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PERSPECTIVES

Climatic Messages from God

By Olivia M. McDonald, Ph.D.
Regent University

CBN.comIs God sending us multiple messages using climatic change?

C.S. Lewis, a noted scholar and excellent storyteller, somewhere once posed this interesting scenario---that of God being outside the confines of time---peering in through the window in an effort not only to see but also to get the attention of humanity. Picking up the world and holding it as if holding a small box that has people in it, God turns the box. He tilts the box. He shakes the box--- all in the effort to get the attention of those inside. I thought of this word picture as I heard the latest news of yet one more natural disaster.

Climatic Change

Natural disasters are increasing in both frequency and severity. They are worsening the conditions of underdeveloped regions where social plight abounds. The aftermath of natural disasters bears both external political and national security implications. Such devastated places become the breeding ground for transnational criminal activity and provide safe harbor for enemies of the United States. Meanwhile, here in the United States, we forget that we too are susceptible to such forms of natural calamity including the dreaded tsunami. Indeed, researchers have found that the combination of population density, natural wealth density, and aging infrastructure coupled with natural calamity yield much greater loss.

Acts of GOD

The problem is not going away. To use the all too familiar language of insurance agencies, these Acts of God create further economic ramifications for areas hit. No quick fixes are in view. Unambiguous measures of progress in the institution of standards for construction, reconstruction, and exodus for the sole purpose of maximizing the survivability of the population within respective jurisdictions are needed. This means addressing the problems caused by having contradictory goals and the political messiness of serving multiple constituencies.

Management, Anyone?

From a purely public management standpoint, the combination of dependency upon modern conveniences and the interruption of such conveniences when natural disaster hits has rendered the public ill-prepared. Municipal and state governments have an added burden of already over-stretched budgets, untrained volunteer base, nonprofit fiefdoms, and federal bureaucratic red tape. If one were to examine societal indicators from a biblically informed perspective, it would be evident that social dissipation costs. It costs in reduced quality of life. It costs in greater exposure to internal and external risks. It costs in terms of clarity of judgment about response.

An Observer:

I like the observations made a couple of years ago by Rabbi Daniel Lapin, President of Toward Tradition, a Seattle-based national organization that links America’s Jewish and Christian communities. He asked a very politically incorrect question: Does God punish only non-Christian nations? Rabbi Lapin said “I have studied the world’s twenty greatest natural disasters (measured by number of fatalities) of the past one hundred and three years. Of all twenty, only three have taken place in nations where Christianity has had a profound influence….Am I suggesting that God dispatches natural disasters to punish those who have not embraced Christianity? Most of us would find this answer quite unacceptable. Yet the question does stand: Why are so many more people killed by comparable natural disasters in non-Christian countries?” Lapin goes on to say that “Other cultures believe they please their god by submissively accepting his wishes. But societies sculpted by Biblical ideas have faith that tomorrow can, and must be improved, (italics mine) and that it is morally worth it to bring about that improvement. That is why non-Christian countries endure repeated earthquakes and repeated storms yet do little to reduce the successive impact while countries rooted in Christianity invest massively in seawalls, dykes, and other protective infrastructures and preventive measures.”

The Ill-Prepared

Lapin made his comments in 2003. It is now the last week of 2005. It is my contention that as time progresses we are experiencing accelerated scarcity of wisdom. Its absence ---that is, the absence of dynamically applied biblical thought processes in individual and jurisdictional decision-making will mean increased incidence of death. Such a result will be recognizable by nation, within jurisdictions, by neighborhood and even streets. Such evidence with time will be easily recognizable because the act of missing the mark has embedded within itself its own negative consequences. Those adverse consequences include lawlessness, depravity, and economic milieu.

Do You Hear What I Hear?

So, is God sending multiple messages using climatic changes? No! God is sending only one message for the entire world including the United States. The voice that has the sound of rushing waters is reminding us of just one thing: This is His story He has written us into and it includes -The End.

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Dr. Olivia M. McDonald is Associate Professor of Public Policy in the Robertson School of Government and the Director of the Center for Applied Domestic and International Policy Studies at Regent University. Her areas of expertise include public policy analysis, international and domestic policy relations, and policy evaluation. She is also a Senior Public Policy Research Fellow for Joint Forces Staff College, National Defense University.

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