Special: Don’t blame God for the weather

Here's an example of Old Testament thinking:

My brother-in-law Jim recently left his congregation in Olathe, Kansas to take a parish in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Clearly he displeased God because God punished Oklahoma with tornados.

God did not unleash the tornados on Oklahoma. It wasn't a punishment, it wasn't God's will, nor were the tornados part of some design plan. I haven't heard anyone seriously blame the tornados on gay marriage, Moslems or evolution in schools yet (perhaps because it was Oklahoma or there were so many children involved), but, sooner or later, it's bound to happen.

This is Old Testament thinking. As a Baptist Preacher's Kid (BPK), I was raised to believe Old Testament thinking is New Testament thinking. After all, the Bible is the Bible and every word is literally true (even when Paul says something is symbolic, by the fact that it's in the Bible, it ceases to be symbolic). And Jesus said he didn't come to replace the law but to fulfill it.

When we fall back on that statement, we overlook the fact that the law is a small part of the Old Testament. Three books, minus the narrative. “The Law” in the Bible was actually a reference to the Torah, which was the first five books of the Old Testament. So when Jesus said he came to fulfill the law, he was only referring to the law itself, not the Old Testament, which Paul said was given to us for example and instruction.

More importantly, when Jesus said he came to fulfill the law he meant he came to change the way we think about the law; how we understand it. In the Torah, the law was an external code. We obeyed it because an authority told us too. Jesus taught us the law is something written in our hearts. We don't need a written code as a literal map for our lives, we follow what we know to be true inside after following Jesus.

God doesn't use nature to target people. He doesn't need to. We're good enough at targeting people ourselves. As Christians, our response to disaster shouldn't be to point the finger but to serve. We can serve the victims of disaster if we can, or, we should find opportunities to serve others every day. We should do this whether or not disaster occurs.

 

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