The standard ‘defence’ by theists to such indiscriminately devasting disasters as the recent earthquake in China is that God works in mysterious ways. That his understanding and methods are beyond our comprehension. But as the same time, they endow him with an intimate, loving understanding of each and everyone of us, thereby knowing that we neither understand nor gain from these mysterious ways. The victims and families of victims of the earthquake feel intense pain and loss of life. The massive absence of compassion for these people is manifest. Did God really make all these people so as to allow them to perish so painfully and arbitrarily?
What is more likely – that the observable and measurable friction of tectonic plates underground caused severe vibrations that caused many buildings to crumble, crushing most within – or that God arranged for this as some kind of punishment for the victims, their families, or mankind in general. Without uttering a word of explanation?
If God is all powerful and loves us all, why fail to act when his beloved people are slaughtered? Why not arrange for any damage to be inflicted on prisons rather than schools?