I’ve been, like many I think, reading newsfeed after newsfeed and listening to talking head after talking head dissect what happened today.
One thing that is trending (over and over) is the idea that we need to “get God back into the schools,” in order to prevent atrocities like this. “If only we could return to the morality of the founding fathers,” the lament continues, “then this would not have happened!” I must say, that idea is absolutely…
It is wrong because it assumes that we – by an act of legislation – can change the hearts of sinners. We can no more curb such despicable evil by moralizing than the Israelites could return the Shekinah glory to the temple by rubbing their hands together. It is only the folly of a theology of glory that could imagine it to be so.
But. We should restore scripture readings and prayers (in Jesus’ name, very important) to schools for another reason. And that reason is this: we need a theology of evil. We need it to be able to cope with, even if not comprehend, the abhorrent behavior of those who rebel against their Creator in the worst possible way: killing those who bear His image, all the while bearing it themselves as well and so impugning His character. Without a theology of evil, and a greater context of theology to locate it in, all we are left with is senseless violence. Nature red in tooth and claw being what it has always been since the Fall… red in tooth and claw.
And, most important to any full-orbed theology of evil, we need a theology of redemption. An understanding that the murder of an innocent child has happened before, on Calvary, and the child concerned was God’s own.
And in the murder of that child is hope; hope that the parents who lost children today may one day be reunited with them, even if the wood of today’s crosses has sprouted thorns for now.