by John E. Werhan
During the recent 5.6 earthquake, felt Saturday, November 5th I put on Facebook what we were experiencing. I cannot recall ever in my life feeling the affects of such a natural action.
The next day a friend who lives in California reminded me that I am always giving them a hard time about living in earthquake country. My position was that I did not want to live in such an area that was plagued with earthquakes (can’t run or hide) but I was not concerned with the tornadoes of our area since I can see them and get out of the way.
Then Monday, November 7th it all came together. Oklahoma had both earthquakes and tornadoes at the same time (quakenado). This is one time I had to eat my words and repent of my opinions.
As one considers such things as earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods, etc and their effects on individuals, it brings to mind just how powerful nature can be. Encarta Dictionary defines “nature” as, “the physical world including all natural phenomena and living things.”
When God created the universe, he set in order all that we see in nature (Genesis 1:1-20). When such natural occurrences affect us, it reminds us of the great power that is in the hands of the Creator.
The apostle Paul wrote:
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).
Unfortunately, such natural occurrences of the physical world are used to promote a gross misconception of the Lord’s teachings. Individuals who adhere to the theory of dispensational premillinnialism cry that these natural occurrences are indications of the impending end of time.
They cite Matthew 24, as proof for their theory but neglect to mention that verses one through thirty-five pertain to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. The years between the crucifixion and the fall of Jerusalem were repeatedly punctuated with earthquakes in the Mediterranean reign of the ancient Near East, as recorded by Josephus, Tacitus, and Seneca. These verses have been fulfilled and do not apply to future events (see Matthew 24:36).
Others theorize that these natural occurrences are a judgment from God upon evil people. It is true that in biblical times God used such disasters to punish evil (cf. Numbers 16:30-31), it is also a fact that earthquakes served a benevolent purpose (cf. Job 1; Matthew 27:51; 28:2; Acts 16:26). Today, it is difficult to say when or how God may or may not use nature to punish.
What one can learn from such natural occurrences is that we live in a natural world under the authority of God.
John preachers for the The Northeast church of Christ in Sentinel, Oklahoma.