If God is all good and all powerful then why are there hurricanes and other natural phenomena so harmful to people? A good God should certainly want good for his creatures, and a powerful God should be able to restrain such natural events that have the ability to harm so many people. So then why are there hurricanes? Consider the following natural benefits to hurricanes.
Hurricanes can be classified as strong storms with violent winds. During warmer months most of the precipitation in the middle latitudes comes from thunderstorms. Thunderstorms are responsible for virtually all of the precipitation in the tropics and subtropics. Since thunderstorms are responsible for the primary rain-producing process across most of the planet, without them the world would be an incredibly drier place and as a result, a far less hospitable place.
Although 78% of Earth's atmosphere is nitrogen, which is essential for plants, this nitrogen is not usable directly by plants. Some plants are "gifted" with bacteria that live within their roots and help create usable nitrogen for plants. However, the vast majority of plants don't have the luxury of this bacteria. Thankfully, thunderstorms ordinarily produce lightning. What? "Thankfully lightning?" Well, you see, lightning converts some of the air's unusable nitrogen into "fixed" nitrogen, which can be used by plants. This process along with the actual rainfall is a rich source of fertilization for the planet.
High winds are symbolic of hurricanes. Winds tend to destroy things that humans build. They are dangerous not only to property but also to lives. However, they also offer an essential benefit - clearing away large portions of weak and dead plants, vegetation, branches, etc. They act as a pruning mechanism that creates gaps within forests, recycles vegetation and promotes the growth of new plants and trees. In the total sum of things, high winds play an important role in a planet's ecosystem.
Besides the obvious initial hit of substantial rainfall, hurricanes have been known to break droughts in other ways. Hurricanes are at their strongest at landfall. Along coastlines, they play a role in controlling the landscape. As hurricanes make their way inland, they weaken. But in this weakened state, they persist for extended distances and produce a lot of rainfall. This long but weakened inland path of hurricanes provides much rain that is essential for life.
Combine the positive impact that hurricanes have on all life on our planet and specifically on human beings with the fact that the vast majority of the universe is so incredibly dangerous and vastly inhospitable for life, and hurricanes start to appear in a different light. Our entire ecosystem relies on them. We may see hurricanes in a negative light because of the immediate devastation we see them leave. But consider for a moment that fact that without hurricanes it's highly unlikely we would even be alive. We are prone to see hurricanes as a destructive force, but we have to keep in mind that hurricanes have been a part of Earth's natural process for a very long time. Not only has life has adapted to it but may depend on it in more ways than we presently know. At the risk of discounting human pain and suffering, we must try to see hurricanes, and in fact, all natural phenomena, as part of the overall planetary ecosystem, all of it finely tuned for life, difficult at times to deal with, but indispensable.
Arthur is an author, a former agnostic, and current ambassador of Jesus of Nazareth who loves to share the best of reasons for God's ultimate reality. His love and passion are helping skeptics and Christians grow in their faith and knowledge of God through accessible materials.