Much ink has already been spilt explaining the events of the shooting in Connecticut this week. Many have used it as an opportunity to advance their own political position on gun control, some have used it aptly as a time of grief and prayer.
Where ever you fall on the spectrum of appropriate or inappropriate responses, there is a question that rises from this tragedy. Where is God? or perhaps a more relevant question, What does the gospel say about the shooting in Connecticut?
One thing that we have to acknowledge, regardless of religious or political position, is that what happened in Connecticut is evil. Allow me to explain. Ancient Greek philosophers believed that all things and people we designed for a purpose or “goal.” To try and explain things, events, or people apart from their created goal is an exercise in futility. The only way to make sense of both triumph and tragedy is in respect to the ultimate Goal of all things. In other words, we need to ask the question, What is the point?
Tim Keller uses the illustration of giving a person from a third world impoverished country a cell phone. That person, who has never seen a cell phone, begins using it to hammer a stake in the ground. As the cell phone busts apart he turns to you and says This thing you gave me is no good! We make judgment calls on things everyday with respect to their value and worth. The reality is, that cell phone was perfectly good, when it is used for the goal and purpose for which it was created. But if we never understand the point of the things that happen in our life and in our society we can easily make a mistake and say that something is bad when it is actually good.
So then, how do we determine what is good and bad human behavior? Aristotle points out that unless you know for what purpose human beings are here for, then you can’t properly answer that question. God created and design his people to live and work for the good of their respective city; toward human flourishing. When tragedies like the shooting in Connecticut happen, we are outraged and hurt because there is something in our fundamental human fabric that says this is not the way it should be. We know, inherently, that this world is not perfect, and yet it should be. The violation of the innocent and defenseless in our society is outrageous to both the Democrat and Republican.
The gospel tells us that evil acts in society are reminders that all is not as it should be. But the gospel does not leave us there to grovel in despair. The gospel also reminds us that the very Son of God came to earth to identify with the innocent and defenseless. Christ became poor so that both the physically and spiritually poor might become rich in grace. Christ became an abused and rejected outcast of society so that we might be adopted and accepted members of God’s family. Because of Christ, one day, those who are God’s children will walk in a world without tears, pain, suffering, death, cancer, unemployment, foreclosures, poverty, or school shootings. The One who made all things will make all things new. Things are not as they should be, but one day, they will be.