IN REPLY to someone who wrote, doubting that God could speak through the violence of nature:
Creation belongs to God, and as such, he has the right to assert his presence when and how he pleases. We know from the revelation of Jesus Christ, and of scripture, that God is not just loving, God IS love. Thus, he is merciful, patient, and forgiving. But he is also just, and because he is our Father, scripture teaches that he also disciplines us.
Neither does God force humanity to love him… but the wages of sin is death. In other words, humanity reaps what it sows. If we sow destruction, that’s what we reap, both naturally and spiritually.
In the story of the Prodigal Son, the father lets his son go. The son, in his rebellion, basically hits rock bottom coming face to face with his spiritual poverty. But he also experiences real hunger, real poverty, real desolation. You could say, the father permitted this. So too, I believe God is permitting these dramatic natural disasters because it is allowing us to experience our spiritual poverty and need for him–through, in this case, material or physical suffering. As well, it serves as a warning. But much in the way a mother warns her baby not to touch a hot stove.
The truth is, this storm turned at the last minute sparing many lives. And who is to say that those who did die did not cry out to God and were saved — souls that otherwise may not have been saved if they lived out their days in rebellion? You can’t answer that. And neither can I say with certainty that this storm is a chastisement from God. But given the impurity and rebellion New Orleans is known for, many suspect it is. At least, that’s what the mayor and other politicians from the area are on the record as saying.
Lastly, while I do not claim to be a theologian, your theology on nature and God is not biblical. Jesus himself tells us in Matthew 24 that there will come a generation which will see earthquakes, famines, plagues, and wars in sudden increasing frequency. Don’t you think some people could die from this? Will God permit it? Yes. He prophesied it! Furthermore, if you read Revelations, you will see that God will actually send angels to bring about calamaties as a result of the sin and rebellion on earth. As I said above, he has the right to assert his presence in the Creation he made. So yes, in fact, God the Father does have the right to spank his kids. And that, I think, is generally what is occurring, in certain, but not necessarily every disaster. Sometimes, these things are just the course of nature. But even so, God still permits it.
The problem is that we want to re-make God in our own image…. a God who is tolerant and blind to every injustice, particularly our own. But this is not the case. He cares too much. He’ll even let a good wind and few hailstones fly, if that’s what it takes to call humanity back to himself. It reminds me of a rebellious teen who ran away and ended up in a Don Bosco home. He said, “I just wish my dad would have given me the strap once. At least I would have known that he cared.”