Author Topic: Why is Satan invisible like God?  (Read 11975 times)

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Offline The Wannabe

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #58 on: August 23, 2011, 10:10:34 PM »
Hi The Wannabe,

Thanks for the reasoned response.


You're welcome.


We’re assuming that God exists, so I think you mean that the arguments seem to refute that God is like the God of the Bible. (Evil Bible people notwithstanding.) If I’m wrong, then I apologize for putting words in your mouth. (fingers?)

You put no words or fingers in my mouth, good sir.

Those two do seem to refute the Bible’s description of God. However, neither argument makes logical sense.

First, if Satan were more powerful than God, then Satan would just destroy God and have his way with us. There would be no good allowed in the world.

Second, if God were more powerful and did not give a s**t, then again He would not stop Satan from having his way with us. So again no good would be allowed in the world.

You're assuming in both of these cases, that satan would simply just destroy God, and that if God gave satan free reign that there wouldn't be any good in the world.

First off, maybe Satan just wants an entity to play the good cop to his bad cop in this cosmic play, plausibly this less powerful "God" could fulfill this role remarkably well.

Second off, if an all powerful, all good God gave satan free reign.....hmm....well if he did that he wouldn't be all good would he :P .  Let's just say God isn't all good but he is all powerful, he could still give satan guidelines not to completely screw up his creation, satan can just screw it up to the point that humans cannot be completely happy.  Apparently, i'm theorizing that this all powerful God doesn't want us to be completely happy  :-\

However, using the Israelites as an example, God guides humanity toward the greater good.


Hahahahaha...phew..........hahahahahahahahahahahahaha.


« Last Edit: August 23, 2011, 10:40:35 PM by The Wannabe »
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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #59 on: August 23, 2011, 10:13:00 PM »

First, if Satan were more powerful than God, then Satan would just destroy God and have his way with us. There would be no good allowed in the world.

Second, if God were more powerful and did not give a s**t, then again He would not stop Satan from having his way with us. So again no good would be allowed in the world.

But why are those the only two options? It seems much more logical to assume that, given that God and Satan exist, God is more powerful and He allows Satan to act in the world (for what reason we don’t know). However, using the Israelites as an example, God guides humanity toward the greater good. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says (para 395) “It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity, but ‘we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him.’ (Rom 8:28)”

Deary deary me. If Satan were more powerful than God, he could do anything he liked, but that, like a nasty dictator still would allow people to be nice to people. His toy would not be a pleasure, if there were not anything interesting in it. It is the toy we currently see. If Satan is more powerful than God, then the Bible is definitely written by him, unless he humoured God for a few years, and let God communicate with us.

Quote
“It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity, but ‘we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him.’ (Rom 8:28)”

Well, I can solve this great mystery for you. Satan could wreck God's plan by doing nothing. If Satan did nothing, then the world would instantly transform to sweetness and light, which is not what God wants. God apparently wants a shit-basket, to harvest strong souls from. Therefore, Satan is an agent of God, doing exactly what God wants, and has no volition. Satan is a slave of God. There is no other explanation, unless you accept that God is weaker than Satan, or of equal power.

This is theology 1728.00 for this week.



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Offline JeffPT

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #60 on: August 23, 2011, 10:29:36 PM »
First, if Satan were more powerful than God, then Satan would just destroy God and have his way with us. There would be no good allowed in the world.

This makes absolute, complete, 100% logical sense.  I agree with it completely. 

Now the problem with this is that this argument in reverse is exactly the point we try to make with Christians.  Why do you think this WORKS with Satan being more powerful, but not with God being more powerful?  If God were more powerful than Satan, then God would just destroy Satan and have us all to himself.  There would be no bad in the world.  Plain and simple. 

You can't sit there and say this...

It seems much more logical to assume that, given that God and Satan exist, God is more powerful and He allows Satan to act in the world (for what reason we don’t know).

... as if it "seems logical".  It isn't.  Your statement that if Satan were more powerful than God, then Satan would kill God and have his way with us IS logical.  That makes sense.  The SAME logic applies to a God that is more powerful than Satan, does it not?  Why would you think it applies to the first and not the second?  If you grant that God "allows Satan to work in the world for unknown reasons", then you must grant that Satan may be more powerful than God and is simply allowing God to work in the world for reasons we don't know.  You can't have it both ways and you know it.  If you are willing to concede that God could be more powerful and let Satan live, then you have to be willing to concede that the reverse is possible.   

The truth is the third option... That neither of them exist.

However, using the Israelites as an example, God guides humanity toward the greater good.

Hmm.  Or Satan is simply LETTING God guide humanity toward what he himself wants...  That might make sense if you look at what God did to Pharaoh.  Just think about it.  Pharaoh says he's not letting the Israelites go, so God sends plagues, disease, famine, and death to the Egyptians.  What could be better for Satan than to see GOD HIMSELF doing his dirty work by murdering thousands of first born children and Egyptian soldiers?  That Satan!!  He's one crazy kook!  Smart as a motherfucker though. 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says (para 395) “It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity, but ‘we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him.’ (Rom 8:28)”

A great mystery lol.  It's not a mystery... at best it's a cop out.  It's a shrug of the shoulders with a sideways tilt of the head.  At worst, it's simply an untrue statement.  It's something that, when you realize that there is a far better natural explanation for why bad things happen, you can see it for what it really is.  Nonsense. 

