This paper was presented on May 3rd, 2013 at the 21st Theologoical Conference I attended in Atlanta, GA by fellow brother and friend - Dustin Smith. I’ll advise everyone ahead of time, this is a LONG paper as the word count/reading time shown here indicates. But Dustin does a fine job in laying out the evidence in this discussion. I know I enjoyed it immensely and think this should serve as a very good reference material to be considered by all – no matter which side of the literal vs. non-literal Devil & Demons viewpoint you currently reside. And yes I said “currently reside” because I grew-up in the literal view, switched to non-literal for many years, and then came back to the literal side – because of evidence and logic. People can change when they have an open mind. Read this paper and see where you are led!
Archive for the 'Satan' Category
One of the topics that occasionally comes up in Christian churches is the concept of “spiritual warfare”. Basically, spiritual warfare refers to the belief that some spirit beings are opposed to God – and as a result, those spirit beings cause problems for humans.
Of course, as with any other belief, it is necessary to determine if Scripture supports the concept of spiritual warfare. So, let’s see what Scripture has to say, about this overall topic.
Information from the Apostles
To begin with, let’s take a look at the information that the apostles gave us, about the overall concept of spiritual warfare – since the apostles’ letters were directed to Christian congregations.
One item that Scripture makes abundantly clear is the following admonition: Believers must avoid idols. Both the Old and New Testaments contain numerous commands to not make or worship idols – and they also describe the consequences of breaking those commands. For example, consider the following passages:
Exodus 20:4-6 (ESV):
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Here’s the 4th installment in this series:
Biblical Common Sense – Death – You shall surely NOT die!
In all of God’s Holy Scripture, there’s not a single verse that tell us that human beings have an immortal soul. In fact the very word “immortal” is used only once in 1 Timothy 1:17 and there it refers once again only to God Himself.
However there is a verse in the Bible that does promote the idea that we don’t really die. That verse would be none other than Genesis 3:4.
Genesis 3:4 “The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!”“
Presupposing that both God and Satan exist, why has God not already prevented Satan from trying in influence mankind? This type of question has been asked for centuries. It is the old “problem with evil” question. Why does a “good” God, allow “evil” to exist?
If there is an evil supernatural being like The Devil/Satan, many ask why God created such a being in the first place? Even if God created him to be good yet like man he had the freewill ability to turn away from God, then why did God not destroy Satan instead of letting him roam around and influence Eve (and less directly Adam) into sinning and bringing the curse of death upon humanity? Why is Satan free to tempt mankind all the way up until the end of the age at Christ’s return? These are good questions.
In my recent examination of the biblical subject of The Devil/Satan, I ran across this article by Dr. Norman Geisler. I thought he brought up some good points to consider.
The Reality of Satan
By Dr. Norman Geisler
(from Baker’s Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker, 1999)
A good deal of skepticism has been expressed about Satan. Those who take the Bible seriously are obliged to believe in Satan’s existence, since the Bible unmistakably refers to the demonic. Nonetheless, it is objected by skeptics and atheists that belief in a sinister evil power in the universe is outmoded and superstitious.
In Defense of the Satanic.
We’ve had some good debate on the Satan/Devil subject here on KR lately. So I thought I would share another article on the subject. This one is from Tassos Kioulachoglou who writes/runs the “Journal of Biblical Accuracy” website. Tassos has published his site for a good 15 years now as he first started it back around 1996.
BTW, I took the liberty of doing some additional bolding in his Scriptural quotes – especially the personal pronouns “he”. That in itself is something that I would like for a non-literal devil proponent to explain. Why the use of personal pronouns for something non-personal? Why is the definite article used (THE Devil, THE Satan, not just “a” Satan/adversary)?
I grew up in the Advent Christian faith of my father and grandfather and as such, I was taught (though not that explicitly – more matter of fact) that Satan or The Devil was a fallen angel that opposed God and as such was evil – a very, very, bad hombre. Him being real and in literal existence was something that I just accepted as the way things were. Plus the world at large depicted “The Devil” as the embodiment of evil (though often humorously in literature, television and the movies) and of course the Bible spoke of The Devil, Satan, The Serpent, etc., so it all seemed to match up.
Ever since last year’s Theology Conference when discussing the Trinity with some of my fellow attendees and how people can become enraged about defending it, I have thought about how the movie “The Matrix” tied into biblical thought. At the time my thoughts were along the lines of how people who became so enraged regarding the trinity, that they were like the people of the Matrix that were taken over by the “Agents” who could possess/become anyone in order to defend the deception of The Matrix. It is an intriguing idea to me and after doing some web searches I’ve found some others who also have thought along the same lines. I thought I would share one of them here in this post and perhaps the others later on.
This was written by Peter Roberts for the web site “vision.org” The site describes itself as one that “examines current issues” but not like a typical news site. Instead they say they seek “to evaluate the news of the day in a more in-depth way than most issue-oriented publications. Our mission is to give our readers a deeper understanding of the causes of problems with which humanity wrestles.” And better still they say the following “Like every other information or news source, we do have a certain perspective. Vision.org brings insight into the complex social, moral and philosophical questions that confront society by examining them through the wisdom of an ancient source, the Bible. We believe that the principles contained in that book are still relevant and can be applied to help solve the global, national and personal conflicts that we face. But we do not proselytize, nor do we seek to convert anyone to any denomination or religious belief. Our only goal is to reestablish the Bible as a credible voice in the discussion of ideas.”
One of the figures that Scripture refers to, in both the Old and New Testaments, is “The Satan”. In addition, the New Testament refers to a figure called “The Devil”. For example, The Satan caused the catastrophes that befell Job, and The Devil is called “The father of lies”.
An important item to note is that the Hebrew word satan means “adversary”, or “accuser”; and the Greek word diabolos (from which we get the word “devil”) means “slanderer”.
As with many other Scriptural concepts, there are several different beliefs about who – or what – The Satan actually is, among various Christian groups. Basically, there are two main questions about The Satan, that these doctrines try to answer: