I was scanning my morning articles this morning and came across a piece that astounded me: This one, over at Unreasonable Faith, which propounds that no one ever tries to prove that Satan isn’t real, just God.
Well, this is where I first started on my journey to understanding that the message I preached on Sundays was false. Having read the Bible cover to cover more times than I could successfully count on all my collective digits, I never really found much of a place for this mythological character as he had been presented by my conservative faith.
Some much more liberal denominations choose to deny him flat out, saying that, much like the Hindu goddess Kali, that he is just a representation of the evil nature of man. Even the president of my own extremely conservative seminary told me in private once “The only demons in this world are sex, drugs, and rock and roll.” Of course, just like Billy Graham having converted to the doctrine of no-Hell (pretty much, I believe, for the purpose of becoming ecumenically PC), there isn’t much room for Satan if there isn’t a Hell for him to preside over.
Technically, the liberal Christians who don’t believe in a personal Satan are more Biblically sound in their doctrine. Let me go over a couple of proofs:
-The “Lucifer” mentioned in Isaiah 14:12 and Ezekiel 28:12-19 are references to the human king of Tyre, who is called “halal” which is a Hebrew phrase which means day star. If one actually reads all the verses surrounding the source text and takes the entire mention of Lucifer in context, it becomes obvious.
-Referencing Lucifer as the Guardian Cherub is only a figurative way of saying he used to be great but now is fallen from glory. There is no other mention in the Bible that Lucifer was at one time an angel.
-The name Lucifer would not have been available to the Hebrew scholars at the time of the writing of these books. Lucifer is a Roman name, indicating the god of light. This is further proof that the Bible has been tampered with. As I’ve said before, the Romans’ chief tactic in conquering was assimilation. They simply insert their own beliefs into the beliefs of others in order to make them fall in line under them. The word wasn’t changed to Lucifer until about the fourth century.
-The serpent is never once identified in the Bible as being Satan. It says he was crafty, and it seems to say he used to have legs, but it does not even begin to identify him as Satan. If he were Satan, why would God punish every snake?
-The story of the entire creation, fall of man, and flood, including the part Satan supposedly plays in it, is all plagiarized from previous works and religions, mostly Zoroastrianism.
-Satan himself is a plagiarism, most likely Catholic-inspired, of the Persian/Zoroastrian god Ahriman Shaitan.
-In the Old Testament, the word “Satan” is from the Hebrew “shatan” which means adversary. This is something most Christians know, but what they don’t know is that it’s “adversary,” not “Adversary.” Satan is not a proper noun in Hebrew, and it is never once used as such. When the Old Testament references Satan, it’s normally talking either about someone’s real-world, physical, human adversary, or it’s talking about that person’s own negative nature which struggles against their good nature. This is, I believe, where the idea of the little angel and demon sitting on a person’s shoulder comes from.
-The above statement can be shown to be true when you look at the other places the Hebrew word shatan is used but not translated as “Satan.” David is called shatan in I Samuel 29:4. Balaam had an angel sent to resist him of which the term is used. In Exodus 34, when Israel was presenting themselves before God, there was a shatan among them (clearly a mortal man trying to make trouble).
-In Job, the devil couldn’t possibly have come before God’s throne. There’s no way he would have been allowed to do this. My professors in seminary and every pastor I’ve ever heard preach believed wholeheartedly that God cannot have evil in his presence, and this is a doctrine the Bible would seem to support. So why the suspension of belief for the Job account? Most likely, it is referencing a man that came to God who was jealous of Job and wanted to show God who the real faithful servant was.
-To add to the above argument, Hebrews 1:5 says God has never called an angel his son. Thus, either Job is talking about humans here, or this is one of those nice little contradictions Christians claim don’t ever exist anywhere in the Bible.
-In the New Testament, Satan is the Greek Satanas, which again means adversary and is not used once as a proper noun. Whenever he’s mentioned, it normally means one’s own inner contrary nature. Jesus spent the time in the wilderness trying to decide if he really was who he was supposed to be and if he really wanted to carry out his mission, just like he plainly does in the garden of Gethsemane (without the reference to Satan). Jesus calls Peter “Satan,” meaning what he said was in opposition to Jesus’ mission (because how could the greatest disciple, the one who became the first pope, have been possessed by the devil?). The three main enemies of the Christian are the world, the flesh, and the selfish nature, not the world, the flesh, and the devil, as the statement often goes.
-The section where Jesus talks to the Devil in the wilderness and other mentions of “the Devil” were most likely added later by the Catholic Church in one of their massive “Let’s make stuff up” parties. I have read on this subject quite thoroughly in the past, but was unable at this time to find any sources to back it up, so take this one or leave it.
-Beside all this, there are many logical and ethical questions that come up, especially considering the nature of God. How does God allow the Devil to exist, and why was he not just destroyed? Why does God let him own the earth and tempt man? Is that really fair, considering we are supposedly hanging by a thread over Hell as it is? How could a good God let Satan be? How could Jesus, if he was really God, have actually had to struggle with him?
That about does it for this topic. Tune in next time, when I take on the existence of Hell.
This is all research I did years ago, before I ever even renounced my faith, but as a refresher course (and so as not to be told I’m making it all up) I used the following sources…
The King James Bible, Online Bible edition