Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Is God causing Cape Town's drought?

Today I was saddened to see a video by the popular and well loved Angus Buchan regarding the water crisis in Cape Town. In the clip he says that God is not happy with Cape Town and that the rain will only come once the people repent of their wickedness. This is nothing new, people have being blaming God or a god for floods and other natural disasters for as long as humanity has had to endure them. Natural disasters are and have always been synonymous with judgement from above. But because Angus is such a popular figure in our land I thought that I would speak up on this one, here are a few points that I feel are worth considering.

1 - "He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." - Jesus - Matthew 5:45.

I'm always bewildered at how fast we are to dismiss Jesus' own words. How do we go from "the rain falls on the righteous and the wicked" to the "rain is withheld from the wicked" (and sorry for the righteous that are among them). Some people might gloss over Jesus' words in favour of the story of Noah's flood or the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah but even there, the righteous were spared the flood waters and the Lord was willing to spare Sodom for the sake of ten righteous people within the city. Let's be honest, natural disasters affect Christians in the same way those around them are affected. If they were indeed 'acts of God', why does He not spare the children in whom He is pleased?

2 - Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. - Matthew 8:24-26.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus rebuked the wind and waves when He and the disciples were caught in a storm at sea? Who was behind the storm? Was God trying to kill Jesus and His disciples? Of course not! It may have been Satan behind the violent weather as was the case in Job 1:19 or perhaps it was just nature being nature... Today we know that humans play a major role in the weather as well, we release gasses into the atmosphere, we build dams and divert rivers, we drill holes into the earths crust and then there is deforestation. Those are just four things that can affect our weather. It's too easy to blame God and say that it's His fault, we need to recognize though that there are destructive agents working against His will in the world as well. 

3 - Supply and Demand

Apart from the obvious (that there has been less rain), it should be noted that Cape Town's population has being growing rather rapidly. In the past 23 years the population has increased by 79% whereas water storage has only increased by 15%. The Berg River Dam being the only significant addition to their water storage infrastructure. So a large contributing factor to the lack of water has to do with the fact that you have more people requiring more water and supply has not kept up with the demand.

To get back to my main point again though, let's be cautious against accusing God of seeking to kill, steal and destroy by means of natural disasters. I have nothing against Buchan, I think it's great that he is rallying people to stand together in prayer for Cape Town but I do take issue with the idea that God punishes the people in one city while other cities are seemingly blessed with good weather despite showing equally or worse morality than their neighbors. In my personal opinion, if you want to see God where nature causes havoc, look for the volunteers who bring the water, shelter and medical care to the victims in natural disasters and there you will find Him. stop looking in the fires, tsunamis or winds.

Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? - Romans 2:4


  1. I'm with you Wesley. We have Jesus' very clear teaching that this isn't generally the way God behaves. We would be better to look at our continued selfishness and unwillingness to change our living habits to reduce the effects of climate change.

  2. Good stuff. Gives God a bad rap when we accuse God of killing or destroying through natural disasters. That isn’t the God I know! I hadn’t thought of the two passages in Matthew as you did in trying to understand God and natural disasters. As you say if God is causing a disaster to punish, why are the righteous destroyed too. Was God trying to kills Jesus?

    1. Thanks Mike. I've being looking around your blog as well and look forward to reading through some of the articles. I downloaded the books as well but I am not sure what format they are?

  3. Hi Westley, thank you for the challenging post, it is a topic which I do feel is causing a lot of confusion.

    I do agree with what you said to an extent. There are people who believe pain and suffering is always a consequence of sin in people’s lives. Unfortunately it has caused a lot of condemnation within the church. I do not know if Uncle Angus also have this view?
    We live in a fallen world and bad things does happen to good people, but I do believe that blessings and curses is a reality and sometimes we do need to deal with it. Only the Holy Spirit can give us discernment and lead and guide us in this.

    I have a more balanced approach when it comes to blessings and curses. Is the drought in Cape Town a direct consequence of the people sin? It’s difficult to really say. But I do believe it is possible.
    Through my own personal experiences it is impossible to deny the relevancy of repentance and dealing with curses. But we need the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us.
    There are many examples in the bible (old and new testaments) were nature disasters and bad things happened to people due a direct consequence of their rebellion against the Lord.

    Here are some examples of bad things that happened to people directly linked to sin. Zecharia became mute because he did not believe the angel that he will have a son (John the Baptist). Jesus cursed a fig tree for not baring fruit and the tree died (not that a tree is a person, but Jesus cursed it). Jesus healed a lame man and told him not to sin again, otherwise a worse thing will happen to him. Ananies and Sapphira died on the spot for lying. Paul was struck with instant blindness for his rebellion against the Lord. Exactly how these consequences work, is still a mystery to me, but I do think that God is somehow involved in it.

    I am also just wondering who destroyed Sodom and Gamora? And who turned Lot's wive into a salt pillar for being disobedient to God's commandment to not look back? Who caused the flood which destroyed everyone except Noah? There are many of these kind of recordings in the bible.

    I listened to the interview with Uncle Angus and his focus was mostly on the people of Cape Town to repent of their wicked ways and turn towards the Lord. And even if his wrong about God being angry with them and the drought is a direct consequence of their sin, it is still an opportunity for people to repent and turn to the Lord and hopefully many salvations will take place :-)

    You have probably looked at all these scriptures and can line it up with your views. Would be great to hear your thoughts on this :-)

    1. Hi Sampie, I think your comment might be longer than my post was! :) I think that I covered the idea that God never punished the righteous along with the wicked in any OT stories sufficiently above so I'm not going to revisit it.

      The idea of God as a destroyer and generational curses are two entirely different topics by themselves and we can chat about them sometime.I'll probably post something in the near future on the topic of God as a destroyer in the Old Testament.