How Do You Explain Evil?

Horrific. Tragic. Abhorrent.  These words all have been used to describe the deadly Colorado theater shootings over the weekend.  12 people have died and  58 were injured at the hands of this murdering madman.  Certainly our prayers are for the victims and their families.

But in the wake of this senseless shooting there have been many questions raised and explanations offered assessing blame for this horrible act of violence. Unfortunately, it is a scene repeated over and over again.  Columbine.  Ft Hood.  And the shooting at Tucson where  Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords was seriously wounded and six others killed.

We want to know how this could happen?  “Why would God allow this?” some ask.  And what could have been done to prevent it. Blame is assigned.  Gun control laws are revisited.  Theologians are interviewed. Psychologists analyze.   Talking heads opine.

Explaining evil is difficult.   Most of us can’t understand how someone could murder others in such a cold, calculating fashion. Governor Mike Huckabee said on his show Saturday night,  “This shooting is impossible to understand, except we live in a world where there is evil.”

Yes, evil does exists. And some people are possessed by it.  C.S. Lewis said that evil isn’t an absolute; it needs good. It’s a parasite that rides on good. C.K. Chesterton once wrote about evil in a way that may make us uncomfortable, “Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable.”

The Bible, however, does not leave us in the dark.  Jesus said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matt 15:19) He called the devil “the evil one” (John 17:15). And the Bible teaches that the devil can enter our hearts to commit evil acts (John 15:2).  Of course, we don’t have to submit to his enticements.

God made man a free moral agent.  A creature of choice.  We have the power within us to accept good and reject evil.   Moses reminded God’s people they had a choice between good and evil, life and death. He challenged them to choose good so they could live (Deut 28:15-20).

Columnist Cal Thomas once offered this observation regarding evil. “We tolerate, even promote, many things we once regarded as evil, wrong, or immoral. And then we seek “explanations” for an act that seems beyond comprehension. Remove societal restraints on some evils and one can expect the demons to be freed to conduct other evil acts.”

“The fault, as Shakespeare wrote, ‘lies not in our stars, but in ourselves.’ Once tolerated, evil grows like the parasite alluded to by Lewis. It inevitably and predictably leads to other evils, like the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado.  Governor Huckabee was right when he observed, “We don’t have a crime problem, or a gun problem, or even a violence problem, what we have is a sin problem.”

Since Satan prowls around like a hungry lion, looking for prey, and recruiting those who would serve his evil agenda,  we must be  alert (1Pet 5:8) and guard our hearts with diligence (Prov. 4:23). We may not stop the next evil gunman, but we can stop the madness of evil in our own hearts.

—Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


Filed under Sin

4 responses to “How Do You Explain Evil?

  1. Faloria Jones

    So well put. Thank you.

  2. Betty J Rhodes

    Ken, I agree. Recognition and the putting away of the evil in our own hearts is one of the most important and difficult tasks each of us has. Most of us have pet sins or strongholds that have be dealt with in an ongoing way.

  3. Lavada Freeman

    Very true Ken! All of us has a choice about how we live our lives…the things we say and do and if we don’t allow God into our hearts evil will surely make it’s home there. We as Christians, who know God, have to let our light shine bright so this evil world can see God in us and if we do that we can help turn evil around to good!! Very heartbreaking and alarming what happened in Colorado. Pray, pray, and pray some more!!

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