Why do you think God allows natural disasters?  Also, why do people not believe in God, although its clear that he exists? Thanks.


This is a common question.  The atheist asks the Christian believer why God, if he is so loving and so powerful, does not prevent natural disasters.  Actually, I assume that many believers ask themselves this question as well.  At first glance, this appears to be a good question.  It seems logical that if God loves his creation, including human beings, and if he were able, he would prevent earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, fires and the like out of compassion for those he loves.  But this argument is based on a false premise.
The false premise is that a loving God would prevent natural disasters if he could.  Actually, I believe that “natural disasters” are part of a created world whose overall message is that God loves us.  The assumption of the atheist’s criticism is that pain, suffering and death are “evil” or “bad.”  These assumptions are not true.  Pain is a good thing.  Without pain, humans, and indeed all animal life, would be in constant threat.  Pain is a warning that something is not right.  If it were not for pain, broken bones would never heal, we would burst our stomachs and many other problems would emerge.  Death is not evil and death is not bad.  Who says that death is bad?  Death is required in the animal and plant world in order for species to change and to respond to changes in the environment.  Death of humans is not a final end, but a transition to eternity.  It is simply not true that a loving God would prevent pain and suffering or that he would or should prevent death due to natural disasters.
Besides, natural disasters are, as the word implies “natural.”  They are part of a natural world that shows every sign of an awesome, powerful, intelligent Creator.  Earthquakes happen because of plate tectonics.  Over time, the crust of the earth is recycled and gases within the earth are released.  If it were not for plate tectonics, the soil on the earth would be completely depleted and no advanced life could thrive.  Without plate tectonics, the earth would not have an atmosphere which can support life (or more precisely would not have sufficient atmosphere to support life).  The existence of plate tectonics is evidence of the incredible wisdom of God’s natural world.  If anyone can propose a better system to produce a life-supporting planet over billions of years, I challenge them to describe the set of natural laws which works better than the one God invented.  Good luck inventing a better universe and good luck creating your “better” universe–one without plate tectonics.  A similar argument can be made for natural disasters brought on by volcanoes.
The same applies to all natural disasters.  The amount of oxygen on the earth is at the goldilocks level.  If there were a few percent more oxygen, then fires would rage out of control and burn up all large plants.  If the percent of oxygen were a few less percent, then large animals could not survive.  As for the weather, I will admit that there are natural disasters due to tornadoes, hurricanes.  But, as with earthquakes, they are the result of a natural system created by God with great intelligence and great power.  With the energy to support life coming from a distant, very hot source, reaching a spherical planet, that energy would be extremely poorly distributed without weather.  Without weather, the equator would be far too hot to sustain life and the poles would be far too cold to support life.  Weather distributes this energy very efficiently.  This distribution system does create natural disasters, it is true, but the wisdom of the system is still amazing.  Again, I ask the critic of the God of Creation to propose a better system to support life on a planet than the one that exists.  Good luck conceiving of a better system.  Maybe you could make cylindrical planets.  Energy would be more equally distributed over a cylindrical planet.  But what natural law can create cylindrical planets?
God allows natural disasters because they exist in a natural world which sustains life of advanced beings.  There is nothing inherently “bad” about natural disasters.  They do cause suffering and death, but neither mankind nor other animals were created to live eternally.  Death is natural and it is not a bad thing.  Our job as believers is to try to minimize suffering and to show compassion to those who suffer because this is what love does.  It is what Jesus did, but the existence of natural disasters is not a logical argument against the God of the Bible.  In fact, they show the intelligence and power of the Creator/God.
Why do people not believe in God?  You will have to ask them.  The evidence for God is overwhelming.  It is so strong that I would argue it borders on irrational to not believe in God.  I am including a power point which has a number of very convincing arguments for the existence of God.  Existence of God PPT  Existence of God Notes  There are the cosmological argument, the teleological argument, the moral argument and more.  But God does not force people to believe in him. He leaves us room for doubt because God give us free will.  He does not drop letters out of the sky or speak to us directly. Why do people not believe in God?  It is not due to lack of evidence!  For some it may be because they are too proud to admit that there is a being greater than us.  Perhaps it is because belief in God causes us to be responsible to that God or to take responsibility for our sinful, rebellious behavior.  Perhaps it is because this is what they were always taught or always believed.  Perhaps it is because a pushy believer was also a hypocrite, which soured them toward belief.  Perhaps they have an intellectual problem such as the question of suffering.   I am sure there is a variety of reasons that people do not believe in God, and each person is a different case.  Again, I suggest you ask your unbelieving friends.  In the outline I attached, I do include some typical arguments of unbelievers.  You can judge them for yourself, but I believe that the nature of reality very strongly argues for the existence of God.
John Oakes

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