Every week we’ll post a short snippet from Ashley’s sermon from that Sunday. Here’s a few lines from what he said this week. He was reflecting on the Indonesian earthquake / tsunami which had recently caused such devastation and loss of life. The sermon title was “How can we believe in a good God when things like this happen?”
Jesus’ response (in Luke 13.1-5) suggests that the world is more complex than our first presumption. We live in a world in which terrible things happen, but I think it is too simple, or too mechanistic, to say that everything bad (or tragic) that happens does so because something is wrong or someone is to blame.
Someone might object and say that ultimately human beings are to blame and point to the Genesis account of Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit and being banished from the Garden of Eden.
The problem that I have with such an objection is quite simply that nowhere does the Bible tell us that earthquakes or tsunamis or wildfires or other (let’s call them) naturally occurring phenomena are the result of Adam and Eve’s disobedience.
Perhaps it might be better to say that just as God is untameable then the world that he has made is wilder and more unpredictable than we have allowed? Perhaps it is better to allow that the world we live in has always been as dangerous as it is marvelous?
[Please note this is only part of what was a careful response to the question and that at the start we acknowledged that this is a real situation that has affected real people and that we have to recognise that all our answers to questions like this are at best provisional.]