Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Earthquakes. Devastating forest fires. Tidal waves. It seems that these days every time one turns on the news, one is treated to a whole rash of news stories detailing the world's newest so-called natural disasters.
Invariably, in such a disaster, one questions whether or not God wills for such to happen. In funerals every day, the minister is frequently treated to such questions as "Why did God let this happen?". In contracts prepared by insurance companies and their contractors, frequent references are made to "acts of God", with additional references being made to hurricanes, fires, floods, etc. This brings the question: Is God really responsible for all of these events, and if so, why does He allow them to happen? Let us examine each part of this question in turn.
Is God responsible for events such as hurricanes, earthquakes, fires and floods? The question has evoked three different schools of thought; one, that God (if He even exists) has no physical impact on the Universe whatsoever; two, that God created the universe but since then has not interfered with it; and three, that God created the universe, and since then has had an active role in operating it. Which of these is most likely?
Some people believe that God has had no impact on the universe whatsoever, if He even exists at all. Proponents of this idea insist that the idea of God is primarily a construct of the human imagination. Their beliefs are manifested in (for example) Dr. Stephen F. Hawking's book A Brief History of Time, in which Dr. Hawking labored to explain away the need for a Supreme Being of any type . This school of thought reduces everything that happens to a result of chance: in other words, everything in the Universe that happens, occurs because the Universe exists, and it only exists becasue conditions just happen to be right for it to exist. Is this answer truly satisfying?
According to astrophysicist Paul Davies, the answer is a resounding "No". In his book Superforce, he said, "The equations of physics have in them incredible simplicity, elegance and beauty. That in itself is sufficient to prove to me that there must be a God who is responsible for these laws and responsible for the universe" . Dr, Walter Bradley, Ph. D. In materials science, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A & M University, writes, "In a mathematical sense, we can say that the universe is described by deceptively simple and elegant differential equations which just happen to have universal constants which are exactly what they need to be and initial conditions precisely prescribed to allow for the unfolding of a suitable habitat for life and for the appearance of life itself."  He then describes Dr. Hawking's book as "filled with conjecture not rooted in observational science" and states that it "should be taken not as careful science, but as a polemic argument motivated by Dr. Hawking's own religious' beliefs." 
It seems apparent, then, that this school of thought fails to give a satisfactory answer to the question. What of the others?
The second idea regarding God's operation of the unverse which is prevalent generally states that God did indeed create the Universe, but has since stepped back and is no longer actively involved in operating it. Proponents of this idea say that God designed the universe like a clock maker designs a clock; He built it, crafting it by hand, and putting each individual mechanism in place, then once He was done putting it together, He wound it up and let it go.
At best, this idea sounds like a compromise between the idea that God is not involved in any way in the universe, and the idea that God is in control of the universe. Scientists who have espoused this idea have included such notables as Einstein, the physicist who discovered the general and special theories of relativity (the theories which dictate our understanding of light and gravitation).
This idea also fails to satisfy. Even Einstein once admitted that his ideas regarding God were an attempt to reconcile his Jewish upbringing with the sceintific discoveries he had made, and were thus based on his intuitive feeling, rather than objective fact. This still leaves the individual at the ercy of sheer, random chance, rather than at the mercy of God. So are we then forever to be at the mercy of random chance?
The third idea, the idea that God created the universe and is actively running it, insists that we are not. Sir Isaac Newton, the founder of the study of classical physics, belived that God was active in controlling this unverse. According to author Gail Christianson, Newton believed that God was not only the creator, but also had an active place in the mechanistic unverse . This certainly would stand to reason; after all, he discovered the three laws of motion which govern the orbits of the various planets, and he was certainly aware of the simplicity of those laws as Dr. Bradley and Mr. Davies stated above.
Does modern science agree with Newton's idea? Fredric Burnham, science historian, states, "The scientific community is prepared to accept the idea that God created the universe a more respectable hypothesis today than at any time in the past 100 years."  Dr. Robert Herrmann, Professor of Mathematics at the U.S. Naval Academy, states in a rather lengthy way that due to the concept of ultralogics (the possibility that there exists degrees of processes that are greater than processes humans know and understand), the idea that God exists, and that He id directing the universe to some end, cannot possibly be ruled out . In fact, he goes further to state that in his opinion, the deity most likely to be God is the God of the Bible .
This line of thinking has several strengths. First of all, it declares that God created the universe. While most people today would accept the Big Bang theory (the idea that the universe resulted from a massive explosion of a single particle), questions still remain. How did the particle come into being? How did the particle explode? Did it explode due to conditions dictated by current physical laws? This line of thinking answers those questions by saying emphatically, God designed the universe. He designed the physical laws that govern it, and He applies and interprets those laws.
One commonality of nearly every belief system on Earth is the belief in the occurrance of miracles. The fact that in almost every religion, miracles did or do occur, appears to vouch for the idea that they do in fact occur. Miracles can be regarded as an unknown application of physical law, or a temporary cancellation of it. In either event, an unknown external agent is required to case a miracle to occur. In countless Biblical miracles, for example, the power of God came upon an individual, and that individual performed a miraculous act; in other words, God intervened in the physical universe. An excellent example is found in John 6, where Jesus is feeding five thousand people with just five small loaves of bread and two small fish (a little boy's lunch). According to John, He took the bread, blessed it, and blessed the fish, and it multiplied, and by God's power the five thousand people were fed.
