Yet without this idea, events like this massacre can never be understood. We might learn that the killer was "mentally unbalanced" or on anti-depressants. But, absent evidence that he was clinically delusional, this knowledge will not explain why he walked onto a college campus, locked people in a lecture hall, and killed them.
Events like this not only horrify us—they unsettle us. We think of sin and the demonic as not-so-quaint relics from a superstitious age. And even more destructive, random events like this remind us how little we know about ourselves and what we are capable of, as well. But failing to call evil evil misleads us about the world we live in and our need for God's grace, the only real answer and hope for any of us.
Today's BreakPoint offer:
Evil and the Justice of God Evil and the Justice of God by N. T. Wright.
For further reading and information:
BreakPoint Commentary No. 070418, "Death, Where Is Thy Sting?: The Virginia Tech Massacre "Death, Where Is Thy Sting?: The Virginia Tech Massacre."
"How Does Your Faith Tradition Explain (and Respond to) Senseless Tragedies Such as the Virginia Tech Shootings?" —responses from Chuck Colson, N. T. Wright, Cal Thomas, and others at the On Faith Newsweek/Washington Post blog.
Ian Shapira and Michael E. Ruane, “Student Wrote about Death and Spoke in Whispers, But No One Imagined What Cho Seung Hui Would Do," Washington Post, 18 April 2007, A01.
Regis Nicoll, "Where Was God on Monday" The Point, 18 April 2007.
Travis McSherley, "Hope amidst Anger, Hate, Suffering," The Point, 18 April 2007.
Diane Singer, "Rush to Heal," The Point, 18 April 2007.
"Compassion: Students Forgive Virginia Tech Killer," WCBS TV, 18 April 2007.
David Kuo, "Tune Out," Beliefnet, 18 April 2007.
Mark Galli, “Peace in a World of Massacre," Christianity Today, 17 April 2007.
Lee Strobel, The Case for Faith (Zondervan, 2000).
Peter Kreeft, Making Sense out of Suffering (Servant Ministries, 1986).
Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey, The Problem of Evil (Tyndale, 1999).