Blaming God For Human Mismanagement

Blaming God For Human Mismanagement
Smoke from record-setting fire currently burning in Texas

Our hearts go out to those who have lost property and maybe even loved ones to the so-called natural disasters that have increased in frequency and size. Few of these disasters are the typical product of nature. What God created has always been in balance and functioned without the massive changes we are seeing in today’s world, but skeptics are blaming God for human mismanagement.

Among the disasters that have increased in number and ferocity are wildfires. They destroyed massive numbers of trees, causing a shortage of wood and wood products, destroying homes and businesses, and even entire towns. The Nature Conservancy reported that the average wildfire size today is 23,000 acres. In the 1980’s, the average wildfire size was 7,000 acres. A currently burning wildfire in Texas has destroyed more than one million acres.

Those of us with some training in environmental management know that the “Smokey the Bear” idea of preventing any kind of fire was an ignorant practice. In the natural world, lightning and spontaneous combustion produce small fires. When you allow leaves and dead wood to accumulate for decades, a lightning strike can cause a massive fire with lots of fuel for combustion. Even the amount of smoke these huge fires generate threatens people living thousands of miles away.

God has used fires in surprising ways. There are some trees whose seeds do not germinate unless they have been exposed to fire. Some animals depend on naturally burned-over areas to produce food such as berries and nuts. Still, we have been in some areas where the fire’s massive heat sterilized the area, preventing anything from growing.

Skeptics are blaming God for human mismanagement that has caused the devastating fires we are seeing today. A major cause of today’s catastrophic fires is human prevention of naturally occurring small fires. We need to recognize that the intelligence of design has kept woodlands healthy and stable in the past. We must work with that design intelligently to avoid the tragic pictures we see on the news.

We also need to understand that there are some places where humans should not build buildings. We all know that Los Angeles and San Francisco straddle the San Andreas fault, which has produced severe earthquakes in the past and will do it again. When that happens, skeptics will be blaming God for human mismanagement, even though the warnings were there. We know what we must do, but greed and selfishness seem to rule the day instead of intelligent management of what God has given us.

— John N. Clayton © 2024

References: The Nature Conservancy newsletter first issue for 2024 (page 13) and NBC News