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Tragedy in Colorado is a stark reminder of the sin and death that clouds this world.
The midnight premier of The Dark Knight Rises, the latest movie in the Batman saga, turned to tragedy in Aurora, Colorado, this week as a lone gunman killed at least a dozen people and wounded at least fifty. The 24-year-old man, armed with multiple weapons and equipped with riot gear, broke into the crowded theater through an emergency exit, created confusion with a smoke bomb of some sort, and heartlessly began unloading his weapons into the frightened people.
I have used several words in this description—confusion, frightened, heartlessly, killed, dark, and tragedy—to point out just a few of the thoughts and emotions this sort of horror brings to mind. First of all, let me share our condolences and promises of prayers for the victims and families and community touched by this rampage. In the wake of events like this—such as the Columbine High School shooting of fifteen people not so far away from Aurora in 1999 and the 2007 shooting tragedy at Virginia Tech—many people ask why a good and loving God allows these things to go on. If He loves us, why does He let people do these sorts of things?
Tragedies surround us. Not only tsunamis and mass shootings and terrorist attacks but also the diseases and deaths that touch us all, robbing us of those we love one by one. Human history began gloriously about 6,000 years ago when a loving Creator made Adam and Eve in His own image and offered them, literally, the world—a very good world. They knew the God who made them and loved them. Yet they rebelled against His authority, and that dark day of rebellion was the watershed moment for human history—the day when all our tragedies began.
One of the most moving scenes in John Milton’s classic Paradise Lost, a fictionalized account of the fall of man, comes near the end when Adam is granted a peek into the future. Adam is heartsick when he sees the horrors his descendants—us, all of humanity—would experience in the millennia to come. He saw the fear, the heartlessness, the selfishness, the deaths haunting the future. He had to face the truth of the consequences of his rebellion against God. He saw that all his descendants would be born with a sinful nature determined to rebel against God also. The Bible confirms the truth that Adam’s sin brought death into the world, such as Romans 5:12—“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” In Milton’s epic poem Adam was also shown the promise of the Deliverer—Jesus Christ—whose shed blood on the Cross would pay for man’s guilt.
Yet as we look around us we need always to realize that man’s rebellion started the problems in this world. Death and suffering are not God’s fault, but man’s. From an evolutionary perspective, death has always been part of this world and is even the agent of progress as the weak die to make room for the strong. But God tells us the truth in the Bible. Death is not what we were created for. Death is an intruder, the enemy. And thanks to God’s grace in sending His Son Jesus Christ, “The last enemy that will be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26).
We do not proclaim that “evolution” causes people to plan assaults on theaters. But in a world where an evolutionary worldview tries to write God out of history, in a world where people justify the idea that they can create their own morality apart from God and then cry “foul” when someone else’s vision of acceptable behavior intrudes on their own, people lose sight of truth. We point out that the true history of death is rooted in human rebellion, as explained by the Bible.
Please read AiG–CCO Mark Looy’s remarks yesterday concerning these tragic events. Also, right after 9/11, AiG produced a witnessing booklet Why Does God Allow Suffering and Death? It is appropriate once again to share with you a PDF of the booklet (revised since 9/11) for you to read and forward to people who may be struggling right now with the question of why God allows bad things to happen.
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