So, here’s what I believe about Satan.

satansfall
Painting depicting Satan’s fall from heaven.

 

I don’t know whether Satan exists or not.  But if he does, he can’t be very powerful.  He was merely an archangel, with about as much power as Michael, before he fell.  How did he get to be nearly as powerful as God himself, as most fundamentalists would have you believe?   We are told Satan “planted” the evidence for evolution, causes natural disasters, and can even create life (parasitic creatures, viruses, and cancer cells, for example). But angels never had that kind of power; only God himself can do those things.

Some argue that God allowed Satan free reign over the Earth because of free will, but that still doesn’t explain why he would suddenly have Godlike powers, like being able to create life forms and cause natural catastrophes.    No angel or archangel has ever been able to do those kinds of things.  Would God have given him that sort of power just because he demanded to have it?   I think not.

Satan is given way too much credit, in my opinion, and attributed with way too much power.   He also gets way too much attention.  It all seems like a form of idolatry to me.  As the Ultimate Narcissist, Satan would be tickled pink at all the attention he gets and power that’s attributed to him.

Personally, I think evil resides in the hearts of men.  Since we humans have trouble accepting our dark side, we project it onto an outside entity.  “The devil made me do it,” we say, not wanting to accept responsibility for our own evil actions. If there is a supernatural explanation for evil, I think it’s likely there’s a whole population of fairly weak malicious spirits (demons, if you prefer) trolling the the earth.  Collectively, they could do a whole lot of damage.   It’s also possible Satan is real, but if so, I doubt he (or any of his demons) would be planting fake fossils to “prove” evolution or recombining DNA into invasive and parasitic life forms.   Still, I think it’s wise to be very careful with or completely avoid dabbling in the occult.

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About luckyotter

Recovering from BPD and C-PTSD due to narcissistic abuse from childhood. Married to a sociopath for 20 years. Proud INFJ, Enneagram type 4w5. Animal lover, music lover, cat mom, unapologetic geek, fan of the absurd, progressive Catholic, mom to 2, mental illness stigma activist, anti-Trumper. #RESISTANCE
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14 Responses to So, here’s what I believe about Satan.

  1. Or it’s a made up story by primitive humans to explain things they didn’t understand. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim says:

    IMHO-

    I agree that Satan doesn’t have as much power as some people give him credit for- I would think he has a ton of power compared to a human, but hardly any when compared to God. And I would agree that he wouldn’t have any power to create matter and plant fossils and so on.

    I think being overly scared of him, focusing on him and attributing God-like powers and attributes plays right into his hands, and he probably does like it, like you say.

    I do think he can tempt people with suggestions and can influence situations somehow, and I think it would be naive to think that he doesn’t exist and to toy with the occult like you said.

    But I definitely think he exists.

    The reason why is that I believe Jesus is divine, so I defer to his beliefs about whether Satan is real or not; if Jesus is God, he ought to know right?

    Jesus definitely believed Satan was real according to the gospels. I think there is much evidence that the gospels accurately recorded his words and deeds.

    I don’t see why one would believe the gospels for the most part, but then say that they inaccurately recorded his statements about Satan. Unless of course there were some specific textual criticism to think those particular parts of the text were inaccurate, while the rest was accurate.

    I don’t know of any such textual criticism, except for groups like the Jesus Seminar, who simply assume at the outset that any supernatural reference must by definition not be true.

    If one just chooses to say the part about Satan is probably inaccurate because it doesn’t seem familiar or intuitive or realistic to them, it seems to me they’re just picking and choosing which parts to believe based on their preference.

    They might as well throw the whole Bible out, because the rest of the Bible is just as likely to be factually incorrect as the parts about Satan.