A theory that is postulated to answer the question of "How do good and bad things happen" should be considered most acceptable when it answers the question in the way that generates a complete understanding of how good and bad things happen.  Your explanation of God and Satan creates more questions and "mysteries" than it answers, whereas the natural theory explains every single instance of good and bad that have ever happened in the known world... with no known exceptions. Unless you care to point to an event that could not possibly be explained naturally.  I'm open to hearing one.     

Can you honestly say that your "explanation" here and the explanation of your church answers more questions accurately than the statement that bad things simply happen as a result of being an evolved social animal on a crowded, dangerous, and fragile planet?  You can explain all the good and bad things that happen to us in life with this single statement.  Why would you even suggest that there is some sort of supernatural war going on between one side which could automatically win any time it wanted, and another that is far weaker, but still allowed to do his work?  There is no great mystery with the natural explanation.  It's all understood. 
Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT

Offline albeto

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #61 on: August 23, 2011, 11:16:15 PM »
We’re assuming that God exists, so I think you mean that the arguments seem to refute that God is like the God of the Bible. (Evil Bible people notwithstanding.) If I’m wrong, then I apologize for putting words in your mouth. (fingers?)

Those two do seem to refute the Bible’s description of God. However, neither argument makes logical sense.

First, if Satan were more powerful than God, then Satan would just destroy God and have his way with us. There would be no good allowed in the world.

Not necessarily.  If Satan existed as generally understood, he would rather enjoy leading people on, like a cat playing with a mouse before the final kill.  If Satan existed as generally understood, life is like a chess game in which the players (Satan and God), play for pieces (souls) and there's no sport in kicking the game board over and calling yourself Supreme Winner Of All Time, effectively ending the game prematurely. 

Second, if God were more powerful and did not give a s**t, then again He would not stop Satan from having his way with us. So again no good would be allowed in the world.

Only if you assume Satan desires to end the game now.  Considering the goal seems to be to get as many souls into hell as possible, why would he not continue the game to that end?  What makes you think it's in his character to not amass as many souls as possible? 

But practically speaking, if God allows Satan to thwart his goodness, and allows evil to exist, how is that functionally different than being impotent to stop said evil?   

But why are those the only two options? It seems much more logical to assume that, given that God and Satan exist, God is more powerful and He allows Satan to act in the world (for what reason we don’t know).

Part of reasonable thinking is to see a pattern in the events of history and apply an expected outcome in a novel situation.   In this way you suggest that we don't know the reason for which God does not stop Satan, but we will after death.  We assume this because in our lives we have the ability to see a pattern of God taking care of things for us, the comprehension of which is often gained after the fact.  For this reason, the RCC considers herself to be a reasonable faith - it applies a known pattern into an unknown future.

This pattern is based on a faulty premise - the existence of God and the subsequent sovereignty of God.  An objective look at this pattern reveals no more intervention by the god of the bible than of the position of the stars in the sky.  In fact, as we learn more about the natural world around us, we learn more variables that are responsible for these events in our history.  Much like we no longer attribute natural disasters to God's wrath, we no longer need to attribute maladaptive behaviors to "sin." To assume there is "something more" based on the written texts of an ancient culture and the history of a community of believers is no more reasonable than to assume reincarnation based on the written texts of a different ancient culture and the history of a different community of believers. 

Nearly a century and a half ago scientists discovered that brain damage affects behavior and personality.  150 some years of research has offered us specific information about certain neurological details that would have been completely unknowable to the ancient Israelites.  To assume that these parts of the brain that no longer function typically due to damage will be suddenly operative as the entire organ begins decomposition is not reasonable.  It's fantastical.  It's immature, wishful thinking. 

However, using the Israelites as an example, God guides humanity toward the greater good. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says (para 395) “It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity, but ‘we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him.’ (Rom 8:28)”

If the bible and Church history are any indication of the ethical and moral standards of God, humanity is not guided towards the greater good but towards God's glory.  These are incompatible according to current accepted moral standards, moral standards defended by the Church even. 
« Last Edit: August 23, 2011, 11:21:32 PM by albeto »

Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #62 on: August 24, 2011, 12:28:40 AM »
Well, if Satan existed, it'd be in his best interest to convince the world he wouldn't exist.   Because if you believe in Satan, then you by default believe in God.    Then you'd believe in eternal damnation, and would naturally turn to Jesus.   Therefore to rack up as many souls in hell as possible, Satan would obviously stay low key.

Duh.
Hell is a prison for Satan where do you get the idea he runs it?
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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #63 on: August 24, 2011, 01:27:04 AM »
Being Frank, (I should change my name to Frank),

I don't think Christian theology is sophisticated enough to handle a Satan/God duality. It barely handles Heaven/Hell duality with any plausibility, because both concepts are absent from Hebrew-Judaism. If they had attached their religion to a Buddhist pizza base, it might have worked.

