God and Satan

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Reply Fri 14 Aug, 2009 07:28 am
If you believe in God - does that necessarily mean you believe in Satan as well? Since believing in god would mean believing in heaven which comes with hell. No good without bad. No God without Satan?
 
Justin
 
Reply Fri 14 Aug, 2009 09:15 am
@Infovore,
If you believe in God and you believe God is both omnipresent and omnipotent and all powerful and all good, then how can you believe in Satan? In God's world there can be no Satan and no evil. This is the hypocrisy of the Church founded on fear. There has to be an evil if there is a good so in God we divide his presence into a dual expression of Good and Evil.

Likewise if it was only evil, then there would be no good. Satan is a creation of mankind. The twisted, ill informed and misguided human that brings forth the evil where evil would otherwise have no existence. If one believes in Satan and believes in God, they are sort of worshiping two deities, separate from each other.

Heaven and Hell is likewise a creation of man in an attempt to describe that which man creates each and everyday his physical body awakens in this world of materialistic deities. It's an illusion because there can only be heaven if there is God. Hell is a monkey on our back and for some reason we keep creating more and more of it.

It's the fear of hell that keeps many in the church in check. Otherwise the need for the church would be obsolete. Therefore the foundation of the Church is fear... an illusion but it does have it's place in politics, doesn't it.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Fri 14 Aug, 2009 09:21 am
@Justin,
Justin;83244 wrote:
... but it does have it's place in politics, doesn't it.

It does? How do you mean please?
Thanks.
 
Justin
 
Reply Fri 14 Aug, 2009 09:32 am
@Caroline,
Caroline;83247 wrote:
It does? How do you mean please?
Thanks.

Well during the time that the image of Hell and Brimfire were developed, there was a lot of political pressure in the Church. There had to be some concept of punishment based on fear of heaven or hell. God had to be feared and it's still prevalent today. Politics are tied into Church which are both tied into and fall under the auspices of fear. Fear of God, or the wrath of God offers some control to both the Church and government.
 
richrf
 
Reply Fri 14 Aug, 2009 09:36 am
@Infovore,
Infovore;83227 wrote:
If you believe in God - does that necessarily mean you believe in Satan as well? Since believing in god would mean believing in heaven which comes with hell. No good without bad. No God without Satan?


Hi there Infovore,

There are many ways to believe in God. For example, Einstein believed in Spinoza's view of God. A God that manifests in all that we see as the Universe. In this manner, there is neither heaven nor hell. There is just all that we observe and that is God. There are many, many other ways that people embrace God.

Rich
 
Caroline
 
Reply Fri 14 Aug, 2009 09:36 am
@Infovore,
Yeah thanks. When I was at uni' I was taught that this is why the church isn't allowed into the political arena but now a days it's seems they are and that they do have the power to influence? Which concerns me.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Fri 14 Aug, 2009 10:39 am
@Caroline,
As Rich says, there are many ways to believe in God - that is, there are many ways of intellectually expressing God.

Satan has allegorical value, especially as a tempter of man.
 
Justin
 
Reply Fri 14 Aug, 2009 10:48 am
@Caroline,
Caroline;83251 wrote:
Yeah thanks. When I was at uni' I was taught that this is why the church isn't allowed into the political arena but now a days it's seems they are and that they do have the power to influence? Which concerns me.

Those in politics usually subscribe to a doctrine of a Church. These politicians gather in groups of like kinds and thus divided by their beliefs. Church and Politics or Church and state has always been here. You cannot take the beliefs out of the politician just because he is a politician. During those days, then needed the Church and the church did very much so influence the political arenas. There truly is no separation of either because one influences the other and the Church has more influence than any other entity in the world.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Fri 14 Aug, 2009 11:02 am
@Justin,
Separation of Church and state exists so that each individual is free to worship or refrain from worship as he sees fit. Nothing more, nothing less.

The Separation of Church and State, whether we take Jefferson's "wall of separation" or Madison's "line of separation" as our standard, was never meant to eradicate an individual politician's beliefs from decision making - thus, a politician might oppose the death penalty on spiritual grounds, but he cannot pass legislation that compels others to adopt his spiritual beliefs which ground his opposition of the death penalty.
 
salima
 
Reply Fri 14 Aug, 2009 01:56 pm
@Infovore,
I once read there are only two motivating factors for any human action - one is fear and the other is love. one can name and analyze other reasons to their source but one of these two will be found. love and fear are the expressions of good and evil; fear being the absence of love and evil being the absence of good.

genuine love allows logic, while lust or infatuation vehemently deny it. genuine love promotes the natural tendencies of humanity and animals towards the maintenance of the species; it renders fear meaningless and impotent. where does it come from? it is in our basic nature. a mother has unlimited courage to protect her young, a soldier covers a hand grenade with his body to save his comrades, these are acts of genuine love. it surfaces when it is needed most and eludes all our efforts to produce it on demand.

speaking in parables, god is love and satan is the farthest distance from love
 
prothero
 
Reply Fri 14 Aug, 2009 10:18 pm
@Infovore,
I think there are many conceptions of God (especially modern theological conceptions) that do not entail belief in satan, heaven or hell.
The current position of the Catholic Church is that hell is a state of anquished existence and voluntary separation from God. The Jewish faith does not necessarily entail belief in an afterlife, etc. Evil is often conceived of as the absence of love (or good) not as a power in and of itself (as chaos as opposed to order, destruction as opposed to creation, or metaphorically as light as opposed to darkness).
 
