LEWISVILLE, TX: The world woke up Sunday morning (8-4-19) with a second mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio. All within 24 hours. The first shooting, taking 22 souls, occurred happening on Saturday in El Paso, Texas. The current heated political debate over immigration and racism immediately politicized the two events by placing blame on President Trump, racism, the NRA and guns.
Like sharks circling the smell of blood in a feeding frenzy, politicians quickly began quarrelsome bickering. The very ones who should be a calming influence on a hurting nation began making extreme accusations and derogatory rhetoric. (2020 Democrats attack Trump’s response to El Paso and Dayton shootings)
Many who don’t really trust God are seeking answers.
Some excuse the evil acts as the result of a nation in a declining spiritual freefall. Increasingly, some see the answer in an America that appears to be reaping the consequences of its moral and spiritual decline. The removal of Christian symbols from public places. The erasure of religious freedom under the bogus excuse of supporting the separation of Church and state. Of being politically correct
It is true that society is beginning to reject past spiritual and cultural norms such as moral purity, the sacredness of life, the definition of marriage and the family and freedom to express one’s spiritual convictions. Modern norms that accept the ubiquitous lying in political rhetoric and constant political hate speech have all raised serious questions about where our beloved country will be in another generation.
Massive shooting incidents bring into focus, once again, the subject of violence.
Yet we tolerate the endless playing of violent video games and movies that glorify sex and violence by our “movie heroes.” The slaughter of innocent unborn babies seems to continue unabated.
But Illinois is not alone.
Eight other states also allow unborn babies to be aborted through all nine months of pregnancy and some have done so for years.
The states are Alaska, Colorado, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Vermont, along with Washington, D.C. This fact is confirmed by the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research group and former arm of Planned Parenthood. Several of these states are considering bills this winter to codify their late-term abortion laws in case the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
No wonder our society has become numb to the killing that continues in inner cities and suburbia. We only go ballistic when it happens in a massive, seemingly senseless, incidence.
Who is to blame?
Most Americans will ultimately wrestle with an answer from their worldview. Where was the Creator God when these evil gunmen preyed on innocent men and women, children and the elderly? How can a loving God permit such a violent act?
One of the common challenges Christianity faces is the reality of evil and suffering in a world operated by a loving God. Atheists and skeptics of biblical Christianity use the reality of evil and suffering in the world for an argument against God.
The case cannot be made for the reality of evil or God’s goodness after specific circumstances. Neither can a case be made that individual events are God’s punishment for evil. We will not know the final impact of the shootings on the victims or survivors. That is left to future years and eternity.
The Bible establishes that God is deeply involved in every moment of human lives.
But it is quite different to say God has involvement in every detail of life versus saying He is the cause of all calamities. Evil is to blame.
There are two kinds of evil: moral evil and natural evil. Moral evil is human beings committing evil against others. This certainly is the case in Dayton and El Paso. We can get our arms around this kind of evil because we see a person on person evil every day. But natural evil is more difficult.
Natural evil comes from the results of natural disasters and effects the innocent.
Both of these evils are open to debate in these mass shootings. The victims were innocent of the act of being killed—the perpetrator was not. They were not innocent of personal sin but they were not charged with personal sin. The Bible says all humans are sinners (Romans 5:8, 12, 19; 3:23 NIV). But the victims were certainly innocent of the shooter’s penalty of death.
They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Why didn’t God stop the shooting in Dayton and El Paso?
Many tend to judge the reality of God by what happens daily. The Christian appeals to the Bible as authoritative which clearly attributes the loss of the paradise-like environment in the Garden of Eden because of human moral corruption. As a result, life is lived out in a fallen world state.
“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” (Romans 8:22, NIV).
Although God allows evil in the world, He constantly pleads with His subjects to flee evil and pursue righteousness. Mysteriously and unknown to us, He continually interacts with every circumstance of our lives. In the midst of the carnage of these horrendous events in El Paso and Dayton, there will emerge stories of faith, hope, and heroism.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”(Genesis 50:20)
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).
Considering all the evil in the world, one might ask, Does God really care about individuals? Yes, He cares enough to send His Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer and die for humankind. Because of God’s sacrifice, humankind can be reconciled with Him through Christ.
Revelation gives great hope to humankind by promising suffering and pain will be eliminated:
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4).
Yes, God was in El Paso and Dayton watching over his creation.
Waiting for the stories of good and faith to enable His people to rise above the corruption that is in the world and to live on a higher plane in the Kingdom of God.