It starts off with a capricious, jealous polytheistic collection of Gods who have "chosen peoples". They demand child and animal sacrifice, and can send plagues and famine to places they don't like, and part Red Seas. This is scratched out, with little sophistication, and then we pretend it's just one God, who has 2 or 3 names, and appears to still demand child sacrifice. Then, the religion carries on as a promise to deliver Israel from captors, if people follow a bunch of laws. This doesn't work, because Israel always seems to be enslaved, so they conclude that they are not following the laws well enough, or maybe it was a personal religion.

Because of that failure, they vote for personal religion, rather than a state religion, with no real explanation of how this could occur in the scripture. The religion then splits into 2 major factions: Jews vs Christians. Both groups stitch on heaven and hell, but the Christians make their hell worse, and try to convince monotheists to worship an extra man-god: Jesus; and have to pretend that he's really the same God as before, but nicer and with a different name. Then they introduce Satan as a third God, who you are not supposed to worship. They are then dumbfounded to come up with any convincing theology of how a third god can exist, or what his function is, but state categorically, that you are not supposed to worship him, because he is either evil, or against the mono Jesus-Elohim-Yahwey God (who also appears even more evil).

The terrible mistake that Christians made, was basing their theology on a published "open source" pizza base, that won't fit anything. Worse still, you can see all the eraser scrubbings in the theories, as they change their minds about core issues.

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Offline fishjie

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #64 on: August 24, 2011, 02:36:26 AM »
Well, if Satan existed, it'd be in his best interest to convince the world he wouldn't exist.   Because if you believe in Satan, then you by default believe in God.    Then you'd believe in eternal damnation, and would naturally turn to Jesus.   Therefore to rack up as many souls in hell as possible, Satan would obviously stay low key.

Duh.
Hell is a prison for Satan where do you get the idea he runs it?

Since when is hell a prison for satan?  In the book of Job, he's clearly free to walk around and make a bet with God.    Doesn't sound very imprisoned to me.   As to where I got the idea that he runs the place, well, in every mainstream depiction of him from literature to TV to plays, he runs the place.   The Bible itself is pretty vague about hell in general, as it was not really a concept in Judaism (nor are there too many details about it in the New Testemant), but rather something that slowly evolved over the centuries once Christianity became prominent.    Since there's not a lot of canon source material to base this theological discussion off of, its not really possible to argue it.   However, its a moot point.

Regardless of whether or not he runs the place or is imprisoned there, Satan is a dude that rebelled against God and goes against his plan for humanity, which is arguably to save as many souls as possible.   It'd therefore be in Satan's best interest in the present day to convince the world he doesn't exist, because by giving proof of his own existence, he proves the existence of God, which means everyone flocks to Jesus so they don't burn in hell for an eternity.   In ancient times where everyone was a theist, it'd have been in his best interest to manifest himself as foreign polytheistic gods to lead people astray.

EDIT:   I think this book covers the history of hell, but I never got around to reading it.    Can anyone tell me if its any good?
http://www.amazon.com/History-Hell-Alice-K-Turner/dp/0156001373
« Last Edit: August 24, 2011, 02:39:31 AM by fishjie »

Offline fishjie

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #65 on: August 24, 2011, 02:45:45 AM »
If God exists, then those who try to get people to reject God are doing what Satan wants, right?

Let me ask you a simple question, I hope you will answer it.   First let's state some assumptions:

1.    God is omnipotent
2.    Satan is a fallen angel who rebelled against God.   He was once God's favorite.   
3.    Satan, being an angel, is a fairly intelligent fellow

So with that being said, my question to you is:
Why would Satan rebel?   If he is intelligent, he knows God is omnipotent, and he knows his rebellion is doomed to failure.    What's the point?    To make some kind of statement?    Who cares if he manages to get some people to reject God?   God is omnipotent AND omniscient, so he already knows who is going to be saved.     Satan can only corrupt those with God's permission, after all, even Satan had to ask God if it was okay to mess with Job.     So Satan knows who the real boss is.   Why is he playing the role of a jobber in wrestling?

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #66 on: August 24, 2011, 04:03:37 AM »
He was once God's favourite, because Milton said so, in Paradise Lost.

He was once in "heaven", because Jesus told the 70 that he saw Satan fall from the sky, due to their awesome powers.

[17] And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.
[18] And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

Naturally, the sky is where God and Satan live, because it is high. If you go low, you drown in water.

He is also erroneously from "heaven" because he was cast down to Earth (from an unspecified height), because he wanted to get to "heaven", in Isaiah 14. It seems strange that he was punished for wanting to get to heaven, when Christians say he was already there (as the planet Venus, no less.)

Even by the word of the JP Holding, Satan only occurs once (in the OT) in Job, where he is clearly some personage that walks "to a fro" on the Earth.

