Grant Swank
How can a good God allow a quake?
By Grant Swank
January 13, 2010

So many dead. So many grieving. So many distraught.

Where is God? Where is the good God?

Good God created all things sound and pure. Then He placed our first parents in paradise — the Garden of Eden. There, however, was a stipulation. They dared not touch a particular tree. That obviously was to test the mortals-with-free-will obedience quotient.

All other creatures on Earth were programmed by instinct. Only Adam and Eve were gifted with free will — the awesome power of choice. In that, at least, was their image of deity upon their very own natures — the power to think, to make decisions.

Yet, sadly, our first parents disobeyed God to follow the Lie. The Lie told them God really didn't mean what He said. It was all a ruse. Good God would overlook their eating of the forbidden fruit. After all, He is good God.

However, good God is not only mercy but also justice — eternally so. If He were not, none of us would want to know Him let alone worship and obey Him.

In His mercy and justice, God dealt with Adam and Eve's disobedience. In His mercy, He did not slay them. He permitted them life and forgiving grace — but a temporary span on Earth, not the eternity He had originally planned. In His justice, He disciplined them by casting them out of Eden. Further, Eve would give birth in pain. Adam would dig out a living by the sweat of his brow.

Earth fell when our first parents disobeyed God. In that, mortal's body and soul fell, hence there being sickness followed by death as well as meanness, madness and murder, anger, animosity and anxiety.

Further, when Earth fell due to Adam and Eve falling for the Lie, the globe itself came upon its own calamities. They were not originally intended by good God. They were the result of mortals' disobedience, hence floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires and, yes, earthquakes.

Earth's calamities should then remind us that mortals are indeed frail, fragile creatures in need of the Power above and beyond themselves. Mortals are temporary creatures of a spiritually fallen planet. Mortals are in need of a merciful, comforting God.

Therefore, when earthquakes take lives, spring forth wails of woe, and cover the planet with depression, they remind us of history's beginnings. They remind us of the awful state the planet is in due to mortal going his and her own way apart from good God. They remind us to call out for mercy, for divine help, and for a hope that is beyond and above the earthquakes, winds and fire.

An earthquake is not God's fault. It is mortals' fault — from the start, that is. Adam and Eve's lineage have had to deal with their disobedience ever since they went for the Lie. That should surely underline for all thinking mortals how truly crucial it is to obey an Almighty God, falling at His feet for mercy and grace, beseeching Him to redeem Earth's tragedies into a meaning that only eternity can fully explain.

The hope? The hope in a spiritually fallen world is still the good God. There really is no other alternative other than despair and finally spiritual and / or physical suicide. Hope comes from reaching out in faith to good God, calling upon His everlasting arms, and finding Him there — no matter the tragedy, the loss, and the perplexity.

In that, good God has the last word for those in faith. In that, good God then is their Almighty One placing His period at their last sentence.

God Himself acted out before us how to deal with this spiritually fallen planet. He came to earth in Jesus. He taught and loved and healed. Then the jealous enemy spiked Him to the cross. Murder. Injustice. Madness. Meanness. Cruelty.

Yet from that zenith of calamities came His resurrection. And from those lips — now alive and loving — come the words: "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me shall not die. Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. I stand at the door and knock. If anyone will open, I will come in to him and sup with him and he with Me."

Till the close of Earth's history, tragedies will continue to spill themselves over the face of the planet — since Adam and Eve first fell for the Lie. But out of every tragedy, faith can lift the arm of hope toward good God. In doing so, victory is assured through the tears. Eternity will prove it to be true.

© Grant Swank


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Grant Swank

Joseph Grant Swank, Jr., is a pastor at New Hope Church in Windham, Maine... (more)

More by this author