In response to my recent post regarding the disaster in Japan I was challenged by a personal communication from a reader, which stated that while they agree with the Scriptures and thoughts presented they couldn’t help but wonder how the principle of sowing and reaping applies to global disasters such as this and others. If we as a human race sow immorality, spiritual ignorance (or rejection), humanism, paganism…can we not then expect to reap destruction from this?

In my regular bible reading today I just completed the final chapters of Deuteronomy (I’m a little behind in my attempt to read the entire bible by May, but I’m trying). Throughout this section we read of Moses passing his mantle of leadership on to Joshua as the Israelites prepare to enter into the promised land. Part of this ‘passing of the torch’ involves a reminder of God’s law; specifically, the Israelites can expect to enjoy peace and prosperity in their promised land if they continue to adhere to the law of God. On the other hand, if they depart from the law of God and devote themselves to pagan idols and ways of life they can expect to experience curses and indeed have their promised land removed from them. This was not an empty threat; this is actually what happens when the Israelites become enslaved to Babylon for decades. Certainly this principle of sowing and reaping was active in the Old Testament.

What about the New Testament? We see the principle of sowing and reading taught by Paul in the letter to the Galatians.

Galatians 6:7-8 “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

Here are my thoughts as this pertains to our present world. Death, decay and disaster are all a part of the human experience of life because of decisions humanity has made while living in this world. It is a fundamental matter in the Christian worldview that the present imperfection experienced is as a result of humanity’s inherent sinfulness (the explicit desire to do my own things my own way) and the fact that we are reaping what we have sown from the very beginning time when sin entered the world. This is not a condition that will persist forever; however, it is a present reality.

Therefore, within the world that we live I believe that our corporate immorality and failure to acknowledge God does merit punishment and judgment; we reap what we sow. If we can really take care of ourselves completely and provide all that is necessary for humanity to experience abundant life…perhaps God allows us to try it on our own sometimes. Our inherent smallness and inability to hold everything together on our own is evident in disasters like we saw in Japan and New Orleans and in the sociological/political/religious chaos that led humanity to destroy itself in the 9/11 attacks in the US.

What makes me uncomfortable is when we start to attribute ‘blame’ (for lack of a better word) for these disasters on specific people as opposed to recognizing that it is a symptom of humanity’s ignorance. The ‘blame’ (again, for lack of a better word) lies in humanity itself and not in the individuals who are affected by these disasters. Humanity sows seeds and reaps what we have sown; in the process of this the lives of the righteous and the unrighteous are affected.

Matthew 24:6-8: “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.”