I have a client that is a pastor in some Pentecostal church and just yesterday he made an appointment to do his tax with me after July 1, and somehow the conversation turned to ‘The Devil’.
I made the comment that I do not believe that any such entity exists and that instead, I believe that the devil is an invention, someone to blame for our ills and perceived ‘sins’. To which he retorted “If the devil is not real then whom did Jesus meet?”. The ‘meeting’ that he was referring to is the account in the gospels telling of the account where Jesus was tempted three times by the devil in the wilderness.
There are two renowned incidences in the bible where the devil is reported to have attempted to taunt another into committing a bad act. The story concerning Jesus mentioned above and the other is the account of Job.
If the devil is indeed a real ‘being’, then in regard to the two incidences mentioned, he was successful in his intent on one occasion and unsuccessful in the other and it this inconsistency that I believe provides the proof that the devil was never meant to be taken literally.
When Jesus was confronted by the devil what was the issue stake? Ultimately it was Jesus’ loyalty to his god that was being questioned.
After two unsuccessful attempts to get Jesus to act improperly the devil is supposed to have finally shown Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and presuming that the devil was the power behind these kingdoms, he then offered them to Jesus if he (Jesus) would do one act of obeisance to him.
The bible account reports that Jesus was successful in withstanding the devil’s temptations with his loyalty intact.
How this event ever got to be reported in the bible is a mystery to me. Having read the bible from cover to cover and studying it, the Jesus that I have come to know from its pages does not seem to be the type of person that would have come out of the wilderness and bragged or even related the story regarding his victory.
You and I and most other humans would of but not Jesus. By all accounts he was a humble man that withdrew from any attention or praise that was directed toward him and indeed he preached that it was far better to be humble and then exalted rather than to exalt oneself only to later be humbled.
But anyway this inconsistency aside the account reports that even though Jesus was tempted with unimaginable riches and power he was able to resist and he stated that ‘god was not one to be tested’.
But then the account of Job seems to belie the statement that god is not to be tested. How so? Well that’s exactly what did happen in the account of Job.
Not only was god tested but if the account is literal then it was god himself that allowed this ‘testing’ to take place. The account of Job begins with the devil appearing in heaven and god asking him had he placed his attention on Job the most loyal man toward god as well as being the most righteous man living on earth up until that time.
The devil responds that while this is true it is only true because of what Job gets from god in return for his loyalty for Job was extremely wealthy and blessed with ten children. The devil contends that if god takes all this away from Job, then Job would curse god to his face.
So what is the issue at stake here? Was the issue simply about Job’s integrity? How could Job’s integrity be in doubt? For if indeed as the bible states god knows us before we are even embryos, there was no need to test Job’s integrity.
Some would contend universal sovereignty but this is simply not true. If the god of the bible is indeed the universal sovereign then he has no need to prove anything to anyone and if he is omnipotent then his right to rule over the universe cannot be questioned.
The only way the issue of universal of sovereignty could be raised would be if god’s right to rule was vulnerable.
So what happens? God gives the devil permission to commit evil acts against Job, he says “Look all that Job has, is in your hands only Job himself do not touch.”
So the devil takes his flocks and MURDERS Job’s ten children, ACTING ON DIRECT PERMISSION FROM GOD and when he fails to break Job’s integrity the devil once again taunts god. He concedes that he has failed but then claims that if god touches the person of Job then Job will curse god.
So again god GIVES THE DEVIL DIRECT PERMISSION to attack Job’s person and the devil does so by afflicting him with disease covering him in painful weeping boils.
In this account we have to focus on the fact that the evil that was committed against Job which included the murder of his children occurred as a direct result of god giving the devil the authority to do so.
Had god acted as Jesus had and told the devil “Who are you to even question me for I am beyond testing in this regard” no evil would have befallen Job.
So if these accounts are both literal and the characters are all real entities then the accounts contradict each other.
In the account of Jesus, we are told that not once but three times Jesus was able to resist the taunts of the devil and we need to keep in mind that even if you believe that Jesus is part of a trinity, while on earth he was a man of flesh like you and I and yet even as a mere mortal he was able to resist the devil three times stating that god was not one to be tested.
