Q1. Why doesn’t God prevent natural disasters?
Q2. We don’t seem to have anything to learn from “Acts of God”!
or all we know God regularly intervenes to prevent and mitigate natural
disasters. How can we know what God averted given that it was averted?
If God preserved ignorant human beings from natural disasters the
foundation of “moral hazard” would be undermined.The end in view is of
such great value that it justifies the necessary means, the down-side of
which pales into insignificance once the final outcome is grasped.
If God averted all natural disasters this would amount to subverting
the very basis of Physical Law which holds the whole world in being.
Although this would be possible it would make the world fundamentally
irrational and at the best very difficult for human beings to “do
science”. In deed it might very well entirely demotivate them from this
The voice of Job cries out to Heaven: “What have I done?
There’s no just cause for all my liability
to suffer earthquake, hurricane and techtonic eruption.
Why must my best laid plans all end up in futility?
I’m plagued and starved and threatened by corruption
and after my set time by prospect of senility!”
The voice of God replies to Job: “Mark well these words my son,
you’ve no just case against me.
For you have no idea what I’ve already done
for all my folk who live beneath the rainbow gay
which is my favour’s pledge to all humanity.
Your notion of what by physic’s law must come
is based on what you see from day to day
but this is full of my preventive action
how will you then renormalise my grace away?
If I were reticent in giving benediction
the state of things would be much more awry!”
Now Job retorts, in flaming woe: “It would be hard to bear
if only sinners came to such calamity,
but often it’s the just and kind who suffer
this seems to me a great profanity!
You exploit the innocent for sport.
Not content with their servility,
You love to see their red blood spurt.
Delighting in their vulnerability
you shoot your barbs, and cut their sad lives short!”
God makes response, with kindly sense: “But pain and death are not as bad
as they may seem; for there’s a life beyond the grave.
I take no pleasure in what makes you sad
it is my will to prosper you and save
you from all ill. I have no need
for entertainment of that kind
or any other! I want you to succeed
and in this wondrous world to find
much joy! My business is for you to learn
to tell what’s good from what is not,
and my unfeigned respect to earn.
Moral hazard’s necessary if your sort
is ever to exceed what’s natural
and so be worthy of the Life Eternal.”
But Job is not remotely satisfied and shouts: “You say that we
must learn to tell what’s right from wrong
by finding out the upshot of our agency;
but the actions of which my feeble tongue
makes its sincere complaint are Thine,
O God inscrutable –not mine!
What am I supposed to learn from them?
It seems, at best, that You don’t care;
for if You did, You’d intervene
to stop them taking effect where
the innocent would elsewise suffer –
if You were at all just and fair.”
God answers Job, most patiently: “An option’s risk being understood,
if you take it, then that’s your doom!
Choose active fault line as your neighbourhood,
or else the shadow of volcanic cone,
or plateau scoured often by tornadoes,
or shore which tzunamis frequent;
than you must accept all of those
outcomes which flow – or else repent.
The evils of which you make moan
are not my acts intentional
but certain and most sure outcome
of Cosmic rule conventional
which solid holds the World as one.
I must not subsidise your folly
for then you could not learn.
The preservation of your autonomy
(which is a great and glorious good )
requires that I am resolute and stern.
This of my business is foundational
though repent of it I now would;
were making Man divine not my whole goal.”
A final point, Job pleads with God: “You should at least the ignorant show pity
averting dangers of which they don’t know.
If they are unaware that their fair city
sits on a crack that’s fit to make it rock and roll,
or have no clue their scenic mount
is filled with magma, and so soon
with pumice and with flame will fount
and like a lanced carbuncle spume;
then You should reign back every law
for they're secure only as far
as You allow. You’re able to act for
the innocent, if for them You do care –
as You claimed when challenged, after
Your first supper, with your dear friend, before
the fiery doom on Sodom and sad Gomorrah
was cast down. Then the innocent You saw
and You did a good while forebear!”
God then replies from the gyre of His grace: “If the volcano’s blast ne’er hurt
those who knew not its power to harm,
and I always shielded the ignorant,
this would discourage the naïve to learn.
Ish and Ishsha were secured in Eden
by My strict pedagoguey of their innocence
but to explore beyond that narrow glen
they had to taste experience.
If things were not how they are now,
you’d have no reason truth to know.
The more that you came to see how
things work, and did in wisdom grow;
grasping the designs of the world:
the less you would be able to rely
on my sure aid, as being curled
up in my gentle arms, safely.
No sooner than you realised this fact
you’d seek out that knowledge no more
which your first paradisial state had lacked;
but rather your naïvety you would try to restore!
This would undo human autonomy
and worthy self-respect
and its an outcome which I hope you’ll see
I rightly do reject.”