Are natural disasters the judgment of God on a nation?

Every year various natural disasters hit around the world. These tragedies, especially the ones in America, draw responses indicating that certain major disasters are the the judgment of God on the nation or the particular city. Are things liek hurricanes, droughts, floods, earthquakes and terrorist attacks the judgment of God on a nation?

The Bible contains numerous specific accounts of destruction coming upon cities as part of the judgment of God, cities like Nineveh, Babylon, Tyre, Sidon, Sodom, Gomorrha and Jerusalem. The reason we know these disasters were the judgment of God is because the Bible tells us so. God did not tell us about other cities. He does not tell us about the tragedies that happen in cities today. A person cannot assume that a terrible event is the judgment of God on those people. Jesus speaks about this in Luke 13. A tower in the town of Siloam fell and killed eighteen men. Jesus asked the crowd, “Think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?” They were not judged for their wickedness. Jesus used their death to warn that judgment is coming upon all men.

The philosophy that disasters are God’s judgment is based upon an idea that believes God brings physical cursing upon those who do wrong and physical blessings to those who do good. In the Old Testament God promised Israel to bless the nation for her obedience and punish her for disobedience. Those promises were part of the Mosaic covenant made between God and Israel at Mt. Sinai. They never applied to any other nation. Through the death of Christ God ushered in a New Covenant. The New Covenant included people from all nations of the world, not just Israel. In this New Covenant there is no promise of physical prosperity or tragedy. God has given no warning to bring natural disasters upon those who disobey Him.

The New Testament gives a list in Romans 1 of the judgments of God upon a nation. The judgments of God are an increase of sexual perversion, proliferation of homosexual behavior and the rise of all manner of violent, deceitful and hateful activities. The judgment of God on a nation is seen in the wickedness of its people. (Romans 1:24-32) God is not judging America for things like abortion and homosexuality. Those things, and many others, are the judgment of God upon America. Ultimately, God’s judgment on a nation is to leave it to itself, to let its people wallow in their own wickedness and destroy themselves in their depravity. God judges the nations that reject Him by giving them what they want. He leaves them to their own devices.

This does not mean that natural disasters are to be thought of as nothing more than geological or meteorological events. God is actively at work in the world. All natural disaasters are a part of His perfect plan. The heavens always declare the glory of God. The landscape always shows His handiwork. The sky declares God’s glory when it is blue and when it is black with tornadoes. God’s hand is seen when the earth is still and when it quakes violently. The hand of God that blesses and judges should be seen in all the events of the world.

God is the just judge who will one day perfectly and completely bring justice upon all sinners. The tragedies of this life warn of the need look ahead to the coming judgment and seek His mercy today.

Do conservative Christians want America to follow the Old Testament laws?

In some of the many debates about morality, a few have accused conservatives and Christians of wanting to put America under Old Testament law. The implication is of a fundamentalist movement that wants to enact a Christian version of Sharia law. The angry retort accuses Christians of thinking America should burn witches and stone homosexuals. Is there any truth to this? Do Christians think American law should be like the law of Moses? What should Christians think about the laws of Israel and their application to America today?

Most conservative Christians do not secretly yearn for a day when America is under the law of Moses. The law of Moses was a unique system of laws unfit for use in any other country of the world. The law of Moses was not just a religious law. It described the right ways of worship andd sacrifice. It defined right and wrong, commanding some behaviors and forbidding others. The law of Moses was more than religious law. The law of Moses was also civil law. The laws given to Moses by God described how the nation of Israel would be governed. It assigned punishment for crimes, maintained civil order and directed those who arbitrated God’s law. At that time Israel was a theocracy, a government by God mediated through His prophet Moses. Israel had no elected leadership, no constitution, no king, no ruling body. God was Israel’s supreme ruler and He ruled directly over the affairs of the nation.

Most Christians are not seeking to turn America into a theocracy. Such an effort would be futile and contrary to God’s commands for Christians today. God has never commanded the church or individual Christians to establish a Christian nation ruled directly by God. Christians have been commanded to exert a positive influence on the morals of others. Christians recognize that the moral laws found in the Old and New Testament are God’s unchanging standard of right and wrong. Christians would love to see the nation move to a place of obeying those moral laws, but Christians do not desire to overthrow the existing system of government to enact a pseudo-spiritual political agenda.

The focus of all Christians should be on a goal higher than the passing of new laws or the defense of existing laws. The Christian recognizes that human behavior is the symptom of the evil that exists in every human heart. As a result, the Christian’s goal is the transformation of the heart. The Christian must not be content to be a lobbyist or legislature. The Christian must be anxious to tell the gospel to everyone he meets so the heart of individuals will be changed by the power of God. Only when the heart of a man is changed, turned from sin, cleansed by God and made new, will he be able and wanting to obey God’s laws. The laws of a nation can only order the actions of a people, they can never change hearts.  Christians are not interested in making America a theocracy like Israel, but are anxious to preach the gospel to every creature.