In the past few blogs, we have raised questions about how God is involved in our personal lives and in our world. One way to resolve our questions is to examine what the Bible and science teaches us about God’s involvement in our natural world. For example, the Bible tells us God feeds the birds (Matthew 6:26). The problem is that everyone knows God does not literally feed the birds. If he did, there would be no debate about his existence because we would see him at that task. The Bible says God is involved when a sparrow falls to the ground (Matthew 10:29). Does that mean God personally gave that sparrow a disease or caused a hawk to kill it? The Bible tells us that God causes the sun to rise (Matthew 5:45). However, we know the law of gravitation and the fact the earth is in orbit around the sun produces that effect. In the same verse in Matthew, the Bible tells us God causes rain. However, we know atmospheric laws govern when it rains and when it does not. So if God is not the direct cause of these natural events, how is God involved and why does the Bible tell us God is the cause?
The first reaction of most people when faced with a natural disaster, such as an earthquake, flood, tornado, hurricane, or volcano, is to question why God allowed it to occur. The unspoken assumption is that God controls all the natural processes on our world and these processes produce the disasters we regularly experience. Since God controls these processes, he is responsible for the effect that is produced. The fallacy of blaming God for natural disasters is illustrated by the fact that we do not blame God when someone is injured or killed because of gravitation as when someone falls from a height. Why do we blame God for one tragedy but not the other? Part of the reason is that the law of gravitation is constant whereas the occurrences of natural disasters such as tornadoes and earthquakes are highly variable. The seemingly arbitrary nature of weather and earthquakes lead us to believe they are caused by an intelligent agent but that belief, as science has taught us, is incorrect. It simply does not make sense logically that God should be blamed for injury or death produced by a tornado and not for injury or death as a result of gravitation. Gravitation, earthquakes, and storms are all natural phenomena and any suffering caused by these events is simply a consequence of a material existence.
Like natural disasters, diseases are a function of our material existence. Science has shown us biological systems are controlled by natural processes just like storms and earthquakes. We know how germs spread and we know how germs affect the human body. We have evidence that God does not interfere with these processes on a regular basis because they consistently follow known laws of science. Now some will claim God can impact biological systems and they point to people who have been cured of a disease and medical science has no explanation for it. It is possible that God is involved in these situations but it is also true our knowledge of biology is incomplete and in the future we very well might have a natural explanation for these seemingly miraculous cures.
So how is God involved in our world? We will start to answer that question in the next blog.