No Wonder Jeanne Was Kept So Long in the Offing

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The Florida Supreme court has declared itself God once again.

I do not believe that God causes natural disasters in punishment for human sins. But I find myself persuaded that this expected, but nevertheless vile abomination and the forecast of Jeanne sweeping up the entire coast, does have a certain element of poetic justice to it. I just hate to be in the middle of the stanza.

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Just curious: Why don't you believe that God causes natural disasters as punishment for human sins? The notion is completely biblical and consistent with Catholic teaching about God's justice. That doesn't mean, of course, that punishment is the only reason for natural disasters, which might also be sent for the sanctification of the faithful, or for deliverance from some future evil, etc.

But why rule out punishment altogether?

Dear Jeff,

Because that "punishment" is levied against the innocent as well. And God is a god of Justice.

I'm not saying that it isn't possible, and I emphatically do not say that it hasn't happened in the past and may not happen in the future. It simply isn't concordant with my understanding of Justice, so I do not believe that this is the normal modus operandi

However, extraordinary circumstances do encourage extraordinary means.

And part of my disbelief comes from those who make claims against God's justice that show God in an exceedingly bad light. "AIDS is God's punishment against homosexuality." Then why does it afflict so many who are not? If God intends a punishment, it seems to me that He equally can tailor that punishment to its appropriate audience.

Hence, I tend to think that God does not punish with these means. Finally, the point of punishment in God's realm is to bring to repentence. Punishment is kind of lost on people who will not repent--as this culture of death has shown itself to be.



Well, as St. Augustine points out, calamities *are* punishment for the wicked, and they are something else for the innocent -- much like the same fire purifies metal but turns wood to ashes. Even the best Christians will suffer some temporal punishment due to sin, whether in this life or the next, and so it would not seem unjust for God to send the same calamities upon both the good and the wicked.

I think Luke 13.1-5 fits into this question: there, Jesus says that the calamities befalling some people is not because they were particularly great sinners, even though the first group were clearly involved in a great sin in which most Jews did not partake.

Compare also the story in the gospel of John, where the man was born blind not because of his sin, nor his parents' sin, nor does Jesus suggest it is for purification — rather, it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him. We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day.

I'd suggest that calamities are sent by God, so that we Christians will do the works of the one who sent Christ, and who sends Him anew in us. They may sometimes be punishment for particular sins, but I don't believe that's necessarily the case.

Dear Jack,

I think your's in a more accurate articulation of my intent, if not my statement. For a change, I think we concur one-hundred percent. I suppose I meant to say that I don't see God's punishment in every natural calamity, which is not to deny that it could be there, but that it is not foremost in my mnd in the interpretation of events.



For a change, I think we concur one-hundred percent.

I was thinking the same ;-)

What kills me is the way the judge expresses sympathy for the anguish of Terri's parents, then rushes to assert its unimportance, as though it were a given that behind that anguish might lie some truth by which the law ought to be bound. The separaration of powers is of far greater gravity than the sacredness of life. As "the law" becomes more and more disembodied from the moral lives of ordinary people - loyal to none but its own internal logic - we find that it resembles less an ass than an executioner without conscience - a sociopath.

That should read: "...that behind that anguish may lie no truth.." The mind wanders too often these days.

In the absence of justice, what is sovreignty but organized robbery?
— St. Augustine



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on September 23, 2004 12:06 PM.

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