Agree? Disagree?

The pendulum of popular belief about Satan tends to swing between two extremes. On one side there are those who believe that he doesn’t exist at all, or if he does exist. he is a mere impersonal evil “force,” sort of a collective evil that finds its origin in the sin of society. On the other side there are those who have a preoccupied fixation, a cultic focus of attention upon him that diverts their gaze from Christ.  Either way Satan gains some ground. If he can persuade people that he does not exist, he can work his wiles without being detected or resisted. If he can get people to become preoccupied with him, he can lure them into the occult.

Personally I tend to be rather Barthian on the subject – (See his Church Dogmatics, III,3 – Sec. 50).

Under the control of God world-occurrance is threatened and actually corrupted by the nothingness which is inimical to the will of the Creator and therefore to the nature of His good creature.  … God determines the sphere, the manner, the measure and the subordinate relationship to His Word and work in which it may still operate.

About Jim

I am a Pastor, and Lecturer in Church History and Biblical Studies at Ming Hua Theological College.
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2 Responses to Agree? Disagree?

  1. Geoff says:

    I just wrote a paper about this. I literally pulled an all nighter because I could not turn outlines into paragraphs for a few weeks.

    Anyhow, I would say that Satan is a semi-personal entity that is willfully opposed to God and that institutions that tend towards nothingness are its handiwork.

    But, the point of the paper was that what matters is that the Bible is handled faithfully, the gospel is made clear in the doctrine, and that it makes cognitive sense of discipleship.

    In that sense, though Satan is an apocalyptic figure, Jesus is explicitly said to have come to defeat him, so you cannot expunge him either from your theology or reality (unless you’re God) because he is as important to the purpose of the Incarnation/Atonement/Final Judgement (ie: the gospel) as is sin itself. You take away sin and demonic forces, you largely take away the goodness of the good news. Jesus’ Lordship being asserted by the resurrection has to happen in the context of something, and I think the Lord’s prayer answers the question: “….your will be done on earth as it is done in the heavens…deliver us from the evil one.” God’s kingdom is the supplanting of all forces opposed to him and the merciful reception of every rebel who repents.

    Does that even make sense?

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  2. Jason says:

    “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” The Usual Suspects

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