In the account of Job the devil was not taunting or tempting a mere human but instead he was attempting to taunt and tempt the SUPREME GOD OF THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE. And the result?
Well if the account is literal then we have to concede that devil succeeded in his attempt to test god. Sure he did not get the result he wanted but he taunted god to the point where god, being omnipotent and knowing the end before the beginning, still gave his direct permission to the devil to carry out evil toward Job, evil that included the murder of Job’s ten children.
And if any reading this are parents, then you will agree that you cannot replace a lost child. Yes you can have more children but they would never replace children lost in death, never.
So we are left trying to reconcile how a mere human being was able to resist the taunts of the devil even though he faced extreme temptation in being offered rulership of the world with the account of Job that tells us that god almighty could not or at least chose not to resist the devil's taunts.
Jesus the man resisted the devil three times where as god almighty was only taunted twice and failed on both occasions to act as Jesus did.
Jesus the man stated that god was not to be tested and yet god belied that statement in that he allowed himself to be tested, not once but twice. Jesus had his integrity toward god called into question and stood firm but when the devil called Job’s integrity into question god allowed him to be tested with evil even though he already knew the outcome.
My conclusion, that both accounts are merely stories and most certainly the account of Job is a fable. The account of Job is even told in the form of story as many fables with lessons to impart were. He faced adversity, he conquered and then he received far more than he had lost and went on to live happily ever after.
In the account of Jesus, well as stated above everything written about the man Jesus suggests that he was a humble man that did not blow his own trumpet so one can hardly imagine that he would have related the account that appears in the gospels and as the account does not allow for any third party to be present to witness the event again one can only presume the account is not literal but a story.
First time Devil is mentioned in the Old Testament:
CH1 21: 1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. CH1 21: 2 And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go, number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it.
First time Devil is mentioned in the New Testament:
MAT 4: 1 Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. MAT 4: 2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. MAT 4: 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. MAT 4: 4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. MAT 4: 5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, MAT 4: 6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. MAT 4: 7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. MAT 4: 8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; MAT 4: 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. MAT 4: 10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. MAT 4: 11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
- Murder: the unauthorized (by God) killing of a creature - Killing: the authorized (by God) putting to death of a creature - Judging: In Christianity, the prohibited 'judging' is to execute a penalty upon another as retribution for their sins. - CO1 5: 12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?
1:33 pm, Thursday, June 21, 2012: RE: The Devil...... ..... All sorts of fiction stories have been written, including many kinds of saints, sinners and devils, ever since writing was invented, and many are written and sold every year still. But most of them are not believed to have been history.
The devil exists. Man does not want to believe this because if they did then they would have to believe in a judging and righteous God and that just tears it up for them.
Man would rather believe, IF they believe anything at ALL that is, that only God exists and therefore He will have to reconcile ALL back to Him.
Seems this JJJ guy believes that Christians believe in a devil so we can pin our failures on him. Not true. The devil does not cause all sin. There is a thing called choices, or free will. Satan may tempt, as he did Christ, but it is up to US to AMKE the choice from right or wrong. Another wrong statement JJJ makes if referring to God as Jesus's "God." Jesus IS God.
Did Jesus Christ "brag" about beating the devil? Of course not. It was told for an example for us to use the Word if God against the devil. JJJ assumes too much again.
The truth is JJJ is an atheist trying to justify his life without Christ and then tries to knock the Christian life because Christians sin at times.
#7 The devil does not exist. I think the fear for many if they accept this is that they will run amok, lose all restraint and run to bad. But the truth is we are who we are. Sure we adjust along the way but most of us have the same moral standards at the end of our lives as the standards that we started our lives with. The proof of this is that just as an atheist can live what is considered to be a moral life, so also there is ample evidence of many that have claimed to be Christians living immoral lives.
I agree many Christians are living immoral lives. I should know, I'm guilty of it. But that's morals according to God's standards. Whose standards are you using?
