I’ve seen a lot of nature in my life. Whether be beautiful trees in a park in the middle of a city or a pristine lake in the middle of rural America or steep cliffs on a mountain pass, nature never ceases to amaze. Unfortunately, nature also never ceases to amaze in other ways as well. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and other events happen which cause so much destruction and kill thousands of people. I’ve personally been in a moderately violent earthquake and have felt of the power of nature at it’s most raw. I’ve also seen a tornado and monster thunderstorms. After the Indian Ocean Tsunami Disaster in 2004 (produced by a megathrust earthquake along a plate boundary offshore the coast of Sumatra), I remember interviews with theologians trying to ask the question of why…why does God bring such horrors upon people? Why did 250,000 people have to die within a matter of hours? Was it just their time all at the same time? Was it because God was angry over our sins? Was it because…? I never caught these interviews in late 2004-early 2005, but the questions were more interesting to me than whatever answers people could come up with.
I remember at the time pondering the answers myself and here’s what came to me from my spiritual perspective…which is much the same then as it is now.
Our Creators created a Universe with laws…laws of physics and chemistry which define everything and create a reality suitable for life, including life which could exist to appreciate its Creators. But with those laws came something very fundamental. That fundamental thing is balance. Balance of forces, which are constantly in a push and pull on one another. These balance of forces are what lead to the life and death of stars, to the life and death of people naturally and to the things that produce the natural disasters we fear….tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes, etc. Without earthquakes and volcanoes to redistribute and bring balance to energies, the world would become a very internally hot and distorted world. We live in a Universe which is favorable for our existence by the laws written to govern its behavior. But those laws have consequences.
Now this thought-process itself brings up questions. Am I saying that our Creators were unable to create a perfect Universe where no such consequences exist? Or was the way the Universe designed purposely engineered this way even though it could’ve been done another way? I have no idea. But the point I make is that with the Universe’s laws as they exist…we get the good and bad which comes from the balance of forces. And sometimes the good and bad come in extremes.
Perhaps it’s not the most comforting answer in terms of understanding why specifically so many may die suddenly in one particular event that we call (rightfully so) a disaster. But, at least as far I can tell, it’s the best answer I’ve been able to come up with. I believe everyone on this Earth has their time…and when their time has come to an end, no matter how long or short a time it has been, they contributed something to the world. We have no idea when our lives will end. It should be our goal to make sure we make even a small, positive difference in it. That difference is our legacy and that will live forever.