God and the Devil


#502

As one fellow astutely pointed out when looking for exposition it’s a good idea to take into account who is giving it. So you would be justified to seek comments from those who believe rather than just those who don’t as some do.

This is pertinent to the thread because in Scripture we do find Satan quoting Psalm 91 when he took Christ to the pinnacle of the temple and told Him to throw Himself down because God would give the angels charge of him up that they would lift him up lest he strike his foot against a stone.

Commenters generally agree that this was quoted to encourage Christ that He didn’t have to go the route of suffering, that (as I put it) He could save the Jews, of them, without the Cross. This second temptation followed the temptation to take care of yourself and preceded what I’d describe as universal salvation for all humans if you just honor me.

But that aside, I would suggest the idea that Satan’s exposition of Scripture isn’t gonna be one you should listen to. Here’s Psalm 91:

… and if you read it it may look like it says those who really trust in God – and who would trust in God more than Christ? – are going to have a proverbial hedge around them … and that’s the way that Satan applies the Scripture; but, in the text itself there is that mention of “trouble” that should alert a reader that the simplest take isn’t the right take.

Realize the idea that there’s a hedge around “the faithful”, if you take that to its logical extreme, would lead to a complementary idea that people have troubles because they aren’t faithful … but that idea can be easily refuted by the book of Job, where Job’s frenemies use it to underscore their arguments about why Job is suffering. God’s response to them was …

“After the LORD had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.”

Well, what were they saying again and again as Job lamented of how bad they were as comforters? People suffer in life because they’re guilty. What did Job say by comparison? “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.”

Luke 21 has similar language to Psalm 91 but the contrast is more clear because though it says not a hair of your head will perish it says that right after saying some will be killed for their faith.

It is said that on the street questioning of unbelievers as to why they don’t believe it is not uncommon that suffering is given as the reason for why they don’t believe. But, speaking in this context, whose exposition are they listening to in order to make that the breaking point? Of course they aren’t literally listening to Satan sitting at the table over a shared morning eats (or whatever) but the idea that a just God would prevent the innocent suffering is one that is very, very old … and it is actually one rejected by Scripture.

So what is really being promised if it’s not to escape troubles, to be protected from suffering? Luke 21:19 say something that seems enigmatic but I think is important: “In your patience possess ye your souls.”

It’s been said that worry is prayer to the wrong god. I’ve said in this thread that we could look at many things as if God were asking us “do you trust Me?” even though we may not understand why. All the good things that might possess us, our wealth, our patriotism, our friends, our families, even our own skins … rather than us posses them … so that we can become consumed by panic at even the thought of their loss are also things we can turn over to God.

Psalms 91 doesn’t deny that bad things, troubles, happen any more than Luke 21 speaks about believers somehow just skating through real horrors as if they couldn’t happen if you were really, really trusting God, or if you were a good person or reckoned innocent by other people.

That’s how Satan would misuse them.

Instead the word “perish” in Luke has significance. God keeps safe those who cling to Him, who they really are, even if they lose all the things that they should possess but which too frequently end up possessing them. And trusting the Lord, depending on Him, is the patience that lets people possess their souls.

Christianity is as far as I know unique in that God is said to have gone from being the only god and almighty creator to a fragile mortal, from (showing the influence of eastern philosophy here) the embodiment and summation of enlightened to just a body, and to face terrible suffering that requires courage to face it and that the suffering is there that glory might increase.

As far as I know the Jewish Scriptures are the only scriptures that have an Isaiah 53.

So why is Satan tolerated?

Well, earlier on I suggested that if God deals with the chief rebel He would have to deal with all the rebels following that guy too, and just now some of those rebels will yet can still turn to God in Christ and be glorified … so it gets put off.

But on another level God may just be at odds with that old Brothers Gibb song, for though it was Satan’s joke that started the whole world crying it was Christ’s death that let them have a chance to live.

That the bad things in the world which men have freely done of their own wills, great evil things by intent and not just result as if they were oopses, and, yeah, those too, things which the Lord never intended but did permit, are because all things work for the good of those who love the Lord is going to result in consequences we don’t yet see and it is those consequences that matter.

So at least in that the song would be sorta accurate, the joke is on Satan. But Satan’s end will be a footnote in eternity. Possibly even anticlimactic. Just like when the Antichrist and False Prophet muster armies to war on Christ but are grabbed and thrown unceremoniously into the Lake of Fire alone for a long time. A literal, oh, you’re still here, well toddle off moment.

In the meantime it’s okay to ask why, just remember that Man’s interest and God’s are not necessarily the same. As when Peter rebuked Christ that He should die and Jesus called him by another name than Peter.


