In what is being called the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, the slaughter of 59 people at the Route 91 music festival in Las Vegas Sunday night has gripped the United States with sorrow and horror.
Amid growing frustration and the creeping feeling that these kinds of violent events constitute a new normal as several have happened in recent years, questions such as "Where was God?" and "Why does God allow suffering?" are being raised again.
Here are the responses of four Christian leaders and writers. (Click arrow above image)
Max Lucado: The fight against evil is a spiritual one, Satan is real
One of the best-selling Christian authors in America took to his website to weigh in on the mass shooting, reminding readers that the real conflict is not against fellow humans but spiritual evil.
"Our fight is not against people on earth but against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world's darkness, against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly world," wrote Max Lucado, referencing Ephesians 6:12.
"The Bible names a real and present foe of our faith: the devil. He is not just a symbol for evil, he is the source of evil. He doesn't live in myths and fables, he is an actual being who stalks our planet. He knows his time is short so he seeks to wreak havoc on every occasion."
The Enemy seeks to steal and destroy everything good, the author continued, noting how foolish it is when we dismiss the devil.
"We play into the devil's hand when we pretend he does not exist. The devil is a real devil," he added.
Christians should strengthen themselves with God's Word which reveals that the devil is defeated, he stressed, citing Romans 16:20, which reads: "The God who brings peace will soon defeat Satan and give you power over him."
"Satan may be vicious, but he is not victorious," Lucado said.
Al Mohler: It is 'reassuring' that we can still speak of objective moral evil, we must continue
Some have referred to the current era as "post-truth" and many Christians lament the moral breakdown that is becoming more visible with every passing day. Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, noted that events such as the horror in Las Vegas bring a kind of clarity to such moral confusion.
"Evil is a fact, too. And evil is a theological category," the SBTS president wrote on his website Monday, praising President Trump for aptly describing what happened as an "act of pure evil."
"The secular worldview cannot use the word with coherence or sense. The acknowledgement of evil requires the affirmation of a moral judgment and a moral reality above human judgment," Mohler said.
If humans are merely accidental creatures in an equally accidental cosmos, "evil" has no real meaning, he went on to say. The reality of evil "points to a necessary moral judgment made by a moral authority greater than we are—a transcendent and supernatural moral authority: God."
"It is both telling and reassuring that secular people, faced with moral horror as we see now in Las Vegas, can still speak of evil as a moral fact—even if they continue to deny moral facts in the classrooms and courtrooms. No one can deny that the horror in Las Vegas came about by an act that was evil, pure evil, and evil as a fact."
Michael Brown: God is trying to get America's attention
The host of the Line of Fire radio program and author of the new book Saving a Sick America, believes that in the wake of the horror in Nevada, the Lord is trying to get America's attention. Policy debates will continue but God is the only hope for the U.S.A., he argues.
"Does the Second Amendment guarantee our right to own assault rifles or machine guns, weapons that can murder 50+ people and injure hundreds of others in a matter of minutes?" asked Michael Brown in CP column Monday.
Such a question misplaces the focus, he continued, even as those discussions will happen.
"During the devastating hurricanes, some claimed these natural disasters were judgments from God while others claimed that they were the result of man-made, global warming. Some even suggested that we were being judged because we elected Donald Trump as our president (really!)."
What is really occurring, Brown said he sensed in prayer, was God mercifully calling out to the United States, saying, "America, you need Me!" His is the "voice of the Healer ready to mend and restore."
"There is no political solution. There is no social band aid that can be applied. There is no law that can be passed that will heal our sickly land," he added, noting that without God, America's condition is "terminal."
Whatever our political views, we must do like the Jews did this past weekend on Yom Kippur, confess our sins and implore God to have mercy and heal our land, he said.
"But let us also look to the cross where the Savior paid for our sins and struck at the root cause of our rebellion and pain."
Marshall Segal: God shows up in tragedy
God hates violence, wrote Desiring God staff writer Marshall Segal in a prayerful post in response to the shooting.
"When God looks out on a war zone like the one on Las Vegas Boulevard, he despises the violence, and he prizes the lives of the innocent, especially those who cry out to him in faith. Their blood is precious to the infinitely valuable One."
While this Nevada city is "an international symbol for iniquity," Segal said, and hell has surely invaded it, "God through the prayers of his people may yet flood the evil with heaven in the coming days and weeks and months—through the hope and love his people show one another and those in need. He loves to reveal his stunning mercy in the wake of sudden tragedy."
"Mass shootings will not always happen. Those who assault the innocent and remain unrepentant will spend eternity wishing their hell lasted only fifteen minutes. And those who run to Christ will soon enough forget how to fear," he concluded.