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Religious Reflections

Is God responsible for disasters?

by Donna Homer

If God is all-powerful and causes only good how can he allow powerful storms to cause devastation and even death? It's a question people are asking a lot in these days following the world changing tsunami which hit Southeast Asia earlier this month.

How can God allow disasters to happen? Why doesn't He stop them?

Recently I found some answers to these and other questions in The Christian Science Journal. I thought it was worthwhile to examine some of those questions and possible answers.

One of the first questions asked is "how can He allow powerful storms to cause devastation and death?"

The premise that God is all-powerful and causes only good is also my understanding, writes Gary Duke of St. Louis, Mo. in the January 2005 issue of The Christian Science Journal.

He said just as the Bible prophet Elijah realized God was not in wind, earthquake or fires (I Kings, 19.) Duke also believes that people can either look at disasters as God-ordained or try to see evidences of God's protection from such disasters.

For example, Duke writes, "when the powerful Northridge, Calif. earthquake of 1994 literally tossed me out of bed, I could have been impressed by its magnitude.

"But as a former architect, I knew that such disasters often lead to enhanced building codes that enable structures to better withstand future threats.

"Anyone who believes that God is all-powerful and only good can also trust that this same grand intelligence has all along been imparting the wisdom for this creation to remain unthreatened under all circumstances - storms included," Duke wrote.

And as more people tap into - or learn more about this all-knowing Mind, the less they will be affected by the weather. That "still small voice" of calm that lead Elijah to safety and deliverance is still as powerful today, proving God's incredible goodness, Duke concluded.

Still one does have to ponder the idea that if God does allow storms, including "storms" like famine, AIDS and cancer, where does that leave humanity?

Jon Benson of Los Angeles, Calif. writes he can't believe that God is not unfeeling.

"One of my favorite Bible verses says The mountains shall depart and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee (Isaiah 54:10).

"To me this suggests that no matter how catastrophic a storm's effects are, right there in the middle of the loss and destruction, God's love for me is present, unfailingly there for me," Benson writes.

Benson goes on to say God's divine love has ultimately proved itself to be far more powerful than the devastation of his personal storms.

"I've been healed of diagnosed blindness in one eye, severe burns, an incapacitating ankle injury and symptoms of a crippling disease. The key was not to stay frustrated by those storms," he concluded.

"Each time, I reawakened to Love's presence, power and constancy. This alone brought complete deliverance from each condition.

"In all the storms I've seen, including those of disease and famine, I've ultimately seen God revealed as Love," said Benson.

I believe there is comfort in theses suggestions for us all.

I encourage you to learn more about God's love by visiting your local church or by visiting www.scjournal.com for more articles on the questions of God's power and love. Some of the articles are also available in Spanish.

- Donna Homer, First Church of Christ Scientists, Sunnyside.

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