Where Was God in the Earthquake?

Where was God in the earthquake?  Craig David Uffman says it eloquently on his blog, Metanoia.  Here’s an excerpt, but read the entire post here:

There are those who speak at such times of the omnipotence of God. Some will see this and all such natural disasters as evidence against the God in whom we trust.  They will portray the earthquake as ‘Exhibit A’ in their case against our claims of a good and loving God.

Others will feel it necessary to defend the righteousness of God. Well-meaning Christians will rise to declare this disaster to be God’s majestic will, a will wholly impenetrable to us,  and they will cite our story of Job to warn us against efforts to comprehend it.  And, sadly, other Christians also will rise to declare this disaster to be God’s will, but, forgetting Job and distorting our story tragically, they will tell us precisely which group among us brought about the earthquake as punishment for their unforgivable sins.

Each of these do us a service, for they force us to give an account of our faith in God and to remember carefully the truths about God we actually claim.  For the same question that moves these groups haunts us, too, as we see the tears of anguished, hungry, and orphaned girls and boys reaching their hands out to us: where was God in the earthquake?

Theologian David Bentley Hart offers the best answer I know in his book The Doors of the Sea: Where Was God in the Tsunami? He wrote it upon reflecting on the great tsunami that struck Asia in 2004.  Hart reminds us that “we are to be guided by the full character of what is revealed of God in Christ.  For, after all, if it is from Christ that we are to learn how God relates himself to sin, suffering, evil, and death, it would seem that he provides us little evidence of anything other than a regal, relentless, and miraculous enmity: sin he forgives, suffering he heals, evil he casts out, and death he conquers.  And absolutely nowhere does Christ act as if any of these things are part of the eternal work or purposes of God.”

2 thoughts on “Where Was God in the Earthquake?”

  1. I don’t see either. An Earthquakes are natural phenomenon. They are also the reason behind thousands of amazing landscapes across thge world as the crust of the earth has shifted over millenia.

    Building in an earthquake zone turns them into a Hazard, because it moves a lot of people into an area where an earthquake causes damage. Building badly, with poor materials and on soft land makes the hazard worse.

    When an earthquake event occurs in a built up area, with buildings that aren’t strong enough to withstand it, it becomes a natural disaster: people are killed through no fault of their own, and infrastructure and property is destroyed.

    Blaming God for the result is understandable, but ignores the science.

  2. Of course, you’re right. However, I thought in light of the comments by Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh that Craig Uffman’s post was on point. God does not use earthquakes to punish (Robertson), and our response is not because we have established a cause-and-effect relationship between sin and punishment, but because we believe in a God who overcomes evil, heals suffering, and has defeated death.

Comments are closed.