Repent or perish

Further on God’s wrath, the tsunami, and what could it all possibly mean. As the estimated death toll keeps on rising, it sounds smug and righteous for anyone to say something like, “well, they were heathens, God is acting to destroy them…”

Nonsense. We are all God’s children; all have the possibility of salvation. Those who are not chosen/choose (Calvinist/Arminian; I’m not interested in parsing those differences for this point) will be judged in the end. Not here. Not now. God acts in mysterious ways, which is the usual cop-out of believers who are faced with something considered too heinous to blame on God. Well, God causes it to rain on the just, and the unjust. Make that God causes all sorts of things to befall all of us. You say, “it’s not my fault! I go to church every Sunday, and pray, and tithe, and…”

Well, so you do. Perhaps I do too. But even the casual observer of our species knows that most of us disobey His will, and with great relish. So, when you get right down to it, perhaps the tsunami is, in some theological sense, our fault. We being all of mankind (just a phrase; not to exclude the ladies), especially those who claim to follow Jesus.

No, we did not cause God to have a hissy fit and say, “those lousy sinners, I’ll show them a thing or three.” But is it possible, just possible, that by our refusal to truly follow Him we postpone His second coming, perhaps indefinitely? And thus bring on ourselves the post-exile (from the Garden of Eden) problems. As for the righteous suffering along with the unrighteous, we may turn to St. Luke (13:1-5):

Repent or Perish

1 There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

In the meantime, we cope, and those of us in the West with solid infrastructure (which spares us most of the effects of these kinds of natural disasters) must not think that the people of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, etc. are being picked on. It is very much all of us who must be held accountable for God’s wrath.

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