The thought of going into a theater with a loved one and having to leave them there as part of the crime scene, because they were killed by a gunman who opened fire on the crowd is almost too much to imagine. Yet this is what happened to several people last night. Events like the shooting in the Denver area at the opening of The Dark Knight Rises make you want to go home and sit with your family and friends, because you never know how long you will have them. They are also a terrifying reminder of how quickly sin can take those we love away from us.
Why do I say “sin” instead of “death?” First of all, it is because it was the sin of another person that took the lives of the 12 people in the theater and injured many more. Sin takes people away from us all the time, whether it be in senseless killings, drunk driving accidents, or drug overdoses. The sinful desires that reside in us all are constantly pulling us toward our own destruction or the destruction of others. There are other ways sin strips the people we love from our lives too. It can do it in the form of lust tearing families apart, abuse from those who should be our most trusted guardian, or simply someone’s ambition for power and wealth keeping them away from those who need them. All of these stem from the same source, sinful desires, and we are all susceptible to them.
Second, I say “sin” instead of “death” because ultimately sin is the reason there is death in the world in the first place. The reason any of us die is because of the curse of sin. Even when decent people face a terminal illness like cancer, though we cannot point to any specific sin that caused it, it exists because the world is fallen and tainted with sin. Events like this remind us that we will all lose people we love and we will all face death ourselves.
So why highlight such dark and disturbing thoughts on a Christian theology blog? I do so because there is hope. Though I certainly do not have all the answers as to why such a tragic event took place, or why one young man could be overtaken by such dark desires, what I do know is that all of this reminds us that things are not the way they should be. Death is around the corner, our own sinful desires pull at us, and the guilt for all the times we have fallen short makes death terrifying; because deep down we know the justice of a Holy God awaits us.
Where do we turn when all these realities stare us in the face? Modern technology cannot help us, entertainment is simply a band aid, drugs and alcohol only take us further down the path of destruction, and no amount of money and power can ward off sin, guilt and death. There is only one place we can go in times like this, and that one place needs to be able to subdue our sinful nature, purify us from the guilt of sin, and must have defeated death. This is exactly what Christ Jesus has done, and for those who trust in him, though we will still live in a fallen world, He has promised that He can change our hearts and make us new creations in Him. Through His death, He takes our guilt and bears the wrath and just penalty that we know we deserve. Finally, through His resurrection we find that He has defeated death, and no matter how our life will end here on this earth, we will live with him eternally where there will be no more sin, sorrow, guilt and death.
Don’t let the darkness of this event be swept to the side in an attempt to cope and hide from our own fears and failures. Look at it full in the face, and then look to the Light of the World, Jesus Christ, who is the answer to all our deepest anxieties. Draw near to him through faith and He will draw near to you. For He was offered once to bear the sins of many, and because He defeated death through His resurrection, He lives forever to make intercession for us, and we can live with him forever
May we all find comfort in Christ,
10 thoughts on “The Dark Knight in Denver and the Light of the World”
I really don’t think you believe yourself to be just as much of a sinner as the killer. If you sincerely do, than we live on different planets and maybe there is no discussion here.
Imagine the horror of the event, the killer destroying lives and families, up close, personal, the screams for mercy, the blood and death – then imagine spending eternity in Heaven with the killer if he finds Jesus. You think you are as worthy of hell as he is? Or He is as worthy of Heaven as you are?
Tell me there isn’t something immoral about this loophole in eternal Christian justice that he could potentially end up in heaven, and some of his victims are likely in hell.
Just wanted to give a quick answer to your “How can Jesus die for that evil gunman?” question. The answer is, the same way He could die for me. The same way He could die for you. When we come to the cross of Christ, we need to understand that WE are in fact the worst of all sinners. On a scale of 1 to ten on how bad a sinner I am, I am a 10 because even if I did not kill 12 people, my sins put the Son of God on the cross. The only difference between us and that gunman is that we have found Jesus, realized our sins and repented out of a contrite heart.
I’ve check your site and I am assuming that you are an atheist. let me know if not.
base on the premise that atheist do no believe in God and His existence,
therefore this discussion is going nowhere. this one is my last comment.
but I thank you for the academic discussions we have above.
I will pray that God finds you and that you find Him too.
– may the holy Spirit convict you. amen.
Issues I have with your first quotation of Jeremiah – the innocent victims absolutely were harmed and it was part of God’s plan. Wasn’t there a child killed or injured? Definite harm and no future. Also, God is not powerful enough to overrule the authority to Satan given by Adam? Does Satan have a plan for us that is equally as powerful as God’s? Isn’t Satan part of God’s plan ultimately, since God is eternal and Satan was not?
@”Let’s go back to Adam…” First, the story of Adam and Even is most likely an allegory, so it is a bit shaky to put so much emphasis on his sin. Next, why would a loving God put such a test to his own children at the start? Why not just create the world without the drama? I certainly do not test my children with deadly set-ups just to see which way they will choose. Next, there is nowhere in the Bible that I am aware of that says anything about freewill. I could be wrong on this one. And, I don’t know why god would respect our freewill if we are born flawed to begin with.
