You are hereThe Tsunami Was Not A Judgment From God

The Tsunami Was Not A Judgment From God

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By dkpret - Posted on 15 January 2005

by Don Preston
Hal Lindsay has gone on record as saying that the devastating tsunami that hit Indonesia was a judgment from God because of the horrific evil in those Asian countries. Interestingly, some Islamic clerics have now joined that chorus, and more and more American ministers are also repeating that claim. Personally, I just can't find that to be true.Hal Lindsay has gone on record as saying that the devastating tsunami that hit Indonesia was a judgment from God because of the horrific evil in those Asian countries. Interestingly, some Islamic clerics have now joined that chorus, and more and more American ministers are also repeating that claim. Personally, I just can't find that to be true.Make no mistake, the sex trade in Indonesia is horrible and is destroying countless lives. Pedophilia is rampant, and "tourists" from all over the world travel to those countries to have sex with children. (My personal opinion is that those guilty of this should be imprisoned for life, or perhaps "fixed" so that they cannot repeat their atrocious actions. I have no compassion for this kind of predatory "human.") The authorities are already reporting that slave traders are making repeated attempts to steal orphaned children from the refugee camps. However, while these actions are abhorrent, does that mean that God brought the tsunami as a judgment on those nations? No. Here is why I can't accept that position.

In the Bible, before God ever brought such judgments on a people or nation, He always sent His prophets to warn the guilty of what was coming, and when it was coming. Jonah was sent to Nineveh to warn them that judgment was coming very soon if they did not repent. When Jehovah was going to carry the 10 northern tribes into Assyrian captivity, He sent Isaiah, Micah, Hosea, and Amos to warn them. These prophets were very specific about what was going to happen, who was going to do it, and when. When God was going to take Judah into Babylonian captivity, He sent Jeremiah, Habakkuk and other prophets to say that Babylon was coming, soon. Jeremiah even predicted exactly how long the captivity would last (Jeremiah 25-29). There are many other examples. The point is, that God did not bring judgments on people or nations without sending His prophets.
Amos expressed it like this: "Surely the Lord does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets." (Amos 3:7). This was stated in the context of the impending invasion of Israel by the Assyrians. To put it simply, God would not bring judgments without telling those to be judged what was coming, when it was coming, and why it was coming!

Here is the problem with calling the recent tsunami a judgment from God: There are no inspired living prophets today! The presence of inspired men, prophets, ceased in the first century, with the removal of the Old Covenant world of Israel, and the full establishment of the church of the living Christ. Jehovah said He was going to cause the prophets and evil spirits to cease, and that was to be when 2/3s of Israel perished in judgment (Zechariah 13.8-14.5). This was fulfilled in A.D. 70. There are no living, inspired prophets today!
Most assuredly, there were no prophets in Indonesia, Malaysia, etc. walking the streets warning the people to repent because a tsunami was coming, at a specific time. Retrospective "I told you so's" do not qualify!

As much as we want to see the pedophiles, and slave traders punished, (and they will get their's!), it is inappropriate to suggest that the recent tsunami was a judgment from God.

philmute's picture

Personally I'm amused at the lack of logic that people of an avowedly Calvinist view always present when disasters occur. If God as absolutely decreed etc etc then isn't he reponsible for everything from Hiroshima to Holocaust? Surely a truly consistent Calvinist must answer Yes, and then deflect us all with a pious discussion on the Sovereignty of God while subtly suggesting any who disagree are heathen heretics.
Of course the Preterist might argue that God having freely given us all things in Christ, and made an end to sin has left us to get on with it because He did quite clearly state 'my spirit shall not always strive with Man for he is but flesh'. I grant this wouldn't be a popular view for those who are requiring an easy living for preaching the gospel, but they could always imitate Paul and get a job.
Humour aside though biblically Christ insists with the tower of Siloam that chance accidents are not to be interpreted as a judgement from God because 'mercy triumphs over judgement'. Rather as in the massive wave of public sympathy and concern such events demonstrate the power of God, for scummy Arminians are happy to call any deed good which actually does some good, and where there is goodness there is God.

DavidF's picture

In response to Toto:

Thanks for reminding us of the good message in Eph. 1:4 and John 15:16. Reading them again gives me complete comfort. That message is always a good anchor for my spiritual understanding.

