What does God have to do with hurricanes?
According to secular society, both nothing and everything:
Nothing, because God’s existence is denied, and everything, because calling a natural disaster an “act of God” allows us to implement special insurance clauses.
According to orthodox Christianity, both everything and nothing:
Everything, because God is sovereign over everything, but nothing, because He does not go around specifically creating every specific giant storm system for a specific purpose.
Importantly, God does not send “natural disasters” as punishment. This probably needs emphasising, because every time a major disaster strikes it seems that some nut-job gets onto a camera and starts saying ridiculous things like “[affected place] was full of sin, and that’s why God has punished them with this earthquake/hurricane/flood/drought/etc”. So if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of that kind of message, let me reiterate: that’s not Christianity; that’s the words of a crazy person. We’re ALL full of sin, that’s the nature of humans, but God in His grace allows us a way to be reconciled to Him. The whole “floods as punishment” thing has no place in Christian theology.
It’s not just floods and earthquakes, though. Despite Jesus spending lots of his Earthly ministry healing the sick and precisely none of it making people sick, many Christians still seem to be stuck in a mindset of illness as divine punishment. Theologically, this is is equally wrong. But it does bring up an interesting paradox in our thinking:
When we ask why God allows natural disasters to happen, why do we distinguish between hurricanes and malaria? Why is illness discussed as a theologically distinct issue from large-scale environmental disasters?
Are “natural disasters” just bigger illnesses?