Sunday, 1 November 2009

So Where Did Satan Come from?

In one popular mythology, spiritual beings don't exist, in most others, Satan was involved with his dark angels in cosmic battles against God and his posse of light angels long before humans ever appeared on the scene, and continues to be so to this day.

Is that really the picture the bible paints? Huge spiritual warfare between the forces of good and evil before the creation of the heavens and the earth?

We know from Job that all the angels were created before the heavens and earth because they rejoiced as they watched Jesus and the Holy Spirit putting it all together. There is no mention of dark angels attacking the merry throng, or even a couple of mischievous angels impolitely hissing and booing! Nor even a twitter of mild dissension!

We also know that once Team Trinity had finished creating everything, it was good.

Now we must take that at face value. It was not a spin-doctor type of good that really meant: Everything is generally good but if the truth be known there's a pocket the cosmos that has erupted in angelic carnage as this redskined, pointy-tailed, pitchfork carrying lunatic has mounted a rebellion, but we are containing it and expect to have it under control within the eon!

NB Much as I think Ricky Gervais is irreverent (and funny at times), he does typify this point of view quite well! (See from 5:30 to end. DO NOT watch this if you are easily offended by coarse language.)

Is that really true though? Did God place Adam and Eve in the garden, knowing that there was a serpent in there who would get them to rebel? Was God so careless? If a mum put her newborn in a pen with a hungry lion and expect the lion not to gobble it up for lunch, you would say the mum is nuts... evil even! If you believe the first paragraph of this post then you have to also say that God is that brand of nuts or evil, or both, when he knowingly put Adam and Eve in the pen of Eden.

Unless of course there is a better way...

The Bible tells us that Adam, Eve and the Lucifer all rebelled against God together.

Satan, (or Lucifer as was his pre-rebellion name) was the guardian angel in the garden of Eden. But he rebelled, by inciting Adam and Eve to rebel against God.

And so we have lived under this curse ever since.

Thank God for Jesus!


Richard Walker said...

A friend emailed me this:
Genesis 3:14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this,
"Cursed are you above all the livestock
and all the wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel."

Q.1 why does God refer to satan (the serpant) along with the livestock and all the wild animals??? surely this means he must be in their category. why did he not say... "cursed are you above all my creation or above all the angels", with which he is definately a part of.

Q.2 why does God refer to Satan's (the serpants) offspring. does Satan have offspring. oxford english dictionary explains offspring as... a persons child or children. we know God created the angels, fallen or otherwise. they are not born as man is.

the oxford english dictionary describes enmity as ... hostility. i would say the offspring of eve, being all humans in many cases neither believe or are hostile towards Satan, yet Many people are hostile towards snakes....
could it be that the serpant was actually a 'serpant' and not Satan incarnet.

Genesis 3:1
Now the serpant was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made.
the above text again surely put the serpant into the same catagory as wild animals. even if we say thats not the case, the fact he refers to the serpant being craftier than any other wild animal would not be of any incident as no matter how crafty a wild animal is its still unable to talk to us. so maybe in Eden we could communicate with the animals and when we sinned we lost the ability.
i believe there is a very good possibilty that the serpant was being used by Satan, but I am not sure the serpant was the devil incarnate.
final note. why was Eve not at all perplexed at a talking serpant.
much love
Lyndon x

Richard Walker said...

I'll need to do some thinking and reading before I can answer those. In the meantime, if there is anyone else out there who wants to contribute, feel free...

Karen said...

Great post Richard and equally great questions that have followed. In my attempt to understand all this I may find that I'm adding coal to the fire of confusion here, but my initial thoughts are this.

The serpent must have been quite a wise animal within the Garden of Eden in order for Satan to think it viable to use it to further his purposes of deceiving Eve. It is clearly stated that they had dominion over the animals so Satan would have had to effectively 'possess' the body of another being in order to carry out his deceit. In his quest to deceive, using a wiser animal to conspire with would have given him greater satisfaction than merely possessing an animal that could put up no resistance. There seems to be a joy in the manipulation. There are other instances in the Bible where demons posses both humans and animals as depicted in John 13 where Satan entered Judas as soon as he was identified as the betrayer. Additionally, in Mark 5 where the man was possessed by a legion of demons, they were allowed permission to enter a herd of pigs. Satan had fallen angels who followed him so it seems to me it's reasonable to accept that Satan and his follwers have the ability to possess both man and beast. In this case we have to see that the serpent and Satan were two different beings, but that Satan used the body of the serpent in his guise. One could even go as far as saying the serpent was in agreement to being used, hence the punishment from God at allowing himself to be used in this way.

I think also that Satan tempted Eve as she was prone to see him as less of a threat. But then, Adam too was enticed by Eve, so his ability to question the validity of Satan's tempatation was flawed. He was just as gullible as she was.

With regard to offspring, I think in this instance, God is referring to the serpent in its natural form - as just that - a serpent. Being forced to crawl along the ground indicates the serpent was originally a free-standing animal, so removing this physical independence was only a small part of the punishment. The reference to head crushing and ankle biting are just indicative of our physical position - we stand up and can hit a snake on the head, it can only reach as far as our heel in a momentary attack.

As for Eve not being alarmed at a serpent speaking, how are we to know how the animals communicated with Adam and Eve? If God spoke directly to the serpent, surely it had the understanding of language? If God spoke to the animals, then it would stand to reason that Eve would accept this as totally normal and willingly engage in a conversation with the serpent. Maybe all the animals talked but this ability was removed.

I'm not sure if my thoughts are on track, but this is a good subject - I'm looking forward to your answers Richard :-)

Richard Walker said...

Will try and post something Friday eve...

Richard Walker said...

So here goes I will attempt to answer your questions in order of confidence - the ones I am sure about first leading to the ones where I speculate later

The Question of Offspring
Here the offspring of Eve, refers to Christ, the one who would be born of a woman and whilst his heal would be struck (a reference to crucifixion) he would nevertheless defeat Satan (proved by his resurrection and return to Heaven).
You can also say that offspring is also used to symbolise those who have faith in Jesus and those who don't. So whilst Satan doesn't have biological children, nevertheless, in Scripture, we see that those who are in denial/rebellion to Christ are considered as his children i.e. they look like him in what they do. One of the prophetic titles of Christ that we read of in Carol Services is Everlasting Father, in that he is the author of a new humanity.

The Relationship of the Snake to Satan
Karen, essentially, I agree with you. The snake, whilst only an animal, was possessed of Lucifer himself and did his bidding, so this snake and all snakes after it suffered the curse that befell this one for participating in the deception. The snake whilst not being Satan, is a symmetrical reminder to us all of God's Judgment on Satan and indeed all evil. So whilst the serpent is cursed among the physical created order, it is a signpost to how Satan is cursed in the unseen created order.

The Question about Enmity
Enmity here between the offspring of Eve and that of the Serpent refers to the war that defines the whole of history Jesus and those who belong to him versus Satan and all who belong to him.

The Question of Taking Animals
Whilst my theology of non-human living beings is not developed, this is not the only instance of talking animals in the Bible, there is also Balaam's donkey. Moreover, the world before Genesis 3 was a very different place to what it is now, which makes speculation hard. Maybe Adam and Eve were too intoxicated by the prospect of being like God to really question the situation. We all know that when temptation strikes, all rational thinking goes out of the window!

Hope that helps a little.

Do let me know if there's anything I have missed..