Natural Disasters: A Biblical Perspective

Here are 16 points we should keep in mind concerning the biblical perspective on tragedies, regardless of their scale or circumstances:

Natural Disasters: A Biblical Perspective

1. God has said in Bible prophecy that natural disasters would grow in frequency and intensity as the end of the age approaches—to shake people out of their complacency and lead them to seek Him (Matthew:24:7; Luke:21:25-26; Revelation:6:12; Revelation:11:13; Revelation:16:18).

2. In His design for the world, God allows many events to run their course according to "time and chance" (Ecclesiastes:9:11), so that many tragedies are, for those affected, accidental and unforeseeable.

3. Those who die in accidents or natural disasters are not necessarily greater sinners than those who survive (Luke:13:1-5).

4. Personal tragedies or calamities are not necessarily the result of one's sins (John:9:2-3).

5. Natural disasters or accidents should humble us, helping us to see our dependence on God to sustain and deliver us (Revelation:16:8-11).

6. Natural disasters have sometimes been the direct judgment of God on a rebellious humanity (Genesis:6:6-7; Genesis 11-13; Genesis 17; Genesis:18:20; Genesis:19:24-25).

7. Some natural disasters are made worse by man's poor judgments (Proverbs:14:12) and age-long rejection of God and His laws, resulting in worsening environmental and climatic conditions.

8. God is a truly loving God who is working out a great plan for all humanity (John:3:16; 2 Peter:3:9; 1 Timothy:2:4; 1 Corinthians:15:22-24).

9. Converted Christians who die in natural disasters will be resurrected to immortality in the first resurrection at the return of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians:15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians:4:16; Revelation:20:4-6).

10. Non-Christians who die in natural disasters, those who never had a genuine understanding of God or real opportunity for eternal salvation, will be raised in the second or general resurrection to live again in the flesh with their first real opportunity to learn God's way, repent and be saved (John:5:28-29; Matthew:12:41-42; Revelation:20:5).

11. The multitudes of humanity who are raised in the second or general resurrection will experience joyful and abundant life under the rule of the Kingdom of God (Ezekiel:37:12-14).

12. The sufferings experienced now in "this present evil age" (Galatians:1:4)—this era of man's self-rule under the influence of Satan the devil—are writing a lesson of experience about what it means to live in a world cut off from God and His ways.

13. We don't know all the reasons God brings or permits specific calamities or why particular people are made to suffer by them, but we should trust that in God's omniscience and ultimate wisdom He knows how to work out what is best for everyone in the end (Romans:8:28; 1 Timothy:2:4).

14. Jesus Christ will eventually return to usher in the rule of the Kingdom of God (Revelation:11:15; Daniel:7:14), under which natural disasters will no longer plague mankind.

15. When all humanity is at last glorified, there will be no more pain, suffering or sorrow (Revelation:21:4).

16. All the sufferings of this brief present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory we will ultimately experience for all eternity to come (Romans:8:18; 2 Corinthians:4:17-18).


bwjohnson's picture

This was comprehensive and well done, thank you. I'm very confused, though, by the scripture references that you use to defend point #10. None of those passages say anything about unbelievers having such an opportunity after death. They actually say the opposite, and quite clearly it seems! In addition, you are ignoring many other passages that are even more clear in opposition to your position. Hebrews 9:27 above all. Would you comment on that please?

Ken Graham

Ken Graham's picture

For BW Johnson:

As the Bible deals with events further and further into the future, the references to those events become less detailed and less specific. Some of the verses that point to the resurrections in the future are direct and some are more indirect. Jesus' reference to the General or Second resurrection or judgment in John 5:28-29 is less direct simply because it is further out in the future than the first resurrection. When He says, "...those who have done good, to the resurrection of life,..." He is making reference to the second or general resurrection after His second coming. The second resurrection period includes the Millennium or thousand years of Jesus Christ's rule, right on into the the Great Resurrection also called Second Resurrection or Great White Throne Judgment period. After that, every human who's ever lived will have had their opportunity to be called and to hear and understand the Gospel message and the opportunity for salvation presented to them. Those who've done good, accepted that calling and followed God's way will be resurrected to life eternal.

Then comes the third resurrection or final carrying out of sentence upon those who have rejected their opportunity for salvation and refused to follow God's way of life. (This is the point at which the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man takes place). Jesus sums it up in the last sentence of verse 29, "...and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation." Condemnation is or sentencing is carried out on them at this point, and they will be placed in the lake of fire, or as it is referred to in the Greek - Gehenna fire.

Mr. Robinson also makes reference to Matthew 12:41-42. The men of Nineveh and the Queen of the South will hear God's voice, and be resurrected from their graves to live physical lives again in the Second, Great resurrection, or White Throne Judgment period. They will be given their chance to hear the Gospel and receive their calling to God's way of life for the first time, and with their minds opened for the first time, will condemn previous generations that rejected Jesus Christ and His way of life. Because they failed to heed Him and follow Him.

Revelation 20:5 is a little tricky because the first part of the verse is a parenthetical clause. This clause takes place after the the final sentence in the verse, "This is the first resurrection." Remember the first resurrection is complete as Jesus Christ touches down on the earth at the Mount of Olives and begins His reign as King of Kings. So everything thereafter is the Second resurrection period. And this is where the first part of the verse, "But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished." That phrase should be in parenthesis to be better understood. After the Millennial 1,000 year rule of Jesus Christ, comes the Great resurrection.

Your reference to Hebrews 9:27 fits in nicely here. Human beings are physical. We all die at some point. After death there is a resurrection coming for all men. Which one of the three resurrections they will come up in, is part of God's judgment.

Hope this helps,
Best Regards,

Steven Britt

Steven Britt's picture

Hebrews 9:27 says "And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment." However, Revelation 20:6 says "blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the SECOND DEATH has no power." It also states in verse 5 that those who are not resurrected at Christ's return will not "live again" until the 1000 years are over.

Therefore, our understanding of Hebrews 9:27 in light of Revelation 20:5-6 is that there are 2 categories of people: those who are called by God in this age and those who are not called by God in this age (remember that no man can come to Christ unless the Father draws him, John 6:44). Those called in this age will be a part of that first resurrection, and the "second death" has no power over them after they are resurrected because they have already passed judgment at that point. Those not called in this age WILL be called in the age to come immediately after the 1000 years - they will "live again," as the scripture states, and at that time they receive their opportunity to understand what God wants from them and conduct their lives accordingly before being judged.

Brett Diggins

Brett Diggins's picture

Thank you for taking the time to read and offer your thoughts on this topic. I am not the author of this article, but rather a fellow reader. I thought maybe I could shed some light on point #10.

Many of the passages in the Bible that refer to resurrection to either eternal life or to condemnation (like John 5:29) are ultimatums directed toward converted Christians who already know and understand God's teachings and therefore will be held responsible for practicing those teachings. God is a loving God and holds people accountable only for what they already correctly know and understand. Thus, it stands to reason that if a man dies before being taught His Truth, then God will teach him (after death) the correct way to live before judging him for his actions.

As for Hebrews 9:27-28, it is guaranteed that everyone will die at some point. The purpose of this scripture is to emphasize that Christ died once for the sins of the entire world. Revelation 20:6 proves that there does exist a second death for those who diliberately reject God.

There is no single end-all verse that spells this out in perfect clarity, but rather, you can gain understanding of this concept from looking at a number of related verses. If you are willing to take on the challenge of proving your beliefs about life after death, consider reading this e-booklet:

Hope that helps! :)

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