Firstly the Bible in Psalm 24:1 and I Corinthians 10:26 says, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.”
As far as the earth is concerned, it belongs to God and that’s because He created it.
Then Psalm 115:16 says, “The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; but the earth He has given to the children of men.”
In the beginning in Genesis 1:26, God says, “Let Us make man in our image, according to Our likeness: Let them have dominion (rule) over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
From this verse we can tell that God decided to give the management of the earth to man. We are to manage it for God. The authority to manage the earth was complete such that if man mismanages the earth he could lose it just like a CEO of a company managing a business on behalf of shareholders could lose the company through mismanagement.
When man sinned against God, he lost the power to rule the earth and the devil took over the earth as shown in Luke 4:5-6. The devil showed the kingdoms of the world to Jesus and said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomsoever I wish.” Jesus did not object to what the devil said to Him because He knew that Adam had delivered the earth to the devil at the fall.
After Adam and Eve disobeyed God, God never cursed man but the earth – Genesis 3:17. From that time the earth became sick and waits for its redemption – Romans 8:19-21. Even though God is the creator of the earth He has given the authority to rule it over to man. Our mismanagement of the earth can not be blamed on God. Our lives are tied to the earth.
In 2 Chronicles 7:14 God says, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
God works in the earth in response to our prayers. He has limited himself as far as the earth is concerned unless we invite Him through prayer. We pray not because God does not know our needs but because He respects our choices and will want to get involved when we ask Him. James 4:2 says,”…yet you do not have because you ask not.”
In view of all that has been said, suffering will always be with us in the world and most of it will be self inflicted because we are not managing the earth wisely and others just because of nature. There’s a reason why God gave the children of Israel laws governing the use of land (Leviticus 25:3-4).
In regard to the Haiti earthquake, scientists had warned the Haitian officials two years ago that their country was ripe for an earthquake (ABC News), but of course the time was too short to do much about it.
I say this to point out the fact that with technology we have the ability to detect some natural occurrences and can prepare for them. God says, “My people perish from a lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6)
Geologists and seismologists agree earthquakes can be induced in five major ways: fluid injection into the Earth, fluid extraction from the Earth, mining or quarrying, nuclear testing and through the construction of dams and reservoirs (New Dawn Magazine).
With some of these perceived natural occurrences, could it be that we as humans are not managing the earth properly and when they occur we put the blame on God? Have we forgotten about Cause and Effect?
The last thing is that there are so many things that we won’t find answers to. For instance we might not know why good people, even Christians suffer.
Bishop Jeston & Rev. Charity Katebe