Zogg the Demon
 
Reply Sat 12 Sep, 2009 06:31 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;83257 wrote:

Satan has allegorical value, especially as a tempter of man.


A little clarification from an insider of Hell: Satan does not work as tempter for himself, he has a corporate to run: Meetings with the CEO, the Board of Dukes, the Great Inquisitor of Hell etc. - he would certainly not find the time to go up to earth to tempt some humans.

Tempting is actually the responsability of the Temptation Office, located in the 2nd Circle and currently directed by Prince Asmodai.
 
Labyrinth
 
Reply Mon 14 Sep, 2009 04:29 am
@Zogg the Demon,
Zogg the Demon;89918 wrote:
A little clarification from an insider of Hell: Satan does not work as tempter for himself, he has a corporate to run: Meetings with the CEO, the Board of Dukes, the Great Inquisitor of Hell etc. - he would certainly not find the time to go up to earth to tempt some humans.

Tempting is actually the responsability of the Temptation Office, located in the 2nd Circle and currently directed by Prince Asmodai.


I lol'ed. Do you know if they're hiring? :bigsmile:

Satan is a very interesting topic for me. Looking at the biblical texts, Satan really doesn't make an appearance until later Jewish books (depending on how one dates Job...I think its post-exilic). Jews were exposed to Persian religion in their Babylonian captivity period and worked the Zoroastrian dualism of good and evil into their own theology. Before this, all one reads of is God or angels of God separate from nature. Christianity later attributes the serpent's trickery to Satan. Just seeing this, since Satan is a relatively late addition to existing theologies, one can definitely believe in God without a concept of Satan. It depends on where one stands on issues like original sin and personal responsibility for wrongdoing...for example, do you agree with the Matthean writer in that Judas was ultimately blameworthy for his betrayal (and therefore remorseful) or with the Lukan writer in that he was an unwilling pawn of Satan?
 
Caroline
 
Reply Mon 14 Sep, 2009 11:04 am
@Infovore,
I think that possibly Satan is mans way of describing the darker sides of life.
 
prothero
 
Reply Wed 23 Sep, 2009 12:04 am
@Infovore,
Satan was invented to explain why there was evil and suffering in the world if god is loving and good. Unfortuantely the notion of satan creates more problems than it solves.
First it creates a belief system which is more dualistic or zorastarian than monotheism.
Second it conflicts with the traditional assertion about the omnipotence and omniscience of god. It makes the whole system of though lack coherence and consistency.

One of the biggest problems generating disbelief is the problem of evil and the introduction of Satan does nothing rational to answer the question.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Wed 23 Sep, 2009 08:19 am
@prothero,
prothero;92902 wrote:
Satan was invented to explain why there was evil and suffering in the world if god is loving and good. Unfortuantely the notion of satan creates more problems than it solves.


I'm not so sure about this.

Then again, Satan, like God concepts, has evolved a great deal. Much of the popular Christian imaginations of Satan have little or nothing to do with scriptural sources.

To really say much else, we would have to better define our Satan - do we mean the tempter serpent in the Garden and that figure who tempts Jesus in the desert, or do we mean the horned demon of popular Middle Ages iconography, that strange Revelations-inspired conflation of Satan and The Beast?
 
Krumple
 
Reply Wed 23 Sep, 2009 12:12 pm
@Infovore,
Is Lucifer the same as Satan?

If the answer is yes, I find it interesting that such a figure that had such a connection to god would turn away. To me it would seem like perhaps Lucifer saw god as a tyrant and rebelled. But in that process got labeled as evil, but how many times have you ever seen a tyrant ever say their opposition is good? Never.

I don't believe in either one and I think both are just a fabrication to remove the authority from the hands of man so control of humanity can be enforced without question.
 
prothero
 
Reply Wed 23 Sep, 2009 01:36 pm
@Krumple,
[QUOTE=Didymos Thomas;92974] I'm not so sure about this. [/QUOTE] Neither am I, I am just trying to get discussion started on the problem of evil and the rationality of its personification.

[QUOTE=Didymos Thomas;92974] Then again, Satan, like God concepts, has evolved a great deal. Much of the popular Christian imaginations of Satan have little or nothing to do with scriptural sources. [/QUOTE] As I am sure you know there is little scriptural basis for the medieval concept of the devil or of hell. The popular conceptions come from Dantes Divine Comedy. The medieval church emphasized both of these concepts strongly "keys to the kingdom" for social control some would claim. The modern church it seems is drifting back towards god as love and grace and less as judge, tyrant and ruler. A good shift I think.

