God’s Beneficence and Man’s Arrogance

With the clean-up effort just beginning after Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey, many attempts at returning to “normalcy” are being complicated by long lines, high demand, and short supply. Tempers are flaring and looters are out in full force, looking to turn a bad situation into a quick profit. With his regular schedule on temporary hold, one writer in the area took to writing a short theology of weather, or more specifically, what he referred to as “A Jewish View of Hurricanes.”

Not surprisingly, the author—a Jew (obviously)—begins his study in the book of Genesis. Jews often begin in Genesis, as they well should; it is, after all, the book of beginnings. He writes:

Wind and rain are as old as creation.  The ru’ah elohim, usually translated as “the spirit of God,” that “hovered upon the face of the water” (Genesis 1:2), can also be interpreted as “a divine wind,” a form of hyperbole indicating that the wind exceeded anything natural or ordinary.

Indeed, wind is often so likened with the character of God, that the two cannot be separated. Consider what Jesus says to Nicodemus in John 3: “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (v. 8).

Not so with rain. The article author makes the point that rain is “sent” from God. It is always a blessing—even when it isn’t. He writes: “God, in His cosmic beneficence, lets it rain.  Man, in his individual and collective arrogance, builds cities on sites singularly susceptible to saturation.” If any readers missed his argument, he repeats it rather clearly:

Man’s hubris, his awful arrogance in the face of God’s intent, led to the confounding of the plan and the cessation of the construction [of the tower in Babel] (Genesis 11:8).  But man is nothing if not persistent; and in London, Amsterdam, New Orleans, and other low-lying areas, he has thrown caution to the winds by constructing cities against the dictates of “nature.”  If he is prudent, he invests wisely in building and maintaining the levees and escapes the direst consequences.  From time to time, prudence is supplemented by serendipity, and a timely finger in the dike prevents catastrophe.  If, however, he acts impudently and imprudently—squandering precious time and resources on other and more selfish projects—then he is proverbially and poignantly hoist by his own petard.

Expanding on the Bible’s own description of Babylon as being built “in a valley in the land of Shinar,” this author is making the obvious point that man has learned nothing in 5000 years. He is still foolishly building his house upon the sand, shaking his fist at God, convinced that he can build his own “tower to heaven.” Man will do things his way; he will build his house wherever he likes, even next to the ocean, or under the Gulf of Mexico. Our New York author knows a thing or two about living near the water, as he is currently dealing with the ramifications of his housing decisions. He knows of what he writes by firsthand experience.

Major hurricanes have now ravished New Orleans, New York, New Jersey, and New England. The message should be clear: the “new” places are just as susceptible to the same hostile weather as the “old” places. Japanese ancestors had literally left “tsunami stones” behind that warned their children and grandchildren to “not build any homes below this point.” Their warnings went unheeded and today the homes below the stones no longer exist; they were completely obliterated by the tsunami of March, 2011. Thousands of years before that, King Solomon put it plainly:

There is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come by those who will come after. (Ecclesiastes 1: 9-11)

The real question is: What will it take before we pay attention to the ancient wisdom?



Posted in Economics, Morality, Politics Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
  • pat duran

    Now that’s some serious wisdom there. how can people be so foolish to build in areas prone to disaster?

  • Don Albers

    This super storm Sandy is Obamas storm!!

    US Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Susan E. Rice said on Monday [16 Oct. 2012 http://www.jpost.com/Internati…]

    that the US “does not accept the legitimacy of Israeli settlement activity, and will continue to oppose any efforts to legalize outposts.”

    Ambassador Susan E. Rice just made a criticism of Israel and what does the New York and East coast area get… A storm from GOD. Genesis 12:3 still applies today

  • axmickl

    Mankind loves to defy nature, torment the gods and agitate the wild beast. When his last lesson is being taught, do you think he will then understand?

  • http://www.facebook.com/betty.grice.1 Betty Grice

    The devastation caused by Sandy is the wrath of God. People better take heed

  • Star

    I always say, if you look where alot of this weather damage is done ,it is usually the most ungodly places. Meaning, to break God’s law is like making God angry. You may say God would not harm the inocent childern, he does not, even in death they are covered with his love. Sometimes, l wonder if the dead are the luckiest ones because they will not be around to see the full force of God’s angry. And it will happen, cause all his words have been coming true.He is knocking on our door now, so please do not sleep and be ready.

  • Bob Marshall

    God gave America the answer in II Chronicles 7:14.but he also gave a warning in II Chronicles 7:19,20. If we are truly his children this apply’s to us as well as to Israel.

  • jobird

    we have been witness to this many times here on the Gulf coast.I do not feel sorry for these
    people who bulid on the Gulf.Like children,until they see the destruction and every last piece
    of stuff gone,hard to convince them otherwise.My sister and brother-in-law lived in their home
    for many years and sold it.Next year ” Ivan” took it away,and it was on a bay.It is not IF but

  • caskinner

    Man will do what he wants to do regardless of the consequences.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1800263526 Martha Benton

    I think God is trying to tell those people something up in New Jersey/New York, but they just are not listening. I would think Sandy, the earthquake this morning, and yet another storm moving in would make them open their eyes and ears and pay attention. Maybe God dislikes the Unions as much as I do.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Doc-Smith/100002549106697 Doc Smith

    Any where from 12 to 30 hurricanes a year. If you build on the beach you have to take responsibility for the possible damage you will encounter. Don’t expect my tax dollars to bail you out.

  • taliesin319

    A hurricane embeded in a nor’easter, affecting the entire Atlantic seaboard from the Carolinas to New England, concurrent with a 7.2 Earthquake in Vancouver affecting the Pacific West Coast with Tsunami warnings for Alaska and the far Pacific. Where is the greatest concentration of far left liberal loons ? Yeah, you guessed it. Remember that
    little tantrum the progressives threw booing and stamping their feet telling their leader to throw God the Father Almightly out of their venue and off of their platform ? They acted as though the Diety was some pariah dog that needed a swift kick in the head. The problem with the grave sin of hubis is that not only will it be dealt with by God but anything or anyone in the path of His actions shares the fate of the people the destruction is meant for. Add to that a misfit like Bloomberg, the Keystone cops of Fema, and a traitorous pack of Tsars and hangers on in the Whitehouse and we have the quintessential “perfect storm “. Obama and everyone he has around him has to go. Then he needs to be tried for his lack of action in Benghazi and made to show every piece of paper he has on his origins, passport, fake social security number, etc. While all this is going on his Iranian buddy, Jarrett is making secret deals with Iran and telling her friends that when her puppet wins the election it’s going to be pay back time for all who oopposed him. This from an unelected POS. Let this nightmare be over.

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