The Scriptures have also helped me to know that God does have FULL control over inanimate matter and natural events.

Genesis 6:17
And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh…

Exodus 9:23-26
23 … the LORD sent thunder and hail, and lightning flashed down to the ground… 26 The only place it did not hail was the land of Goshen, where the Israelites were.

Exodus 10:21-23
21 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness will spread over Egypt-darkness that can be felt." 22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. 23 No one could see anyone else or leave his place for three days. Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.

Mark 4:39
39And he (Jesus) arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

Matthew 2:9-10
"the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

Psalm 147:14-18
He sends his command to the earth;
his word runs swiftly.
16 He spreads the snow like wool
and scatters the frost like ashes.
17 He hurls down his hail like pebbles.
Who can withstand his icy blast?
18 He sends his word and melts them;
he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.

Matthew 28:2
2There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.

From these passages we can see that things don’t just happen. Everything is from God’s hand which He planned to happen before the creation of the world.

"…from him and through him and to him are all things.” Romans 11:36

“…sustaining all things by His powerful word…” Hebrews 1:3

"I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.” Isaiah 46:10-11

Everything is predestined by God. So then, God is the cause of disasters in the universe, and they are always because of sin in the world. People physically die because of this general sin nature.

“…if Christ is in you, your body is (dead) because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.” Rom. 8:10.

The sin nature in man still to this day brings bodily (death) judgment by disease, disasters, and so on, the whole world over.

The World Health Organization estimates that 326,000 people die every week globally and one can appreciate readily that sin is the real disaster as far as the flesh is concerned; that‘s 17 million (deaths) a year! Every bodily (death) is a judgment from God because of sin, and the Tsunami of 12-26-04 is nothing when compared to it!

However, “to the praise of His glorious grace” (Eph.1:6) “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…your spirit is alive because of righteousness… (Romans 8:1 & 10). Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second (death) has no power over them…(Revelation 20:6).


vinster's picture

Folks, We have to remember that God is the ultimate population controller, (Job 14:5 ).
It was their time to die whether they were sinners or saints. Vinster

TK's picture

Don, I agree! Thanks for the article. Just think, by what criteria could/would one claim to be a prophet today? And even if one concludes that "there ARE" prophets living today, then how could ANYONE ever counter his/her claim? By that I mean, if "I" claim to be a prophet then could "anyone" assert that I am not? (I could just say repeatedly that I have "been approved by God.")

But surely the answer to this dilemma is simply this: the "true prophets/apostles" lived in the first century since they confirmed their word by inspired Scripture! And no one is writing "inspired Scripture" today. Think about it. --Tom Kloske

Reformer's picture

"By what criteria?" you ask? Try 1 Cor. 12:28. And, then throw in 1 Thess. 5:19-20, for starters.

TK's picture

Dear Refomer: Sorry, I should have said this too: When the apostles wrote the inspired Scriptures, there WERE prophets, apostles, and miracles being done: see also Eph. 4:11, those you cited, et al., so obviously, there were prophets in the New Testament church in the first century. But when God's judgment came in A.D. 70, (and if Dr. John A. T. Robinson is correct in asserting the entire N.T. was written by A.D. 70.... which I agree with), then this "fulfilled" the time-frame God allowed for miracles to be done (with the office of prophets to be included). By the way, a number of scholars have concluded that this completed the "age of miracles w/ apostles/prophets" I really think we need to not only understand WHEN the letters of the New Testament were written but we need to clearly understand the significance of A.D. 70! --Tom Kloske

Reformer's picture

Dear Tom, so what if "a number of scholars have concluded" this. Other scholars have concluded otherwise. More importantly, I don't see any exegetical basis here for what you are saying . . . just a deductive assertion . . . which is weak but typical of the arguments use by most preterists in trying to support their cessationist positions.

Please note that this deductive approach is in stark contrast to the strong inductive arguments (inductive is superior to deductive)that preterists use to support an A.D. 70 fulfillment.

So, by what hermeneutic do you differentiate in Eph. 4:11 and in 1 Cor. 12: 28, for example, which things continue on and which don't? Seems like a deductive and weak "pick and choose" approach to me.