The same people who laugh at the idea that science claims something came from nothing, are the same people who claim there was nothing before God, yet Satan appears and acts independently from God's will. If God is the Alpha and the Omega, then Satan, disease, murder and much much worse are all his precious creations. Unless this evil suddenly appeared out of nothing?
Jesus never existed and Christians are the most evil force on the planet.
The same people who laugh at the idea that science claims something came from nothing, are the same people who claim there was nothing before God, yet Satan appears and acts independently from God's will. If God is the Alpha and the Omega, then Satan, disease, murder and much much worse are all his precious creations. Unless this evil suddenly appeared out of nothing? Jesus never existed and Christians are the most evil force on the planet.
In response to your points:
(1)“There was nothing before God.” Christianity never says that but that God is before all – In the Beginning GOD. If there was nothing, there’d still be nothing today so there has always been something. Christians call that “something” God & to my knowledge atheists have no rational answer but if you do please feel free to give it.
(2)“Satan appears and acts independently from God's will.” That’s right. God created beings including Satan & us that have free will. That’s why you can freely deny God.
(3)“Satan, disease, murder and much much worse are all his precious creations.” That’s partly true. Satan has been given free reign of the earth (2 Cor 4:4). However, his reign will end (Revelation 20:10). You may not believe any of this of course but you have to agree it is written.
(4)“Jesus never existed.” Jesus’ existence is easy to test with standard historical methods. I’ve compared evidence for Jesus’ existence Vs Pythagoras’ existence & the result is very interesting. Try it.
<quoted text> In response to your points: (1)“There was nothing before God.” Christianity never says that but that God is before all – In the Beginning GOD. If there was nothing, there’d still be nothing today so there has always been something. Christians call that “something” God & to my knowledge atheists have no rational answer but if you do please feel free to give it. (2)“Satan appears and acts independently from God's will.” That’s right. God created beings including Satan & us that have free will. That’s why you can freely deny God. (3)“Satan, disease, murder and much much worse are all his precious creations.” That’s partly true. Satan has been given free reign of the earth (2 Cor 4:4). However, his reign will end (Revelation 20:10). You may not believe any of this of course but you have to agree it is written. (4)“Jesus never existed.” Jesus’ existence is easy to test with standard historical methods. I’ve compared evidence for Jesus’ existence Vs Pythagoras’ existence & the result is very interesting. Try it. Finally, about the Devil's existence & modus operandi take a look at this.... http://nation.foxnews.com/paul-harvey/2012/03...
Although I appreciate your educated response and find your answer to be a good as any I have heard, there is always this...
I also don't think that a clip from Fox News with Anti-Obama images all over the video is a fair accessment of the devil, as it has been Christians running this country for a very, very long time. If one looks at the policies that have caused this nation so much turmoil, and misery, it has constistantly been "God's President" in office. If one looks at who is behind the mentality of building and filling more and more prisons, it has been Christians all along. When in this free country it is considered evil not to force your one religion upon children in our public schools, then you need to look a little closer on what this nation was founded upon. When you get ready to wave your "America was founded on Christianity" lie, one need to look no further than our nation's capitol, with it paintings and statues depicting George Washington as God himself. One only need to see the overwhelming amount of Greek and Egyptian gods and symbols, and the saturation of masonic symbolism, without a Jesus is sight for miles in our nation's captiol, to realize this country was hijacked by Christians and the state our country is currently in is a direct result of this monopoly you believe you have on both God and country.
If I were the devil, I would claim God told me to go to war. I would stand in front of my church and tell them it is God's will to build a pipeline. I would make huge gains from destroying the environment, while at the same time convincing the sheep that the climate isn't changing, or that it does not matter because Jesus will be back soon. I would appoint Sumpreme Court Justices who would dine with oil billionaires, to allow corperations to buy and sell our elections to further my own agenda. I would call any act of charity to the poor an act of Socilaism, while at the same time increasing my gains exponentially. I would stir up terms like Patriot and set myself up as the only real American, while knowing the whole time that I have already forgotten about meaningless borders in this global economy.
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