Another year and another multi-billion dollar natural disaster has struck. This past week as Hurricane Sandy settled into the eastern pastors, priests, rabbi’s, and Imam’s all came out stating that hurricane Sandy was God’s punishment on the earth for sin and wickedness. Westboro Baptist Church even went so far as to praise God for the storm. Why does every natural disaster have to be God’s punitive judgement on mankind? Why can’t a storm just be a storm? As I thought about this the arguments for God’s wrath didn’t make sense.
1. Typically in the Bible God didn’t punish the good with the evil. Noah was saved and even spent 120 years preaching for others to repent and join him. Sodom and Gomorrah God sent two angels to safely remove the only righteous in the city. So now you’re condemning all the members of the over 6000 churches in New York City.
2. Where is the prophet of warning calling for repentance? We’ve had Harold Camping and Pat Robertson go off in recent years about end times and God’s judgement, but whether it was Noah, Elijah, or Jonah there was usually some sort of specific message of warning. Neither they nor anyone else gave such a specific warning of destruction.
3. God’s punishment was usually total destruction. Flood, fire, etc. You’d think after all the “Warnings” so far, if God was still sending storms because He’s mad He’d just wipe out the cities for not paying attention.
4. If God is passing judgement on the wicked, why New York City? Wouldn’t it make more sense as retribution for homosexuality for San Francisco to fall into the ocean or Las Vegas to be swallowed by the dessert?
If you start making claims of God’s wrath via natural disaster then where do you stop? October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month, should we make it “Repent and be healed” month because God is likely punishing those 300,000 new cases each year because of their sinfulness? The whole thing gets ridiculous very quickly. Hurricanes are not God’s Wrath on a sinful nation anymore than me getting a headcold is penance for hidden sin.