Quite simply, this is one of the most profound books I have ever read. In a world where we are seeing a plethora of natural disasters, many of which are the type forecast by climate scientists to be what we can expect more of in the future, Fretheim’s excellent volume is timely indeed.

Just this year we have seen major earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan, unprecedented flooding in the eastern states of Australia, and cyclones which have threatened to wipe some towns off the map.

In this book, Fretheim reveals aspects of God’s creation that the biblical texts reveal as quite obvious when you read them, but which we often fail to consider because of the particular cultural lens through which we read the text.

Over the next week or two I will look at the main arguments in each chapter, including the introduction and conclusion, and will make comments on the points made by the author. This post starts with the introduction.

The introduction to the book makes the following points:

  • Natural disasters are an integral part of God’s design in creation.
  • Natural disasters are not necessarily the result of human sin, though specific natural events may be made more severe by human sin.
  • How might reflection on the biblical text assist our theological consideration of natural disasters?
  • Interest in the link between God and natural disasters has increased over the last generation due to the power of the media and increased environmental awareness.
  • How we do interpret judgment in relation to natural disasters?
  • God is involved in the healing of the natural world.
  • The book does not pretend to offer answers to the question of why natural disasters occur in a world made by God, but many attempts at explanations have not given proper honour to God.
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