In recent months we have again and again been witnesses to
great upheaval. Hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, all belittling
man and his belief that he is the master of his environment
and without fail, what is the description by the news media,
insurance companies, and others when describing these tragedies
but acts of God. Certainly the power behind such events,
unduplicatable by man, may be one reason they are ascribed to
God. Even the idea that they may be unavoidable; that you “can’t
run away from God” may be part of it. The real question is what
is an act of God?
Scripture is full of examples. One only has to read the Book
of Exodus to get an idea. Did Moses send the plagues upon Egypt
or did God? Who parted the Red Sea and provided food and water
for the Israelites in the desert? Obviously, if God did them
they were acts of God. In the New Testament Jesus claimed it
was God’s power through him that healed the infirmed, raised
the dead, and smote the consciences of sinners. They, too, should
be considered acts of God.
And what about today? How many of us have heard stories of
someone lost for days in the woods, or aboard a sinking boat,
or in some impossible sounding situation, where there was no
recourse left, and yet the hiker is found, the shipwrecked
rescued, the impossible explained. Did God intervene?
Are acts of God positive, negative, or neither? I’ve heard
someone credit God with saving them from a horrible accident
and yet deadly Hurricane Katrina was also called an act of God.
Can an act of God join two people together for a long, fruitful
marriage but also cause two to separate by death? Are acts of
God in the changing of the seasons or in the changing of one’s
work or residence? One determinant may be in a person’s point
of view. Acts of God as viewed by the world tend toward
describing major destructive events of nature. To a Christian
an act of God can be the healthy birth of a baby, or a basket
of food at a time of utter destitution. A Christian prays because
he desires spiritual intervention, an act of God.
The last thing we should remember is that acts of God by
an all-knowing, all-seeing creator, though they may not make
sense, are always correct, although we may not understand them,
God can’t act in any other way.