Hurricanes and Divine Wrath

One can understand the inclination to think of hurricanes as expressions of anger. Even the metaphors we use – furious howling winds, lashing rain, and so on – draw from such imagery.

But there are problems with attempting to take this view literally, especially in light of our meteorological understanding of climate, weather, and storms, but even just in terms of the way God ends up being thought of when one views God as attacking sinners with a scattergun that does so much collateral damage.

I shared a meme about this some years ago, which seems worth sharing again:


The worst heretics often come out of the woodwork during hurricane season. Ken Ham is a perfect example. Young-earth creationists want at the same time to be biblical literalists about Adam and Eve bringing sin into the world, but they also want to pander to modern ethical sensibilities and so refuse to say that God cursed the ground and brought all this pain and suffering into the world as punishment. And so they will say that these things result from human sin – as though humans rather than the Creator are the ones who control weather and climate.

Allan Bevere offers a much better example of how Christians can interact with these issues. In a recent post he wrote, “if such natural disasters are the result of God’s judgment, then God’s judgment is quite indiscriminate. There’s certainly much collateral damage incurred, and yes, I think dead children are collateral damage. One would think if God wanted to judge the guilty parties only, he would be capable of performing surgical strikes on the right people. If God does not have the ability to do this, perhaps God should have a conversation with the military.”

See also Neil Carter’s insightful treatment of the different ways that people are prone to interpret circumstances when a hurricane devastates some and spares others.

Christians, we can do better.

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