By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz
“Tremble, you earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob.” (Psalms 114:7)
Thursday morning, at 5:39 local time, a 4.4 magnitude earthquake occurred in the Dead Sea region of Israel, an area that is the deepest depression on the face of the planet. Though there were no reports of injury or damage in Israel or neighboring Jordan, it is certainly worth considering the meaning of the event, especially in light of other recent earthquakes that have hit Israel and the catastrophic earthquake that hit a struck Nepal a few months ago.
Biblical scholars explain that the name of God, “Elohim”, refers to the aspect revealed through nature and linked to judgment. For early man, and even today, every natural phenomenon can be an awe inspiring experience, an occasionally fearsome reminder of our mortality. An earthquake is, quite literally, a moving experience.
Scientists have noted that the Dead Sea Rift has affected human civilization through time as well as the flora and fauna of the region, causing migrations and creating water sources. However, it should be noted that the location of Thursday’s earthquake is the precise region of Jericho, known for its city walls that came tumbling down, and also the area of Sodom and Gomorra. A biblical perspective certainly seems in order when considering occurrences of geological proportions.
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