Every Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!
Is God in Control of Disasters?
I’ve been reading through Chance and the Sovereignty of God by Vern Poythress recently and I’m really interested in the topic. It’s one I have considered for a PhD thesis so I was really interested to dig in and see what Poythress had to say (I have reviewed the book here). One interesting part was Poythress’ comments on disasters and sovereignty:
The main alternative is to say that God is not thoroughly in control. It says that some disasters “just happen,” apart from God’s control. This alternative is superficially attractive, because it appears to protect the goodness of God… further reflection shows that it is not satisfying–in fact it is spiritually devastating… If God is in control… we have a consolation such as the Bible provides… that God is able to bring good out of evil.
…[W]hat if we say that God is not in control of the disaster? God might still do something good in the response. But the disaster itself is still out of control, and inherently unredeemable. There is no comfort to be had for it. We are left with fear for the future. (Kindle location 738, cited below)
What do you think? When a disaster strikes, like Hurricane Katrina, it is inevitable that some will stand up and say it was God’s judgment on a town. Others quote Jesus’ words in Luke 13:1-5 and say that these disasters come seemingly at random. Are these mutually exclusive claims? What are your thoughts on Poythress’ comments: do they show that it is better to say God is in control than not?
Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)
Book Review: “Chance and the Sovereignty of God” by Vern Poythress– Check out my review of this interesting book about chance and God’s control over all events.
Vern Poythress, Chance and the Sovereignty of God: A God-Centered Approach to Probability and Random Events (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2014).