When the Las Vegas mass shooting on the night of October 1, 2017, God must have allowed it, after all he is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. He must have known what Stephen Paddock was doing when he was packing his bags to make his way to the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel that night. He must have had some way to change the course of this event, a broken elevator, or suspicious security guard, or even a simple tree branch to the head would have done the trick, right? I am tempted to suggest that If you or I walked into that hotel room, for say room service, and saw Paddock kneeling at the window, staring through the scope of an AR-15 targeting the masses below, turned around, walked out, and never said anything, this would rightly be considered an evil and incredulous act, or better yet lack of. So how can we call God, one who has the power to do anything he pleases, loving? This is the great trilemma, often referred to as the Problem of Evil, which I believe to be the greatest hinderance to belief in the Biblical Worldview, and might I emphasize ‘hindrance’ rather than ‘threat’.
This is a serious issue. One that I have wrestled with deeply, grappling on each side of the fence, and one I am certain each of you has gravely considered, whether as a skeptic, believer, or the child-like on the teeter-totter of faith. It is an issue that indeed is dense, there are no easy answers here, and my belief goes as far to say there are no answers here. Absolutely no answers. Every worldview must respond to this ordeal. No one position can raise this affair, scrutinize the lack of answers, and crawl their way out of the stadium in which they just rode into before having a chance to offer its meagerness as well. I do believe, however, with full assurance that there is a response, one response, to this issue that is grounded in Biblical teachings that not only corresponds to reality, but is coherent, comprehensive, and compelling.
Shortly, you will see, that if you are looking for a response to this question that suggests any consistency and does not compromise and collapse upon itself, you will find yourself as Robert Jastrow suggests, “For the atheist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance, he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.” Yes, shortly, you will see, why I don’t have enough faith, to be an atheist.
You cannot look at the abuses of an ideology as an account to judge. But rather the ideology itself. We see the effects of Atheism in war. In the 20th century alone we killed more than the previous 19 centuries combined, that is a fact. On the heels of atheistic leaders and moral relativity we found ourselves listening to the boots of gravediggers. In no way can we look back on what happened by merely three incredulous dictators, Hitler, Stalin, Mao and see a worldview that coherently suggests that anything less would have or better yet ought to have happened. To ought is not to is, and no ought can come from what is. To is is to is, and to ought is moral.
As my good friend Ravi has said, and I quote, “Take a look at Jesus, and not at Christendom, and ask yourself the same questions, and see what you find wrong with him.”