God’s Justice in the Form of Natural Disasters? (Group Prospectus)

The term theodicy comes from the Greek ‘theos’ meaning god, plus ‘dike’ meaning justice, so theodicy literally means god’s justice.  Is it appropriate for us to consider the possibility that each tsunami, earthquake, tornado, flood, drought, or storm is God passing judgement?  How can a god who is supposed to be omniscience, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omin-benevolent allow such disasters let alone be responsible? 

Haiti Following 7.0 Earthquake

Many theologians along with some modern-day evangelists would agree that God uses natural disasters to pass judgement on man.  Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti, the tsunami in Japan are all events God used to wipe out evil. 

In our project we will present and rebut the idea that God is passing judgement each time the Earth groans.  Our main argument will focus on the devastation due to an earthquake

in Haiti.  We will present personal testimonies of people effected by the tragedy, along with interviews and additional news coverage.  Our Torah discussion will center round Ecclesiastes and Job, and may include short exerts from Genesis and Exodus.

Our media presentation will include original photographs belonging to a member of the group, along with additional news coverage shots.  Past interviews and broadcasts done by evangelical ‘Christian’ will also be included.

Ashley, Da’Keisha, Brandon, Susan, Suzi

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5 Responses to God’s Justice in the Form of Natural Disasters? (Group Prospectus)

  1. lmwa223 says:

    This sounds like a great topic guys! I really love the idea of including personal reactions and testimonies in your presentation. I think that will add a little something extra that will distinguish you from the other groups. Including biblical sources that parallel the points you are trying to make regarding the earthquake in Haiti will really strengthen your argument. I would encourage you to zone in on maybe one or two particular passages, rather than a few verses here and there that make sweeping generalizations. Using specific biblical accounts will assist you in your writing endeavors as you find the ‘microcosm’ versus ‘macrocosm’ balance in your paper. What other outside sources were you planning to use, besides the news coverage? I think that the sources you have listed are most certainly an excellent starting place, but in order to take your paper to the next level you could use sociological and physiological studies about how people/cultures/societies handle devastation when it hits close to home. I look forward to hearing about your finished product during the class presentations. Good luck!

    (Ben Ward, Michael Thompson, Kevin Rooney, Jordan Barton, and Leah Watkins)

  2. marysticklen says:

    I think this is a very intriguing topic. The thought that God would send a natural disaster to wipe out an entire nation in order to rid them of evil, even though there are still good people there, is a disturbing one. I like that you are taking people’s personal experiences and in cooperating them into your paper. I think this will really help to show how devastating these disasters can be and how they can destroy people’s lives who have followed God and lived a healthy life. I also think it’s a good idea for you to concentrate on just one of these disasters, that way you can show a really in depth presentation of what these disasters can do to people’s lives. Perhaps you could relate the natural disaster to some of the disasters that God caused in the Moses story. You could also include peer reviewed studies that have been done on the effects of these disasters on people’s lives. Good luck with finishing your project!

    Mary Sticklen, Bethany Schuler, Taylor, Matt Thomas, Kristina Strine

  3. cmweid2 says:

    I’m curious as to what kinds of things you may add in as evidence for rebuting that natural disaster is not a means of punishment….I’m not saying that I don’t agree with your point I’d just like to see what you all will use as evidence. Do you all have ideas of specific verses of scripture to use? Where are the testimonies coming from? Are they news sources or interviews with people you may personally know from Haiti? If they are news sources, I would agree with one of the above comments that you maybe should look to other media/research as well.
    Very nice topic and I look forward to it.

  4. Pam says:

    Interesting topic that will offer concrete rebuttals to those that say disaster victims are being taught a lesson by God. However, I am curious about which theologians support the argument for a vindictive god. I hope you will name names, I’m wondering if there are any that I read.

  5. Ditto to all of these comments here. Remember that your chief argument, that God does not mete out judgment as you are describing, is one that to MOST people is not very controversial. That being said, I think you should begin with that point and move it further to illustrate how theologians and other public figures ascribe theological meaning to natural destruction.

    To answer Pam’s question, you may want to look at modern figures like Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson as people who explain events like Katrina in New Orleans or the earthquake in Haiti as God’s punishment for systemic evil. These arguments are so bad, refuting them is easier than hunting cows.

    Also, what Leah says is important: be sure to keep the same microcosom – macrocosom structure that worked for us in the first essay.

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