Showing posts from March, 2011

The Christchurch and Japanese Earthquakes: the judgment of God?

How do we as Christians interpret these events? Are they God's direct judgment on the cities and/or nations involved, or are they just things that happen in a fallen world?
There seem two general schools of thought on this out there. There is a very common school of thought that the recent earthquakes are a direct judgment of God on Christchurch and NZ and Japan. A friend told me of one of his friends who went to a meeting at which all the pastors involved thought so. They tend to see how such things happened in the OT where events were seen as directly caused by God because of Israel's or the nations sins. One of the best examples is Amos 4:6-13 where God brought successive disasters upon Israel to cause them to repent including famine, drought, blight and mildew, pestilence, defeat etc. Israel did not repent, and so were destroyed by exile.
Other Christians think that Jesus ended all this sort of direct linkage between personal or the corporate sin of a nation or city and judg…

End of the World? Or the Beginning of a (re)New (ed) One?

I thought I would add to my comments especially in the final paragraph concerning the end of the world in the previous blog post.
There is an assumption among many Christians that when Jesus returns it is the 'end of the world.' The idea is that Jesus returns, plucks his beloved people out, and then either the world dissolves into war, chaos, and destruction, or comes to an abrupt and destructive end (depending on how you think the 'end' fits together). Saved humanity then lives on with God forever in a new heaven and/or on a new earth. This perhaps involves a secret rapture, with all the believers plucked out leaving the rest of the world in chaos. There are popular novels and movies built on this scenario. Such thinking often leads Christians to have less concern for the world, and want the church to focus on evangelism to save people from the horror to come, that they can live with God forever. This can lead to lack of concern for the transformation of society, the …

Is It the End of the World?

My daughter has been on Facebook and she has said to me that due to the events in the world and in particular the earthquakes, 'everyone thinks it's the end of the world!' The events in the Middle East and the movie 2012 and the idea that there are a number of ancient writings pointing to now being the end of the world has amplified this feeling for this generation. So the question is, is it, from a Christian perspective, the end of the world?
The first thing to say is that this would not be the first generation to think this, with Christians many times believing the end to be nigh! We need to be very very wary of such a thought, Jesus himself did not know the day or the hour. In 2 Thess 2:1 Paul refers to people at his time who are thinking the end has come even. So we should be very cautious assuming the climax of world history is drawing near. There are texts in Thessalonians and the Gospels where it is said the return of Christ will come like a thief in the night, that…

The Problem of Natural Disasters and Hope For the Evangelical

For the evangelical who employs the free will theodicy (theology of evil), explaining natural disasters is a most difficult theological challenge. The free will theodicy explains evil's existence through the Fall of humanity described in Gen 3 when Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This event symbolises human rebellion and the point at which evil began to corrupt God's good earth, and humanity began to die.
The free will answer to the problem of evil generally argues that death, chaos and destruction affected God's good creation at the Fall. Before the Fall, there is evil present in creation in the form of the snake (Satan symbolically); however, the snake could not directly affect the creation unless humanity sinned and allowed evil's release.
There are two main ways they argue. First, that there were no natural disasters before the Fall which affected humanity. For the old-earth Christian who holds to an old earth and univer…