God In The Storm: The Goodness Of God And The Reality Of Evil -- By: R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

Journal: Journal for Baptist Theology & Ministry
Volume: JBTM 04:1 (Spring 2007)
Article: God In The Storm: The Goodness Of God And The Reality Of Evil
Author: R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

God In The Storm: The Goodness Of God And The Reality Of Evil

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

It has been two years since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. By the time the storm ended, it had become one of the costliest and deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States. The memories of the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina once again raised questions about the goodness and power of God. These are not easy questions, and they are not questions that simply fade away. Not just any answer to them will suffice. If we are to understand how to think rightly about God and the storm, we must look to the testimony of Scripture.

In Job 37, Elihu, one of Job’s friends, speaks to him:

Out of the south comes the storm, and out of the north the cold. From the breath of God ice is made, and the expanse of the waters is frozen. Also with moisture He loads the thick cloud; he disperses the cloud of His lightning. It changes direction, turning around by His guidance, that it may do whatever He commands it on the face of the inhabited earth, whether for correction, or for His world, or for lovingkindness, He causes it to happen. [Job 37:9–13]

At the end of the book of Job, God rebukes three of Job’s friends for making inaccurate statements both about Job’s suffering and about God. Elihu, however, is not rebuked. Elihu spoke truthfully, saying to Job, in effect, “You cannot take God out of this equation. You cannot say that God is not in the storm. He is.” Throughout the Bible, but particularly in the book of Job, we are reminded that we simply do not have the option of saying that God is somehow not involved. If we say we believe in the sovereignty of God, we must believe that God is always and everywhere sovereign—even over the storm.

The playwright Archibald MacLeish wrote a work entitled J.B., which was a modern rendering of the book of Job. In that play is the famous line, “If God is good, He is not God. If God is God, He is not good.” This is the equation many people wrestle with in the face of destruction like that of Hurricane Katrina: If God is sovereign, and if He controls every atom and molecule of the universe, then how in the face of so many evils can modern human beings affirm that He is good? On the other hand, if we believe that God is good, then He must not be in control. He must not be able to keep these things from happening, and therefore, He is not the all-powerful God of the Bible. In the end, it is asserted, if God is God, then He cannot possibly be good; but if He is good, then He is not God.

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