FRDB Archives

Freethought & Rationalism Archive

The archives are read only.

Go Back   FRDB Archives > Archives > Biblical Criticism - 2001
Welcome, Peter Kirby.
You last visited: Today at 05:55 AM

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 09-19-2001, 11:46 AM   #11
Veteran Member
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Twin Cities, USA
Posts: 3,197

Personally, I have never believed that Satan exists as a literal creature, even if he is presented in the Bible as such. It all goes back to my sister's 5th birthday party, in which I blew out her birthday candles and received, in turn, a good thrashing. Even to my fundie parents, the excuse "but Mommy, the Devil made me do it" was certainly not enough to inspire her to spare the rod.

If God is indeed human (as He is portrayed as having human attributes and even took on human form in order to better understand the human experience) then there is no need for Satan, as good and evil are not two entirely seperate entities.
Bree is offline  
Old 09-19-2001, 02:20 PM   #12
New Member
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 2


I am new to your this website and I find that the question you have asked to be a very good question; does Satan exist? I am a conservative Evangelical Christian and in my next post I will attempt to answer your question concerning Satan. My response will not be an attempt to change anyones' mind. It will hopefully shed some light on the person we know as Satan through a close examination of Scripture.

Rod Toles
RodToles is offline  
Old 09-20-2001, 06:19 PM   #13
New Member
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 2

Is Satan just a metaphor? The answer is no and here are several reasons.
1. Satan possess traits of personality.
He shows intellegence ( 2Cor. 11:3); He shows emotion (Anger, Rev. 12:17; Desire, Luke 22:31; He also has a will (Isaiah 14:12-14)

2. Satan is referred to as a person; the Bible uses personal pronouns when speaking about Satan. Job chapter 1 and Matthew 4:1-12. In Job chapter 1, God has a conversation with Satan conserning Gods' faithful servant Job. In Matthew 4:1-12 Jesus has conversation with Satan. I find it rather difficult to talk with a metaphor and have it respond to you. When the Bible and those who encounter Satan interact with him, they refer to him either by name or a title, i.e. tempter, adversary, dragon, prince of the power of the air or the devil.

3. Satan is a created being. Ezekiel 28:11-19. Satan is an angel, a fallen angel no lesss, and of the order of angels known as Cherubim.

In Luke 22:31 Jesus tells Peter that "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat;...."

Here Jesus tells Peter that Satan has "DEMANDED PERMISSION", metaphors do not make demands.

I hope that this helps to shed some light on the personhood of Satan as you search for the truth. God Bless

Rod Toles
RodToles is offline  
Old 09-20-2001, 06:29 PM   #14
Veteran Member
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Asia
Posts: 3,558

Of-course for Judaism, Islam, and Christians, satan has to exist as a real entity and not as a metaphore.
The existence of a Satan is de-facto the direct confirmation of the existence of god.
One folows out of the other.
Thor Q. Mada is offline  
Old 09-20-2001, 10:56 PM   #15
Regular Member
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Here
Posts: 234

<STRONG>Is Satan just a metaphor? The answer is YES and here are several reasons:</STRONG>

Although Satan is said to possess traits of personality, and Paul's letter to the Corinthians shows the Devil has "intellegence" (and perhaps enough intelligence to spell correctly) and is shown to have emotions , we must realize we are dealing with ancient writings from near-prehistoric cultures.

Acknowledging a devil means only means that your are then subject to his "power," power that you invest in him because you have made him real to you. This is a primitive and understandable way to make sense of what does not make sense. It allows believers to fix a "personality" and "identity" to evil. Little do these believers know that the evil they see without actually comes from within. By not recognizing and dealing with this propensity in an adult manner, they fail to acknowledge their "shadow" side and project it outward to other groups and religions--and ultimately a personal Devil.

The Bible is not fact, but a complex mix of real history passed down orally and filtered and changed through many different cultures and groups overlayed by a long tradition of Hebraic mythology and belief. This has been proven beyond doubt by biblical scholarship ever since people other than clergy were actually allowed to read and interpret scripture for themselves. If one reads and studies the four gospels carefully in parallel, common sense can also bring a reader to the same conclusion. They are clearly four different versions of a barely glimpsed life.

It is only when biblical verses are dredged up and presented piecemeal from the pulpit, without any concern for context and strung all together to form some dislocated story to fit their personal religious needs only is when believers can easily rush to blame their own perceived shortcomings on a devil.

You say "I find it rather difficult to talk with a metaphor and have it respond to you." I am sorry you feel that way; your life is the poorer for not having had such conversations!

You end with: "I hope that this helps to shed some light on the personhood of Satan...."

I wonder, Rod, if you are aware that the word "Lucifer" actually means "bringer of light?" The story of his origin is much more interesting and complex than you may know....

[ September 21, 2001: Message edited by: aikido7 ]
aikido7 is offline  
Old 09-21-2001, 08:00 AM   #16
Posts: n/a

Originally posted by aikido7:
I wonder, Rod, if you are aware that the word "Lucifer" actually means "bringer of light?" The story of his origin is much more interesting and complex than you may know....

[ September 21, 2001: Message edited by: aikido7 ]</STRONG>
Exactly and this goes back to Gen.3 where the tree of knowledge was good for gaining wisdom = is "bringer of light."

