Skeptic of Christianity, people ask a notorious question: How can a loving God allow evil? Truthfully, scores of Christians ask the same thing. The blatant evil plaguing the world counters our limited perception of a daddy-like God.
We want to understand how an Almighty Father whose “steadfast love endures forever” could strike his mighty hand against us, spinning life into a calamitous mess.
I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity; I am the LORD, who does all these things (Is. 45:7).
Scripture clarifies that our God reigns not only over the blessed goodness of life, but over destruction too. He is a calamity-Creator, yet not without purpose. Our God doesn’t strike his people for the sake of striking. He strikes for the sake of his holy name.
I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed through the countries. In accordance with their ways and their deeds I judged them… I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations (Ezek. 36:19, 21).
Jesus Created Calamity for a Purpose
To grasp the concept of a loving God who can simultaneously generate calamity, we must flip to the Gospels.
A Jew standing in the temple as Passover approached could have testified that Jesus created a disaster. In a cyclone of righteous anger, the Son of God tossed tables, scattered livestock, and sent coins clanging across the temple floor.
“It is written,” Jesus warned the salesmen, “’My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers” (Luke 19:46).
To protect the holy temple, the house of his Holy Father, Jesus spawned a holy calamity.
God Creates Calamity for a Purpose
God’s every attribute is attached to the prefix “holy.” As R.C. Sproul wrote:
The word [holy] is used as a synonym for [God’s] deity. That is, the word “holy” calls attention to all that God is. It reminds us that His love is holy love, His justice is holy justice, His mercy is holy mercy, His knowledge is holy knowledge, His spirit is holy spirit.[i]
God equals holiness. Everything he does is characterized by holiness. Therefore, the calamities he conjures serve a holy purpose. Just as Jesus upset the temple to guard that which was holy, God often upsets our lives to cleanse what is unholy inside us. Turmoil becomes his chisel of refinement.
The calamities of God serve a high and holy purpose because nothing he does is rash or reckless.
God Delivers from Calamity for a Purpose
God doesn’t stop at creating calamity. He makes calamity and well-being. He forms darkness and light. He is a good God who both takes away and gives (Job 1:21).
The storm of the temple cleansing and the storms of our lives are calamities God not only purposefully created, but has purposefully provided deliverance from. At the cross, the fiercest calamity of all crushed the only Holy One who didn’t deserve it. Christ endured so that we—the unholy— might be delivered from the ultimate calamity of eternal death.
And we were delivered for a purpose. We were delivered to “be holy, for [God is] holy” (1 Pt 1:16 ).
[i] R.C. Sproul, The Holiness of God