The hearts of all decent people, not only in America but around the world, ache along with the parents, family members, classmates and friends of those precious children and others slain in Newton, Connecticut. Our sadness is mixed with a sense of outrage that these senseless mass murders continue and nothing seems to be able to abate them. Instead, they are increasing in frequency.
As expected, gun control advocates scream for “action” to control gun ownership, as though the guns were what motivated that troubled young man to do what he did. While we in America tend to compare this tragedy with previous ones in our own country, notably Columbine, we should not forget the mass murder of young people on the Norwegian island of Utoya by convicted mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik. Before going on his shooting spree on the island, Breivik set off a large bomb in central Oslo. Altogether, Breivik killed at least 91 of his countrymen, many of them young people. (The Observer, Saturday, 23 July 2011) Yet Norway, along with most of Western Europe has strict gun registration and control laws, which include the prohibition of high-capacity ammunition clips, the kind Breivik used. Breivik shopped the world for his arsenal. In a 1,500-page manifesto written the day of the massacre, Breivik wrote: “e-Bay is your friend.”
No, the problem lies not in the weapons, but in the killers themselves, and more precisely, in what drives them to such atrocities. Now at this point our secular world will turn to psychology, psychiatry, and sociology for answers, and wishfully, for solutions. But those disciplines, useful as they may be within their limits, have failed to discover the real source of the problem – evil. Indeed, it is not fashionable in our post-modern (or is it post-post-modern?) era even to acknowledge the existence of evil, or sin.
The Bible has the answer, but it’s not a popular one:
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” (Romans 5:12)
That “one man” was our first father, Adam. Genesis 5:3 informs us that although Adam was created in the “image of God” (Genesis 1:26, 27), his children were born “in his own image,” a distortion of the character of God, twisted by sin!
So we are all by nature sinners, capable of horrible acts that we dare not imagine. But, wait a second! We may all be sinners, but we are not all mass murderers, child killers! True, but left in our natural state, apart from the grace of God, we are vulnerable to the manipulation of Satanic forces. Paul describes that condition in his instructions to his young protégé Timothy:
And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:24-26 Emphasis added)
Those who have not received the grace of God in the gift of His Son, are vulnerable to the devil’s influence and manipulation. And those who pursue the occult invite further demonic control. Jesus told us that the devil was “a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44), and he moves people to murderous acts.
Thankfully, God has given us a cure for both our inherent sin and the influence and control of Satan. Paul continues in Romans 5 –
For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:17)
Jesus Christ is the Savior of mankind. His grace is the cure for evil. And as for Satan, the devil, the enemy of God and man, the Apostle John sounds his judgment:
The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8)
The solution to the problem of evil is a personal relationship with God through faith in His Son as Lord and Savior. Everything else is a bandage on a deadly spiritual cancer.