Why does God allow natural disasters?

This question was asked on the BBC News Site and comments were invited. Only a few were published and mine was must have landed in a waste bin somewhere. So – not to waste my thoughts, here they are. It’s worth reading the other comments on the story first to give the context

Burning Church

At the heart of Haiti’s humanitarian crisis is an age old question for many religious people – how can God allow such terrible things to happen? Philosopher David Bain examines the arguments.

Evil has always been a thorn in the side of those – of whatever faith – who believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-good God ……….

The Christian scriptures indicate that the earth was thrown into chaos as a result of man’s disobedience. The stories in Genesis describe the events that led to man being banished from paradise.

The result of those actions, actions which if we’re honest we all imitate in our daily lives, was a creation waiting for a day of redemption.
God doesn’t ignore it. On the contrary, he came in the person of Jesus Christ to share in our sufferings. He felt pain, ridicule and all the limitations of human frailty and earthy chaos. Now, wherever there is pain, fear, disaster and chaos, God is right there sharing in our suffering. I can’t fully explain in a few words why that’s a better way.
If you want to know where God was when the earth convulsed in Haiti – he was right there in the rubble. It almost seems too trite to suggest this idea from the comfort of my home in affluent Britain but I know that when I pray for the people of Haiti and the rescue and aid workers there, I am talking to a God who understands and is already there on the case. But he has chosen to work in partnership with us. I believe the outcome, on the day of redemption, will be better than if God had intervened to make crumbling buildings indestructible or hold the tectonic plates under the island in place. Somehow it inspires us to work harder and to sacrifice our resources on behalf of those in trouble instead of sitting on the sidelines and blaming God that it happened in the first place.
And if there is no God, there is no hope anyway.

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