[QUOTE=Didymos Thomas;92974] To really say much else, we would have to better define our Satan - do we mean the tempter serpent in the Garden and that figure who tempts Jesus in the desert, or do we mean the horned demon of popular Middle Ages iconography, that strange Revelations-inspired conflation of Satan and The Beast? [/QUOTE] The real question is how or why any power could resist an omnipotent and omniscient god. Mind you, the god of scripture is neither omnipotent or omniscient.

[QUOTE=Krumple;93062] Is Lucifer the same as Satan? [/QUOTE] Satan, Lucifer, the Devil, Beelzebub, Mephistopheles, The Dark Prince, Azazel, El Diablo, that's the guy.

[QUOTE=Krumple;93062] If the answer is yes, I find it interesting that such a figure that had such a connection to god would turn away. To me it would seem like perhaps Lucifer saw god as a tyrant and rebelled. But in that process got labeled as evil, but how many times have you ever seen a tyrant ever say their opposition is good? Never. [/QUOTE] that's the basic premise of satanic cults.

[QUOTE=Krumple;93062] I don't believe in either one and I think both are just a fabrication to remove the authority from the hands of man so control of humanity can be enforced without question. [/QUOTE] If the population "really" believes in heaven and hell and final judgment then holding the "keys to the kingdom" and the power to excommunicate is a potent power indeed. It all hinges on belief.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Wed 23 Sep, 2009 08:19 pm
@prothero,
prothero;93073 wrote:
The real question is how or why any power could resist an omnipotent and omniscient god. Mind you, the god of scripture is neither omnipotent or omniscient.


The word omnipotent isn't meaningful if it's defined as having unlimited power. Power isn't meaningful unless it's finite in amount.

If God is all-powerful, that could mean that all the power there is belongs to God. If that's true then God is all there is: God is maybe entertaining himself with a puppet show where the puppets are his own fingers.

In order for there to be something separate from God, it would have to have its own power: separate from God's power... the power to defy God.

If God is all good, the only way to demonstrate that one is not just a puppet would be to sin.

The devil is the foundation of the idea of there being something separate from God. But the Devil is a primal thing: he's all bad, and therefore just a reflection of God... a partial solution to the problem of Pinochio becoming a real boy.

A human can sin. A human can defy God: a human is separate from God. A human can choose to do good. This is something the angels can't do. I think that's one way of looking at the core meaning of the devil.
 
prothero
 
Reply Wed 23 Sep, 2009 11:30 pm
@Arjuna,
[QUOTE=Arjuna;93203] The word omnipotent isn't meaningful if it's defined as having unlimited power. Power isn't meaningful unless it's finite in amount. [/QUOTE]I quite agree with the notion that an all (omni) powerful (potent) god is not a meaningful god. Unfortunately the medieval scholastics in fusing Platonic idealism with Christian theology created the notion of omnipotence which is interpreted as no limits on god's power.


[QUOTE=Arjuna;93203] If God is all-powerful, that could mean that all the power there is belongs to God. If that's true then God is all there is: God is maybe entertaining himself with a puppet show where the puppets are his own fingers. [/QUOTE]An all powerful god could not be in relationship (especially not a loving relationship) with creatures which had no power of self determination. In my view god could only be very powerful not all powerful.


[QUOTE=Arjuna;93203] In order for there to be something separate from God, it would have to have its own power: separate from God's power... the power to defy God. [/QUOTE]Yes, god and the world would have to be co-creative. Otherwise the world would have no real value (no freedom and no creativity). The greater the degree of freedom accorded to a creature the greater the ability to do evil. Thus man has the greatest power to both create and to destroy.


[QUOTE=Arjuna;93203] If God is all good, the only way to demonstrate that one is not just a puppet would be to sin. [/QUOTE]In a meaningful world evil would have to be a real possibility. I prefer the term evil because suffering in this world is both the result of natural events (plagues, floods, earthquakes, famines, disease, etc) and of moral evil "sin" (deliberate willful infliction of suffering).

[QUOTE=Arjuna;93203] The devil is the foundation of the idea of there being something separate from God. But the Devil is a primal thing: he's all bad, and therefore just a reflection of God... a partial solution to the problem of Pinochio becoming a real boy. [/QUOTE]I conceive of the divine as both rational and moral agent. The divine patiently, persistently, and persuasively (not coercively) pushes creation forward towards order, complexity, life, mind, experience and value. I conceive of evil as being the reemergence of primordial chaos not as a rational opposing agent. God is very powerful but not all powerful.

[QUOTE=Arjuna;93203] A human can sin. A human can defy God: a human is separate from God. A human can choose to do good. This is something the angels can't do. I think that's one way of looking at the core meaning of the devil. [/QUOTE]I conceive of sin as alienation or separation from the divine, failure to heed the divine influence or failure to follow the divine will. The only meaningful world is one in which power is shared between the world and god. Sharing of power means creaturely freedom. Freedom means the ability to "sin".

This is mostly a discussion of divine power "omnipotence" and the problem of evil (natural evil and moral evil "sin".
The notion of divine omniscience is equally problematic in that it also would deprive man of meaningful freedom.
 
 

 
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