Monday, October 03, 2005
God is His own interpreter
In this kind of situation, it's inevitable that people will start to ask, "Why? Why New Orleans and the Gulf Coast?" Only God knows the full reason for His mighty act of destruction, but one thing is safe to say: He didn't unleash this storm where He did because the people who live there are any worse than the people who live anywhere else. The Scriptures are clear: all men bear the sinful nature and do the sinful deeds of their father Adam. By nature, those of us who are enjoying peace, prosperity, and sunshine in, say, the Midwestern US are just as evil as those who lived in the area of the recent disaster. Given the nature of mankind's rebellion against His rule, God would be perfectly just to wipe every one of us out. Thus, the question ought not be, "Why was God so severe against the Gulf Coast?" but rather "Why is God so merciful to those whom He spared such calamity?"
One reason why I wrote that article was in response to what I knew was coming from other voices: that Katrina was God's judgement against the sins of the people in the New Orleans area: gambling, drunkenness, and all-around debauchery. Well, here's a columnist in one of my local papers with her comments on one such voice:
Global warming is too logical an explanation for some people. Attributing such a catastrophe to atmospheric trends is unsatisfying to some hardcore religious cause-and-effect types. There are other reasons, they say, why New Orleans inherited the big wind.
An Alabama state senator, Republican Hank Erwin, wrote in a column he distributes to media outlets: "New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast have always been known for gambling, sin and wickedness. It is the kind of behavior that ultimately brings the judgment of God."
As for the good people who got hurt or killed, they were just in the way of the real targets, Erwin said.
It's not as if New Orleans hadn't been warned, he explained in his column, according to wire reports: "Warnings year after year by godly evangelists and preachers went unheeded."
In reply to Mr. Erwin's comments, I offer several of my own:
With all due respect to Mr. Erwin and his "godly evangelists and preachers", they ought to stop all talk of God's purpose behind Katrina, Rita, or any other natural disaster. It is for God and God alone to interpret His works of Providence. The fact remains: all men, not just those harmed by Katrina, stand equal as sinners before a Holy God. Rather than vainly speculate as to God's reasons for unleashing such an awesome storm, we would do better to thank God that He has not (yet) chosen to unleash similar devastation on the rest of this judgment-deserving race which we call mankind?