Disasters: Are they from God?
May 17, 2008 Blogs by: Tim Jennings, M.D.

I am sure you have heard the news over the past couple of weeks of the Cyclone that has devastated Myanmar and the earthquake which has jolted China, 150,000 or more people dead in these two calamities.

Some have argued that such events occur at the hand of God, that they represent God’s anger and wrath, that God is inflicting punishment upon the earth for wickedness. I have heard it far too often and I stand up for Christ and protest such misconceptions of God. Does the Bible give evidence of another way to understand such events? Another way to understand God’s wrath? Another way to comprehend what is happening in the world?

I am going to simply state what is happening and then I will document the Biblical evidence demonstrating this to be the case.

God is love. He is the source of all truth, goodness, love, happiness, health. No evil comes out from God. God, being love, grants all intelligent beings freedom because love cannot exist in an atmosphere without freedom. This means He gives them the freedom to reject and leave Him. Because He is love He works to persuade in love all to come back to Him, but if people refuse, if they insist, if all efforts of divine energy are rebuffed, God eventually, sadly lets go and the rejecters of His mercy reap what they have chosen. When this occurs God’s agencies no longer provide protection and Satanic forces are free to bring calamity, pain and suffering. God is not the cause of these “natural disasters” they come out from Satan as he gains increasing control over the earth. How does Satan get increasing control?

God dwells on the earth via the Holy Spirit and the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit on earth is the “Spirit Temple” which is the hearts and minds of mankind. As more and more people close their hearts to God, shut their minds to the Holy Spirit then God’s Spirit is slowly withdrawn from the earth and Satan gains increasing control. More calamities will occur as time moves forward until the final day when Christ comes to deliver those who have trusted in Him.

Okay, the evidence:

Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

Job 1:9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

Job 1:12 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

Job 1:13 One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 14 a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, 15 and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

Job 1:16 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

Job 1:17 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

Job 1:18 While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 19 when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

Notice the evidence, God has a hedge of protection around Job, when the hedge of protection is removed Satan is free to treat Job any way Satan likes. God did not mandate Satan be mean, Satan could have had Job declared king of all the land, but instead Satan begins to destroy revealing Satan’s character as the destroyer, not God. Also notice that a storm came and destroyed the house and killed his children demonstrating Satan has the power over weather and can cause “natural disasters.” Finally notice that everyone blamed this on God, “the fire of God fell.” But the text reveals it wasn’t from God but from Satan. Also, some ask, but Job was loyal he didn’t reject God’s protection so why did this happen to Job. Great question, God permitted this to provide evidence to us and the angelic host of the very issues we are now discussing. Think about it, how could God persuade without providing evidence? And Job was such a good friend of God’s that he was willing to trust God and be useful in this difficult situation.

More evidence:

Revelation 7:1-3 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”

Notice the angels of God are described as doing something, they are “holding back the four winds to prevent” them from blowing on the earth until the servants of God are “sealed.” Also notice that these angels are described as having been “given power to harm the land and the sea.” What was their power to harm? To let go what they were holding back, and what do you think they were holding back? Satan and his forces just like in the book of Job. The devastation comes out from Satan not from God.

God is our Friend! He is on our side, “If God is for you who can be against you” Romans 8:31. We do not need to fear God, He is on our side. Examine the evidence for yourself and reject ideas which make God out to be the source of death.

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Tim Jennings, M.D. Timothy R. Jennings, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist, master psychopharmacologist, Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Fellow of the Southern Psychiatric Association, and an international speaker. He served as president of the Southern and Tennessee Psychiatric Associations and is president and founder of Come and Reason Ministries. Dr. Jennings has authored many books, including The God-Shaped Brain, The God-Shaped Heart, and The Aging Brain. In 2022, Dr. Jennings became Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Lynchburg, Virginia.