@”Now I challenge you…” I think you should consider the morality of a God who will save the shooter if he professes faith in Jesus, and condemn to hell any of the victims that might have had a different faith other than Christian or had no faith and led honest, respectable lives. If the Christian god is real, I think the shooter will end up in heaven and any victims who did not believe Jesus was their savior are now burning for eternity in hell. This is what Jesus says. And I believe this to be immoral.
@”Hatred is murder…” I don’t think you truly believe this. If someone hates your loved one, maybe you get offended. But if someone murders your loved one, you surely have a different reaction. As for lust, not every woman or man is married, so lusting really does not equate to adultery unless it is applied to married couples – even then you are stretching it. If it weren’t for men lusting after women (or visa versa), the human race would not survive.
@”We all deserve to be killed…” This is the kind of self-hatred that I can’t deal with in religion. So I am supposed to see myself as a terrible person just for being born? Just because a fictional character in Genesis ate some fruit? Again, I don’t think you feel that you deserve to be shot. Just imagine the scenario and how many reasons you have to live. and yes, I think I am morally better than the shooter. Last time I checked, I take care of people and I haven’t murdered anyone. Am I morally better than the average Joe? Nope – just trucking along doing the best I can like mostly everyone else.
@”Either God has a plan, or he doesn’t”
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”
– Jeremiah 29:11
it says NOT TO HARM YOU. but to GIVE YOU HOPE AND A FUTURE.
this world is controlled by the devil, authority given by Adam to satan.
we have our own will and God respects our will.
will you subject yourself to God’s plan? or will you take control of your own life?
@”If he is and has a plan, then he allowed the victims to be shot””
Lets go back to Adam and blame him for all this troubles. and ask this.
*why did God put the tree of knowledge of good and evil? why?
– so that man can choose. does God knows what will man chose? definitely!
*will God stop you from choosing? no way. why?
– because of will. God honors our will.
You see if it wasn’t for our Will, Jesus would have saved us all and bring us to heaven without our consent.
but no, that is why we preach the gospel which is the salvation of God to everyone who believes (romans 1:16-17)
but at the end, it is still up to us to decide to accept or reject – our will gets in the way, you see.
*will God warn you of consequence before we choose? absolutely! will God assist us in choosing the right one? absolutely!
*did God allowed the victims to be shot? YES!
*was it God’s will? A BIG NO!
– for I KNOW the plans I have for you … NOT TO HARM YOU.
*did God punished the Christians in that theater for watching the Dark Knight? A BIG NO!
Now I challenge you with this question.
If that suspect (who i heard was active in the church and ministry. church and ministry does not no guarantee a person to be a christian)
who killed 12+ people, accepts Jesus and become righteous by faith.
***Will God forgive Him of all his sins and go to heaven if he dies?
A. If your answer is yes, then ask this. is God fair?
B. If your answer is no, then why not?
Hatred is Murder already. if you hate 12 people, then you have just murdered 12 people already.
Lust is adultery already. if you lusted over 12 women then you have committed adultery with 12 women already
do we think we are any better than that murderer and that we qualify to the goodness of God? NO WAY! A BIG NO!
we all deserved to be killed, shot, beaten … , and God has nothing to do with it.
the only thing God did was send Jesus to be Massacred for YOU.
see God’s love for you brother 🙂 He loves you so much.
you throw your anger and frustration at Him and He still loves you.
– grace and peace
Either God has a plan, or he doesn’t. If he is not omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, then he is not God. If he is and has a plan, than he allowed the victims to be shot. You have to choose either way – no God, or a God that permits evil.
@”Sin did not kill the victims, God did”
@”We always praise God for positive things in life, but we never condemn him for tragedies like murder, or even natural disasters such as tsumamis or tornadoes that have no evil intent at all. Let’s give credit where it is due – God’s Plan”
Perhaps we do not have the same God?
Regarding “They are also a terrifying reminder of how quickly sin can take those we love away from us.” – Sin did not kill the victims, God did. It was part of His Plan. He preordained it. He sat back and watched it happen. If you say Satan did it, then God sat back and watched Satan do it. Surely he is more powerful than Satan, right? Either God planned the attack and used the shooter as a means to carry it out, or he did not care to step in and save the victims.
We always praise God for positive things in life, but we never condemn him for tragedies like murder, or even natural disasters such as tsumamis or tornadoes that have no evil intent at all. Let’s give credit where it is due – God’s Plan.
such terror just to imagine that children were involved.
a question lingers in my mine.
did Jesus died for that gunman too? who murdered 10+ and injured 50+ people?
I salute those who threw themselves in front of their love ones to shield them from the flying bullets.
what picture of love. i hear heroic stories. so inspiring.
for a good man, for someone we love we will gladly lay down our life for them.
but just thinking : How can Jesus die for that evil gunman?!
God’s love is indeed unconditional and amazing. and yes Jesus died for everyone.
my prayers goes to those families and to the victims involved in the shooting.
– grace and peace
Doug, Very good post. One everyone needs to read and hear.