Otherwise, he is species of snake, that got punished and had its legs removed. The creation story is clear on how snakes evolved.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2011, 04:05:51 AM by Add Homonym »
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Offline velkyn

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #67 on: August 24, 2011, 08:49:20 AM »
First, if Satan were more powerful than God, then Satan would just destroy God and have his way with us. There would be no good allowed in the world. Second, if God were more powerful and did not give a s**t, then again He would not stop Satan from having his way with us. So again no good would be allowed in the world.
 
This amuses me since we have Christians also claiming that God intentionally allows evil into the world.  If your claim is right and God is all-good and Satan is all-bad (would not allow good into the world), why is God so stupid to allow evil? Why does it have to here and evidently doesn’t’ have to at all in heaven or the kingdom of heaven on earth? Again, it makes no sense when Christians insist that God must have evil for some mysterious reason, to explain the world as it is.
Quote
But why are those the only two options? It seems much more logical to assume that, given that God and Satan exist, God is more powerful and He allows Satan to act in the world (for what reason we don’t know).
Oh as I said above, we have plenty of Christians who are sure they know for what reasons.  Always funny to watch Christians disagree with each other on what God “really” wants/meant, etc.  We have God depenend on Satan through out the bible. If there were no Satan, then no fall; if no Satan, no need for JC; if no Satan, no cruxifiction (at least per Luke); if no Satan, no damning even more people after God gets finished with killing all of the evil people on earth and having JC reign over all of the “good” people for an “aeon”.  God “must” release Satan after imprisioning him for hmmm, let me guess, “for what reason we don’t know”.  Again and again we have God using evil intentionally.  Can a purely good being use evil? Isn’t this like saying something is “kinda sterile”?   
Quote
However, using the Israelites as an example, God guides humanity toward the greater good.
no evidence of this at all.
Quote
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says (para 395) “It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity, but ‘we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him.’ (Rom 8:28)”
Always good to see the equivocation of the RCC.  In fact, we don’t know that “in everything God works for good with those who love him”. We see no evidence of that at all, only excuses made up by theists.  It’s also amusing that the RCC cites Romans 8 which makes the big claim about predestination which if I recall correctly, the RCC doesn’t believe in. 
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Offline Hatter23

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #68 on: August 24, 2011, 09:14:37 AM »
Hi The Wannabe,

How are things today?

If God truly wants us to believe, …

Yes, you can rant, but you haven’t answered my question. What I said is true.

And how would you know the difference? You say that God doesn’t exist. But how do you know that Satan is not deceiving you into believing that neither one of them exists? Can you prove that it’s the former and not the latter? Because they look the same.

That is correct. And It also looks like the Flying Spghetti monster touched you withhis noodly appendage and made you say that. Can you not prove it isn't that?

What you are doing is a fallacy called "reversal of the burden of proof" a minor variation of an appeal to ignorance.
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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Offline screwtape

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #69 on: August 24, 2011, 09:27:39 AM »
However, using the Israelites as an example, God guides humanity toward the greater good.

Let me focus on this for a minute.  I'd like to know why you would say this, other than "someone else told you".  I do not see this claim as being even remotely supported by evidence. 

What is "the greater good"?  As a secular humanist, I would say the greater good is more peace, prosperity and happiness for mankind.  All of them, not just a select group.  We achieve that through more knowledge and to some extent technology.  Without knowledge and tools (technology) humanity would be forced to live a crude and difficult existence with little comfort and much more suffering.  Just like yhwh said when he kicked Eve and Adam out of Eden.

Yet, there is no place in the bible where yhwh transmits actual knowledge to people.  He only transmits rules and demands.  And let's face it, some of those rules have no impact whatsoever on peace, prosperity, happiness or knowledge.  Some of the demands include genocide and war.

Instead we have examples of the opposite, like the Tower of Babel.  Yhwh could have helped the Babelites with their understanding of strengths of materials, architecture, and building.  But he didn't.  He smashed their achievement, made them unable to communicate, and scattered them across the middle east[1].  So much for the greater good.

And notice too that all this "greater good" yhwh dishes out is only for the hebrews.  How much greater good was there for the native Canaanites[2]?  Or the Midianites? In case you don't remember them, they were the tribe yhwh made the hebrews wipe out, except for the virgin girls who were taken as sex slaves.

How hard would it have been for the ostensibly omnipotent and omnipresent yhwh to have presented his message to all people?  That would include the people he had the hebrews eradicate.  Yeah, the bible claims the Midianites were wicked.  But that admits that it was beyond yhwh's powers of persuasion.  So much for omnipotence.  It also a common theme that yhwh is the hebrews' god.  Why so provincial?

No, SimpleCaveman.  I think the evidence is the exact opposite of what you are claiming.  yhwh has not guided humanity toward any greater good.  yhwh behaves like an infant who cares only of his own desires and treats his play things without regard. You have a tough row to hoe if you want to show otherwise.


