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‘I know Adam would have killed me in a heartbeat’

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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A photo of Newtown shooter and mass murderer, Adam Lanza, with his father, Peter Lanza, on a hike when Adam was about 10 years old (Credit: The New Yorker)

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<iframe style=”float: left; border: 1px solid #000000; background-color: #C0C0C0; padding: 2px; margin: 10px; -moz-border-radius: 3px; -khtml-border-radius: 3px; -webkit-border-radius: 3px; border-radius: 3px;” width=”400″ height=”225″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/biPEEMRAj98?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>{/source}”With hindsight, I know Adam would have killed me in a heartbeat, if he’d had the chance.”  So says Peter Lanza, the father of the Sandy Hook killer, in an interview just released by The New Yorker.  One reason he is now speaking out: “I want people to be afraid of the fact that this could happen to them.”  He wishes his son had never been born.

Meanwhile, police in northern Ohio say they’ve arrested the suspect in a shooting last weekend that killed three men, including an off-duty police officer.  According to relatives of two victims, the shooter punched one of the victim’s wives, left the bar, and returned with the gun he used to kill the men.

And mobile devices apparently impede parenting.  That’s the conclusion of a paper published yesterday by the journal Pediatrics.  Boston researchers observed 55 caregivers eating with one or more children in local fast-food restaurants.  Of these adults, 40 used a mobile device at some point during the meal.  The more they engaged with their technology, the harsher and angrier they became with the children.

Technology can improve our lives, but it cannot change character.  Since 2006 we have seen the advent of Twitter (with more than 350 billion tweets since it was launched), 3D displays, and other remarkable innovations.  But since 2006, according to a USA Today study, there have been 236 “mass killings” (defined as more than four deaths apiece, not including the killer) in the United States.  Science could not prevent the Sandy Hook massacre, or predict the Ohio shooting.  It can make us healthier or wealthier, but it cannot make us better.

For that we need the kind of transformation only God can produce.  He turned a murderer and fugitive into a leader who would take his people from Egyptian slavery to the edge of the Promised Land.  He turned a young shepherd into his people’s greatest king.  He turned a man who “persecuted the church violently and tried to destroy it” (Galatians 1:13) into the greatest theologian, missionary, and evangelist in history.

We all long for such transformation.  We were made to know God and make him known.  St. Augustine noted in his Confessions: “Man is one of your creatures, Lord, and his instinct is to praise you. . . . The thought of you stirs him so deeply that he cannot be content unless he praises you, because you made us for yourself and our hearts find no peace until they rest in you.”

God seeks to help you “be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29).  The closer you are to Jesus today, the more like him you will become.