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It's Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature

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Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is blaming the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina on climate changes that are the result of the United States’ unwillingness to be trapped by the provisions of the Kyoto Treaty. I find it interesting that Kennedy and other secularists have no problem believing that “Mother Nature” is in the judgment business, but an all holy God is not. Polluting the air seems to be today’s unforgivable sin, but polluting the airwaves with pornography and homosexuality, and polluting the minds of young children with the illogic of moral relativism, does not move God to act to get our attention.

Kennedy has the audacity to quote Scripture in an attempt to make his point: “For they that sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind.” So let’s extend his cause and effect argument and apply it to his own family. What might we attribute the tragic death of his uncles, Joseph and John, and his own father killed by an assassin? Then there’s the death of his cousin, John, on his way to a Kennedy wedding. We mustn’t forget the misfortunes of his uncle Teddy, actually the misfortunes of others, especially Mary Jo Kopechne at a place called Chappaquidick. Let’s not forget Michael Kennedy, who was accused of having an affair with his children’s 14-year-old baby sitter. He died later that year on a ski slope in Aspen, Colorado. There’s more. David, Robert’s brother, died in 1984 of a drug overdose. Robert’s brother Joseph (Joe) was involved in a 1973 car accident that left a female passenger paralyzed for life. In 1997, Joe left his wife and their children after he appealed to the Roman Catholic Church for an annulment. Have the Kennedy’s ever asked why so much tragedy has befallen their family? Playing the post hoc[1] card cuts both ways. Who are the pro-homosexual and pro-abortion Kennedys to judge anybody? Abortion and sodomy have killed more people than global warming has.

It used to be that tornados, hurricanes, floods, wild fires, and earthquakes were understood in two ways. First, the creation itself is fallen, and these disasters are a reflection of the fall. The created order goes through convulsions similar to the way disease hits each of us leading to old age and inevitable death (see Gen. 3:17–19).

For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now (Rom. 8:20–22).

Second, these events are a reminder that God does respond to a world that “has forgotten Him.” In 1750, John Wesley wrote of “The Cause and Cure of Earthquakes”:

Of all the judgments which the righteous God inflicts on sinners here, the most dreadful and destructive is an earthquake. This he has lately brought on our part of the earth, and thereby alarmed our fears, and bid us “prepare to meet our God!” The shocks which have been felt in divers places, since that which made this city tremble, may convince us that the danger is not over, and ought to keep us still in awe; seeing “his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still,” Isa. x, 4.[2]

In 1756, Gilbert Tennent observed that earthquakes were “extraordinary in respect of number and dreadful Effects”[3] and saw them as indicators that “some extraordinary Revolutions [might] be near at Hand.” James West Davidson adds to this:

Ministers in 1755 as well as 1727, New Light as well as Old, accepted the prevailing assumptions that earthquakes were naturally caused, that they were inescapably meant as moral judgments, and that (most important) they were compatible with other moral judgments which God accomplished by using human instruments. They saw natural disasters as one proper part of the climax of history, not because of a preference for any specific millennial chronologies (once again a wide range of opinion appeared on that subject), but because catastrophes fell under the more general category of moral judgment, which was a necessary part of ultimate deliverance.[4]

At various times in history, God has used these phenomena as warnings of impending judgment or as retribution for covenantal unfaithfulness (Num. 16:30, 32, 34; 26:10; Deut. 11:6). Of course, not every earthquake or famine has such a special meaning. Each occurrence, however, ought to serve as a reminder that we are sinners and our world has been ravaged by the effects of rebellion (John 9:1B3). We all need to heed the possible warnings of God’s—not “Mother Nature’s”—judgment for our manifold high handed national sins masquerading as personal freedom.


[1] A shortened form of post hoc ergo propter hoc, a Latin phrase that means “after this therefore because of this.” A person commits this fallacy when he assumes that because one thing follows another that the one thing was caused by the other.
[2] John Wesley, “The Cause and Cure of Earthquakes” (1750), Sermons on Several Occasions, 2 vols. (New York: Carlton & Phillips, 1853), 1:506.
[3] Gilbert Tennent (1703B1764) quoted in James West Davidson, The Logic of Millennial Thought: Eighteenth-Century New England (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1977), 102.
[4] Davidson, Logic of Millennial Thought, 97.

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