TK's picture

Dear Reformer: Sometimes one cannot just win with one who simply wants to be "angry" and just attack. Look, you have a different "theology" than I and I can accept that, (there are quite a few like you, but I disagree!), so chill. What I cannot accept is your ugly response. Of course, (you are correct) that there are "scholars" who don't view all the N.T. documents to have been written before A.D. 70, but the still the burden of proof is upon you to produce! Where are the prophets today? Where are the prophets? Where are the miracles? Ans. They simply don't exist! If they did, why in God's name don't they SHOW they have the gifts and use them to benefit mankind. I believe that there is absolutely NO ONE living on planet earth today who could "prove" that THEY are a prophet (and if so, would you please come forward)! Simply put, they can't because God has not ordained anyone in this day and age to be so. Again, prove it. May the Lord bless you! --Tom Kloske P.S. I've had my firm response and I am finished w/ this discussion, UNLESS of course, you can produce a prophet (and then I'll be interested. I am always amazed that people like you keep "claiming" that there are prophets, perhaps even apostles/miracles but NEVER PRODUCE! It's time!!

Reformer's picture

I am sorry to see this discussion degenerate into personal accusations that I'm "angry" (not true) and that my responses are "ugly" (not intended).

Be that as it is, I will make a few more qualifying remarks.

1) Many scholars (including preterists) take a continuity position on the miraculous powers/gifts/offices.

2) The "prove it" demand and attitude expressed above is reminiscent of the soldiers who mocked Jesus, blindfolded him, and demanded, "'Prophesy! Who hit you?' And said many other insulting things to him." (Luke 22:64-65). I will respond to this like Jesus did. Of course, I know of and know several people who I think are filling Eph. 4:11 and 1 Cor. 12:28 offices today in the Church. Likewise, I know some who think they are but I question if they truly are.

In this discussion, however, Scripture, and the proper use of it, should be our plumb line. Demanding that one submit names to some other one who, admittedly, cannot receive this level of faith or theology is out of order.

P.S. These comments are not meant to be "ugly." Nor are they written in anger.

TK's picture

Dear Reformer, okay I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, but your words could have been stated just as firmly w/o sounding like you were angry. For example, you write, "So what...." I realize TONE is not easily conveyed in a "post" so perhaps I took you incorrectly, but it was just my observation.

Having said that: You did just what I thought you'd do.....No Fruit....never is. It's always "trust me" they're "out there". But no, they are not! Again, how could one CLAIM to be a prophet, when there is no need for the office today. Why? NOT to write Scripture and NOT guide into "all the truth" (as the "real apostles" were to do) and not to predict the future. So, please tell me "what in the world do we need 'real prophets' for"? Perhaps an over inflated ego for one today to actually THINK that THEY ARE A PROPHET! There is simply no one, unless you have "GOD'S APPROVAL" and please tell me HOW?? May God bless you.
--Tom Kloske

P.S. Likewise, I am not writing in "anger," just firmly stating that I think your position is clearly wrong. If not, again, I ask, "How are you going to 'prove it'?" And then I'll concede. By the way, who are you? And why don't you sign your name?

Reformer's picture

Assertion, mere deductive assertion. That is all I'm seeing here from you and others. And, that is weak. No one has yet to address the scriptural and inductive "logic" that I've presented above on this issue of cessation vs. continuity.

And, there is much more scriptural "logic" and support, as well as historical (i.e., post A.D. 70)documentation for continuity.

Virgil's picture


By what logic do you come to the conclusion that there are still inspired prophets in the world today?

Reformer's picture

Thank you for this nice question. In addition to the Eph. 4:11 and 1 Cor 12:28 "logic" I've previously raised (which has not been addressed herein), here's another scriptural argument for continuity.

Many preterist-cessations deductively contend that the miraculous powers/gifts/offices were confined to the "last days" which ended in A.D. 70 (Acts 2:16-20) (see Ed Stevens' book, "What Happened in A.D. 70?" p-27, for instance). Therefore, they conclude that when these "last days" were over these all ceased.

The preterist-continuity view on this is inductive. Hebrews 6:5 states that these (dunamus) powers belonged to, were possessive of,
"the age to come," and not the "last days." Of course, "the age to come" was inbreaking during those "last days." But when the "last days" and its "this present age" concluded, the age to come continued, along with its instrinsic elements.

Fact is, preterists-cessationists do not have a clear text, nor any inductive arguments, to justify their position (1 Cor. 13 notwithstanding).

MiddleKnowledge's picture

A better way to reason is posted here.

