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Evil Didn't Win This Time!

The story of a smoking car parked on one of the busiest streets, in one of the most congested cities in the world is the story of violence averted, mayhem aborted...and murder foiled.

In short, evil lost in New York City's Time Square last week. It is a victory we can and should celebrate because so many other times, evil has had the last word. On 9/11, in Oklahoma City and Mumbai. The list, unfortunately, goes on.

From the Judeo-Christian perspective, evil begins not with action, but with intent. It begins in the heart. It begins as a seed of judgment that says to God... "My will, NOT Thine, be done."

The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah wrote: 

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart..."

It would be a great help to have that kind of divine insight. But as of yet, we don't.

How could someone scheme to destroy the lives of innocent people, and no one sense it? We would like to believe that seedy characters with evil intent are easy to spot. But they are not because evil is deceptive, making what's bad appear as though it were good.

Os Guinness, a social critic and author of "Unspeakable: Facing Evil In the Age of Genocide and Terror," just returned from Oklahoma City two weeks ago, where he attended the 15th Anniversary Commemoration of the Oklahoma City bombing.

Guinness says there's still frustration for us all, trying to understand the mind of someone like Timothy McVeigh, an Army veteran, who served with distinction, who was found guilty of bombing the Murrah Federal building on April 19, 1995, killing 168 people, 19 of whom were children under the age of six. McVeigh was executed for the crime.

Guinness asked, "How do you get inside the twisted mind of people, like McVeigh, who felt he was more of a patriot than the people he was killing," the very people he was sworn to, at one time, protect?

Guinness says one of the challenges we have is that we have a lot of frameworks for interpreting evil. And we have to keep adjusting them as we're confronted by its new forms.

The basic model that worked for us comes from the Age of Enlightenment, which said man is born good but society corrupts him.

The traditional definition of evil deeds is "Malice of forethought....The intent to do harm."
But then in the 20th Century, confronted by Nazi Germany, we had to expand that definition of evil because millions of "good Germans" were complicit in the crimes committed by the Third Reich.

Now, radical Islam is our trigger, but a politically correct environment has slapped the hand of those who would dare profile anyone of Middle Eastern or Muslim background.

But with the arrest of Faisal Shahzad, the debate begins again.

The foiled Times Square bombing, as far as we can determine, fits the traditional definition of evil, but perhaps, with the added spice of religious fanaticism.

Whatever the source, the bombing suspect intended to do harm, taking ordinary ingredients and transforming them into a weapon of mass destruction.

But there was a weapon this evil hadn't foreseen.

It was something we had that evil will never possess.

That is.... angels. Ordinary men turned evil on its head.

We had angels like Lance Orton, the Times Square vendor and Vietnam veteran who spotted the smoking SUV.  We had New York City Police Officer Wayne Rhatigan who saved lives by pushing people away from the bomb-laden vehicle. We also had countless other officers who helped in the evacuation of thousands of tourists at the risk of their own lives.

Yes, evil has won its share of battles. But the angels are destined and determined to win the war.

Lauren Green is Fox News' Religion Correspondent.

Fox Forum is on Twitter. Follow us @fxnopinion.

Lauren Green currently serves as Fox News Channel's (FNC) chief religion correspondent based in the New York bureau. She joined FNC in 1996.