Natural Disasters in Design

A look at natural disasters and other deadly factors in the world and how they might be incorporated into divine plan.

There are so many things in the world that can kill you, and life is always fatal. Those who get past accidents, diseases, violence, natural disasters and the like still cannot survive old age (although modern technology has made a difference). If the world was designed by a creator, you have to wonder why he incorporated all the bad things into it that seem to serve no purpose at all in a divine plan that, in fact, go against human well being.

There is no telling how many have died from disease in human history. Disease not only strikes indiscriminately, but it actually hits the very young and very old the hardest. A creator of all would have created those pathogens, or at the very least, sat and watched as other forces brought such horrors on both man and beast. While science has helped humanity conquer some of these diseases, or at least reduce the toll they take on people, there is no evidence of any divine assistance in that battle.

In fact, throughout human history, the sole defense people often had against these diseases was natural immunity built up through natural selection. If god assisted in building up this immunity, it was only through death. Populations that had not been exposed to these pathogens over the generations were devastated when they first came in contact. For example, at least half of the Indian population of the Americas was wiped out by Old World diseases after their initial contacts. At times, entire populations were so devastated that it was total genocide. Why would a god create such pathogens knowing what they would do?

The human body
Not only does the human body lack any natural immunity to disease (unless it is brutally built up through death), but the nature of the human body means many people live short, painful lives or never have a chance to make it to adulthood at all. From heart attacks and cancer to weak lower backs, the human body, for all its wonders, is susceptible to many maladies. If life is a test, it is hard to see why people were not made better to give everyone a chance to take this test, if not to avoid having to live lives of horrible pain.

Natural disasters
Perhaps the most difficult thing to explain in the natural order from the perspective of a perfect creator is natural disasters. There are two major characteristics of natural disasters that have had horrible effects on people throughout history:

  1. They occur virtually everywhere. While some areas of the world are more susceptible than others, there is no place that does not have them.
  2. They strike indiscriminately. While natural disasters were often thought of as divine punishment of the wicked in the past, there is nothing to suggest that natural disasters statistically strike bad people more than good ones. In fact, like pathogens, the weakest and most innocent children are generally the ones that suffer disproportionately when they strike.

With this in mind, why would a flawless creator make a world with things like earthquakes, tornados, storms, tsunamis, volcanoes, etc. built in? Even if some of these could be shown to perform some kind of function in the natural world, surely a being with the power to create the universe could find a better way to have them carried out than through forces that are genocidal at worst!

Divine plan
There simply is no satisfactory way to fit natural disasters into divine plan. If an all-powerful being would need to take the lives of people, it does not make sense that it would do it in an indiscriminate way, especially of that being is just and merciful. Again, if life is a test, all the above, particularly natural disasters, would only interfere with many people’s ability to ever take it and go against a test of free will.

In the unimaginable vastness of space, the human race can only survive on a tiny planet in the thin atmosphere that surrounds it. Even on that planet, much of the surface is covered by water, deserts and other features that make much of it uninhabitable. Within that zone, there are so many natural disasters, pathogens and other factors that only science has made possible for many to survive into old age. It is more than hard to imagine how all of that was created with the human race and its well-being in mind.

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Faith can be a very dangerous thing if not backed up by evidence. Question everything and do not blindly follow. Certainty does not necessitate truth. If your God is almighty, he can certainly stand up to human questioning.

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