C1. Does God rule over nature? Dialing 911 for planet earth



Increased frequency of natural disasters blamed on human interference, never connected with God. … But the Bible says God causes natural disasters. … The book of Revelation prophesies serious natural disasters, and says God’s aim is to bring man to repentance. … Even Christians don’t seem to be making the connection. … What people want to think blinds them to what God is saying.

Get ready for Mars

Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of several successful companies, has declared that we humans need to become a “multi-planet species” by colonizing Mars. And — putting his money where his mouth is — he has started a company to make spaceships that will help achieve that goal. Musk’s motivation seems to derive at least partly from the sheer excitement of exploration and discovery.

But he also is a player in a popular movement which maintains that planet earth is a fragile environment and might not be able to support life much longer. Therefore (so the thinking goes) we humans need an escape route, and Mars is the most likely destination. Some of these folks seem to get a perverse thrill out of speculating on the various threats facing our planet. Man-made climate change threatens to destroy our environment, they say. Or an asteroid could suddenly strike from outer space and destroy all life. Or a series of storms on the surface of the sun could spew radiation that would blow away earth’s atmosphere. And so forth. In other words, Musk and others are issuing a 911 emergency call for an endangered planet earth.

The Christian view

We Christians have a different view of what is going on, of course. We know that God did not just create the earth and leave it to take care of itself, but he is actively supporting it at all times. God said through the psalmist Asaph: “When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I who keep steady its pillars.” [Psalm 75:3] In other words, if there ever should be an asteroid heading toward earth, it is God’s asteroid; it did not come out of space by chance.

My purpose here is not to make some bland reassurance along the lines of: “We Christians don’t need to look to Mars; we can trust in God to keep us safe here on earth.” It is, of course, true that we should trust God in all things. But the crises occurring across our country in the form of natural disasters should be opening our eyes to the unfolding of a part of God’s plan — a plan in which God, by design, causes the earth to be shaken.

God announces plagues

The book of Revelation contains prophecies, not just of a single plague, but of two long series of plagues — all caused by the action of angels sent from God. Here is a sentence describing one of those plagues:

The fourth angel poured his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch men with fire; men were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues, and they did not repent and give him glory. [Revelation 16:8-9]

Does the first part of that sound like an article on the front page of today’s newspaper, talking in ominous terms about the effects of climate change and global warming? And, in accord with the second part of the prophecy, the newspaper article would of course not acknowledge God or offer any words of repentance.

In another plague described in Revelation, a third of the creatures of the sea will die [Revelation 8:9] — a situation which we are witnessing in the world’s oceans right now, and which is being vividly described to us by environmentalists and fishermen. According to Revelation, plagues like this are intended to be a sign to get people’s attention directed back to God in repentance. But for the most part the warning will be ignored, as prophesied in the following passage:

The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot either see or hear or walk; nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their immorality or their thefts. [Revelation 9:20-21]

No one is making the connection

The physical signs are there today for all to see (and for many to experience firsthand and personally): “natural” disasters of record-breaking proportions. And the words of prophecy are also there for all to see, if we will open our Bibles. Yet despite the similarity, no one seems to be making a connection, even among Christian leaders. It should be obvious that there is a connection between events in the natural world and the God who made that world and who has ultimate control over that world, yet no one seems to be making the connection. This is a failure to hear God calling.

The purpose of the book of Revelation

What is the purpose of the book of Revelation? God’s purpose in giving us the book of Revelation is not to promote speculation about how certain verses of the Bible may correspond to events in modern countries like Iran and Israel and Russia. And God’s purpose is not to promote speculation about what will happen to people “left behind” after the rapture. The purpose of Revelation is to bring people to repentance.

Christians have a part to play

But people must acknowledge the hand of God at work in order to come to repentance. And if Christians don’t see God’s hand at work, how are unbelievers ever going to see it? Preachers of the gospel and Christian lay people must understand that when a third of the earth is burned up, and a third of the trees are burned up, and all grass is burned up (as described in Revelation 8:7), this was planned by God before the beginning of time. God declared long ago that it must be so, in order to draw our attention to him in repentance. Christians must be ready to declare to the world that man is not in control of the world; natural disasters are not simply a result of too many people driving SUV’s and burning coal.

The basic problem

Of course, the basic problem is that people don’t want to repent. People want to say it’s okay to kill babies at the same time that they create designer babies in test tubes. People want to say that every form of sexual deviance the LGBTQ+ crowd can invent with their depraved minds is okay. People want to say that love has nothing to do with obeying God, but only with following one’s own feelings. People want to say there is no such thing as sin. People want to believe all these things so badly that most will not turn and repent.

We battle enemies from within …

Another problem is that Christians who make these connections are attacked and intimidated by … yes, other Christians. Anybody who declares that God is speaking to us through the California wildfires, or the flooding of Houston, or the tidal wave that inundated New York City, will be loudly and indignantly repudiated. The prevailing view, even among Christians, is that God does not do that sort of thing; God only rescues and comforts and uplifts. And if there is such a thing as sin, well, surely God takes lessons from us and accepts our latest popular definition of what constitutes sin and what does not.

… but we still have a responsibility

But that doesn’t absolve Christians of our responsibility to get the word out — our responsibility to stand up and say, “Listen! God is speaking to us! Our sins are causing God’s protection to be removed. The solution is not for us to become a multi-planet species, but for us to repent.”

The evidence is there. It’s in scripture and in the news headlines. But most people — including, unfortunately, many Christians — will not receive the message. Most people will not hear God calling a nation to repentance.