    My two cents.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Marcus says:

    I believe he is very real, as I believe the scriptural references of him. And demons. “Powers and principalities” against which we fight. But as for creating life, natural disasters, etc – no. He has no power near to God. Where he strikes is the heart and mind of man – with his greatest weapon. Pride. Even the three recorded temptations of Jesus dealt around pride.
    My 2 cents.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Bradley says:

    As you mentioned, I believe evil lurks from inside and not by an outside entity like Satan. To believe in Satan means I believe in hell and I absolutely cannot do that. When I punish my daughter it’s out of love and for her to learn and be a better person. This is the opposite of what we’re told God does. Don’t do wrong or you’ll be tossed into the pits of hell for eternity. Eternity? That’s not love, that’s vindictiveness and not the actions of a loving God.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jim says:

      Hey Bradley,

      I hope you don’t mind if I try to clarify what I think is the Christian position about hell / retributive justice, etc.

      The Christian God is not coming from this place: “If you do wrong I’ll throw you into hell forever”.

      That’s not God’s basic attitude. It’s more like he’s bending over backwards giving us chance after chance to be forgiven and blessed.

      His attitude is more like: “I know you’ve done wrong, and you continue to slip up, and I’ve made a way out for you, because I want the best for you. Follow me.”

      “Accept the fact that I (Christ) have already paid the debts you owe for your sin on your behalf on the cross. I absorbed the punishment (hell) that your sins merited. I did it because I love you and I want the sin problem taken away so we can be at one, with no alienation between us. It cost me a lot, but I’m glad I did it. It was worth it to me so you can be forgiven. I don’t want you to go to hell- let me take that off your hands for you.”

      According to the Christian worldview, the basic problem between God and man is God is perfectly moral, and as such hates sin, cannot be at peace with it, can’t hang out with it, and must punish it, because he is fair and equitable, and that’s what it deserves.

      And everybody sins and everybody can be and has been nasty. If you saw a judge let guilty people go scot free (let’s say they murdered your wife), you’d say that’s an unfair / bad judge, not a good judge.

      The eternal part comes in because like you said, evil lurks from within. We ourselves are bent towards evil and away from a holy God. If THAT is not forgiven / rectified, how could a holy God hang out with us for all eternity? How could we be comfortable in his presence? We would shrink from him and want to get away. So hell is being separated from him (and subsequently all his blessings) forever.

      So God is perfectly fair, so he must punish sin. Thankfully, he’s gratuitously kind and loving and forgiving too. So what a conundrum He’s in.

      Your (my, everybody’s) debt had to be paid for, but since God loves us and wants the best for us, he decided to pay for it himself on the cross. He absorbed the punishment due to us. That’s the gospel (“good news”).

      He just asks us not to thumb our noses at that, because if we do, we cut ourselves off from the only remedy. That’s all he’s really asking.

      Nobody besides Jesus in history has ever claimed to take away the sin problem between men and God.

      It’s a universal problem, and a single unique cure, so for me- I’ll accept it.

      We can make arguments about how unfair that might be to the Aboriginee in 375 BC, but the question still remains what about us- what do we do with Jesus?

      I hope that doesn’t offend you. I simply happen to believe that’s all true, so if I’m right, I’d be doing you a disservice not saying anything.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Bradley says:

        No offense taken whatsoever. I appreciate your candor. However, you bring up another issue that concerns me and that is the requirement to believe in Jesus Christ and God. There are nearly 300 religions in the world. Each of those can neither proven or disproven than the rest. Yet, I am required to make the correct choice? Like you, I don’t mean to offend, but that seems a lot like a shell game.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jim says:

          Fair enough. I can see that.

          The shell game thing reminds of this great quote I heard somewhere recently- I wish I could remember where- “God’s not trying to trick you.” I think that’s true, and I need to remind myself of that. Personally I’ve not trusted God to be very forthcoming or trustworthy — I think because of my narcissistic scapegoating parents- we project our parents onto our concept of God I think.

          And I agree you can’t prove Christianity is true, with mathematical certainty.

          But I would take issue that there’s no more reason to think Christianity is true than say, Zoroastrianism or Greek mythology. I think it is much more reasonable than not to believe Jesus was God, because of the historical evidence for his resurrection, which validated his prior claims to be God.

          The argument goes like this: No historical scholar, including secular historians who deny all miracles, would disagree with these 3 historical facts:

          1. Jesus’s tomb was found empty on the third day by a group of his women followers.

          2. Various individuals and groups experienced on different occasions & under varying circumstances physical appearances of Jesus alive after his death.

