The God who created volcanoes

Published 6:10 pm Monday, August 19, 2019

Several years ago, my youngest son Jim and his wife Dorinda traveled with a medical mission team to Ecuador. 

Jim is a dentist and Dorinda was a dental hygienist. They were given a room with a large picture window in the front and framed in the window was a distant volcano. When they sent us a picture and told us about it, I said, “It’s probably dormant.” Jim quickly answered, “It erupted last January.” 

There are 47 volcanoes in Ecuador, and 27 of them are potentially active, and five of them have erupted since 2000. There are about 169 active volcanoes in the United States. The 10 most active and dangerous American volcanoes are Mount Kilauea in Hawaii, Mount St. Helens in Washington, Mount Rainier in Washington, Redoubt in Alaska, Mount Shasta in California, Mount Hood in Oregon, Three Sisters in Oregon, Akutan Island in Alaska, Makushin in Alaska, and Mount Spurr in Alaska. 

There are about 1,500 volcanoes around the world, not counting those under the oceans, and 500 of them have erupted since people began recording their history. 

So, it’s not a surprise that we see them in the Bible, “Unlike your ancestors, you didn’t come to Mount Sinai-all that volcanic blaze and earthshaking rumble-to hear God speak. The earsplitting words and soul-shaking message terrified them and they begged him to stop. When they heard the words — “If an animal touches the mountain, it’s as good as dead” — they were afraid to move. Even Moses was terrified.” (Hebrews 12) 

I’ve heard the old-timers talk about the “fear of God,” and if you’re living in rebellion against God, you’d be wise to cultivate a “fear of God,” but in general, God loves us and wants what’s best for us. That’s the message of both the Old and New Testaments, although it’s a bit more clear in the New Testament. Especially in the life of his son Jesus!

“Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. God himself is Fire!” (Hebrews 12)

We believe in a God who created the volcanoes — all 1,500 of them — and the earth and the universe. The most amazing thing I know about God is that as the creator of the volcanoes and the earth and the universe. He could choose to be a fearful God or a loving God, and he chose to be a loving God!