, he is a created being; but unlike us, he is a defeated being. We can therefore strike the Devil out as an independent cause of natural disasters. But not so fast. Who is it that from the Garden of Eden to this day, specializes in distorting the mind of man to the point that he rebels against the laws of God? Who but the Devil can take responsibility for blinding the eyes of the President of the United States to the obvious reality of global warming, its controllable causes, and its catastrophic consequences?

God on the other hand spares no pains in taking personal credit for the disasters He brings on mankind to punish them for their disobedience. God controls the weather, including the rain, the skies and the wind. (Exodus 9:29; Psalm 135:6-7; Jeremiah 10:13; Psalm 77:16-19; Mark 4:35-41; Jeremiah 51:16. Hebrews 1:3 tells us that God upholds and sustains the Universe. God has power over the clouds (Job 37:11-12; 16) God has power over lightning (Psalm 18:14), and over all nature (Job 26) And He definitely rides the storms (Psalm 104:3) and Psalm 29.

It seems to be highly unlikely that God will send a natural disaster to bless His people. More often than not, He uses natural disasters and creates many of them to punish those He desires to punish. The biggest flood recorded in history was caused by God to punish the known world for their accumulated transgressions. Noah was to build an ark to preserve representatives of the innocent animals and all those who determined to repent. The people of Sodom & Gomorroh were destroyed by a fire from heaven. Bears were instructed to maul forty-two young boys who mocked the prophet Elisha. God sent venomous snakes among the Israelites and many of them died. (Numbers 21:6)

However, it is worthy of note that God’s default desire for man is not to punish him but to redeem him and share His good plans for him with him.  It is a rule of thumb that God never punishes before warning. And when He does punish, He usually provides a way either to avoid the punishment or else to recover from it. However, in the absence of a specific Prophetic Word from the Lord, it is difficult if not impossible to determine that a storm or natural disaster has been sent to punish a particular set of people for their disobedience to Him. In fact Christians should understand that any harsh action from God should be met only with confession and repentance and prayers for forgiveness. It is better to ask forgiveness for the sin you may not have committed, than to fail to ask forgiveness for those you committed in thought, word or action.

The second critical cost of storms and other weather conditions is nature. The problem here is that God gave man a world in which everything He created operates on Divinely instituted laws. Any attempt to deviate from these laws will throw the operation of nature out of kilt. Global Warming is one such phenomenon that is a direct response to the actions of man that were not ordained by God. In God’s nature there are cycles and seasons and rankings in the food chain, all of which are designed for the ultimate prosperity of the species. When man intervenes and shows ignorance of or rebellion against God’s laws, there will be consequences.

It is regrettable that the world’s most powerful man, President Donald Trump insists that Global Warming is a Chinese hoax, while at the same time the Meteorologists are telling us that Hurricanes thrive on large bodies of warm water. When we cut down trees at a rate that is faster than we replant them, not only do we reduce the natural consumers of the poisonous Carbon monoxide gas and other greenhouse gases, but we contribute to global climate change. Since what God made was perfect, anything that we change it to will be imperfect.

The conclusion is that much of the natural disasters and weather conditions are self-inflicted and definitely self-accelerated. It is in our best interest to study the laws of nature and God and work with the, and not against them. We can’t win in a fight against them. In instances where our Politicians do not understand the basic facts about environmental protection, then the Church must activate and lead the charge to educate them. After all, this is our Father’s world and we His children must be in the forefront to care for and protect it.

But rest assured, even when we interfere with the laws of God and short-circuit the course of nature, the Living God does not go to sleep and let “nature take its course”. He actively reserves His right to, or not to intervene. And even in the exercise of His Universal sovereignty, He remains a God of love, responds to the prayers of His people; and desires that none should perish.

4 thoughts on “Hurricane Irma – God or Nature?”

  1. I’m wondering how one explains the global changes that occurred before man started polluting the lakes, rivers and oceans; clear cutting the forests etc. I’m not saying global warming isn’t real, but when I read that places like Alaska were at one time hot and animals that only lived in hot climates have been found and when I think of the ice age I wonder if maybe climate change isn’t new. Yes, we have not taken care of the beautiful world God blessed us with but I wonder if giving ourselves so much credit for completely destroying it isn’t setting ourselves higher than God. I agree we need to work harder at taking care of God’s creation but I am he

    1. but I am hesitant to elevate mankind to the level of being able to completely destroy something God created. I think God is still in control of all things. What are your thoughts?

      1. I agree with you. I guess the Tower of Babel is the best example… God made man in His own image and that means that on a scale of 1-10, man’s creativity level is conceptually a 9.9 with the exception that he cannot “create” out of nothing. He needs the raw material that God supplies. On the destruction side, that’s a lot easier. But yes, I agree that God will decide what He will allow and what He will not.
        Be blessed.

    2. I like your balance Janice… It is a very educated and informed perspective. Unfortunately, those who understand the least tend to feel that they must be the most dogmatic. I respect and endorse your point of view.

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