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The Devil

July 16, 2007

Perhaps this may become a series as there is a lot of tradition, myth, bad reading skills, and Hollywood to wade through to get to the truth. For now let’s call this Part I:

Sometimes I feel as if the majority of Christians I meet are really scared henotheist. I’m pretty sure you’ve met this person too. Apparently, the “devil” knows them quite well also, as he is very busy attacking them personally all day every day. He’s attacking their church, their family, their finances, and their thinking faculties. If you’re real unlucky you may get to hear about their “binding” of the devil and his strongholds. For today I want to make two points.

C.S. Lewis wrote:

The commonest question I am asked (I am asked about The Screwtape Letters) is whether I really “believe in the Devil.”

Now, if by “the Devil” you mean a power opposite God and, like God, self-existent from all eternity, the answer is certainly No. There is no uncreated being except God. God has no opposite, No being could attain a “perfect badness” opposite to the perfect goodness of God; for when you have taken away every kind of good thing (intelligence, will, memory, energy, and existence itself), there would be none of him left.

The proper question is whether I believe in devils. I do. That is to say, I believe in angels, and I believe that some of these, by the abuse of their free will, have become enemies to God and, as a corollary, to us. These we may call devils. They do not differ in nature from good angels, but their nature is depraved. Devil is the opposite of angel only as Bad Man is the opposite of Good Man. Satan, the leader or dictator of devils, is the opposite, not of God, but of Michael.

I believe this not in the sense that it is part of my creed, but in the sense that it is one of my opinions. My religion would not be in ruins if this opinion were shown to be false. Till that happens- and proofs of a negative are hard to come by- I shall retain it. It seems to me to explain a good many facts. It agrees with the plain sense of Scripture, the tradition of Christendom, and the beliefs of most men at most times. And it conflicts with nothing that any of the sciences has shown to be true.

I don’t know if this can be stressed enough for some people. The devil is not the opposite of God. He does not have bad power that is the equal and opposite of God’s good power. What is the opposite of omniscience? Knowing nothing! What is the opposite of omnipresence? Being nowhere! God is infinitely qualitatively superior to the “devil.”

Which leads me into my next point. Most likely if there is some sort of spiritual attack against you it is not Lucifer. He is not omnipresent, he cannot attack every church and person in the world at the same time. If you think the Devil is tempting you to watch too much American Idol perhaps you need to sit back and re-assess how you feel about yourself and your inflated ego. He has much more important things to do. I’m sure that some will respond to this with something about the devil’s super-organized kingdom and army, and perhaps if I do part II, I will deal with that.

Finally, in Isaiah it is written that Lucifer said in his heart, “I will be like the most High” (I am aware of the academic discussions pertaining to these verses, but sometimes you have to meet people where they are at in there understanding). If the devil has done anything well I think it has been to convince a lot of people that he is like God, that he has amazing godlike powers that he can crush you with. The devil is not like God in power, he is not even near in likeness. The scriptures tell us that the fear of Yahweh is the beginning of knowledge not the fear of HaSatan. I think that last sentence in a nutshell sums up why some of charismatic theology can be so bad: it does not start at the fear of Yahweh.

So I imagine that no matter what you write there will still be some people that will want to talk about how great the devil is, and that his greatest trick was convincing people that he didn’t exist, and blah, blah, blah devil. Well if you are going to give us a sermon on the devil’s greatness it is traditional in our evangelical circles to sing some hymns before the sermon, so for everyone the devil has convinced that he is like the most High sing along:

Our devil is an awesome devil
He reigns in the world today
With wisdom, power, and hate
Our devil is an awesome devil

That’s all for today. Two small starting points before I can move into some choppier waters. 1: the devil is not the opposite of God. 2: he is not omnipresent. No need to deconstruct my words beyond that… yet.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2007 3:50 am

    good post, people like to BLAME the devil for the sinful things they do, but we as humans are very, very good at blaming whomever is convenient.
    Our own sinful human nature is more evil, and is ever present with us, than any devil or his minions……

  2. July 18, 2007 6:34 pm

    Why should the devil have all the good blogs?

  3. July 18, 2007 10:13 pm


    Yes. That is what I like to call the “cosmic-passing-of-the-buck.” Either God is “testing” you or the Devil made you do it. However in Scripture I find a different angle, “If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – our, our, us.

    I’m not sure how you confess a sin that you are blaming someone else for… even if it is the “devil” (picture sinister music for last word).


    A) You are making a good Larry Norman reference
    B) You are saying this blog is good, but under the influence of the devil
    C) this blog is not good – My PoD, why hath thou forsaken me?

  4. July 19, 2007 2:17 am

    A…I guess I was overwhelmed by the Larry Norman clips that I just saw on Youtube. “Two men walking on a hill….”

  5. July 19, 2007 3:42 am

    Thought I should share another song:

    Speak of the devil
    He’s no friend of mine
    To turn from him is what we have in mind

    Just a liar and a thief
    The word tells us so
    We like to let him know
    Where he can go

    To hell with the devil
    To hell with the devil

    When things are going wrong
    You know who to blame
    He will always live
    Up to his name

    He’s never been the answer
    There’s a better way
    We are here to rock you
    And to say…

    [Repeat Chorus]

    Good post, by the way. Totally agree with everything.

  6. July 19, 2007 8:26 am

    I remember a time when that song was as blasphemous as watching Smurfs, and playing with Thunder Cats.

    Agathos – you seem to know quite a bit about this devil character. hmmmmm

  7. psychonia permalink
    July 24, 2008 11:40 am

    LOL!! your killing me! i love your take on things =)


  1. Satan’s Ride « Scotteriology

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