WHAT YOU MAY HEAR: “God rules the world, so he causes natural disasters; therefore, he must be cruel.”

WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS: “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19) Who is “the wicked one”? The Bible identifies him as Satan. (Matthew 13:19; Mark 4:15) Is that far-fetched? Think of this: If Satan has power over the world, then he influences humans to be as selfish, greedy, and shortsighted as he is. Would that not help to explain why man so badly mismanages his own environment on the earth? Many experts warn that mismanagement of the environment may play a role in natural disasters, whether by causing them, worsening them, or making human society more vulnerable to them.

Then why does God allow Satan to have so much influence? The answer goes back to the dawn of human history, when our first parents rebelled against God as Ruler. Most of mankind has followed the same course ever since. That choice—the rejection of the rule of God—has placed the world of mankind in the hands of God’s enemy, Satan. Jesus thus called Satan “the ruler of the world.” (John 14:30) Will Satan rule forever? No!

Jehovah * is not callously indifferent to the suffering that Satan causes. In fact, God is deeply moved by human suffering. For example, concerning the hard times that befell the nation of Israel, the Bible says of God: “During all their distress it was distressing to him.” (Isaiah 63:9) Mercifully, God has arranged to bring the cruel rule of Satan to an end—soon! He has appointed his Son, Jesus Christ, to be a just and righteous King forever.

HOW YOU ARE INVOLVED: Although Satan’s rule has failed to protect people from natural disasters, Jesus’ rule will do so. Jesus once acted to protect his disciples during a violent storm. The Bible account says: “He . . . rebuked the wind and said to the sea: ‘Hush! Be quiet!’ And the wind abated, and a great calm set in.” The disciples said: “Who really is this, because even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:37-41) That incident gives us confidence that Jesus will protect all obedient mankind during his rule as King.—Daniel 7:13, 14.