by ProfDave, ©2022
(Feb. 17, 2022) — Where do all these disasters come from? The Coronavirus has been particularly egregious, though no comparison to the Plague of the 15th century. Someone on the news was remarking that we have a hundred-year storm every couple of years and blamed global warming. Others blame the wrath of God. Think about it. There being more than a hundred regions in the world, the odds are there will be a “hundred-year” storm somewhere on the globe every year – maybe two! What is increasing geometrically is the news coverage of such events.
Global warming or the wrath of God? The wrath of Gaia or the wrath of Jehovah? I’m a global warming agnostic. Well over 95% of climate fluctuation is determined by cycles of sun spot activity. What can we do about that! Industrial pollution is not a good thing, but a return to the stone age would have a negligible effect on the planet and a genocidal effect on mankind. The truth: we are not God, and it is the height of arrogance to think we can control global climate. The planet is beyond our control, save the people!
What about the wrath of God? Anyone who reads the Bible knows that this world is deserving of judgment. Violence, oppression, and corruption are everywhere. Which of the ten commandments is not flaunted every day in every way in every neighborhood? “If God doesn’t punish America, he’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah!” The question is not if but when. And where to start? Are the folks along the shoreline of New Jersey and New York any worse than anybody else? No, but unless you repent, you will perish too! The Bible says that judgment will begin with the house of God. Oh Oh! Watch out church!
It gets worse. If there is a God in heaven, he certainly has blessed the United States beyond measure. Yet we have not only forgotten God (we did that in the 50’s), but we have actively rejected His rule and His influence and banished the name of Jesus from public life. If it is possible for a nation to offend the Almighty, we have done it. God has every right to send judgment upon America – plagues, hurricanes, earthquakes, terrorists, divisions, fire and brimstone! We haven’t seen anything yet . . ..
The every-day, garden-variety wrath of God that we experience in our personal lives and in the affairs of nations is the natural consequences of our insane, selfish and rebellious behavior. If you jump off a tall building, you may fly like a bird, but you won’t land like one. The Creator has established the natural and moral laws of the cosmos and of our species in His wisdom and justice for the purpose of human flourishing and harmony. When we violate those laws, we justly suffer the consequences. In Romans 1, for example, God’s wrath is explained as turning us over to our own confusion and lies. His way or the wrong way. But He “takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.”
The Christian God isn’t like that. The very same God who washed the earth clean in the days of Noah, who incinerated Sodom, who plunged Egypt into darkness allowed himself to be crucified so that He could pardon our wickedness. His love is as limitless as His justice. He will do what is right, but He will have mercy as long as there is any chance of repentance. Is there?
Maybe we should all go out and meet with God this weekend. It’s not so much the rules we have broken. Those are symptoms of our estrangement from Him. Maybe we should apologize for living without Him – it is our loss, really. Our misery is the consequences of our miserable living, our social and economic ills of our loss of a moral center. We cannot live right without Him. We are not meant to. Maybe America needs to return to God. Maybe you do. His arms are wide open. Have a God weekend!
David W. Heughins (“ProfDave”) is Adjunct Professor of History at Nazarene Bible College. He holds a BA from Eastern Nazarene College and a PhD in history from the University of Minnesota. He is the author of Holiness in 12 Steps (2020). He is a Vietnam veteran and is retired, living with his daughter and three grandchildren in Connecticut.