Complacency is baked into our species. We can’t resist thinking that recent experience defines the future. Give us a run of good luck, and we are apt to turn that into an implicit expectation that our luck will continue — even that we are entitled to it.
This kind of thinking was instrumental in the run-up to the financial crash of 2008. Too many private and public institutions assumed that an extraordinary run in prosperity, particularly in the real estate market, was just normal. It didn’t occur to them that things could go so wrong. Even when token stress testing or risk assessment was done, it largely excluded the possibility of a bad shock or a protracted slump. Risk wasn’t systematically measured; it was ignored.
It’s easy to write this off to greed or foolishness on the part of Wall Street. But the truth is, our entire civilization rests on a foundation just as shaky. We assume that the very Earth is static and will always be as it is now, or as we remember it.
Yet geophysics tells us that is emphatically not the case. Bad things happen. In the past couple of years alone, we have witnessed a litany of horrific natural disasters. Early last year, Haiti, already one of the most impoverished places in the world, was slammed by a magnitude 7 earthquake that caused hundreds of thousands of deaths, both directly and as the result of a cholera epidemic that occurred 10 months later during the recovery effort.
In Iceland last year, a long-dormant volcano erupted, necessitating the cancellation of more than 100,000 flights, and causing an estimated $1.8 billion in losses across Europe (but no deaths). Just a few months ago, Japan was savaged by the fourth-most-powerful earthquake ever caught on seismographs and an ensuing tsunami that killed more than 15,000 people, brought down almost 200,000 buildings and (unfairly) tarnished the image of nuclear energy worldwide. This was only seven years after a tsunami in the Indian Ocean killed at least a quarter-million people.
When the Earth itself isn’t tormenting us, the weather is. Within the past few months, the U.S. has been wracked by drought, wildfires and record-breaking flooding and tornadoes; the damage bill will total more than $32 billion. Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Joplin, Missouri; and, more surprisingly, Monson, Massachusetts, were flattened by tornadoes, which have taken more American lives this tornado season than in any year since 1927.
A Restive Earth
What’s behind all this terrestrial unrest? The answer may not be comforting, but it is simple: A run of bad events like this is completely normal. Nature contains many phenomena that are usually benign but sometimes turn vicious. The probability that really bad things will happen is low — but it isn’t zero. Its rarity only lulls people into a false sense of security.
Is a run of bad events completely normal? Do you believe that what is occurring in the world is just the earth taking its natural course? Or perhaps Global Warming? HAARP, maybe?
Or do you understand that God IS nature and that He uses nature as His arsenal against the wicked? Yahweh is speaking through His Powerful Right Arm via His natural arsenal – Nature.