 1. edit - yhwh actually set them back in terms of knowledge
 2. forgetting for a moment that actual archaeology shows that the hebrews were native Canaanites
« Last Edit: August 25, 2011, 09:49:54 AM by screwtape »
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Offline fishjie

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #70 on: August 24, 2011, 10:39:28 AM »

Otherwise, he is species of snake, that got punished and had its legs removed. The creation story is clear on how snakes evolved.

Speaking of snakes, wasn't the snake in the OT just a snake?    I think a lot of people consider that snake to be Satan, but is that actually what they teach in theology classes?   I'm genuinely curious, because I do not know.

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #71 on: August 24, 2011, 11:11:34 AM »
^^^^ depends what nonsense a particular Christian wants to tell you.  They change their mind often on whether that was a snake or Satan.
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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #72 on: August 24, 2011, 11:25:06 AM »
Speaking of snakes, wasn't the snake in the OT just a snake?    I think a lot of people consider that snake to be Satan, but is that actually what they teach in theology classes?   I'm genuinely curious, because I do not know.

Because the Hebrews did not have a concept of the Devil Satan, they considered the snake to be a legged, or winged serpent. The serpent tempted Eve to eat the tree of knowledge, rather than a tree of evil. The serpent is associated with the Wisdom God Sophia, by the Gnostics, or Christ himself. Of course, unsophisticated Christians are taught that the serpent was Satan. Otherwise are taught that the serpent is some kind of kindred of the Devil. (Which is an awesome leap to make, because the Hebrews did not have a devil anywhere else.)

The Serpent as an Instrument of Satan
http://blog.rbseminary.org/2011/02/snake-or-seraph-the-identity-of-the-serpent-in-genesis-3/

Traditionally, Bible scholars have taken the serpent as a real snake that becomes the instrument or organ through which Satan entices man to sin.6 The fact that the serpent is compared to “the beasts of the field” (3:1, 14)7 seems to suggest an ordinary snake. That the serpent is styled as “crafty” does not necessarily disqualify the entity from membership in the animal kingdom since the Bible elsewhere attributes sapient qualities to mere creatures (Prov 30:24–28), including the snake (Matt 10:16). The data also suggest, however, that there is an intelligent and malicious personality at work behind this creature (3:1, 4–5; 14–15).8 Therefore, the majority of commentators identify the evil persona behind the serpent as none other than Satan,9 also called the devil,10 the dragon,11 and significantly “the ancient Serpent” (Rev 12:9; 20:2).12 According to Scripture, Satan can enter, possess, and influence both animals and humans (Matt 8:28, 31–33; Mark 5:12–16; Luke 8:32–36).13 God’s curse in 3:14–15 may be viewed as addressing the real culprit (i.e., Satan) through the instrument (i.e., the serpent), comparable to Jesus’s rebuke of Peter, “Get behind me, Satan” (Matt 16:23).14


Christian theology can be based on one quote, and a midrashic invention. That's all they need. You will notice that all the quotes come from the NT, not OT.


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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #73 on: August 24, 2011, 12:13:35 PM »
Speaking of snakes, wasn't the snake in the OT just a snake?    I think a lot of people consider that snake to be Satan, but is that actually what they teach in theology classes?   I'm genuinely curious, because I do not know.

Because the Hebrews did not have a concept of the Devil Satan, they considered the snake to be a legged, or winged serpent. The serpent tempted Eve to eat the tree of knowledge, rather than a tree of evil. The serpent is associated with the Wisdom God Sophia, by the Gnostics, or Christ himself. Of course, unsophisticated Christians are taught that the serpent was Satan. Otherwise are taught that the serpent is some kind of kindred of the Devil. (Which is an awesome leap to make, because the Hebrews did not have a devil anywhere else.)

The Serpent as an Instrument of Satan
http://blog.rbseminary.org/2011/02/snake-or-seraph-the-identity-of-the-serpent-in-genesis-3/

Traditionally, Bible scholars have taken the serpent as a real snake that becomes the instrument or organ through which Satan entices man to sin.6 The fact that the serpent is compared to “the beasts of the field” (3:1, 14)7 seems to suggest an ordinary snake. That the serpent is styled as “crafty” does not necessarily disqualify the entity from membership in the animal kingdom since the Bible elsewhere attributes sapient qualities to mere creatures (Prov 30:24–28), including the snake (Matt 10:16). The data also suggest, however, that there is an intelligent and malicious personality at work behind this creature (3:1, 4–5; 14–15).8 Therefore, the majority of commentators identify the evil persona behind the serpent as none other than Satan,9 also called the devil,10 the dragon,11 and significantly “the ancient Serpent” (Rev 12:9; 20:2).12 According to Scripture, Satan can enter, possess, and influence both animals and humans (Matt 8:28, 31–33; Mark 5:12–16; Luke 8:32–36).13 God’s curse in 3:14–15 may be viewed as addressing the real culprit (i.e., Satan) through the instrument (i.e., the serpent), comparable to Jesus’s rebuke of Peter, “Get behind me, Satan” (Matt 16:23).14


Christian theology can be based on one quote, and a midrashic invention. That's all they need. You will notice that all the quotes come from the NT, not OT.

