Why Did God Allow the Earthquake?

Residents search for victims and survivors amid the rubble of collapsed buildings in the village of Besnia on February 6.
OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP via Getty Images

Why Did God Allow the Earthquake?

In the rubble of Turkey and far beyond, our world is full of suffering. Why?

Back-to-back earthquakes have struck the people of Turkey and Syria. In less than 24 hours, quakes of magnitude 7.8, 7.7 and 6.0 have shaken the Turkish city of Gaziantep. We don’t even know how much death and destruction have been caused so far, but we know that thousands are dead. International organizations expect to find thousands and thousands more lifeless bodies.

All because of nothing more than the fact that, at 4:15 this morning, local time, some layers of rock shifted.

Why should this happen? Why should millions of people be shaken and terrified, their homes, schools and businesses destroyed, their neighborhoods turned to rubble? Why should thousands upon thousands upon thousands of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, grandparents and grandchildren be crushed to death?

Why is our world so full of tragedy that is so senseless? Is there a God? If so, why does He allow such suffering?

Many people believe in God. They are taught that He is all-knowing, all-loving and all-powerful. But if that is true, He knows about the suffering. And if He loves those people and He has the power to stop that suffering, why doesn’t He?

People have theories about why God allows suffering. But at times like these, whether they are Christian, Muslim, Jewish or otherwise, they struggle to find an explanation that rings true.

There is a God. And He gives us the clear, true answer in His Word. And that answer precisely contradicts what many religious people teach, assume and believe!

God is not the god of this world.

Have you been taught that? The Bible states that the devil is real. Not only that, but he has also deceived the whole world. And not only that, but he is the god of this world.

This understanding comes straight from the Bible! (see 2 Corinthians 4:4).

Does the world around you begin to make a little more sense when you realize that the god of this world is actually the devil?

The Bible describes the age we live in as “this present evil world” (Galatians 1:4). That is exactly what it is, and this evil world has an evil god.

Ezekiel 28 describes a magnificent archangel who was “full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty” (verse 12). Isaiah 14 tells us God gave this angel authority to rule the Earth. But then this angel turned to evil, and tried to seize God’s throne. This angel’s name was Lucifer. After he rebelled, God changed his name to Satan. And notice: God cast him back down to Earth (Ezekiel 28:16; Revelation 12:9, 12).

Satan hates human beings. But God loves them, and if He has the power to cast down Satan and confine him to Earth, He has the power to protect people from disasters.

Why is God allowing these disasters? He is teaching us something.

The sadness, the misery, the tragedy that surrounds us is not something to try ever more desperately to ignore. It’s something we must face up to—and learn from.

Jesus Christ faced these facts. In His day, a building collapsed, tragically crushing 18 people. He said, “[T]hink ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:4-5).

Jesus Christ Himself directly discussed the exact kind of aftermath that millions of Turks and Syrians are sifting through right now. He acknowledged that some human beings suffer and die in seemingly senseless tragedies, and the reason—put forward by some—that they were more sinful than those who continue to live is not true.

But if these victims did not commit greater sins to deserve greater punishment, then why are they suffering?

We have all been influenced by “the god of this world” who “deceives the whole world.” Romans 3:23 says that all human beings are guilty of sin. Ecclesiastes 9:11 says that time and chance happen to everyone. Jesus said that, one way or another, we will “all likewise perish”—unless we repent!

Repenting means giving up your entire way of life—and submitting to God’s way of life. It means turning to the true God and allowing Him to rule you.

Jesus showed that the disasters people are suffering are warnings to those who believe in God. One way or another, your brief existence will end—unless you repent of your sins and turn to God. This is what these images from Turkey are teaching us, if we will recognize the lesson. The most fundamental lesson a human being can learn is to face the truth of his own helplessness apart from God.

But what about those who died? You might think they can’t learn any lessons from their own deaths. But what does the Bible say?

Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live.
—Ezekiel 37:5

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God ….
—Revelation 20:12

The plain truth of the Bible is that all those who have died will live again! They will be resurrected to physical life. At that time, the god of this world will no longer be Satan: It will be Jesus Christ!

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain ….
—Revelation 21:4

To summarize: Satan is the god of this world. God allows him to inflict suffering and death—to teach a valuable, eternal lesson to those who will repent.

In the future, God will replace Satan as ruler over the world, He will resurrect those who have died, and He will give them the opportunity to repent and share a relationship with Him. Why does God allow suffering? This is God’s answer—from the Bible.

Repentance is the most important lesson you can learn. Begin your journey toward repentance and a relationship with God by reading Gerald Flurry’s free booklet Repentance Toward God.