Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Meltdowns, Rebellions, God and Us

Turn on the TV news and be instantly depressed. Obama doing nothing to help the rebels dying in Libya, but taking time to pick winners of basketball games. (Update– he is belatedly participating in UN action against Libya, after Gaddafi slaughtered many of his own people. Now Gaddafi is calling us “the colonial enemy”, which must be giving Obama fits of self-condemnation, LOL). The incredible triple disaster in Japan, the Muslim pirates in Somalia seizing ships and killing hostages, the continuing economic disaster in the US, the increasing strength of sun flares….. and these are just some of the disasters of the moment.

In recent years, it is much worse….. the genocide and oppression committed by tyrants… the horrors of war… the beheadings and bombings committed by terrorists… the murders and crimes in our society every day… the raping of children… birth defects in babies… the destruction and death caused by fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis… the death toll in the Indonesian tsunami of 2004 was a staggering 230,000 souls. These constant disasters and injustices are on the news every day, and they trouble us deeply. They should trouble us deeply, if we have any care for others at all. But these tragedies trigger many good people to abandon their faith, or to rage against God. Everyone has had this thought sometime. Why would God allow such things to happen? This question leads us to sadness, then despair, and then to rage. We become angry at God, then we curse God, then we doubt that God exists.

Of course, if you don’t believe in God, then you have to blame bad luck and bad people, which is essentially correct. If you do believe in God, then you have to question why he allows horrible disasters and crimes, and this can lead to bitterness and anger. This is a righteous rage, that makes us feel we are right, and that God is wrong. It makes us feel that we know better than God. It makes us little rebels against God, which should give us pause, because that was the role of Satan in the Bible. I went through a period of such anger, and my wife is still in it, despite my attempts to help her out of it.

But I must give her a break. Even the saintly Mother Theresa had her despair, her anger at God, her doubts about the existence of God, with all the human tragedies she witnessed in her great ministry to the poor in India. She dedicated her life to the Lord’s work, but she never felt the Lord’s presence. She sometimes felt like she was living in hell. Here is an article about her torment: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1655415,00.html Atheists have had a field day with that disclosure, but I suspect that atheists have their own rage issues that they have not dealt with.

Such raging against God says much more about us than it says about God. It is a childish and immature anger, and it must move God to either laugh or cry, or to sigh in disappointment for the trillionth time. By logical definition, God exists as the greatest force for goodness possible in the universe. That generality should be considered a certainty and a truth by all people, for several valid reasons. But we humans do not know what is possible in the universe. We do not know if God is truly omnipotent, or if God is an entity anything like religion teaches us. We do not know the nature or the extent of his powers, nor the pure wisdom of his mind. But we can still have faith in him, and we can reason thusly: If God does not right these wrongs and prevent these disasters, then either it is impossible, or there is a very good reason why not.

God knows everything about us, but we know very little about him / her / it.  Even with all the holy books of all the world’s religions, we still know very little. God has constraints and limitations, even if they are self-imposed. The simple granting of free will to his creations (us) means that God ties his own hands….. limits his own actions in our lives, and in the cosmos.  God sets vast systems of physical and moral energies into motion, and then must allow them to move as independent creations,  apart from God himself…..  just as humans have children, then at some point, must let their children live or die on their own.

Once the dynamic forces of the Earth were set in place, giving us air to breathe, water to drink, and solid ground to walk on, it may not be possible for even God to alter them, without destroying the system and starting over.

Do you enjoy the brush of a cool breeze on a hot day? Do you enjoy the kiss of the warm sun on a cold day? Do you enjoy the taste and feeling of clean rain when you are caught in a quick shower? Do you enjoy playing in the waves at the beach? Do you enjoy shaping the earth to produce a benefit, such as in gardening, farming, digging a pond, or developing a subdivision?  These are benefits of the same God-given forces of nature that produce tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis.

Do you enjoy controlling the power of a motorcycle or a sports car or boat or airplane? Do you enjoy finding a balance of horsepower, suspension, speed, traction, gravity, drag and centrifugal force that gives you the thrill of a great ride? These are the same God-given elements that we have forged, the same God-given laws of physics that allow us to build nuclear bombs and nuclear power plants, such as the ones melting down in Japan today.

