Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Who/What is ultimately responsible for tsunamis?

Roland Clarke

Most people – including Muslims and Christians – regard large earthquakes as one of many signs that we are nearing the end. Not only so, Jesus Christ specifically warned of 'roaring seas and strange tides' that will cause people to be 'perplexed'. He indicated things will even get worse, saying, “People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” (Luke 21:25-27)

Christ's prediction reminds us of Haggai's prophesy,

For this is what the LORD of Heaven's Armies says: In just a little while I will again shake the heavens and the earth, the oceans and the dry land. I will shake all the nations and the treasures of all the nations will be brought to this Temple. (Haggai 2:6,7)

Large earthquakes are mentioned in the end-time-vision of the apostle John. “I watched as the Lamb broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake.” (Revelation 6:12) We also read in chapter 16 verse 18, “Then the thunder crashed and rolled, and lightening flashed. And a great earthquake struck – the worst since people were placed on the earth.” Notice how the vision ends. John describes the outcome of the terrible judgments that fall on the earth, saying, “the kings of the world will enter the city in all their glory ... And all the nations will bring their glory and honor into the city.” [i.e. the new Jerusalem] (Revelation 21:24,26)

It is amazing to see how Haggai's prophecy will be fulfilled. The treasures/glory of all the nations is brought to the city where “the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” (Revelation 21:22)

In answer to the question raised in the title, we've seen a positive answer beginning to unfold. Now we will look at another scripture that describes a similar cluster of ideas: earthquakes, roaring seas and nations in chaos. We read in Psalm 46,

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam, let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!

A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High. God dwells in that city, it cannot be destroyed. ... God will protect it.

The nations are in chaos, and their kingdoms crumble! God's voice thunders, and the earth melts! ... Come see the glorious works of the LORD. See how he brings destruction upon the world.

He causes wars to end throughout the earth. He breaks the bow and snaps the spear; he burns the shields with fire.

“Be still and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”

The LORD of Heaven's Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress. (verses 1-6,8-11)

One might feel uncomfortable imagining such terrible things, in fact, these devastating events are described as 'the glorious works of the LORD'!! (v.8) However, they are realities in our world and we must face up to them. Neither can we evade the conclusion that earthquakes are ultimately caused by God.

Most importantly, however, we should not overlook the positive themes interspersed throughout the Psalm, e.g. not being afraid, having joy, God is our fortress and protection, he causes wars to end, and finally, God will be honored by every nation. When we think of the praiseworthiness of God – how he will be honored throughout the world – it calls to mind the epic story of God's judgments against Egypt and how the Lord used Pharaoh's hard-heartedness to bring worldwide fame and honor to his name. (Exodus 9:14-16)

In conclusion, let us remember that Psalm 46 was sung as a song of praise to God. Singing has always been a fitting way of expressing praise and worship. So too in our day, we ought to praise the Lord in song. I encourage you, therefore, to join the people of God in singing a chorus which was inspired by Psalm 46, Shout to the Lord (by Hillsong). You may also like to join in singing a worship chorus inspired by Revelation 21:24-26, We all bow down (by Lenny LeBlanc).

All Bible quotes are from the New Living Translation.

If you wish to make comments or ask questions please write the author here.

You can read a much more detailed answer to some perplexing questions pertaining to end time disasters here.