Tim Martin

Virgil's picture

Excellent article!! Thanks Tim...this deserves to go on the front page here.

KingNeb's picture

As far as God being the ‘cause’, I would certainly contend that God ‘caused’ the Tsunami. To suggest that God simply ‘knew’ about it and ‘permitted’ it, as thousands of ministers would say, is a form of deism. (Note: Don, in particular, did not comment on this, so that last point was not directed to him)

And, though I agree with Don’s point concerning the cessation of prophets, I do have a question: If no prophet was around to tell us what the Tsunami was for, how could we rule out ‘judgment’? Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. Maybe it accomplishes a number of things, of which judgment is a part. No, I can not say with 100% certainty what the Tsunami was for, but neither could I say what it was NOT for.

Just some thoughts. ( :


Virgil's picture

Jason, come on man. What kind of reasoning and wild speculation is this? Maybe Israel DID cause the tsunami to kill all the muslims.

Either God caused it or not...there is no middle way. Or was it that an earthquake caused a big wave in the ocean?

Toto's picture

The Earth is a planet that keeps on changing everyday and has several physical phenomenoms, like earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes,mudslides, blizzards,etc. In the case of the Tsunami, it was caused by an underground earthquake. But, because there was no warning system like there is on the pacific, a lot of lives where killed.Is not that God sent the Tsunami,it just happened,like those hurricanes we had.It's the Earth, like any other planet, it changes. That people weren't warned about it or weren't prepared for it, Is their fault. People who live in the Pacific countries where they had Tsunami experiences know that if they see the ocean go back offshore in an abnormal way, a Tsunami might be on it's way.The same thing if they feel an earthquake with a destructive intensity, people that live on the coast, they evacuate, just in case. They don't get nosey and head towards the beach and stay there, like a lot of people did and died.I'm not making fun of them though, I feel sad that a lot of lifes where gone because of human disregard. There was a town in that area that as soon as they saw that the ocean was acting weird , they evacuated and survived.When a Tsunami aproches, there are signs that it might come before it hits.There was this girl who was vacationing somewhere in that area, she just took geography classes and she learned about Tsunamis,she noticed something strange in the ocean and she yelled "TSUNAMI" and because of her, a lot of people survived.
So that meens, those Hurricanes, and mudslides, and torrencial rains, etc. that've been happening here is because God is judging this country too?? and so are the rest of the countries, because as I've seen,since I was born, there have been natural dissasters everywhere, everyday.So, that means that we are in a countinuosly punishment?? It always happens and it's going to be happening forever,and I meen forever, because there is no end of the world. Is the nature of the Planets.Is the way it releases it's energy,it's gases. Like our body, and i'm not going to go through details about that because you know how our body works.
So, It's not that God sent the Tsunami.It just happened.If he made it happened or not, who knows. Only He knows. And if He did it, that meens that we are predidestined. Some where chosen to survive and others to die in that tsunami, because I don't think the victims had a free will and chose tu drown.So, if we think that God did it. There goes our free will.
If I believe in free will or predestination?? It's a tough topic.I'm still working on it. My human nature chooses free will, but spiritually I'm almost sure about people being elected before they where born and I'm working on believing that hopefully I am one of them. There's a good message on "Ephesians 1:4" and "John 15:16"
But personaly, I don't agree that natural disasters are punishments.

KingNeb's picture

Virgil, what?

"Either God caused it or not...there is no middle way"

How was i not clear? Read it again:

"As far as God being the ‘cause’, I would certainly contend that God ‘caused’ the Tsunami."

Are you being sarcastic or something? I was very straightforward - God CAUSED the Tsunami.

Virgil's picture

How do you know God caused the tsunami?

KingNeb's picture


it is the testimony of the Scriptures - just one of many examples i could pull.

Jeremiah 10:10-13 10 But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth quakes, And the nations cannot endure His indignation. 11 Thus you shall say to them, "The gods that did not make the heavens and the earth will perish from the earth and from under the heavens." 12 It is He who made the earth by His power, Who established the world by His wisdom; And by His understanding He has stretched out the heavens. 13 When He utters His voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, And He causes the clouds to ascend from the end of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain, And brings out the wind from His storehouses.

And what would be your alternative?

