Did God Speak Through Hurricanes Harvey and Irma?
Updated: Feb 16, 2019
Which – if either – sounds crazier to you.
Back in September 2017, while promoting her new film, Mother!, the gifted, talented actor Jennifer Lawrence stated: “You’re watching these hurricanes [Harvey and Irma] now, and it’s really hard ... not to feel Mother Nature’s rage, or wrath.” Wrath over what? She went on to state hurricanes are Mother Nature’s punishment for electing Donald Trump.
Around the same time, a former Facebook friend shared an article entitled: Is God Speaking to Us Through Hurricane Harvey? She firmly believed God was speaking through the hurricane, and what was He saying was, “I’m mad as heck and I’m not going to take it anymore.” Well not exactly that, but essentially He was not happy with the moral choices America was making [goodness, when was He ever happy with the moral choices America was making?] and His people people should be praying for America. I commented, No. She replied, Did you read the article? I replied Yes, and my answer is still, No. Not long after she “unfriended me.”
Which sounds nuttier?
For me, it’s number 2.
Forget the logical inconsistency of believing in a universe absent of a personal creator or even an intelligent designer, while holding the belief of “Mother Nature” taking the election of Donald Trump personally. I wish to address the foolish notion some Christians hold: God was speaking through Hurricane Harvey.
First, I take the Bible seriously.
Second, I hold a degree in philosophy and theology.
Third, I have been a student of the Holy Book for over 40 years.
Fourth, I have been a teacher of the Holy Book for over 35 years.
Fifth, I am follower of Jesus.
OK, here we go.
First, the THEOLOGICAL reasons why God did not speak though Hurricanes Harvey & Irma
Question: Was God Speaking to Us Through Hurricane Harvey?
Answer: No, God was not speaking through Hurricane Harvey.
Is there another question we should ask? Yes; we should ask, Does God speak through the weather?
Question Can God speak through the weather?
Answer: Yes, but we should also ask, Why would He? When has He?
Conclusion: Relying on the Scriptures, I reject the idea of God speaking through the weather
In the biographies of Jesus, commonly known as the Gospels, was there a single time Jesus instructed His followers to read the weather or teach His followers how to read the weather, or imply God would speak to them through the weather?
In the Book of Acts, the historical account of approximately the first 30 years of the actions of the followers of Jesus, did they ever practice reading the weather for God’s direction? No.
In the teaching or personal letters of the Apostles, did they give direction about reading the weather, or understanding how to determine what God is saying through the weather?
Summary: Jesus never instructed His followers to read weather patterns to discern God’s will or pleasure. The early church never practiced divining the weather to determine God’s will or pleasure. The Apostles and early church fathers, never gave instructions about how to hear God’s will or pleasure through weather patterns.
Therefore, why would we assume now, that God is speaking through Hurricane Harvey? We can conclude God does not speak to His followers through the weather
Second, the EPISTEMOLOGICAL difficulty of believing God speaks through the weather.
Epistemology is “the study of knowledge and justified belief. As the study of knowledge, epistemology is concerned with the following questions: What are the necessary and sufficient conditions of knowledge? What are its sources? What is its structure, and what are its limits?” — Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Epistemology helps us know the difference between mere opinion and actual fact.
Here are a few additional questions to consider before you believe God speaks through the weather. [See questions above first]
Does it mean God is pleased with me, us, or America when we experience good or mild weather?
How much and what kind of bad weather determines God’s discontent?
What are the tests to measure this?
What are the tests of those tests?
How do we know God is not discontented with only the people who are immediately affected by the weather?
These are only a few of the questions that followers of Jesus must ask before they make the bold, unfounded statement that God was speaking through hurricanes or the weather in general.
If you need a hurricane to remind you to pray for America — even though Saint Peter already advised the us to pray for our political leaders — I imagine there is not harm in that.
But you cannot make it a biblically justified doctrine.