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Our readers asked:

If God made a covenant with Noah about the flood then why do we have floods and tsunamis, etc today?

Joe Paprocki Answers:

Question:  If God made a covenant with Noah about the flood then why do we have floods and tsunamis, etc today?

It’s important to remember that the story of Noah and the flood is a
story of deliverance, not a story that explains weather conditions. In
this story, God intends to purge the earth of sinfulness and deliver a
just man and his family from the torrents of evil. Water, in this story
and in much of the Old Testament, is symbolic of the chaos that existed
at the dawn of creation before God separated the waters from the dry
land. It is from this chaos that God will deliver the just man and renew
the earth. This is a story of God’s promise to deliver us from the evil
of sin…a promise which he has kept time and again. Neither the
creation story nor the story of the flood are intended to explain
weather conditions as they related to God’s mood!  God has kept his
promise never to destroy the entire earth by his own hand. If the world
is destroyed some day, it will not be by God’s hand but by our own
doing.

Of course, floods still occur in the world and many people die as a
result of their destructive force. However, now that we understand the
science of storms and floods, we no longer see these natural disasters
as being sent by God in response to sin…they are simply the
unfortunate by-products of the natural world. Hurricane Katrina and the
deadly tsunami of 2004 were not punishment from God for sins committed
by the people of those regions. On the contrary, God was present to the
victims of those disasters, offering his grace and mercy which was made
manifest through the charity of human beings who reached out to their
neighbors.

 
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The Author : Joe Paprocki
Joe Paprocki, D.Min., is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press in Chicago. He has over 30 years of experience in pastoral ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Joe is the author of numerous books on pastoral ministry and catechesis, including The Bible Blueprint, Living the Mass, and bestsellers The Catechist's Toolbox and A Well-Built Faith (all from Loyola Press).
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