Yeah I must've read the bible 10 times, and I never really saw anything about Satan in the OT, other than in Job.    So what you're saying confirms my suspicion.   I find the study of how religions evolve to be fascinating.     Someday when I retire I'm totally going to go study theology, comparative religion, and other such interesting topics.

Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #74 on: August 24, 2011, 05:44:03 PM »
Well, if Satan existed, it'd be in his best interest to convince the world he wouldn't exist.   Because if you believe in Satan, then you by default believe in God.    Then you'd believe in eternal damnation, and would naturally turn to Jesus.   Therefore to rack up as many souls in hell as possible, Satan would obviously stay low key.

Duh.
Hell is a prison for Satan where do you get the idea he runs it?

Since when is hell a prison for satan?  In the book of Job, he's clearly free to walk around and make a bet with God.    Doesn't sound very imprisoned to me.   As to where I got the idea that he runs the place, well, in every mainstream depiction of him from literature to TV to plays, he runs the place.   The Bible itself is pretty vague about hell in general, as it was not really a concept in Judaism (nor are there too many details about it in the New Testemant), but rather something that slowly evolved over the centuries once Christianity became prominent.    Since there's not a lot of canon source material to base this theological discussion off of, its not really possible to argue it.   However, its a moot point.

Regardless of whether or not he runs the place or is imprisoned there, Satan is a dude that rebelled against God and goes against his plan for humanity, which is arguably to save as many souls as possible.   It'd therefore be in Satan's best interest in the present day to convince the world he doesn't exist, because by giving proof of his own existence, he proves the existence of God, which means everyone flocks to Jesus so they don't burn in hell for an eternity.   In ancient times where everyone was a theist, it'd have been in his best interest to manifest himself as foreign polytheistic gods to lead people astray.

EDIT:   I think this book covers the history of hell, but I never got around to reading it.    Can anyone tell me if its any good?
http://www.amazon.com/History-Hell-Alice-K-Turner/dp/0156001373
according to theists he will be imprisoned in "hell" after a great battle between God and Satan......he is not in "hell" yet (why is another question) until after that battle. So he is free to roam,but why is he hiding? By all accounts God is the evil one,commands murder,allows starvation,murder,suicide he has a favorite race(Jews) yet he is not even powerful enough to rid the world of Satan unless there is a great battle,why? Put him in hell quietly and it would be over. Does this God need the excitment of a "final battle" so he can watch his creation (man) die fighting? What is the purpose of not riding the world of Satan in an instant?
There's no right there's no wrong,there's just popular opinion (Brad Pitt as Jeffery Goines in 12 monkeys)

Offline fishjie

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #75 on: August 24, 2011, 06:07:35 PM »
Its not terribly clear why God doesn't just destroy Satan.   If you go by the standard christian response of "free will", humans are still free to choose good or evil since Adam and Eve already ate from the tree.    So Satan is superfluous at that point, since he's already done his job (assuming that serpent = Satan).

As for what's the point of a final battle?   Well maybe God is big into wrestling.   Satan knows he's gonna lose the final battle, so he's basically serving as a heel or a jobber in wrestling.    Maybe Satan is getting paid a good salary?

One of the myriad problems with christian theology is that the source material is a disparate collection of writings that don't form a cohesive logical whole.   So trying to puzzle it out is just a mess.

Offline Add Homonym

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #76 on: August 25, 2011, 09:46:12 PM »
Why does Satan infest the animal kingdom?

Other have observed that he must be infesting the whole cosmos, which is a big job for an angel.

But, importantly, why does he infest animals in exactly the same way as humans, even though they did not eat with Adam, from the tree of bullshit?

How come animals die of viruses and get parasites? How come animals kill each other with neurotoxins, and bonobos have non-marital sex all day? I can see that animals would not know that it was wrong, because they did not eat from the tree of bullshit. But, oh, mammals and birds somehow seem to know when they are doing wrong, when they act aggressively towards others. How do they know this, without eating from the tree of bullshit? How come animals are almost the same as us, even though they were not punished by God for eating from the tree of bullshit? Nor do they supposedly have the wisdom to know they are sinning, yet they do.

This is what's known as tough justice. One person sins, and you all get thrown out of the pool.




I strive for clarity, but aim for confusion.

Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #77 on: August 27, 2011, 07:26:19 PM »
Hi JeffPT,

You bring up a couple of interesting points.

But I don't mind hypotheticals.

First, in that sense, I think that all we can do are hypotheticals. Clearly none of us are smart enough to figure out a way to offer the kind of proof that the majority on this site looks for. So, on most things, maybe not all, we have to make assumptions about the context of our discussion.

IF God AND Satan exist, and if Satan's goal is to get people to reject God's existence, then yes, it could be said that those who reject God are giving Satan what he wants. 

Second, there is a difference between rejecting God’s existence and rejecting God.

Satan’s intention seems to be to induce others to reject or disobey God just as he did. It seems logical to me that just rejecting God’s existence would not be enough. For example, C.S. Lewis posits the devils accepting many lukewarm souls, though they would rather have one fiery soul. If that were the case, then the devil would really want someone to purposefully disobey God.

