War, famine and disease

The Bible frequently presents war, famine and disease as punishment for the wicked.  At first this was understood as a regular consequence, but eventually it was assumed to be inflicted upon the world at the end of time.  See Deuteronomy ch. 28;  Ezekiel 6: 11-12;  and Revelation 6:8.

The New Testament also teaches that God loves all the people he has made, and forgives them their sins.  If he forgives them, he will not punish them, but simply suffer the misery they cause in others, as he suffered on the cross.  He will keep on loving them, and hoping they will share in his spirit of love compassion and concern for social justice.

So are war, famine and disease not a punishment after all?  It appears not.

But they often are a consequence of bad dispositions. Political ambition has caused catastrophic wars;  greed has kept the wealthy from relieving poverty and hunger;  and carelessness has permitted diseases to flourish which could be prevented with decent sanitation, food and medicine.  They are not punishment for moral failure, but a common consequence of it.

The world would suffer less from war, famine and disease if more people lived by God’s Spirit of compassion and social justice.  You could say they are often a consequence of failing to live as God wants us to live.  Not a punishment, but a natural consequence.

The suffering these produce is so horrific and widespread, that we should make every effort we can to reduce it.

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