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Did God send a prophet?

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Breached levee floods New Orleans
after Katrina.—Digital Globe.
What Scientists Would Say Was the Cause of Hurricanes Like Katrina

The Prediction

A topic Ellen White turned to time and again was that of natural disasters and their meaning. She saw in them both a sign of the end of time and a call by God for sinners to repent. At the same time she predicted that alternative explanations for such disasters would be proposed by scientists:

The restraining Spirit of God is even now being withdrawn from the world. Hurricanes, storms, tempests, fire and flood, disasters by sea and land, follow each other in quick succession. Science seeks to explain all these. The signs thickening around us, telling of the near approach of the Son of God, are attributed to any other than the true cause.Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 408, bold added.

Another example of this prediction is the following, which sees localized natural disasters as a "symbol" of worse things to come:

Local disturbances in nature are permitted to take place as symbols of that which may be expected all over the world when the angels loose the four winds of the earth. The forces of nature are under the direction of an Eternal Agency. Science, in her pride, may seek to explain strange happenings on land and on sea; but science fails of tracing in these things the workings of Providence.—Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, p. 280, bold added.

Thus Ellen White is predicting that science will come up with explanations for hurricanes that leave God out of the picture. In other words, they will attribute an increase in the number and intensity of hurricanes to the result of mere natural processes, rather than to anything of a supernatural character.

What Took Place

While the U.S. was reeling under the effects of nine hurricanes to come ashore in two years (2004: Charley, Frances, Gaston, Ivan, Jeanne; 2005: Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Wilma), some scientists attributed the increase in number and severity of hurricanes to naturalistic explanations like global warming or weather cycles:

"Atlantic cyclones have been increasing in numbers since 1995, but one can't say with certainty that there is a link to global warming," says Patrick Galois with the French weather service Meteo-France.

"There have been other high-frequency periods for storms, such as in the 1950s and '60s, and it could be that what we are seeing now is simply part of a cycle, with highs and lows."

On the other hand, more and more scientists estimate that global warming, while not necessarily making hurricanes more frequent or likelier to make landfall, is making them more vicious.

. . .

Just a tiny increase in surface temperature can have an extraordinary effect, says researcher Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

In a study published in Nature in July, Emanuel found that the destructive power of North Atlantic storms had doubled over the past 30 years, during which the sea-surface temperature rose by only 0.5 C (0.9 F).—"Experts Foresee More Katrinas," Aug. 31, 2005.

Thus it is true that scientists are zeroing in on naturalistic explanations that leave God out of the picture, explanations such as global warming or weather cycles. It is the rare scientist today that speaks of hurricanes like Katrina as being a sign of the end, a warning from God, or a removal of His protection.

Give Us Your Opinion

What do you think of her prediction of what scientists would say?
Ellen White was right when she said that science would appeal to naturalistic explanations for hurricanes.
Though what she said has proven true, I'm not sure at present that God told her this.
Deep down in my heart, I just sense that God is trying to tell us something in all these hurricanes.
There is no God out there who sends hurricanes or protects us from hurricanes. This is nonsense!
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