On earthquakes and so-called “acts of God”

Destruction in JapanI do not think that the earthquake and ensuing tsunami that have devastated so much of Japan, resulting in a tragic loss of life and nearly crippling loss of property, is an “act of God”. I don’t even like that phrase. While I do believe that the violence in our world (both human violence and the violence of the planet itself) is due to sin’s effects, I do not believe that the Japanese are being punished for their sins. I don’t believe that God sat on His Throne, Zeus-like, hurling thunderbolts at people, or moved over the waters, Poseidon-like, churning up thirty-foot waves to drown coastlines and tens of thousands of people.

What I do believe is that such sudden and widespread destruction of such a large part of a country should make every one of us stop and realize how fragile our lives are, how fragile our world is. How brief is life! How quickly what we think of as solid and permanent can be shaken to its core and washed away. How completely the body we take for granted can be destroyed and then vanish, leaving not a trace for mourning loved ones left behind.

Let the horrific events in Japan serve to make us ponder the ephemeral nature of the world around us and of the short span of life we lead in it. Let the heart-breaking losses in this world serve to remind men and women everywhere that what matters most in all of our lives no earthquake can shatter, nor even a thirty-foot wall of water wash away. Let us then press onward toward the eternal world that lies beyond this one, mindful of the life we hope to live in it.

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan and with all of the suffering wherever in the world they may be. May your wounds and your hearts heal. May God give you strength to bear the crushing ordeal you have endured (and are still enduring), and the strength and assistance you need to rebuild your lives and your families, your communities and your nation. Amen.

4 thoughts on “On earthquakes and so-called “acts of God”

    1. Hi, Stan! I’m always happy to meet another blogger who is also faithful follower of Christ! I’ll be sure to check out your post and blog. A multi-site church? Wow, sounds like you have your hands full. Thanks for reading and commenting. Please do come back, most definitely. Peace be with you, Stan. God bless you!


  1. Great thoughts. I agree wholeheartedly, especially when you say that the tsunami/earthquake was not punishment for sin. It irks me when people go about saying God punishes (insert x) for something via (insert natural disaster)… because if that were the case, we all deserve that same punishment. It’s a very haughty and unChristian way of thinking.


    1. Greetings, Joseph! Yeah, people who say those things remind me of Jesus’s disciples who didn’t know any better, yet, but were about to get schooled by the Divine Teacher:

      And Jesus passing by, saw a man, who was blind from his birth: And his disciples asked him: Rabbi, who hath sinned, this man, or his parents, that he should be born blind? Jesus answered: Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, whilst it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. —John 9:1-5, Douay-Rheims Bible.

      And then He healed the man. May He heal the nation of Japan, too, in their time of intense suffering and need. Lord, have mercy on us and on the whole world. Amen.

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Joseph. Peace be with you.


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