Some Thoughts Provoked by Haiti

19 01 2010

By now we have all heard and seen much about the terrible disaster in Haiti. There are countless posts about it all over the blogosphere – many of which are in response to Pat Robertson’s apparently making a connection between the disaster and Haiti’s supposed “pact with the devil.”  (Related: Andrew Jones questions whether such a “pact” was ever made… and in a press release CBN states that “Dr. Robertson never stated that the earthquake was God’s wrath.”)

This leads us to a question: Is it possible that God caused the destruction of Haiti because of the sinfulness of that country?

Yes.  It is possible.

Such action and ability does not lie outside God’s potential.  God is capable of such things.  The Old Testament provides several examples (e.g., the flood in which the entire world is destroyed [Gen. 7]; the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah [Gen. 19]).  We simply must accept the fact that it is a possibility, even if it makes us uncomfortable.  We (or at least I) too often limit our understanding of who God is and what God is capable of.  We forget that in the Bible, “We are presented with a warrior God and a peacemaker, a God of territorial allegiance and a God who transcends all territorial divides, an unchanging God and a God who can be redirected, a God of peace and a God of war…” (Peter Rollins, How (Not) To Speak of God, 13).

Yes, it is possible that God caused the destruction of Haiti.

However…

1. I wholeheartedly do not believe this is the case.  My understanding (limited though it may be) of who God is and how God works in the world simply will not allow me to believe that God caused this horrendous disaster.

2. Even if I did believe that God caused this disaster (which I do not!), it would not be appropriate for me to say so.  It is not my place.  Throughout the Bible there are prophetic voices that warn individuals and whole communities of coming (or past) wrath and judgment because of sinfulness… however, those voices come from within their own community.

Even if there ought to be a prophetic voice that speaks out about the sinfulness, corruption, etc. of Haiti, it simply cannot come from the United States or any other unconnected nation.  (We have enough of our own sins and corruption; not to mention we probably add to the problems in Haiti).  If such a voice is to be heard it must come from the people of Haiti.

(This does not mean that we remain uninvolved, for we have a responsibility to hear the cry of our neighbor and to act in love.)

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2 responses

25 01 2010
mlbeck

People should read this. I especially like the part about prophetic voices speaking from within communities, not from outside of them.

30 01 2010
Caleb Lazaro

Wise words. God cannot be limited to our notions…but like you said, the experience of God seems to be one of compassion and forgiveness.

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