Senseless shooting has become commonplace in our society. The shooting in Las Vegas took things to new levels, however. It was a new level of bloodshed caused by powerful weapons and a unique vantage point on a crowd. It was also a new level of craziness. We still cannot figure out a motive.
Whenever there is something inexplicably evil that goes on, some turn the cause on God. “Why didn’t God stop this?” The question exposes our assumptions, all of which are incorrect. We assume the world and people are good. People also assume that because God is theoretically all-powerful (omnipotent) then God must be controlling everything that happens in the world. Far from it.
God did not create a world with war, murder, natural disaster or even death. God created a world with ample provision, peace, love, His presence and necessary control and free will. Through a simple choice humans were empowered to keep this system in place or radically change it. It’s changed.
Now God doesn’t control everything and won’t. People are born with inherent evil and it only takes the right circumstances to bring it out in ugly ways. Even the natural processes of the planet are modified not only to frustrate but occasionally to destroy. Hurricanes and earthquakes should not surprise us. Neither should senseless murder.
The Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock, had no known political or religious motive. He was not known to be mentally ill. The lack of standard motive is unsettling. This was not a spontaneous thing either. It was planned. Even planned for other locations. We are all susceptible to temptation from within (our sinful nature), from without (stresses, doctrines, peers, etc.) and in the case of someone without the Spirit’s guidance, from a powerful temptation from Satan. Usually either a sense of morality or a fear of punishment can get anybody to step away from something as gruesome and catastrophic as this. Not in this case apparently.
Could not God have jammed his guns, pushed him out the window, got him shot or something else? Yes. But that is not normally how God intervenes in the world as it is. If majority of our species were honest, we would still reject God’s tighter control of the world and accept the chaos we have. That is sad. We want God when we want Him, but not when we don’t. This shooting is just another symptom of the bed we have made for ourselves. On the global scale of things, this was a small incident. Far greater bloodshed and cruelty has happened and still happens.
God may step back, but He has not abandoned. This event grieves Him, too. He would rather intervene. Despite our widespread rejection of Him, He has still made a tremendous personal sacrifice so that someday evil will be history. He has given His Son to pay the price of sin for all who are connected to Him through faith and baptism. He also works through various channels to help, and often those channels are his people. We may not stop the progress and execution of evil, but we can help heal the wound.