Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Who is The Great Advisory

They call him "the great advisory", but if you read the bible, there's no character more powerless than Satan.

Even the animals are capable of direct action once in a while, but not the devil, all he can do is try and talk people into things. That's it. He can't change the weather, he can't make or take life, he can't do anything but whisper in people's ears when nobody is looking.

He can't even use the one power he has to get people to do things for him, all he can do is try and talk them into things they themselves benefit from.

It's that quality that makes me wonder. Is the devil really just a metaphor for our own selfish action? Are we, or some part of us, Satan?

I've never liked the idea of some guy sitting down in hell rubbing his hands together, just waiting for the day that he might take over. Most of those ideas come from Milton and Dante rather than the bible anyway.

There is no evil in nature. Hurricanes hit the coast because that's how they're made, not because of evil. Evil comes from us. It comes from our own greed and lust and fear and selfishness.

When the bible talks about Eve eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, it means that, unlike all the rest of God's creation, we are responsible for our own acts--because we do know the difference between good and evil.

Even atheists believe this. But, I have to wonder if they would believe it, if religion hadn't thrashed out these ideas for thousands of years beforehand.

Illustration: Gustav Dore

11 comments:

Joe Wilson said...

"Is the devil really just a metaphor for our own selfish action?"

Indeed, LaVeyan Satanists use this metaphorical Satan as the focus of their philosphy of hedonism and self-fulfillment.

Deanna said...

The Bible is pretty blatant is how real Satan is:

"He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44, ESV).

In 2 Corinthians 2:11, Paul makes an interesting statement: "We are not unaware of Satan's schemes."

Even I Peter 5:8 descibes him as a "roaring lion" who prowls about seeking whom he may devour.

You are right that Satan doesn't have any power. The only weapon he has is lies. Lies that he tries to use against us. He tries to use envy, strife, anger, greed, etc... lies that tell us we will be happier, more content, etc...

But Galatians 5:16-17 says
"Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want."

A. Boyd C. said...

"He was a murderer from the beginning", see that's a clue. Satan wasn't a murderer, Cain was.

You would think that we couldn't possibly lie to ourselves, but we do it all the time.

Think about your own life. When you sin do you do it because some outside force talked you into it, or did you do it on your own?

Here's another clue, Jesus is eternal right? But, he only confronts Satan after he becomes human.

Sandi said...

Boyd, have you ever read C.S. Lewis' "The Screwtape Letters"? It's wonderfully written and paints a picture of what your talking about ... sort of.

The battle between good and evil is real. It's every day. It's not just in the old testament stories. There is a struggle over our souls, and yes ... we are our own undoing. It is ultimately our choice, but that doesn't mean we act alone.

I'm not doing Lewis justice here. Sorry. Read the book, if you haven't already. It's epistlatory, in the voice of "Uncle Screwtape" to a lesser demon, teaching him how to tempt.

Sandi said...

... I recommend the book on tape version of that book. It's narrated by John Cleese. :)

A. Boyd C. said...

I love the Screwtape Letters!

Did you get to see Shadowlands at Galloway with Brent as Lewis and I as his brother?

There's a great play based on the Screwtape Letters, but I've never had the heart to ask an actor to learn the gargantuan line load involved.

It would be fun for somebody though, there's lots of chewing of scenery and pulling of hair. Maybe it'd make a good double-bill with Faust?

Sandi said...

Deanna, you should read the Screwtape Letters, too. As you know, C.S. Lewis was a Christian and left us some great writing. You'd enjoy this book.

Boyd ... I did not get to see that one. But please let me know if there ever is a production of Screwtape!

Nicole Bradshaw said...

Boyd, I like it that you post things like this. I like it that you seem to think about stuff before you post it. And regardless of whether people at large (or I myself) agree with you, it's nice to know that this is not a "brain-free" zone of the Internet.

A. Boyd C. said...

Thanks Nicole! Sadly, it is a hair-free zone of the internet though.

A. Boyd C. said...

You know... Nicole would make a great Screwtape!

I'd owe her a kidney or something for learning the lines, but wouldn't she be fun?

Genuine and kind at one moment, then vicious the next?

The Devil, not as a stuffy english gentleman, but a southern woman with soft brown eyes giving practical advice on the fall of mankind.

Sandi said...

Aunt Screwtape?