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May 03, 2006


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steve the z

Who was Jesus quoting scripture to while being tempted? The first chapter of Job gives dialog between God and the enemy, I am not a theologian however it seems to point to an actual being.

shirley perry

13For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. II Corithians 11:14

It would seem that satan can disguise himself and lure us into something "heavenly" or "pleasurable" when it is actually something evil.


Doug Hoag

I don't know about this whole Satan thing. When Jesus battled Satan in the wilderness, Satan sounded like a Jewish religious leader with fervent messianic hopes. Perhaps Satan was the whole system of legalistic religion, or at least it was deemed satanic by Jesus and his followers.

I also think it's very interesting that many Arabic people in the Middle East refer to the U.S. as "the great Satan". Kinda makes me think.

Uncle MacK

"You know what pious Muslims call us? The great Satan. You know what I call them ? Right. (Impious Muslims call us that too, but that makes no difference, we are what we are" ... - Kreeft

steve the z

comments regarding a culture or societies view of thier "satan" I don't consider in this question, I think Shirley had it right in quoting scripture.

Doug Hoag

I think Middle Eastern perspective is very important seeing that our Scriptures came out of the Middle East, which many consider to be the cradle of civilization. And knowing that Middle Easterners think in images rather than concepts, this could be very worthwhile exercise.

If an Arabic person refers to America as the great Satan, it's important to know the idea behind that image. And the question becomes: Is Satan a singularity or a collective? It seems that Scripture refers to Satan as the one who is in charge of anything that is rejected or unclean. So it could very well be possible that Satan is an actual spiritual entity, but not necessarily.

Jesus called the Pharisees and Scribes "snakes" and "brood of vipers". In short, Satanists, or a collective of satans. Read also Ezekiel 28 and see how the prophet refers to the King of Tyre in satanic imagery.

Very intriguing!! Is it possible that the New Testament, especially Jesus, reveals that "Satan" is actually a flesh and blood human being who is a religious legalist or a group of religious legalists?

I can't recall where, but there is a Scripture in which God refers to a specific person as "my satan". Now how cool is that??

Great discussion everyone! Thanks Joe!

shirley  perry

Doug -it was
"Get you behind me satan" to Peter - can you imagine the Lord calling you satan!

Doug Hoag


I don't want to imagine that, but I'm sure I've done some things that the Lord would consider satanic-- having in mind the things of men rather than God. Very humbling, indeed!

If I recall correctly, somewhere in one of the OT prophetic writings God calls someone "my satan". I'm not near my reference material so I can't remember where exactly. In Isaiah, God calls King Cyrus of Persia "my messiah". Now that's interesting!!

Uncle MacK

Steve, I wonder if "their" satan is much different from "ours"? Perhaps I'm just being inclusive, but I think we might be missing a big point in not considering other religions' views and beliefs. I think one may find much more common ground with Islam than we generally allow for in our daily Christian thought. What strikes me about what Doug and Kreeft say is how their Christian thinking confirms Muslim thought on an identifiable society. Perhaps the extremity may not be agreed upon, but we know that the Muslim's mindset is often displayed to us stereotypically by the media/peers/et cetera.


I suppose at some point I should jump in and give my 2 cents worth, but I'm just bagged from a busy week and I need a nap... will pick things up later on today.


I suppose would begin my own answer to this question by referencing my belief in a little phrase from one of the creeds (I am an anglican and I'm okay, apologies to monty python) - God is "the maker of all things, visible and invisible".

I think one of the things the scriptural stories point to is the reality of beings/stuff which are part of the totality of all that God has created, but which are not strictly - what? Physical? material? part of the observable world? Personally I look at the interaction of the figure of "satan" with various folks in the biblical stories - and the references to that reality seem somewhat numerous, especially with regard to the possible activity of spiritual forces/beings whatevers in our world.

One of the things I have run across, with which I strongly disagree, is the idea that satan is somehow an "equal opposite" to God or Jesus. Older traditions would call this 'dualism', and I think it an untenable position to hold.

Doug - a very interesting book that touches on some of the points you raise is "I See Satan Fall Like Lightning" by the French sociologist René Girard. Fascinating take on violence, political structure and the concept of satan in the near east and in the gospels.

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  • Copyright Rev. Joseph Walker, St Timothy's Anglican Church

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