Evil​—Is It Out of Control?

A curious little boy picks up an object in a field​—a land mine—​and is blinded and mutilated for life. A mother abandons her newborn baby, hiding it amid roadside trash. A discharged worker returns to his previous place of employment, shoots everyone in sight, and then kills himself. A respected citizen sexually abuses defenseless children.

SADLY, reports of such evil acts have become all too common in our time. Sadder still, these reports are often eclipsed by accounts of ethnic cleansing, genocide, and terrorism. “At its worst, this has been Satan’s century,” said an editorial published in 1995. “In no previous age have people shown so great an aptitude, and appetite, for killing millions of other people for reasons of race, religion or class.”

At the same time, humans are polluting the air, fouling the earth, depleting its resources, and driving countless species toward extinction. Can mankind overcome all these evils and make the world a better, safer place? Or would attempting to do so be like trying to sweep back the tide with a broom? Said a professor who has written extensively on the subject of evil: “I have had a very strong need to make a difference in the world, to improve the world. But the world is not visibly improving.” Perhaps you feel similarly.

The way the world is heading can be likened to a ship that is sailing into seas that become more turbulent and perilous by the day. Though no one wants to go in that direction, all efforts to change course meet with failure. The vessel just moves headlong into the deadly tempest, unstoppable.

To some extent, this ever-deteriorating situation can be attributed to human imperfection. (Romans 3:23) Still, the scale of evil, its ubiquity, and its relentlessness seem out of proportion to the malice that can be attributed to humans alone. Is it possible that mankind is being manipulated by an unseen but powerful and sinister force? If so, what is it, and how can we protect ourselves? The following article will address these questions.

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© Heldur Netocny/​Panos Pictures