Everything in God’s creation has the potential for the fabrication of amazing devices and structures, or the power for horrific destruction. God’s system allows the creation of stars and planets, and the system also destroys them, along with any life that is on the planets. “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.” I prefer to say: God set up a marvelous system that supports life and growth, but it also must allow death and destruction, so that renewal and rebirth can occur. Many chemical elements in our own bodies were produced in the supernova explosions of stars, billions of years ago.  That should certainly give us food for thought about God and his gifts to us. He is the master of turning death into birth. This incredible process is churning all around us on the Earth, and in our own bodies, in defiance of the human Second Law of Thermodynamics. Human scientists cannot explain the incredible organizing power of life energy, nor generate it in the lab; they can only observe what it does.  We live in a sea of vibrant life, but we cannot create a single drop of it. Only God can do that. And he is doing it best right now, in the spring of the year on our planet Earth. This is expressed very well in the music of Antonio Vivaldi, The Four Seasons, Spring, which can be heard here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-dYNttdgl0&feature=related You should listen to it, because if your mind is open, it will lift your spirit to see the gifts of God and the attempts of humans to appreciate those gifts.

Above all, God gives us freedom of will, a great gift of love,  but for some reason he cannot stop every person who abuses that freedom. Do you enjoy your freedom of will, your freedom to choose your own way of life, your freedom to choose your own ethics? I am sure that you do enjoy it. So does the liar, the thief, the rapist, the terrorist, the murderer. Thus, human will brings evil and injustice into the world. God does not bring them, though he does allow them a puzzling amount of freedom and power. Is earthly life a school, a test, a prison, a curse, a blessing, or just a war of wills that will never end? This is the puzzle that Earthbound humans will never solve. But that does not give us the right to condemn the puzzle maker. Give God the benefit of the doubt, as he constantly gives it to humanity, in loving grace. Again, God is the greatest force for goodness possible in the universe.

But there is only one God….. that is, only one sentient being at the top of the pyramid of cosmic life….., and billions of galaxies to oversee, each one with billions of stars and probably millions of Earth-like planets, as we are just now discovering, if you have been following the latest astronomy news. Our own Milky Way galaxy alone may hold a hundred million Earth-like planets. I would bet you that at least one percent of these bear life, and that at least one percent of those bear intelligent life. That would yield at least 10,000 planets with intelligent life in our galaxy alone. There may be more life-bearing planets in our local group of galaxies, than there are people on Earth. Here is a link to a reputable blogger dedicated to the subject: http://spaceports.blogspot.com/2009/02/trillions-of-earth-like-planets-in.html

Think of it from a Godly viewpoint. Presumably God would have a presence on each one of the life-bearing planets, which are thought to number in the billions or trillions. At any given time, there are probably greater disasters, and greater evils,  happening on some of those planets than we have happening here. The greatest disaster is the death of a star, along with all its planets and their people, unless they can escape.  Our sun is a relative newcomer… other stars with planetary systems are older, and many have lived out their allotted time, burned up all their fuel and died, as our sun will die in five billion years or so.  Some of those stars are dying right now. God may be busy with much greater disasters than ours.

So on the measuring scale that God may be using, the latest tsunami or tyrant on Earth may be quite small. This is not to belittle our personal tragedies, which are huge to us. It is an attempt to appreciate the things God may be doing elsewhere, and to try to understand why God cannot right every wrong. The scriptures say that God knows what is happening to us, but they do not say that he will protect us from everything.

Don’t rage against God… don’t rage against goodness… for logically God is doing all He can to promote goodness and enforce justice, and He has been doing that for billions of years, before the human race even existed. This childish rage against God, or a belief that God does not exist because of all the injustice in the world, is like a stupid little dog biting the hand that feeds it. God gave us a world with rich resources, and gave us the intelligence to take care of ourselves, and the commandment to help each other when disaster strikes, and at all other times. If we fail to do so, it is our own fault. God helps those best who help themselves, so get busy and fight the injustice you see in your own life.

We can also pray for the victims of the disasters in Japan, the victims of tyranny all over the world, the prisoners of the pirates in Somalia, the religious folk who are persecuted in Communist and Muslim countries. Prayer has been demonstrated to have a beneficial effect on the object of prayer, and it is just as beneficial to the one who prays. Prayer focuses your efforts on helping others, and also on helping yourself. Many doctors have long observed that their patients who pray, and who have others praying for them, often heal quicker or get through an illness better than patients who do not pray. Here is a website reporting on two studies: http://www.worldhealth.net/news/studies_yield_a_variety_of_findings_abou/ It is easy to understand how prayer would place a person in a self-supportive mode, inspiring his or her own mind to rally every possible resource to help the body. It may also rally spiritual or metaphysical forces to help others. It certainly cannot hurt, and it makes me feel better and stronger, so I recommend prayer to you.

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About goldenmeantx
Truth seeker, fact finder, amateur philosopher, amateur historian, ex-soldier, ex-motorcycle racer, world traveler, rancher, hunter, gun owner, dirt bike rider, mountain bicycle rider, husband, father, grandfather, hard worker, good friend to all who put up with me, and even some who don't.

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