“Chernobyl, the Haiti earthquake, what's happening in Japan – are warnings to mankind, reminders of how dependent and vulnerable we are”
Father Konstantin Kravtsov, 47 is a priest of the Annunciation Church in Petrovsky park, Moscow.
In the Judo-Christian tradition, the believers see the vengeful hand of God in any disaster, be it natural or social. It's a Biblical tradition. The prophets of the Old Testament predicted God’s wrath. But not just penance - absolution afterward as well. All ordeals are sent to save – a single man, a people, the humankind. It's done to show how tragic the reality is.
But by seeing God only as punishing judge and executioner, we are creating a false image of him. God’s judgment is not only judgment but also solace. Punishment is not only punishment, but also salvation. As it says in the New Testament: “He who endures to the end shall be saved”. In other words, any disaster is traditionally considered as a “visit” from God.
It's important also to note that everything connected. Let me explain: at the beginning, God created a perfect world, which he gave to man. Man used it for himself, breaking away from the creator. And this break has radically changed both human nature and the world - nature itself.
One disaster is leading to another. By rejecting supernatural, man yields to natural laws, to the blind elements. In short, it can be said that Chernobyl, the Haiti earthquake, what's happening in Japan – are warnings to mankind, reminders of how dependent and vulnerable we are.
They should make him see the world in a more realistic way, and make him start to think of life and death, of the fragility of our world. So we can call it either God's punishment or natural disaster – it’s not the choice of words that matters.
What's more important is what conclusions we make of it, will we become wiser, deeper, more human, will we be able to care for those stricken by disaster, or, – unfortunately that tendency also exists, - will we consider it as a punishment for the wicked. God doesn't punish anybody – it's Man who punishes himself. And, of course, it’s not for us to judge those who have suffered. We should pray for them, both for the dead and for the living.”