Many people today have such a sentimental idea of God, or such a poor idea of his power, that they cannot imagine him punishing, let alone using the material universe or its weather to punish. Yet there is a strong argument that the very instability of the earth’s tectonic plates, giving rise to disasters such as we have just seen in Japan, was a result and punishment of men’s sin. Here is the argument (of which I for one never learned anything in school):—
Before Adam and Eve sinned, human nature was a glorious creation of God, strong and stable, but not unbreakable. Revolt against God could break it. So when Adam and Eve committed original sin, all their descendants (except Our Lord and Our Lady) inherited a wounded nature, so that all of us can suffer, have to die, and only with difficulty control our lower nature. Similarly with the physical nature of our planet. Before the Flood in the time of Noah, it was like a paradise garden, a glorious creation of God, strong and stable, but not unbreakable. The universal corruption of mankind (Gen.VI,5,11,12) could and would break it.
Now many geologists today may have no faith in the Flood as described in the Bible, but they do believe in some almighty prehistoric convulsion of the earth’s surface as a way to explain, for instance, the fossile evidence of marine animals to be found today high in some of the earth’s mountain ranges,such as the Rockies in North America. Originally, they speculate, the rocky circumference of the earth was kept farther out from the earth’s centre by huge subterranean chambers of water, on which the rock pressed down by gravity. If then that spherical shell of rock began anywhere to crack, the water would burst upwards, flooding the open surface above, and the rock would crush downwards to take its place. The huge tensions involved could spread the flooding and collapsing all over the world. (Note that from Scripture it seems clear that the waters that made the Flood not only rained down from above but also burst up from beneath: Genesis VII, 11; VIII, 2.)
But it is obvious that if all around the earth its circumference of rock collapsed inwards to form a smaller circumference, there would be too much rock for too little space, so that it would not only crack, to form the clashing tectonic plates, but it would also crumple, to form, amongst other observable features of our planet’s geology today, the huge mountain ranges, lifting marine animals way above the sea. Mount Everest is still being lifted a few centimeters each year, by the plate of India being pushed beneath the Eurasian plate of China and Tibet.
Thus as original sin generated from then on punitive tensions within human nature, so mankind’s prehistoric corruption generated tensions within the earth’s crust which underlie all such historic earth- and seaquakes as we have just seen in Japan. “Nature,” said Our Lady at La Salette in 1846, “is asking for vengeance because of man, and she trembles with dread at what must happen to the earth stained with crime. Tremble, earth, and you who proclaim yourselves as serving Jesus Christ and who, on the inside, only adore yourselves, tremble, for God will hand you over to his enemy, because the holy places are in a state of corruption.”
Let us tremble. Let us pray!