(Photo: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)
While police are still investigating the motive behind Friday's shooting at a theater in Aurora, Colo., some Christians are convinced of the real source: evil.
"What happened up in Aurora ... was the product of pure evil. It was the result of a depraved individual taking his free will to the extreme," said Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, in a statement Friday.
Dr. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, also pointed to the moral evil that humans are capable of.
"The Fall released human moral evil into the cosmos, and every single human being is a sinner, tempted by a full range of sinfulness," he wrote in a commentary. "We cannot afford to be shocked when humans commit grotesque moral evil. It tells us the truth about unbridled human sin."
James E. Holmes, 24, was taken into custody early Friday after allegedly opening fire in a movie theater during the midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises." Armed with four weapons, bullet-proof gear and gas canisters, Holmes was said to have appeared ready to go to war, as one witness described to the media.
The gunman unloaded hundreds of rounds and killed at least 12 people while injuring more than 50 others at Century 16.
"It brings a whole new meaning to 'Dark Knight rising' – not in a good way," said Greg Stier, founder of Dare 2 Share Ministries, to The Christian Post.
"You can't help but think of Satan – you know that dark knight who was once that white knight ... the highest of all angels who ... got thrown out of heaven and has now been on the earth perverting, killing, whispering in ears."
While Christians are oftentimes labeled crazy for believing in Satan, Stier emphasized what Scripture makes clear – that "our struggle is not against people ... but against a person in the spiritual realm."
"There is a highly organized, systematized army of darkness."
While Jesus came to bring life, Satan came to pervert all that, the youth leader added.
Stier, who lives half an hour from the Century 16 theater, ultimately blames the gunman for the decision that he made at the theater, though he believes Satan played a part in it. But he traces the source of that immoral decision to the Fall, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God.
"I kind of go back to Adam and Eve and blame Adam for taking a bite of that fruit and poison[ing] humanity with the capacity for horrific sins," he said.
So what now? Christians need to spread the Gospel, Stier said. It was Christ who came to provide a solution – he conquered sin through his death and resurrection.
"We got to get that message ... out to as many people as possible," the passionate evangelist underscored.
He also said he can't wait for the day – as described in the book of Revelation – when Satan and his kingdom will once and for all be destroyed and thrown into the lake of fire.
"All evil will be sucked up in this bottomless pit," he said. "Until then, we have a battle to fight."