If God promised natural stability in his covenant with Noah, why do we still experience so many natural disasters?
God, through his covenant with Noah, promised natural stability, yet we still see some natural disasters happen in our day. To answer the question of why we still see disasters, we have to go back to the text itself. We have to return to the covenant God made with Noah. Prior to the covenant, in Genesis 8:21, when Noah came out of the ark and offered a sacrifice to the Lord, it says that:
When the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done” (Genesis 8:21).
So, the Lord revealed a clear intention that he would never again strike down every living creature as he did in the flood. In chapter 9, God established his covenant with Noah, and in verses 1 and 2 it says:
And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered” (Genesis 9:1-2).
This mission is similar to the mission God gave to Adam and Eve, to “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” Therefore, God didn’t destroy all of mankind or all of the earth through the flood, so that this mission would be fulfilled. The earth would be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and Noah and his decedents would be fruitful and produce children who would know the Lord and worship and glorify him. Within the context of the covenant, in 9:11, it says:
I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth (Genesis 9:11).
Two times here, God asserts that there will never again be a flood that destroys the earth or destroys “all flesh.” The main idea is that the earth will never again be destroyed by the waters of a flood. Finally, the Lord says:
I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh (Genesis 9:13-15).
So, three times the Lord asserts that humanity will never again be destroyed by the waters of the flood. The words here are very specific and very clear. It doesn’t promise that there will never be any other types of disasters, such as earthquakes and volcanoes. There’s no promise that those things won’t happen. The language is very specific; there will never again be a flood that destroys the entire earth and every living creature.
Today, natural disasters still happen, but not in the same way that God accomplished his judgment in Noah’s day. We still experience earthquakes and volcanoes because all of creation is groaning from the sin and corruption that man brought on earth by his rebellion, because of the curse of sin that man brought by his transgression against the Lord. We read in Romans 8:20-23 that all of creation groans. But the time is coming when the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption, and we will never again see any sort of anger, the anger and the groaning of creation. When Christ returns, the curse will be lifted from the earth, and the earth will be restored to the beautiful and good form that the Lord created it to have in the beginning. But in the present time, we experience the manifestation of the groaning of the creation because of man’s corruption and the curse. And this doesn’t contradict God’s promise to Noah that he will never again destroy all creation by the waters of a flood.