No matter. I just thought it was interesting. I’ll move on to your other posts. Thank you for this one.


Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #78 on: August 27, 2011, 07:27:27 PM »
Hi The Wannabe,

I see that I’m late coming back to the discussion. My apologies to you and others for the delay. I’m going to try and get to a number of posts today.

You're assuming in both of these cases, that satan would simply just destroy God, and that if God gave satan free reign that there wouldn't be any good in the world.

You are correct. I am basing them on the teachings of the Catholic Church about Satan, which is really outside of assumptions we made. That is, all we are assuming about God and Satan is that they exist.

Both of the examples you gave are horrific scenarios that are surely valid if all we’re assuming is that God and Satan exist.

Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #79 on: August 27, 2011, 07:28:52 PM »
Hi Add Homonym (great name, btw),

Satan could wreck God's plan by doing nothing. If Satan did nothing, then the world would instantly transform to sweetness and light, which is not what God wants.

Really? You think that human beings wouldn’t still do at least some of the evil things they do if Satan did nothing?

Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #80 on: August 27, 2011, 07:30:42 PM »
Your statement that if Satan were more powerful than God, then Satan would kill God and have his way with us IS logical.  That makes sense.  The SAME logic applies to a God that is more powerful than Satan, does it not?
I suppose it would, if all we were assuming is that God and Satan exist, or if we were also assuming that God and Satan are the same in character. If you want to stop there, then I’ll grant it. But if we stop there, then any speculation is just as valid as any other.

Obviously, that’s not where I stop. My statements were based on the teachings of the Catholic Church, which come from Jesus Christ and, in large part, are recorded in the Bible. Given that basis, then, no, the reverse isn’t true. God and Satan are neither equal nor of the same character.

A great mystery lol.  It's not a mystery... at best it's a cop out. 
No, it’s not. It’s an honest statement of what we know and don’t know. In some ways it’s like physics or evolution. There are some things we know about these areas, but we don’t know everything. At some point they become a mystery. In their case, it’s science and reason. In the case of Satan it’s divine revelation and reason.

…bad things simply happen as a result of being an evolved social animal on a crowded, dangerous, and fragile planet? You can explain all the good and bad things that happen to us in life with this single statement. 

Can you? I don’t think so. Not always. Not good explanations. I could come up with scenarios (right out of the news), for example about people with good lives who make evil decisions, or people who take evil to a whole other level. You might come up with some psychological or sociological explanation that would be your (or anyone’s) best guess, but it wouldn’t really explain anything. Certainly not in the scientific evidential sense which you require.

And believing in the devil doesn’t preclude your statement. It’s not either/or. It’s both/and.


Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #81 on: August 27, 2011, 07:34:34 PM »
Hi albeto,

Thanks for the very reasoned response.

If Satan existed as generally understood, life is like a chess game in which the players (Satan and God), play for pieces (souls) and there's no sport in kicking the game board over and calling yourself Supreme Winner Of All Time, effectively ending the game prematurely.
I agree with the first statement you made (not quoted here), but not this one. The understanding of Satan is not that he is on an equal basis with God.  In fact, the Church teaches that Christ has defeated Satan by his death and resurrection. Ah, but what does that mean, you say? It means that the gates of heaven, which were closed by the Fall, have been opened so that we can enter into heaven when we die.

But practically speaking, if God allows Satan to thwart his goodness, and allows evil to exist, how is that functionally different than being impotent to stop said evil?
I assume you’re referring to this statement

It seems much more logical to assume that, given that God and Satan exist, God is more powerful and He allows Satan to act in the world (for what reason we don’t know).
Is that correct? Allowing Satan to act is not the same as giving him free rein, which is what your functional equivalence requires.

For this reason, the RCC considers herself to be a reasonable faith - it applies a known pattern into an unknown future.
No, not at all. The reason that the Catholic Church believes and teaches what it does is because of Jesus Christ. His resurrection from the dead changed the lives of the Apostles to become the seeds of the Catholic Church. That is where the faith of the Church comes from.


Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #82 on: August 27, 2011, 07:36:57 PM »
Hi fishjie,

Let me ask you a simple question, I hope you will answer it.
No problem! I enjoy reasonable, thought provoking discussions. I have always learned something from them.

Why would Satan rebel?   If he is intelligent, he knows God is omnipotent, and he knows his rebellion is doomed to failure.    What's the point? 
Very good question. There was actually another thread on this topic about a year ago. First, your assumptions are good.

So, why would he rebel if he were such an intelligent being? Don’t we all do things that we know are bad choices? Being smart is not a fail-safe against bad choices.

Pride is often seen as Satan’s sin. We find a reflection of that in the tempter’s words to Adam and Eve: “You will be like God.” As I think we all could attest, pride often overrides our intelligence.

Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #83 on: August 27, 2011, 07:37:57 PM »
Hi screwtape,

Hey, I just noticed that you are a Moderator. I guess they let anyone be in charge, eh? :)

The Old Testament shows how God gathered the Hebrew people from one family into a nation. He taught them about himself, about life and love. They matured from thinking that God was just like them only more so to an understanding of suffering for one another, and that love is patient and love is kind.

