Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Tsumanis and God

A long time ago I gave up believing that God controlled every little bit of the universe. Had I not, the biblical view that God manipulates the environment to trigger earthquakes, blast off volcanoes, send plagues, and withold rain or overwhelm with floods would now be intolerable. I would now be trying to understand the purposes of God in sending (as though he did it on purpose, or at least allowed it to happen) the appalling tsunamis that followed the Sumatra earthquake.

Did he have it in for Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists? Was he trying to cull part of the globe's over-population? Was this a sign of the Last Times! Was he shaking a fist at man's sinful defiance? To be honest, I would be having a very hard time with God if I really believed what I used to believe.

The Archbishop of Canterbury - head of the worldwide communion of Anglican churches - went on record to say that there would be something wrong with Christians if this event did not make them question the very existence of God. See The Electronic Telegraph, Jan 2nd.

This is how the world IS. Sometimes it is a pleasant, harmonious place where the sun shines, fruit ripens on the bough, we are happy and content and all is well with the world - in our little corner. Equally so, we abuse this Earth's resources polluting the oceans and the very air we breathe, killing off thousands of species of plants and animals in the process, stripping the sea of fish stocks, hacking down the rain forests - (those great engines for soaking carbon dioxide out of the air and replacing it with oxygen).

We are the exploiters and plunderers of a world whose abundance we have failed to respect. We proliferate our race until mankind is obliged to live in the fragile margins where floods assail the land, mountains rain down mud and fire and storms rip our houses from their roots.

Sometimes the natural harshness of this untameable world snaps back through its own inexorable nature and we are found in the way. That's just how it is.

In the midst of the appalling human tragedy we are also seeing man at his noblest and best rising to respond to an impact so severe that conventional boundaries and differences become (for a short while) irrelevant and we reassess our priorities to be those of giving and caring rather than grabbing and keeping.