Monday, March 14, 2011


As the events in Japan appear to go from horrifying to worse and still orders of magnitude worse than that, we have to wonder what is God thinking, to permit these things to happen?  First, the earthquake, then the tsunami, whole towns afire, the volcano erupting in the south, and now the threat of total nuclear meltdown at no fewer than three reactors.

I suspect there is no human "explanation". We can say this much:  had man not sinned, he might by now have reached theosis, deification, and have become a sharer in God's own Immortal Life. That means he might not have been vulnerable to any natural disaster (and there wouldn't be any man-made ones).

So in that sense our sins bring it upon us.

I think we also have to remember Jesus' words when he said the 18 victims of a tower collapse were no more sinful than anybody else. "But unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish." We all sin, which is another way of saying we all die, since to sin is to cut off our Life.

So those may be some hints. Ultimately, though, I suspect the only "answer" we are going to get this side of the grave is the one God gave to Job, after all his incredible suffering. Here is the beginning of the dressing down, from Chapter 38:

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:

2 ​​"Who is this who darkens counsel
​​By words without knowledge?
3 ​​Now prepare yourself like a man;
​​I will question you, and you shall answer Me.

4 ​​"Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
​​Tell Me, if you have understanding.
5 ​​Who determined its measurements?
​​Surely you know!
​​Or who stretched the line upon it?
6 ​​To what were its foundations fastened?
​​Or who laid its cornerstone,
7 ​​When the morning stars sang together,
​​And all the sons of God shouted for joy?

8 ​​"Or who shut in the sea with doors,
​​When it burst forth and issued from the womb;
9 ​​When I made the clouds its garment,
​​And thick darkness its swaddling band;
10 ​​When I fixed My limit for it,
​​And set bars and doors;
11 ​​When I said,
​'​This far you may come, but no farther,
​​And here your proud waves must stop!'

12 ​​"Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
​​And caused the dawn to know its place,
13 ​​That it might take hold of the ends of the earth,
​​And the wicked be shaken out of it?
14 ​​It takes on form like clay under a seal,
​​And stands out like a garment.
15 ​​From the wicked their light is withheld,
​​And the upraised arm is broken.

16 ​​"Have you entered the springs of the sea?
​​Or have you walked in search of the depths?
17 ​​Have the gates of death been revealed to you?
​​Or have you seen the doors of the shadow of death?
18 ​​Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth?
​​Tell Me, if you know all this.

19 ​​"Where is the way to the dwelling of light?
​​And darkness, where is its place,
20 ​​That you may take it to its territory,
​​That you may know the paths to its home?
21 ​​Do you know it, because you were born then,
​​Or because the number of your days is great?

22 ​​"Have you entered the treasury of snow,
​​Or have you seen the treasury of hail,
23 ​​Which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
​​For the day of battle and war?
24 ​​By what way is light diffused,
​​Or the east wind scattered over the earth?

25 ​​"Who has divided a channel for the overflowing water,
​​Or a path for the thunderbolt,
26 ​​To cause it to rain on a land where there is no one,
​​A wilderness in which there is no man;
27 ​​To satisfy the desolate waste,
​​And cause to spring forth the growth of tender grass?
28 ​​Has the rain a father?
​​Or who has begotten the drops of dew?
29 ​​From whose womb comes the ice?
​​And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth?
30 ​​The waters harden like stone,
​​And the surface of the deep is frozen.

31 ​​"Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades,
​​Or loose the belt of Orion?
32 ​​Can you bring out Mazzaroth [a constellation] in its season?
​​Or can you guide the Great Bear with its cubs?
33 ​​Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?
​​Can you set their dominion over the earth?

34 ​​"Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
​​That an abundance of water may cover you?
35 ​​Can you send out lightnings, that they may go,
​​And say to you, 'Here we are!'?
36 ​​Who has put wisdom in the mind?
​​Or who has given understanding to the heart?
37 ​​Who can number the clouds by wisdom?
​​Or who can pour out the bottles of heaven,
38 ​​When the dust hardens in clumps,
​​And the clods cling together?

39 ​​"Can you hunt the prey for the lion,
​​Or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
40 ​​When they crouch in their dens,
​​Or lurk in their lairs to lie in wait?
41 ​​Who provides food for the raven,
​​When its young ones cry to God,
​​And wander about for lack of food?

God's reprimand to Job for questioning Him continues through Chapter 39 and most of 40. Here is some more, from Chapter 40.

1 Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said:

2 ​​"Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him?
​​He who rebukes God, let him answer it."
3 Then Job answered the LORD and said:

4 ​​"Behold, I am vile;
​​What shall I answer You?
​​I lay my hand over my mouth.
5 ​​Once I have spoken, but I will not answer;
​​Yes, twice, but I will proceed no further."
6 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:

7 ​​"Now prepare yourself like a man;
​​I will question you, and you shall answer Me:

8 ​​"Would you indeed annul My judgment?
​​Would you condemn Me that you may be justified?
9 ​​Have you an arm like God?
​​Or can you thunder with a voice like His?
10 ​​Then adorn yourself with majesty and splendor,
​​And array yourself with glory and beauty.
11 ​​Disperse the rage of your wrath;
​​Look on everyone who is proud, and humble him.
12 ​​Look on everyone who is proud, and bring him low;
​​Tread down the wicked in their place.
13 ​​Hide them in the dust together,
​​Bind their faces in hidden darkness.
14 ​​Then I will also confess to you
​​That your own right hand can save you.