We know why nine people were murdered in Charleston. We know why sex-trafficking thrives. We know why we cheat on our spouses. The reason for all that is wrong in the world is summed up in one word — sin.
On June 17, a twenty-one-year-old man entered Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. He sat down with a small group of parishioners who were there for a Bible study. After about an hour of listening to teaching and discussion on Mark 4:16–20, he pulled out a pistol and fatally shot nine people.
In the aftermath of the Charleston shooting, pundits on television and people on social media labeled the tragedy “inexplicable” and “senseless.” While well-intentioned, these words are inaccurate. This young man’s deadly violence is indeed explicable. It does make a sort of twisted “sense.” We know why these nine people were murdered. We know why sex-trafficking thrives. We know why we cheat on our spouses. The reason for all that is wrong in the world is summed up in one word — sin.
The Bad News First
It may sound trite, but it is profoundly true: you can’t fully understand the good news if you don’t understand the bad.
When God first created the world, only two descriptors applied to all that he made — “good” and “very good.” But in his mysterious providence, he made the man and woman capable of rejecting his benevolence and disobeying his command. Our forefather Adam ate the forbidden fruit, and the world hasn’t been the same since. Sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and that death has spread to all people (Romans 5:12). The biblical teaching that Adam’s sin has been passed down to all people like a terminal spiritual disease is called “total depravity” (Romans 3:10–2, 23).