Hurricanes are “Acts of Man,” not “Acts of God”
15 October 2004
The people of Florida, USA have been reeling from four hurricanes that hit populated areas during a six-week period that continued through September. Other southeast states and some Caribbean nations have also been hard hit. Three hurricanes, Charley, Frances, and Jeanne lashed the west coast of Florida, and Ivan brought destruction to the Florida Panhandle. The storms brought very heavy rain, high sea levels, tornadoes and strong winds.1
In fact, this was the most active hurricane period on record for Florida, which can still be hit by another one since the hurricane season does not officially end until November 30.
Hurricanes form in the warmer climates in late summer and early fall.2 For hurricanes to form, they require warm ocean water that has been heated through the spring and summer, as well as light winds aloft. The warmer the water, the more the evaporation. It is mostly the latent heat from condensation of the water vapor that energizes the storm. Hurricanes weaken after making landfall since they are cut off from their energy source.
Many people call such destructive events of nature “acts of God.” God somehow gets the blame (no wonder some people have developed a resistance to God’s love and salvation), but an understanding of Genesis shows this is not true. Genesis teaches that destructive natural events are in a sense really “acts of man.” The first two chapters of Genesis tell us that God created a perfect world. Back then, there were no hurricanes or other destructive storms.
So what happened? God gave man (who had free will) one simple rule to obey: not to eat the fruit of one tree in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3 tells how man disobeyed God, and not only brought death to man and all the animals, but also that nature was thrown “out of whack” because of man’s sin.
Although natural disasters are part of God’s economy today, ultimately, it was mankind that brought the disasters upon ourselves. Thankfully, Genesis 3:15 also gives hope that Jesus will one day redeem mankind and eventually put an end to the Curse.
- More than 70 people were killed in Florida, and the storms triggered the largest cleanup effort by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in its history. This massive effort included 5,000 relief workers and nearly 3,800 National Guardsmen. About 16-million meals were passed out. The total damage is estimated to be around $20 billion. The state’ tourism industry has been especially hard hit. Some oceanfront resorts have been wiped out, theme parks closed and cruise ships have been either forced to cancel or delay voyages. Such storms will have a trickle-down effect for Florida’ economy for quite a while.
- Oard, M. J., The Weather Book, Master Books, Green Forest, Arkansas, pp. 48’53, 1997