The Sago Mine Accident - God's Fault?

J. D. Conley

Man has unfairly and, may I add, ignorantly put limitations on the operations of Almighty God. He foolishly assigns everything God does to the realm of either providential or miraculous. He leaves no room for the natural or consequential. As a result, when something good or bad happens, it is attributed as either being a miracle or providence. Such reasoning has led some to blame God for the recent accident at the Sago mine. Even while the country was waiting for news about the miners' condition, West Virginia's governor, Joe Manchin, said we are praying for a West Virginia miracle.

Let's assume that the first report had been true and all of the miners, except one, had made it out alive. Would that have been a miracle? Where in the Bible do we read of a limited disaster being a miracle? Do you suppose, in our hypothetical situation, the widow of the man who died would deem it a miracle? Tragically, all of the miners died with the exception of one. Is it a miracle that he is alive and the others are dead? Again, ask the widows. Furthermore, ask them if the explosion was providential. Either way, if we relegate this tragedy to the providential or the miraculous, it places the blame on God.

Let me set forth another reason which I believe is more in line with what really happened at the Sago mine, i.e. the truth concerning the accidental violation of natural law. Is it not reasonable to believe that it is through natural law that God has chosen to deal with mankind most of the time? Notice, too, that God's natural law is objective and impartial toward all. If His natural law is violated, by either a believer or unbeliever, consequences will ensue. When methane gas or coal dust is allowed to accumulate in a mineshaft, there are consequences that may be enjoined. It was because God's natural law was not respected that twelve men lost their lives. Clearly, it was man's fault, not God's. Therefore, it is a mistake for anyone to box God's operations into either providential or miraculous. May we remember that God most often operates through His natural law, which He has seen fit to set in motion. When that law is breached, negative effects result. This is what happened at the Sago mine.

`We live in a sin cursed world. Unless we wish to blame God for all of the suffering in the world, we must admit that accidents of nature exist. We cannot conclude that everything that happens, bad or good, is the purposeful action of God "... for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." (Matthew 5:45) 102 Laramie Rd., Marietta, OH 45750.


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