Because the creature [creation] itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now (Romans 8:21-22, KJV).
Tragedies such as the Las Vegas massacre refocus the issue of evil in a very striking way. If God is loving and good, why does He allow such horrendous acts of evil to take place? Why doesn’t He stop or prevent such acts of wickedness? While there is no way to address the issue of evil in one short article, we can address the problem of sorrow and suffering in this world and begin to offer some possible answers to this complex problem.
First, may I say, the existence of evil does not eliminate God. Rather, it reveals our need for Him. In his book, Mere Christianity, former atheist C. S. Lewis wrote: “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.” When we say there is evil in this world, we assume there is good. If there is good, there is a moral law on the basis of which to differentiate between good and evil. If there is a moral law, then we must conclude there is a moral law Giver.
We understand that God is not the author of evil. After the final day of creation, God saw all that He had made and declared that it was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). When God created man, He gave man a free will – a free moral choice. Otherwise we would have been merely His puppets or robots – creatures who could not love God nor anyone else. Love is possible only for free moral creatures; forced love is a contradiction. Therein lies the problem! As free moral agents, able to choose good or evil, men are capable of making choices that bring disease, disaster and death.
All of the sin and evil in the world could be stopped immediately – IF God took away our ability to choose – our freedom of choice. So it’s not God’s fault there is terrorism, murders, suffering and death. This fallen and broken world is the fault of mankind. We are ones who sinned against a holy God and brought the curse of sin upon ourselves and our world. We live on a broken planet. We’re the ones who broke it, and we break it a little bit more every day.
The good news is that God will not leave this world in a broken condition. There is coming a new world in which righteousness will rule. But in addition to that, God has already done something to address the evil in this world. He sent us His only begotten Son to die for our sins and for the world (John 3:16). Because of His infinite love for human beings, God, in the Person of His Son Jesus, stepped into history to save us from our sin and this broken, fallen world. We will never solve the problem of evil in this world – not totally. The only hope for this world is Jesus!
One lesson we can learn from this tragedy is the uncertainty and the brevity of life. You can never be sure just how long life will last. We should all be prepared to meet our God at any moment. While we cannot change the tragic events in Las Vegas, we can and are here today to minister to the hurting and the brokenhearted. We can pray. We can offer assistance where needed. We can be kind and show compassion. We can lend a listening ear and let people know we care, even if we don’t have all the answers. We can weep with those that weep, and we can show the love of Christ and tell others of His great love!