          3. The first disciples came sincerely to believe in Jesus’s resurrection in the absence of any kind of preceding belief that such a thing could ever be possible for an actual flesh and blood human, from either Judaism or the surrounding pagan religions.

          And the best explanation of those 3 facts is that he did indeed rise from the dead. All the other theories (swoon, disciples stole the body, mass group hallucinations, etc) have been totally discredited among historians. There is no current favorite plausible theory to explain those 3 facts among non-Christian historians. They just say “We have no explanation”.

          Anyways, I think it’s worth checking out. There is something self-authenticating about Jesus in the gospels. He’s simply clearly speaking the truth, while making some bold claims about who he is (God). But he doesn’t come across as a lunatic or a deceiver.

          Why would believing the gospel / God’s forgiveness through Christ be a condition? I guess because if somebody tells you about the good news and you reject it, you’re not very concerned about your sin problem, and your alienation from God to begin with? If you were, you’d be thrilled the problem had been taken care of.

          So if we don’t take your guilt seriously, and we don’t want reconciliation with God to begin with, we’re free to pass on the remedy? Kind of like if somebody doesn’t want to fess up to what a jerk they’ve been to you- you might have no hard feelings about them, but you’re not going to hang out with them anymore either.

          According to Christian doctrine, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sinfulness (first), then it illumines the truth of God’s forgiveness freely available through Christ. We can suppress that truth though.

          I think some of it has to do with our mistaken impression that God is the one who is on trial, and we’re the ones pressing him with demands & questions & stipulations which he must answer to our satisfaction, or he’s guilty of not being a good enough God, and so he is in danger of being rejected and written off by us.

          Perhaps in reality it’s completely the other way around.

          There is something offensive about this idea, no doubt. But perhaps it’s true. I think so anyways.

          Like

    • luckyotter says:

      I’m a Christian but I completely agree. Biblical or not, the idea of an eternal hell for sins in a finite life is just unacceptable to me. I have huge, huge, HUGE problems with this. No sin (or lack of belief) merits ETERNAL punishment. No loving God would do that. If God DOES do that, then he is not a loving God.
      Purgatory is different because it’s temporary and not so much a punishment as a cleansing. I am Catholic and as far as I know, only the Catholic church teaches the doctrine of purgatory. The Orthodox church might too, I am not sure (I can ask a friend of mine who is Orthodox). Some Christian denominations believe in annihilation rather than hell (the idea of annihilation is one I can live with too).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jim says:

        Well I agree it can be an unlikeable doctrine.

        But you do have passages like these from Jesus:

        Matthew 25:46 “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

        I’m just not sure on what basis we reject those simply because they seem unpleasant to us or because we’d like to think differently about God. And I don’t know that we have the authority to simply assert “No loving God would do that.”

        It seems to me that to be consistent, you’d have to throw out the good parts too. It seems to me you should balance the whole thing.

        But whatever the case is, if we think hell works out in a way that is unloving, unfair, unacceptable, unkind, mean, arbitrary etc. — then we’re wrong for sure and we don’t have to worry about that being the case.

        God is definitely none of those things, he is greater than that and he is above reproach, good and great beyond our wildest imagination.

        Maybe we just don’t understand how exactly it all works out?

        Liked by 1 person

        • luckyotter says:

          I have to admit I don’t have an excess of Biblical knowledge, but Tim over at Jesus Without Baggage does, and he says the teaching of Hell is not Biblical. He has many posts about this. I have to read up on them myself.
          Here are a number of Tim’s posts, I did a search on “hell” — each of these are backed up with passages from the Bible.
          https://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/category/hell/page/3/

          I agree with you though, that no one can say with 100% certainly what is going to happen after we die.

          Like

      • Bradley says:

        Annihilation is actually similar to Buddhism in a simplistic way. For Buddhists who believes in reincarnation, we come back and each time hoping to do better than the last. Reaching Nirvana literally means “to snuff out.” Basically leaving our plane of existence.

        Liked by 1 person

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