Many Americans, and others around the world, are reeling at what happened in Aurora, Colorado days ago. James Holmes, for reasons we may never fully know, burst through the back door of a movie theater and began shooting indiscriminately at a room full of stunned people.
Someone in the theater that night posted on a Christian site that God in His sovereignty chose to make man in His image with the ability to chose between good and evil. Mr Holmes simply chose evil.
Now millions are asking the question we always hear in such tragedies: How could he have done such a horrible, or as President Obama termed it, an “evil” thing? I’d like to suggest that this question is altogether inappropriate for the Biblical Christian.
Evangelical Protestantism has historically taught what we call the “total depravity” of humanity. Based on passages like Romans 3:9-20; Galatians 5:19-21; and Ephesians 2:1-3, the Bible teaches that humanity – apart from a personal relationship with Jesus – is bound by evil desires, what Martin Luther termed “The Bondage of the Will.”
The Scripture is very clear that sin has totally and completely affected the human condition: body, soul, spirit, and mind. Mankind is not merely infected by sin, but is spiritually dead. Sin has spiritually killed the human race, beginning it’s work the moment of conception and paying it’s physical wage in death. The spiritually dead can’t seek God, nor do they want to, nor are they able to do anything but choose sin. They don’t require mere renewal, but a new birth.
Humankind, originally created with the ability to chose good from evil, lost that ability in Adam’s fall and is now bound under the power of sin. Mankind is not, as humanism and pop-Christianity teach, “good” but is predisposed to only evil. Yet we are surprised when unregenerate humanity lives up to its spiritual state; our surprise is because we have refused to accept the Word of God. “Oh, how could you say that?” I can say this because it’s what God says of mankind, not me. Total depravity is God’s indictment of mankind.
Christian, if you are a Bible believer, the question you should be asking today is not, “Why do such evil things happen?” They happen because of the bondage of the will to sin. A better question to ask is: “How is it that God brings about anything good from the from the deeds of evil men”?