Regarding the Devastations in Japan
The atheist would argue that the devastation in Japan is yet a further “proof” of the non-existence of God. They would argue that if God is a god of love he would not allow such a terrible and unloving event to occur.
There are several erroneous presuppositions in such a line of thinking. God has revealed himself in his creation and in his word as being characterized by more than love. The true God is an eternal, unchangeable, and infinite God in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. God’s word and his creation reveal that he is justly angry, even wrathful, towards the ungodliness of humankind (Romans 1:18-21). So, more than a mere expression of love is at work in the events of our day.
This idea reveals a second erroneous presupposition made by the atheist, that mankind is the object only of love by God. The atheist cannot explain the existence of evil. Evil is not a disembodied force but a state of being for moral creatures. God has revealed in his word that humanity is corrupted in sin. It isn’t what goes in that defiles a person but what comes from out of a person’s heart that defiles him (Mark 7:15). We are all sinners. (Romans 3:23). We are children of wrath by our sinfulness (Ephesians 2:3).
The third erroneous presupposition made by the atheist is his understanding of love and even of justice. Without God there is no objective moral standard for the definition of love or justice. The terms become subjectively understood and are no longer universals that apply to all people everywhere. Love can be defined as it often is today in a utilitarian sense of what is good for me, what is good for society, what is pragmatic, etc. Justice equally becomes a slippery term. In fact the atheist has no claim to the ideal enshrined in the US Declaration of Independence that roots human rights as being inalienable and given from God. Without that ideal, human rights are mere gifts of the state or society and can be taken away at will. There is no intrinsic worth to human beings.
What I would argue is that the tragic events in Japan and elsewhere are the direct warnings from a loving and just God who has promised to hold accountable all moral creatures before his judgment day. It is loving to warn people of the coming judgment so that they might mend their ways. We see God’s mercy in that he did not fully destroy Japan, New Zealand, or Chile but left them life and the ability to rebuild. I am not arguing that the people of Japan, New Zealand, or Chile are worse sinners than we who have not experienced such devastations. No, rather they are warnings to us all that unless we repent we will all likewise perish (Luke 13:1-5).
It is loving that God has provided a way that unworthy sinners deserving of God’s wrath can be made righteous in his sight (Romans 3:21-26). I implore you not to join the atheist in self-righteously judging God but to rather reverence God, repent, and to flee to Christ alone.