Al Mohler, ‘Natural Evil’ and the Oklahoma Tornado
If a trumpet is blown in a city will not the people tremble?
If a calamity occurs in a city has not the Lord done it? – Amos 3:6
The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these. – Isaiah 45:7
Yesterday, a massive tornado began in Newcastle, Oklahoma which later moved on to Moore, Oklahoma as an F4. Contrary to what some believe, I reject en totem that this or any other ‘natural disaster’ should be called a “natural evil.” Such theology has no basis in Scripture.
Al Mohler had this commentary:
Yesterday, evil showed its face again as a giant tornado brought death and destruction to Moore, Oklahoma…..Natural evil comes without a moral agent. A tower falls, an earthquake shakes, a tornado destroys, a hurricane ravages, a spider bites, a disease debilitates and kills. The world is filled with wonders mixed with dangers. Gravity can save you or gravity can kill you. When a tower falls, it kills.
He goes on to say:
Some suffering can be directly traced to sin. What we sow, so shall we reap, and multiple millions of persons can testify to this reality. Some persons suffer innocently by the sinful acts of others. But Jesus rejected this as a blanket explanation for suffering, instructing His disciples in John 9 and Luke 13 that they could not always trace suffering back to sin….Natural evil comes without a moral agent. A tower falls, an earthquake shakes, a tornado destroys, a hurricane ravages, a spider bites, a disease debilitates and kills. The world is filled with wonders mixed with dangers. Gravity can save you or gravity can kill you. When a tower falls, it kills.
Dr. Mohler makes points in his article using John 9 and Luke 13 and claims that “the theological issue of theodicy, is customarily divided into evil of two kinds, moral and natural. Both are included in these passages. In Luke 13, the murder of the Galileans is clearly moral evil, a premeditated crime–just like the terrorist acts in New York and Washington. In John 9, a man is blind from birth, and Jesus tells the Twelve that this blindness cannot be traced back to this man’s sin, or that of his parents.”
Brethren, with all charity and love, this simply is not so.
In John 9:3, regarding the disciples questions and the cause of the blind mans blindness, Scripture records:
Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
Jesus gave the reason the man was blind – so that God’s glory through His works in the blind man might be shown.
Yet Jesus never declared his blindness as a “natural evil” which Dr. Mohler insist upon. Moreover, Jesus never rejected the “blanket explanation” that sin was the cause of all suffering – not here, nor anywhere else. And yet, lo and behold, Dr. Mohler says it is so. That is called eisogesis, brethren.
In fact, all manner of physical suffering can be traced back to sin and specifically, the sin of Adam, in whom, as our federal head, we all sinned, fell from grace and are by nature both guilty and deserving of suffering (Romans 5:12-21).
Likewise, in Luke 13:4, the other passage Dr. Mohler references, Jesus speaks of the tower of Siloam that had fallen, crushing eighteen people to death. Yet Jesus never, not even implies, that this occurrence was a “natural evil.”
Brethren, this kind of thinking that makes “natural” events an evil is wrong.
Tornados, floods, bridges crashing, whatever, these things are not “natural evils.”
They occur because the Sovereign Christ, who is both Creator and Upholder of all things, who directs His creation to do as He pleases, when He pleases, sits on the throne of David as the promised Messiah, the King of kings and Lord of lords, and speaks that they must be so, and they are.
One thing natural disasters are not, and I pray Dr. Mohler will someday recognize this by God’s grace: they are most certainly not “natural evils,” as if there existed a law of nature apart from God’s direction and commands.
Here is some pretty amazing footage of the formation of the tornado that began in Newcastle, Oklahoma which later moved on to Moore, Oklahoma as an F4. Again, this is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a ‘natural evil’.
It is the finger of God.