Virgil's picture

How do you manage to be a preterist and read all these passages literally, the way you do? :)

The entire chapter 10 in Jeremiah is an exposition on idolatry and on how impotent idols cannot stand against the living God who created the heavens and the earth. A foolish man worships an idol of wood who cannot walk or speak. Compared to these impotent idols, God is mighty and powerful. The passage has absolutely nothing to do with God creating tsunamis.

Do you think that God literally causes the wind to blow, or you believe that He set in place a set of laws which cause air from areas with high atmospheric pressure to move to an area with lower pressure?

Which is more marvelous to you, the fact that God's wisdom is so great and overwhelming that a system He put in place continues to function the way He intended it and will continue to do so for eternity, or the fact that God makes every particle of matter in this universe moves a certain way because he is involved in every minutia of its existence?

In fact, what kind of car would you buy, one that runs on its own for a very long time, or a car that comes with a mechanic that frantically runs around the engine to make sure the car runs every second?

BigD's picture


You're right, and the line of reasoning that you are arguing against is the same used by new earth creationists and others - God is deceptive and created the appearance of age by creating light in transit, etc., etc., etc. People may object to your reference to laws of nature, esp. the anti-science crowd, but all they really are are man's observations of God's creation, organized and quantified.



KingNeb's picture

"How do you manage to be a preterist and read all these passages literally, the way you do? :)"

Simple - being a preterist does not require me to take every single word as a metaphor.

"The passage has absolutely nothing to do with God creating tsunamis."

no, 'tsunami' is not explicitly mentioned in the text, but lightning, rain, and wind are. The principle is, God does all these things. Are you suggesting that lightning, rain, and wind are from God, but tsumanis are not? Lightning kills people too, you know.

Jeremiah is very clear - And He causeth vapours to come up from the end of the earth, Lightnings for rain He hath made,

The worship of an idol is plain foolish EXACTLY because a piece of carved wood can do no such things.

"Which is more marvelous to you"

What is more marvelous to me is that the Creator is actively involved in His creation, even down to the number of hairs on my head and the death of a sparrow. THAT, sir, is a massive and wonderful thought and offers much hope.

"In fact, what kind of car would you buy, one that runs on its own for a very long time, or a car that comes with a mechanic that frantically runs around the engine to make sure the car runs every second?"

I won't answer here because your analogy is a false representation of my view - for God to stir up a tsunami is like a drop in the bucket, a speck of dust on the scales - no 'frantic' work going on.

lastly, how do you account for these so-called 'laws of nature'? Is this based on the Revelation of God or 'empirical evidences'?

KingNeb's picture

Great comments Jason!

The natural result of non-inspired people talking about this, is, the lack of clarity and certainty concerning it.

Though I respect Don a ton, one thing that gets me about preterists is that type of reasoning. God, most likely, did not "change" anything post AD 70 other than the WAY in which He dealt with HIS OWN! He did not make any statements on how He would change actions towards those who are not His, nor to how he would handle running the earth He is still sovreign over.
Yes, he judged HIS OWN by sending prophets to them, and Ninevah was a UNIQUE exercise of God's grace in that time period, but can we say that all the events that occurred outside the scope of the Old Testament, back then, were not judgments, just natural occurances? Is there not numerous general statements by those like David and Soloman about how God GENERALLY handles wickedness throughout the earth?

God Bless

Reformer's picture

Again, with all due respect, I find Virgil's explanation, and attempt to distance God from "evil," "calamities," and "disasters" (see Isa. 45:7 Hebrew word "ra"; also Lev. 26:14f) non-satisfying and non-scriptural.

Reformer's picture

I respectfully disagree with Don's assertion that "there are no inspired living prophets today" and cited 1 Cor. 12:28. But I'll save this cessation-continuity debate for a future time.

The point I'd rather and must contest is his other assertion that this tsunami was not a judgment of God. First of all, how can anyone know that? Secondly, see Isa. 45:7. The Hebrew word "ra" is correctly translated as "evil," "disaster," or "calmities." Also see Lev. 26f.

May I rest my case?

Virgil's picture

The point I'd rather and must contest is his other assertion that this tsunami was not a judgment of God. First of all, how can anyone know that?

We need to accept the determinism instilled in this world by its creator. God may know and be aware of everything that happens, yet he is not necessarily the cause of specific events. And in a post AD 70 world, natural calamities and physical death can hardly be viewed as "judgments" from God, especially if one takes an anihilationist position.

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