(I posted this over at STTA, but it is one of those that kinda fits both places, so I am posting it here as well. Maybe somebody else will find it that way.)
What does the face of evil look like?
We see it all around us, but most often we see it in silhouette, if you will. In fact, often as we sort through the aftermath of grotesque wickedness, like the law-enforcement investigators in Boston, we see the horrendous aftermath, but we don't see the face that perpetrated the crime.
The fact is, evil wears different masks: They are found all across the spectrum from the distortion of extreme righteousness, so called, as was the case with evil on that first Good Friday, all the way to the just out-and-out, unadulterated badness, that too often stalks our streets.
The Bible is clear that evil is here. The Devil is not merely a personification; he is a real, spiritual person, Satan, Lucifer, the Dragon, and he gets around, and gets a lot done. In the book of Job, he describes the territory he has marked with his foul scent: "I've been 'roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.'" (Job 1:7) In the New Testament he is described as the "Prince of the Power of the Air." (Ephesians 2:2)--no more localized than the air we breath. He is not the evil opposite of God. He lacks, for instance, the omni attributes: omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence. He does get around, though, he is cunning and powerful, and he does have help. His network is so widespread and effective that John says "The whole world lies in the power of the wicked one." (1 John 5:19) Not only are these spiritual entities busily spreading evil, you and I, the Bible makes clear, have evil in our core, and in the same way that the physical ecosystems of our world are degraded, the moral spiritual realm is polluted. (Read Romans 8, and Ephesians 2:1-10 for both description and hope. An evil tempter, tempting people with a propensity to sin, in a world that is skewed in an evil direction--there is a recipe for a mess.
Carnage, like that in Boston, gets our attention and causes us to cry out for answers:
"Where is God?"
As to the last question, I assert that God is both here, with you, and in Boston. The Bible teaches that He doesn't take coffee-breaks. Look here, here, and especially here to see some things I have written after past tragedies.
The face of evil is sometimes sanctimonious, at other times on fire with raw hatred. It often is heavily colored with selfishness. If you look around the eyes you can detect deception. Ironically, and in a way that troubles me the mouth on the face of evil is often seen to be grinning.
I guess what troubles me most about thinking of the face of evil is I sometimes see it looking back at me from the mirror.