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Caitlin Kennell Kim
Mary
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
General Questions
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP
Ecumenical, Interfaith
Neela Kale
Culture, Moral Theology
Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
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Mike Hayes
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Our readers asked:

If God Promised Noah, No More Floods, Why Do We Still Have Natural Disasters?

Ann Naffziger Answers:

Q: In simple terms, when God made the covenant with Noah, he said he would not destroy everything he created, including animals, birds, etc., by flood again and gave us the signature of this covenant with a rainbow. The deaths due to floods today, is that just an act of nature and not God?

This is a question that commonly arises after natural calamities such as floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, or wildfires. If our God is good and the created world is good – as God declares in the first chapter of Genesis – then how is it that so many still perish in natural disasters today? Why does God allow this? Are natural disasters acts of God’s judgment against humanity?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives a resounding ‘no’ to such questions. It states that “the universe was created ‘in a state of journey’ (in statu viae) toward an ultimate perfection yet to be attained, to which God has destined it. … In God’s plan this process of becoming involves … the existence of the more perfect alongside the less perfect, both constructive and destructive forces of nature. With physical good there exists also physical evil as long as creation has not reached perfection.” (CCC 302, 310) This is the Church’s way of saying that the pain, heartaches and deaths caused by floods today are not willed by God, they are marks of physical evil that are separate from God. They are reflections of the reality that creation has not yet reached perfection. Until it does, we are left with the mystery of death and destruction, even as we strive to believe that God can make good come out of evil, as ultimately happened in Christ’s death on the cross.

 
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The Author : Ann Naffziger
Ann Naffziger is a scripture instructor and spiritual director in the San Francisco Bay area. She has has written articles on spirituality and theology for various national magazines and edited several books on the Hebrew Scriptures.
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • satcheluk

    An omnipotent being designed a rainbow to communicate to his followers when he clearly has the power of telepathy. That seems a bit grandiose and inefficient or maybe it’s merely projection from whoever wrote that tale. It’s a nice story for children or others without the capacity to understand science/physics, but it’s downright distrubing when adults speak of myths as truth.

  • Mike

    God said that he would not wipe out the entire earth with a flood of water again, God did not say that He would not let the floods or cause floods to wipe out parts of the earth, nor did he ever mention not using the element of fire either. pay attention to detail.

    • satcheluk

      God said nothing. Men tell stories of various gods to explain the unknown or manipulate the manipulatable.

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