Q&A: Natural Stability After Noah

Natural Stability After Noah

If God promised natural stability in his covenant with Noah, why do we still experience so many natural disasters?

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Answer

I think we have to distinguish — as we ask the question, why are there so many natural disasters, given the covenant with Noah that promised stability and promised there would never be a "flood," really, if we bring it down to the exact words — but to distinguish between the kinds of things that we consider to be natural disasters today and what this biblical flood was… This was not a region of people who were affected. This was an event that affected every living and breathing being on the planet… As we understand Noah standing on the mountain after this event has occurred, he is confronted with, yes, having been saved by God from the flood, but he's confronted with utter devastation. Everything that he knew, everyone that he knew, all of the world that he understood, it had all been destroyed. And so, while we talk about natural disasters today — and they are significant, and some of them are awful, and we should understand them to be significant and awful, and we should hate them, and we should look forward to a future in which they're gone — it's not fair to call them contrary to the promises made to Noah because these natural disasters are not coming on the heels of sin that is global sin throughout the human race… It's not God taking care or eliminating all but one little tiny remnant and wiping the face of the earth clean of man and beast. And surely plant life as well was totally different than it had ever been. We should then, as we look at the modern issue, while not being concerned that it breaks the covenant with Noah, we should wail, we should be horrified, we should recognize that, in this world in which God has brought stability, that those forces which move the earth and bring us good, at times they also bring us great harm, that the wind and rain which water the plants can also be so extreme that they steal homes and that people lose their life. And so, we can look forward to a future in which those things won't occur. We can recognize them as signs of the curse and as problems that arise only from the Fall, but we don't have to see them as contradictory to God's promises that he has made his people. The flood and the impacts of the flood were far beyond the localized natural disasters that we experience today.

Answer by Dr. Tim Sansbury