Similar examples are found in religions from all over the world. It stands to reason, then , that God did in fact create the universe, and that He is actively involved in controlling it on a day-by-day basis.
Upon examination of the viewpoints listed above, the most reasonable is the third, that God did in fact create the universe and is in fact actively controlling it on a daily basis. The second part of our original question still remains, however: why does God allow these events to happen?
As above, answers to this question generally tend to fall into two categories. The first is that God allows these things to happen because He intends to punish those who sin against Him. The second is that God allows these things to happen because He is using them to direct history along the course that He has charted for it, with the ultimate ending being the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the subsequent purification of the universe which is described in the Book of Revelation (Relevation chapters 4-20). Again, let us examine these viewpoints in turn.
Does God allow violent events such as hurricanes, tornadoes etc. to happen solely to punish evildoers? At first glance it certainly seems so. After all, the people of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed in a firestorm that God created. The people who dared oppose the Hebrews were often slaughtered. The Egyptian armies who pursued the Hebrews as they fled from Egypt were drowned in the Red Sea. So it certainly does seem that God does allow such to happen solely to punish evildoers. But is that really the case?
The counsellors of Job certainly thought so. Job was the righteous man of Israel who was made to suffer by Satan, because God allowed Satan to test him by taking everything except his life away from him. Despondent, Job turned to three of his friends, who each counselled him that he had obviously sinned and had therefore best repent of that sin and make appropriate sacrifice to God. What was apparent throughout that book, though, was that Job had not sinned, and that God was simply allowing Satan to test Job to find out what Job's real faith was placed in. Satan wanted to find out why Job had placed his faith in God, and wanted to prove to God that the only reason Job placed his faith in God was because God had made him healthy and prosperous. This, of course, was not true: Job had placed his faith in God because he knew that God's way was the best way.
Thus it is shown throughout Job, and throughout the rest of the Bible, that the Lord sends both good and bad to happen to both "good" people and to "bad" people. An important point to remember here is that all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), so there exist no people who are perfectly good. It is also important to remember that Christ died for the redemption of the sins of all people (Romans 5:8), so there exist no people who are perfectly bad either.
Thus the first idea, that God uses bad events to punish bad people, is proven to be false. What then can be said about why God intervenes in the physical universe?
There are also those who say that God intervenes in the physical universe to guide it down the course that He has charted for it. This certainly seems to be the case: in Psalm 102, for example, the Lord looked down through time and space, and heard the groaning of His people. The Bible also teaches that God's idea of time is independent of ours (1 Peter 3). This would also explain why God protected the Israelites, because he had chosen for them to be His people, the people through whom He would work to bring salvation to all of humanity. Had the people of Israel been utterly destroyed, the Savior could not have come up out of them.
The miracles of the past fit in with this conclusion. It seems reasonable, therefore, to postulate that this would also happen with the miracles which are yet to come. The course has been charted out: God clearly indicated what He is going to do in the New Testament, especially in the book of Revelation. In order for events to proceed along the course He has charted, He must intervene in the physical world.
In a speech before the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin is reputed to have said, "I have lived, sir, a long time, and I have observed this truth: that God intervenes in the affairs of men!" It is indeed true. Why would God, for example, allow Adolf Hitler to rise up and kill six million Jews? He Himself had said, "For false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will deceive many" (Matthew 24). Adolf Hitler was certainly such a false Christ, as he advocated apparently Christian teachings in his book Mein Kampf (My Struggle).
We can, however, rest assured that God has an end destination for this course: the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and the resulting ultimate purification of heaven and Earth. This is clearly forecast in the Book of Revelation, chapters 4 through 20. Life in the newly purified heaven and Earth is clearly described in chapters 21 through 22 as a joyous time of communion and eternal fellowship with God. This is the glorious future that Christians look forward to, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and eternal life with Him.
So now we have arrived at the answer. God is in fact involved in the day-to-day operations of the quantum mechanical unvierse, and God is using His power to interact with it and bring history to it's final conclusion, the Second Coming of Christ, and the total cleansing and renewing of the universe.
What then are the philosophical implications? What should it mean to the reader? In Revelation chapter 20, among other places in the Bible, we see the answer. We see that God will judge who is righteous and who is not by whether or not each person's name is in the Book of Life, His eternal record of those who are to be saved. The reader is urged, therefore, to go to God and be sure that his or her name is in the Book of Life by repenting of his or her sin and asking Jesus Christ to be Lord over his or her life right away.
1. Hawking, Stephen. A Brief History Of Time.
2. Davies, Paul. SUPERFORCE, 1984.
3. Bradley, Walter, Ph. D. Scientific Evidence for the existence of God. Article found on the World Wide Web at www.leaderu.com.
5. Christianson, Gail. Newton and the Power of the Creator, 1984.
6. Quoted in Bradley, op. cit.
7. Herrmann, Robert, Ph. D. The scientific existence of a Higher Intelligence. Creation Science Research Quarterly, June 1993.
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