By: Brian Chilton | October 4, 2017
We have been bombarded with bad news this week. One of the worst massacres in United States history took place in Las Vegas, Nevada on the evening of Sunday, October 1st, 2017 as Stephen Paddock sprayed multiple rounds with an altered assault rifle into a crowd of people while staying at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino complex. Nearly 60 individuals were killed with over 500 others injured. Arguably one of the worst aspects of this shooting, outside of the fact that innocent people were hurt and killed, was that, at least at the time of this writing, no motive is known. Why did Paddock deliberately and with forethought kill people whom he did not know? Why did he choose this venue to perform one of the most heinous acts in American history? Why all the terror? More importantly, why do we have all the evil in the world?
Make no mistake about it. Evil exists!
While many people denounce the idea of evil, passing it over to some supernatural superstition with no relevance to human history, evil is a reality. extremely wicked and immoral. The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines “evil” as “extremely wicked or immoral; embodying or associated with the forces of the devil; harmful or tending to harm.” Was this act evil? First, the shooting was extremely wicked and immoral. Check. The shooting embodied an act of the devil, or one who was used of the devil. Check. The shooting harmed over 500 individuals with evidence mounting that the shooter intended to harm many more. Check. This act was extremely evil!!!
So, why are we seeing so much evil in our world today? I would suggest the presence of evil is found because of four fundamental, biblical truths.
1. Evil comes because humans by nature are inclined to evil. Humans are born with a sin nature. That is, humans are born with an inclination to sin. Paul rightly notes that “just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all people, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). Left to ourselves, we will choose to do bad things. There is a solution to this conundrum which we will explore in the conclusion.
2. Evil comes because of false philosophies. If it has been said once, it has been said a thousand times here at Bellator Christi.com, theology matters. Philosophy matters. Why? While we do not know the motive behind Paddock’s shooting, we can assume from his actions that life did not mean very much to Paddock. Paddock must have had a non-existent theology, or at least one that excused him from firing numerous live rounds into a crowd. Paddock must have held a low philosophical viewpoint of humanity. Thus, from the actions of Paddock, one could assume that Paddock held to a bad theology and philosophy. Jesus said, “But what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this defiles a person. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, slander” (Matthew 15:18-19).
3. Evil comes because of unresolved hatred. Premeditated murder comes from a heart hardened with anger. As a preacher once said, “Anger is one letter away from danger.” Again, Jesus has words that describe the situation. Jesus said, “You have heard it was said to our ancestors, Do not murder, and whoever murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Whoever insults his brother or sister, will be subject to the court. Whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be subject to hellfire” (Matthew 5:21-22).
Evil comes from a heart that is unloving and that holds grudges. Forgiveness is a gift that God has given to us. The lack of forgiveness will lead to bitterness, hard-heartedness, and anger. Such attributes lead to evil actions.
4. Evil comes because of a rejection of Christ. We are in a spiritual war! Sinister forces lead people to do great evil. Being in ministry, I have faced spiritual forces head on. Feelings of doubt, anxiety, and anger can easily come upon a minister if one does not stay close to Christ. For this reason, Paul exhorts believers to put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). For those who do not have a relationship with Christ, such a one is open with no protection against the forces of Satan. The more a nation turns away from Christ, the more one can expect to find more cases of evil to occur.
What is the solution? The answer is easy. Christ! Christ is the answer to the evil that we face.
In Christ, we are empowered to combat evil and to do good. We are given the fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
In Christ, we find proper theology, as we understand the relational, powerful, loving, wise, and personal aspects of God. In Christ, we find proper philosophy as one is commanded to love God and love others unconditionally.
In Christ, we find forgiveness which allows us to forgive others. We are not held hostage by hatred. We are released from bitterness. We are able to live life as God intended.
In Christ, we have power over the forces of darkness. Christ’s Holy Spirit protects the believer from possession. Christ’s power is supreme. Thus, we find power over the forces of darkness through the power of Christ’s light. As Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (John 9:5). But, it doesn’t end there. Jesus said that we are the light of the world, too (Matthew 5:14). We are reflections of his glory.
Therefore, turn to Christ. Pray for our nation. Be the salt and light of the world.
Brian Chilton is the founder of BellatorChristi.com and is the host of The Bellator Christi Podcast. He received his Master of Divinity in Theology from Liberty University (with high distinction); his Bachelor of Science in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Gardner-Webb University (with honors); and received certification in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. Brian is currently a student of the Ph.D. program in Theology and Apologetics at Liberty University. Brian is full member of the International Society of Christian Apologetics and the Christian Apologetics Alliance. Brian has been in the ministry for over 14 years and serves as the pastor of Huntsville Baptist Church in Yadkinville, North Carolina.
© 2017. BellatorChristi.com.
 Unless otherwise noted, all quoted Scripture comes from the Christian Standard Bible (Nashville: Holman, 2017).
 Yes, I do believe that the Gospels accurately record the teachings of Jesus. See the podcast on October 1, 2017 for more details.
 Again, I hold that the teachings of Jesus in John’s Gospel are accurate. See the podcast dated October 1, 2017 for more details.