Okay, I have to go. The new season of Dr. Who starts in 15 minutes.

Offline Death over Life

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #84 on: August 27, 2011, 08:50:44 PM »
Time I come back from my slumber. My internet was down for about a month, but til now, just seemed that nothing interesting was going on so I was lurking.

So, SimpleCaveman is a Catholic? Hmm, on one point, Catholicism created Christianity so I can understand why to use that position since everything else is just a branch off of Catholicism, but at the other side, Catholicism is by far the worst belief system to use to represent Christ and Satan.

So much to discuss on this subject I don't know where to start.

To the title thread, it is obvious because Satan doesn't exist either.

Concerning attributes of Satan and God, God is nowhere near all-good and Satan is nowhere near all-evil. For the origins, there is no origin on this Satan character, but for some reason, people love mis-translating and altering the Morning Star with the Babylonian king to represent a Satan character, which is none of the sort. Motives, we don't know anything on that at all. All the Bible can show us is that God and Satan are tag team partners who are with each other the whole time. Either that, or Satan has shown time and time again that he is more powerful than God, and that He is the one who actually loves us and cares for us, and lets us do whatever we want without the need for worship or theology or religion.

Sorry for coming in so late in the game, so I can't really just get to the title of the topic, but I still have some words of thought. I do enjoy Pat Condell's podcast on Is Satan a Catholic?

Offline albeto

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #85 on: August 27, 2011, 09:53:38 PM »
I agree with the first statement you made (not quoted here), but not this one. The understanding of Satan is not that he is on an equal basis with God.  In fact, the Church teaches that Christ has defeated Satan by his death and resurrection. Ah, but what does that mean, you say? It means that the gates of heaven, which were closed by the Fall, have been opened so that we can enter into heaven when we die.

I didn't say anything about being on equal par with god, but as playing a game for the reward of souls.  Perhaps that's too informal, as the RCC explains Jesus' purpose in relation to Satan's:

"'The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.'
 In its consequences the gravest of these works was the mendacious seduction that led man to disobey God."
CCC 394 

 The "gates of heaven, which were closed by the fall" is a direct consequence of satan's little game.  It's a game god plays too:

By our first parents' sin, the devil has acquired a certain domination over man, even though man remains free.
Original sin entails "captivity under the power of him who thenceforth had the power of death, that is, the devil."
CCC 407

We know god plays this game, although we don't know why a moral god would.  So we call it "a mystery."

Although Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus,
 and although his action may cause grave injuries - of a spiritual nature and, indirectly,
even of a physical nature- to each man and to society, the action is permitted by divine providence
 which with strength and gentleness guides human and cosmic history.
It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity...
CCC 395

Is that correct? Allowing Satan to act is not the same as giving him free rein, which is what your functional equivalence requires.

I didn't say anything about functional equivalence.  I said god and satan are playing a game together and human souls are the rewards in this game. 

No, not at all. The reason that the Catholic Church believes and teaches what it does is because of Jesus Christ. His resurrection from the dead changed the lives of the Apostles to become the seeds of the Catholic Church. That is where the faith of the Church comes from.

That's just offering the origins of the pattern.  It's still based on a faulty premise if for no other reason the existence of Jesus, much less the claims made about him, are not objectively or rationally supported but taken on faith.  That's a circular argument which is not reasonable. 

Offline albeto

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #86 on: August 27, 2011, 10:05:36 PM »
Really? You think that human beings wouldn’t still do at least some of the evil things they do if Satan did nothing?

If you knew the biological reason behind one's maladaptive behavior and recognized it was an impulse impossible to resist, perhaps resistance wasn't even a cognitive option, would you call this behavior "sin"?  If you knew a child with autism and no verbal abilities and poorly constructed communicative abilities could not recognize her discomfort was due to the unpleasant feeling of thirst or hunger or a need to defecate, would you consider her screaming "sinful" behavior?  What if she was the same age as her cousin who knew how to get a cup and fill it with water, or to get a banana from the fruit bowl, or to use the bathroom and wash her hands when done.  Would this autistic child who was the same age chronologically be expected to perform the same behavior without the neurological capacity to do so?  Would her lack of such behavior be "sinful"?  What if she had been learning for years now to point to a picture on the refrigerator of a cup, or to point to her mouth, or to tug on the sleeve of her mother or behavior tutor to escort her to the bathroom?  Would her ineffective behavior (screaming) be indicative of "sin"?  Why or why not?

Do you think that everyone is perfectly cognizant of the choices they make when they make them?  Do you know that neurologists have discovered that is not the fact?  Are we then culpable of "sin" when our prefrontal cortex makes an executive decision based on so many variables we are unaware of?  Is it us who is culpable or our brain?  Where does the self end and the brain begin? 

In short, "Satan" is no longer necessary to explain why people do maladaptive, ineffective and even dangerously dysfunctional things.