Tuesday, October 28, 2014

God and Earthquakes

Somehow Rob Phillips over at the Baptist Press is actually arguing that Earthquakes aren't a problem for God, but that they strengthen the claim there is a God... What!?
The Lisbon earthquake of 1755 changed everything. In minutes, this thriving, affluent city was brought to its knees. Roughly 50,000 people died. The sky turned black. Fires raged. Then tidal waves washed over the port, drowning hundreds more...Later, Voltaire wrote a poem challenging the prevailing view that this was a divine act of judgment...Voltaire did not challenge the existence of God. He simply asked what kind of deity would create a world with such design flaws. It's a question other thinkers of his day dared to ask as well -- a question taken up by today's ardent atheists and carried to the extreme conclusion that God does not exist.
Huh? I don't know who Rob has been talking to, but no atheist I know would claim that Earthquakes prove there is no God. Most atheists will only go as far as citing such events as evidence against the existence of an all-loving god.
The earthquake and tsunami that devastated Southeast Asia in 2004 and similar disasters that struck Haiti in 2010 and Japan in 2011 are more recent examples of what may be described as natural evil. While many atheists concede that moral evil exists in the world, the idea of natural evil seems to prove either that God does not exist or, if He does, He is not a compassionate all-powerful God worthy of worship.
Sounds about right, but he left out all-loving.
Not so fast.
 Really? Where's the problem?
Plate tectonics
Okay... How does that vindicate God any?
In their book "Rare Earth," Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee observe that Earth "is still the only planet we know that has plate tectonics."
You sure about that? Because Mars has plate tectonics and Europa may as well.
They further show that plate tectonics is a "central requirement for life on a planet." It's also largely responsible for differences in land elevation that separate the land from the seas.
But there's more. Plate tectonics recirculates carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and without carbon dioxide we would not have life.
Dinesh D'Souza writes in "What's So Great About God?": "The whole tectonic system serves as a kind of 'planetary thermostat,' helping to regulate the earth's climate and preventing the onset of scorching or freezing temperatures that would make mammalian life, and possibly all life, impossible."
Plate tectonics also aids the formation of minerals deep in the earth and their availability near the surface.
Finally, the tectonics system contributes to the earth's magnetic field, without which earth's inhabitants would be exposed to cosmic radiation.
So, in a sense, we owe our existence to plate tectonics and the earthquakes it produces. Of course, earthquakes often cause great destruction and claim the lives of many people. These are real tragedies that must not be minimized.
That's all well and good, but it doesn't change anything. Claiming that earthquakes are but an unfortunate side-effect of extremely beneficial plate tectonics does not improve the case for God. This actually attests to a natural process rather than a perfect design by a God. For if a god designed plate tectonics and worked in earthquakes as well, then it would be a bad design. He's supposed to be able to do anything, so he could have just omitted earthquakes from the equation if he wanted to.
However, to make the leap from tragic consequences of natural disasters to accusations that God is aloof, petulant or non-existent fails on numerous counts. People die of heatstroke and skin cancer but that doesn't make the sun -- or its Creator -- our enemy. Fires often devastate property and take innocent lives, but without fire many technological advances such as smelting metals would not be possible.
In addition, floods and hurricanes cause tragic death and destruction, but these natural disasters would be impossible without water, without which no living creature could survive.
Sigh... that's nature for you. It is indifferent and can be as devastating as it is beautiful.
It's true that something is wrong with the created order -- and this has been the case ever since the man's fall in the Garden of Eden.
 But when God is defined as being perfect, the nature that we see actually does disprove a 'perfect' god. That's because a perfect deity couldn't create an imperfect creation. Additionally, a perfect god wouldn't be able to make a creation that was even capable of becoming broken. The very claim that Rob uses to try and explain away the problems in the world actually proves that his god can't be a perfect one. Now isn't that embarrassing...

-Brain Hulk

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1 comment:

  1. Concepcion, Chile/Christchurch N.Z. 4X/the National Cathedral in DC is the ONLY thing damaged of note in the largest quake in 111 yrs. Epicenter: Cuckoo, Virginia/Baloney (literally Bologna), Italy - 1500 quakes & temblors in 18 days/on Easter Sunday in Mexicali, CA/April Fools Day mag 8.2 in Chile again - no serious injuries... what part of BALONEY do you not fathom? These continuing quakes separately & together obviously state the same thing: the Christian version of Santa-Gawdamighty is not the all-creator. Go ahead; argue with eartjhquakes, but it's best to admit the overstated & obvious: our notions AND what we are taught to make-believe about GAWDAMIGHTY are crumbling as the places & churches in those places ONLY because what we believe is make-belief. The obvious truth comes