How Should Christians Interpret Natural Disasters?

Sin Damaged Nature Too

When we flip on a news station and hear an earthquake flattened a city or a hurricane devastated an island, our first reaction is often to wonder why God would let it happen. How should Christians think about natural disasters? Mike Bullmore, Senior Pastor of CrossWay Community Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, teaches a biblical perspective of natural disasters. 

Natural disasters happen because sin doesn’t ruin just us, it poisons all of creation. Read Romans 8:18–22 to see the impact sin has on the earth.  

Romans 8:18-22 (ESV)

Future Glory

18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.19For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.22For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Using Romans 8 as a reference, what did Mike say is the reason for natural disasters?
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Do you agree with Mike that Romans 8 is a sufficient explanation of natural disasters? Why or why not?
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Mike pointed out that God uses natural disasters as a means of judgment in the Old and New Testament. But we are not in a place to understand or know if God’s hand of judgment is behind any natural disaster. 

According to Mike, why are we not in a place to know if a flood or earthquake is God’s judgment? Do you agree? Why or why not?
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Has this conversation changed the way you will approach explaining why natural disasters happen to your friends or family? If so, how?
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Natural disasters happen because we live in a world ridden with sin. All creation groans for the day Jesus will return an make all things new. Reread Romans 8:18. Even when disaster strikes, we have hope in Jesus’ coming. Thank God for the hope we have in Jesus.  

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