It will be a while before we know how many people lost their lives in yesterday’s disaster. The 2004 tsunami that devastated Indonesia killed over 230,000 people in 14 countries. Hopefully the death toll in Japan and elsewhere will not be as high. Nevertheless, the scope of the yesterday’s loss will no doubt be of disastrous proportions.
The questions of theodicy that people had in 2004 will surface again as more news unfolds. In light of that, my mind has been on a discussion that John Piper had with an NPR reporter after the 2004 tsunami. This interview was tremendously helpful to me then. My hope and prayer is that it will be the same for you now. Download here, or listen below.[audio:http://cdn.desiringgod.org/audio/interviews/20050110_npr_interview_edited.mp3]
Piper also wrote a short essay titled “Tsunami, Sovereignty, and Mercy,” in which he outlines a framework for thinking about the horror from a Christian worldview. His five points are:
1. Satan is not ultimate, God is.
2. Even if Satan caused the earthquake in the Indian Ocean the day after Christmas, he is not the decisive cause of 100,000+ deaths, God is.
3. Destructive calamities in this world mingle judgment and mercy.
4. The heart that Christ gives to his people feels compassion for those who suffer, no matter what their faith.
5. Christ calls us to show mercy to those who suffer, even if they do not deserve it.
Read the rest here.