#503

There is a world of difference between being a non believer and an atheist. That is part of the problem with these discussions…anyone who is a non believer is immediately labeled as an atheist, when they may not be. I believe in something larger than us…I don’t inherently accept the Bible and that which it teaches as it is written and taught. That doesn’t make me, or anyone like me, an atheist.

if the premise of love came with the same kind of rules to experience it as understanding of the Bible comes with, you might have a valid comparison. Unfortunately, it doesn’t.

Love isn’t an entity…God supposedly is. Not a valid comparison.


#504

That was my point. It’s playing with words.


#505

And if the Earth is hell (or some type of Purgatory) I’m thinking only the purist souls here then make it to heaven. Certainly not the ones discriminating, lying, cheating, forcing sex, stealing, murdering, kidnapping, etc.

Probably only the people that give of themselves and help their fellow man.


#506

Or, it is making the effort to reach out to share with others a treasure that has been entrusted to us. One of the first things I was taught was to see Christ (or the Divine Spark from God) in others. Also, the scripture readings Catholics heard yesterday from both the Old and New Testament testify that God’s Spirit envelopes not only those within a group–but those without.

People of faith see Christ’s presence in atheists, see God’s spirit manifested in those who do not believe. One lady I know has a heartfelt belief that there are no atheists–just people who do not yet recognize the divinity within. People who have seen Divine examples of how to live and love others emanate from declared atheists will understand my meaning.

One day when wondering why atheists do not see this within themselves, I stumbled upon a quote that has come to mean so much to me: Whoever it was that discovered water, it wasn’t a fish. Sometimes I wonder if the reason atheists cannot seem to ‘see’ God is because they are the ones most deeply immersed.

So we might all ask that you forgive our clumsy words; our intention is to share what we can, to try to describe the indescribable.


#507

I see people of faith as people who do not recognize reality as the way it is.


#508

Its indescribable because it makes no sense. Sorry


#509

Or perhaps it is everyone, by how they live their lives, are writing out what they desire most for an afterlife?

Another possibility to consider is the thought of gold being purified with fire.


#510

I’ve had this inkling. It knocks on the idea that we are all “new Gods” subjectively growing into our own worlds. But the question is, what about infant deaths? Their opportunity to construct their own afterlife is stripped. Also, if we are “constructing” our own reality, we start knocking onto solipsism.


#511

Like raping children?


#512

I suppose that might be possible if one believes in reincarnation. However, for those who believe the body remains on earth (turns to dust) and the spirit returns to God, how is rape possible?


#513

you said “what they desire most for an afterlife?”


#514

The possibilities in the afterlife seem to be loving and serving God and each other; or, being apart from God and attempting to put oneself first in an environment where everyone is trying to put self first. Personally, until you brought it up, I have never heard of an afterlife where rape was possible. Do you believe that it is?


#515

you said “what they desire most for an afterlife?”


#516

I’ve been down this path too many times. It doesnt matter what Meri said. It will change and be warped once the contradictions are made apparent


#517

We’ll if we are to use Israel as an example, they were a no body people from a no body heritage and God chose them because raising them up would bring glory to himself and not them. They were then supposed to be an example of how people should live righteously before God and how they could be blessed because of it. Despite the promised blessings and curses, they corporately chose not to follow God. The commands they chose to break that lead to this were the ones that were very simple and clear and not of the “don’t boil a kid in the milk of its mother” kind.

The nations that were around Israel when judged were never judged by how they kept the revelation given to Israel. It was how they handled what little they were given. By and large they failed miserably. In the new testament, Paul states that people are not going to be judged by what they don’t know, but by what they do. The Buddhist monk being judge by God is not going to be judged by how well they lived according to tenants of a faith they never heard about, but by the revelation of God that was contained in what they received and how they lived by it.

The Christian Church has been tasked to pick up the mantle that Israel had and show how to live righteously before God. We are supposed to be the hands and feet of Jesus, spreading God’s love and expanding his kingdom on the earth. Not through conquest or legalistic enforcement of Christian interpretation of laws, but through love. Well, we are really screwing the pooch on this. I really can’t blame non-believers or atheist for their confusion when Christians can’t get it right.


#518

…or if one thinks it through, it is a fairy tale made up in the Iron Age.


#519

And then one can happily resolve not to attend church, study the Bible, or drop by the religion forum! :smile:


#520

Atheists are welcome in the religion forum. If you ddont want to talk with us then dont debate back.


#521

Christians have looked at Christians have looked at Christianity and walked away to become Atheists. Atheists have walked away from Atheism to become Christians. There is obviously more to this than simply thinking it through as people have done so and have come to differing conclusions.