In the end it means that the conscious mind (TOK) through scientific exploration presents the same exposure to the soul (TOL) wherein we see things wholistically which in turn is where the many question come from after scientific discovery.

The inquisitive child is blessed with a vivid Eve.

Old 09-21-2001, 07:04 PM   #17
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 737

RodToles, the Ezekiel passage is about the King of Tyre, not Satan.
daemon is offline  
Old 09-22-2001, 05:12 AM   #18
Veteran Member
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Australia
Posts: 4,886

I agree that Satan appears to be a literal being in the Bible. But I also think that in Genesis, the continuous narrative begins with Adam & Eve being created in the Garden of Eden, which contains two special trees. Then a snake, which is the most cunning creature, spoke to them.
But many here say that that is just a symbolic story. They say that since the people weren't amazed that the snake was talking, it never happened.
This is similar to the passage about Satan tempting Jesus. He took him to the top of a high mountain and showed him *all* the kingdoms of the world. Now there were kingdoms in China as well as around Europe, Africa and the Middle East. My Pastor said it was just a vision. So in that case, Satan was just a figment of the imagination, like fairies and unicorns. But the passage, whenever it is repeated in the gospels, reads as if it is a literal event.
I'm just saying that sometimes people say that the Bible is just talking about a metaphor or a vision, when it appears that it was literal.
Satan is also mentioned in Job, where he seems to be fairly friendly with God - and not a total enemy. He wasn't in the early books of the Bible though. (Unless you insist that the snake is Satan)
Though people are usually possessed by other demons, sometimes, like in the case of Judas, Satan possesses them. So it took the intervention of Satan himself to get Judas to accept a bribe and betray Jesus.

from <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank>What the Bible says
about demons</A>
Evil spirits which cause mental disturbances are mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures. But they were not dispatched or controlled by Satan; they were sent by God to torment people:

Judges 9:23: "Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem..."
1 Kings 22:23: "...behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets..."
1 Samuel 16:14: "But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him." (KJV)
1 Sam 18:10: "And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul..."
1 Sam 19:9: "And the evil spirit from the LORD was upon Saul..."
But in the New Testament, Satan is blamed for everything bad, and God suddenly becomes good.

There are many different stories in the Gospels and Acts about demon possession. The people who encountered it didn't seem to be amazed by it - they were only amazed by the exorcisms. Demon possession was common all over the world, and it still can occur in primitive tribes. So is the world-wide phenomenom of demon possession just an explanation for mental illness? Or is it real? Does demon possession still happen today?
Here's some Bible Passages about demon possession:

Mark 9:17-26
A man in the crowd answered, "Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not."
"O unbelieving generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me."
So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?"
"From childhood," he answered.
"It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us."
"`If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes."
Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"
When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. "You deaf and mute spirit," he said, "I command you, come out of him and never enter him again."
The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out...
In Luke, the boy isn't said to be deaf or mute, but it repeats the point that spirits are the only explanation for epilepsy-type seizures.

Luke 13:10-16
On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all.
When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, "Woman, you are set free from your infirmity."
Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.
Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, "There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath."
The Lord answered him, "You hypocrites! Doesn't each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?"
So one of Satan's spirits has caused the woman to be a cripple.

So Rod, I was just wondering if these spirits are also real beings - they appear to have personalities, and they even sometimes have names (like "Legion"). Also, they were extremely common in the New Testament - why don't we have them around any more. There were lots in the Middle Ages, and Fundamentalists sometimes find people that are possessed by demons - maybe psychiatry is just a godless way of explaining away the truth - of the existence of demons.
excreationist is offline  
Old 09-24-2001, 02:53 AM   #19
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 51

Lol! Nomad just had to go and make me curious! Shame on him! Ok, not to get too off topic here, but did anyone else start laughing at Nomad's following statements:

He is very powerful, yes, and can tempt large numbers of people. Does he do this on his own? I doubt it. His devils appear to do the same thing, albeit on a smaller scale.
I see no reason to think that science and theology conflict, since they do not.
I am absolutely convinced that Satan is real
Actually, demon possession was only very common when Jesus was here on earth
any plain reading of the Bible and Church teachings will tell you that Satan is real. That is why I believe that he exists
After all, it is only the existence of real sin and evil that could have required the death of our own God on the cross
Anyone else find that humorous?

Not that I haven't heard the same borderline insane rantings from many a Christian in some form or another, but Nomad usually seems at least somewhat level headed, so its surprising--and funny--to see him, shall we say; "git' down n' dumb", like that. No offense, Nomad. You're a funny guy!
Emperor of the Universe is offline  
Old 09-24-2001, 11:11 AM   #20
Regular Member
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Here
Posts: 234

Originally posted by Emperor of the Universe:

...Nomad usually seems at least somewhat level headed, so its surprising--and funny--to see him, shall we say; "git' down n' dumb", like that. No offense, Nomad. You're a funny guy!</STRONG>
I wonder, too, your highness. It often makes me wonder how many "Nomads," "SecWebLurkers," etc. we are really dealing with on this board!
aikido7 is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:44 PM.


This custom BB emulates vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.