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Did God Send The Tsunami?


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Someone said that they wanted to discuss this subject. Sounds good.

Did God send the Tsunami? Did God want the Tsunami? etc.


Here are my thoughts: The Earth as it is always in creation mode. So in a sense, God

"sent" the Tsunami", but only in the sense that the universe is always being created and creation is a messy and at times violent thing. If it weren't-- no tectonic plates, no earthquakes, no nothing-- we would be on a dead planet devoid of life. So God "wanted" the Tsunami but only in that sense. Because we are on a planet filled with life in all it's diversity.


Unfortunately, we live where God lives (would make a good commercial or what?! Hey UCC! :-)) and a lot more of us are living there. Maybe a few million years ago there were more quakes, and there were quakes a hundred years ago. But vast nos. of people weren't living there. In fact , the destruction of parts of the Earth may make in more destructive than it had to be. If you clear cut forests, more beach gets exposed. If you tear down coral reefs there isn't as much protection.


The other thing is that the first world *could* have saved lives, and chose not to. They could have built early warning systems, like Hawaii and Japan have. But they/ we didn't care enough (of course, nothing like hindsight too). This is the loosely interpreted social gospel that Jesus spoke. That we care for the poor, and this is the way we care for him. Maybe we should be funding family planning so that there aren't so many people living in some places that they shouldn't be. And we are spending our resources on war instead of fighting poverty in the world. etc etc etc.


Then there is the response of people, and we see people helping each other regardless, and that's part of God as well. I have heard that these events bring out the best in people. I doubt God is bringing them on for that reason, but still s/he would want the best out of people. But I think in some ways it is bringing out some not such good things, like the US saying "we are being so generous" look at us while some smaller countries have actually sent in more aid but aren't being so vocal about it.


We live where God lives. :-)







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Along those same lines, I posted the following on Dec. 27th in an msn.com community bulletin board:


Cat, for a theological take on this:

This tragic event may bring to light the theological issue of "theodicy" (i.e. why would an 'all good, all loving, all powerful' God allow such horrible things to happen to His/Her people?"). My take on this is that God doesn't intend to harm us but has set up creation such that the laws of physics must run their course and it is just a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time if a person gets hit by a falling boulder, dies in an earthquake, etc. God is, however, very much with us in a healing, restoring, transforming way as we face the various crises of life.

[This said, there is a minor degree of human responsibility for such tragaedies to the extent that people may knowingly choose to live in areas prone to experience tornadoes, forest fires, land slides, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. - yet many people are financially unable to relocate].


See also:

Romans Chapter 8: verse: 18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.


26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.


28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,[j] who[k] have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died - more than that, who was raised to life - is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long;

we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[l] 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[m] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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The theodicy question may never be resolved, perhaps not even when we meet our Maker. We had this discussion in my Sunday School class recently. One thing that I got out of it is that regardless of which way you look at the question, we, as Christians, always bear the same responsibility of love. Believing one way or the other doesn't change the Universe or God in any way. It does, however, change how we live our own lives.


I may never fully make up my mind on this issue, but I'll express my view anyway. Since I'm not some kind of Saint with direct knowledge of the mysterious inner-workings of the Universe, I have to choose a different way of determining my belief in this matter. I've chosen a particular belief on this by examining the effects on my life and on the world (as I see it).


The biggest plus for believing that God does not cause bad things to happen in the world is that no one can judge any person including themselves based on what happens to them. This belief is the way to go if you believe in a single earthly life. It keeps the playing field even... I mean we cause enough trouble for ourselves without having to deal with God causing trouble for us as well.


However, if you believe in reincarnation, you've got to go with the notion that things happen for a reason. What would be the point of an endless string of earthly lives with either no hope of progressing to heaven or receiving some arbitrary salvation? Given reincarnation, you tend to look at life as a series of God experiences or lessons either to taste life in every way possible or to learn and grow and hopefully to realize your soul's fullest potential.


I lean toward reincarnation, so I lean toward things happening for a reason.


In writing this, however, I'm struck by the notion that even given reincarnation, the answer is not clear. The point of living life after life after life with no end goal would be to live for the sake of living. The possibilities for experiences as a human are infinite.

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I believe we participate in our incarnations, where we go and what we learn.


Maybe I want to work on humility, so I choose a certain life circumstance that may help me with that.


But I also believe that crap happens. :P


I think that certain happenings, like the tsunami, are "unforseen circumstance" and that they are not a result of karma.


And actually, by participating in our incarnations and in our learning processes, karma, as strictly understood, is not necessary.


I also suspect that the lessons we learn can be compared to the "spirit of the law" versus the "letter of the law".


We are here to learn the "spirit" of life and love and not the "letter". So we need not endlessly incarnate to experience absolutely every little thing.


That's just my current take. I'm a work in progress. :D



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