Who is to blame for natural disasters, God or Satan?


This is not such an easy question to answer, as there have been times in the earth’s history when God sent disasters such as the flood, and destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.  These events may not be termed “natural” disasters, but they originated from God.

Genesis 6: 5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 So the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”

Genesis 18: 20 And the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, 21 I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.”

Genesis 19: 24
 Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens. 25 So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.

On the other hand, the devil also has used the elements to cause harm, as in the case of Job.

Job 1: 16 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”
18 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and daughters were  eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 19 and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”

Even though verse 16 above calls it “the fire of God”, we know that it was the devil who caused both the fire (lightning) and the wind, and so we can establish that the devil has the power to use the elements in his cause.

But in all the cases mentioned, we can’t really call the events “natural disasters”.  What you are probably talking about are the hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc. which seem to be making headlines all the time lately.  Let’s have a look at these.

At the end of creation week, God looked at everything He had made and said it was very good.  Very good in God’s eyes is perfect!  But then sin came into the world, and God said that things would change, as a result of the curse that sin had brought to the world.

Genesis 1: 31   Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Genesis 3: 17 
Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:
“ Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field.

So now we live in a sinful world, where things are no longer “very good”.  War, crime, violence, sickness, pain and death are now “natural”, whereas before sin these were not known.  In the same way, disasters of nature were never there in the Garden of Eden, but have become commonplace on the earth.  So could we just say that they are the result of sin?  Would that be a stretch?  I believe not.  And if we say that natural disasters are a result of sin, then Satan would have to take responsibility for them.

Maybe we are asking the wrong question.  Whether it is God or the devil does not really matter, as God is ultimately in control, and therefore allows all things that happen to us, whether they originate from Him or not.  Maybe the question should be:  When disasters strike, is God still in control, and can He use these bad times to teach us, grow our faith and ultimately bring us closer to Him?  And the answer to that is an unqualified YES.

Romans 8: 28   And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

James 1: 2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.

1 Peter 4: 12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.

2 Corinthians 1: 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

1 Thessalonians 5: 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Philippians 4: 4   Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

From the above passages it seems as if God wants to teach us to be glad and rejoice in abso-lutely all circumstances, whether they be good or bad.  The reason is that He can teach us and grow us spiritually in all circumstances, but much more so in the bad, where we are much more dependent on Him.

So now it does not seem to be so important anymore whether the natural disasters are just a consequence of living in a sinful world, or whether it is punishment from God, or whether the devil is trying to wipe us out or ruin our faith.  In all of these circumstances God can make something good come out of the bad, and in the process draw us closer to Him, growing our faith in Him.  All we need to do is trust that He knows best, and that He has our best interests at heart, even though it does not seem so at the time of the disaster.

Proverbs 3: 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil.

Hebrews 13: 5
   Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

So let’s put ourselves totally in God’s hands, whatever may be happening to us, trusting that He has our best interests at heart.  For gold to become pure it must go through the fire, and as Christians we grow to be more like God by walking with Him in the bad times as well as the good!

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