Why Do We Blame God for Catastrophes?

You are here

Why Do We Blame God for Catastrophes?

Login or Create an Account

With a UCG.org account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up


Insurance companies speak of damage done by an earthquake or storm as an "act of God." Sometimes, when a child's life ends prematurely, people will even say that God took the child to be with Him.

When an accidental death occurs or a weather disaster or earthquake demolishes buildings and injures or kills people, is it fair to classify such troubling events as deliberate acts of God?

Certainly not! In reality most of these tragedies fall under one of two categories- time and chance and human error.

Such tragedies usually result from people being at the wrong place or in the wrong situation at the wrong time. Their cause is similar to wise King Solomon's explanation of why being faster, wiser or stronger may not always determine one's success. "I returned and saw under the sun that-The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all" (Ecclesiastes 9:11). The same principle normally applies to most victims of hard-to-explain disasters-they simply happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Recently a newscaster expressed the skepticism of many by asking, "Why would God allow such terrible things to happen?" Appropriately he did use the word allow rather than cause. Nevertheless, his question implied that we might have reason to suspect that God doesn't care about what happens to us.

Why are we so quick to question God's goodness and fairness when something goes wrong but take for granted the bountiful blessings He has already given us? Is it fair for us to give ourselves the credit for the abundance of good things we enjoy and then blame God for the bad?

Couldn't it be that we need to reevaluate our perspective? Shouldn't we acknowledge that we might avoid disasters if we put far more effort into learning and following the instruction and wisdom God has so generously and helpfully revealed to us in His Word? Isn't this a time to examine our own ways rather than suggest that maybe God should accept the blame for our troubles?

Long ago God expressed His thoughts about accusations that He is unfair: "... The children of your people say, 'The way of the LORD is not fair.' But it is their way which is not fair!" (Ezekiel 33:17).

Isn't it possible for us to acknowledge that sometimes our opinion of God really isn't fair-or that God really could be consistently fair, even when He allows us to learn important lessons the hard way?

Let's learn to be more vigilant in examining ourselves, admitting our weaknesses and mending our own ways. As we do, we'll start to see that God has been much fairer with us than we could have ever imagined.