Satan: An Allegory? A Fallen Angel or Created As Such? A Ministering Spirit? Enemy of God? Friend of God? Which Is It? What Is His Destiny?

Written By Thomas Perez. February 2, 2012 at 11:11pm. Copyright 2012. 

Introduction

Note: Although the title mentions the word “allegory” along with the other possibilities with reference to Satan, this article deals with the topic of Satan as a supernatural being – a spirit, and not as an allegory or metaphor. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the term “Satan” isn’t an allegory. For a full understanding of what I believe about Satan, see my ‘Statement of Faith’ – Article 10. With that said, let us begin our topic by asking some basic simple first.

What is evil? Where does it come from? What is its purpose? Does evil have a purpose? Or is the concept of evil an illusion? If there is a God, why does He allow it? Why does He allow calamities to fall upon innocent people? If He is a God of love, why does He allow evil to continue? An atheist would argue that the Omni benevolence and Omni creativity of God are not compatible with the presence of evil in the world. But there is evil in the world – national disasters, crime, disease, starvation, and death. If God did not create them, then He is not the Creator of the universe. If He could not prevent them in His creation, then He is not all – powerful. If He didn’t foresee them, He is not all-knowing. If He did foresee them and allowed it, then He is not all good. On the other hand, if He did willfully create them, again – He is not all – good. However the question should not be whether God is all good but rather whether he is all “right.” 

According to an article I read by Tissa Attygalle

Quote…

Many Christians and non – Christians have asked the question, “If God created EVERYTHING and He is a LOVING God, why did He create Satan?” And the stock answer that most clergymen give to this question is, “God did not create Satan. Satan was originally an angel created by God. This Angel due to his pride defied God and became Satan.” Now to the questions; “If God is loving, why does He allow suffering?” The clergy give a similar answer, “Adam brought on suffering on mankind by his disobedience to God.” These answers are not satisfying nor strictly correct if God is OMNIPOTENT, OMNISCIENT, and OMNIPRESENT. The Bible reveals that God is in SUPREME and COMPLETE control of EVERYTHING in heaven and on earth. “The WILL of the Lord ALONE is ALWAYS carried out” (Lam 3:37). “He does whatever He wishes in heaven and on earth” (Psalm 135:6). Therefore the above two events could NOT have taken place UNLESS GOD PERMITTED them to happen. We know that God is loving because “God IS Love ” (1 John 4:8). we also know that God is NEVER in error. “True and righteous are thy judgments” (Rev 16:7). So let us look into His Word and ascertain His reasons for the above.

God gave all created individuals – angels and mankind, a FREEWILL. Freewill is the power of choice between God’s will for the individual and the individual’s own will. God in His wisdom did NOT want EITHER angels or man to be mere PRE- programmed robots AUTOMATICALLY doing ONLY God’s will. God EVEN gave Jesus a Free – will. God did NOT want Jesus to agree to die on the cross because He willed it. God wanted Jesus to lay down His life for man of his OWN accord. This Jesus did. Jesus said, “NO ONE takes my life away from me. I give it up of MY OWN Free – will” (John 10:18). Jesus, like ALL other human beings had to experience within Him the tug – of – war between God’s will and His own will. “My spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt 26:41). “My inner being delights in the law of God. But I see a different law at work in my body – a law that FIGHTS against the law which my mind approves of” (Romans 7:23). But Jesus, through prayer and constant fellowship with his Father, ALWAYS overcame the desire to do His own will and was able to do Gods will in ALL things. Jesus said, “my food is to obey the will of the one who sent me and finish the work he gave me to do” (John 4:34). Jesus did this to the last. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed to his Father to remove His cup of suffering but ONLY if it was his Father’s will and NOT because He asked. “Yet not what I wants but what YOU want” (Mark 14:36).

Unquote…

I can agree with Attygalle in reference to the 1st paragraph. But the rendering of the words, “unless God permitted“ falls short of any real explanation as to how, if such a permitted thing occurred, did pride come about within Lucifer, when he was supposedly created perfect? The question that should rightfully be asked is, “Where did the evil spring from?” Did it always exist in the cosmos, somewhere in the universe? If your answer to that question is yes, then you are a Duelist – similiar to Ying Yag. In theology duelism is the concept that the world is controlled by two opposing forces, i.e., good and evil, God and Satan. In Philosophy, the idea presents itself by claiming that the world consists of two main components: thought and matter. But if you disagree with such an ideology, then God’s Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnipresence is shaken.

The very concept of the word “Permitted” used by Attygalle, entails a shaken sovereign will based upon the actions of another (in this case, the so-call fall of Lucifer). A sovereign will so shaken that God had to devise a plan to salvation in order to usurp the actions of a free creature.

I find it very difficult to reconcile the fall of Lucifer with that of a shaken sovereign will. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? By this I mean, shouldn’t all that is created be found doing the ultimate will of God? This thought is expressed in Attygalle’s 1st paragraph above. I also agree with his 2nd paragraph, but only in reference to his citing of Man’s free-will, not that of the Angelic being Satan – for I believe him to be without free-will – for it is written that they are ministering spirits (Heb 1:7) – he fulfills a role. For they (Satan & his Demons) were not made in the image or likeness of God. Only man was given the option of choosing between good and evil – and evil, in and of itself, is a component of God, hence free-will is a component of God. For it is written “I form the light, I create the darkness.” “I make peace, and create evil” (Isa 45:7). This is why the angels lament and declare unto the Lord, “What is Man that Thou art mindful of him?”

In reference to Satan’s demons, it is written that they kept not to their first estate (Jude 6), thus perhaps implying a free-will. Or it may be said that they were created for him (Satan) to usurp authority over. These are they, which upon a possible free-will mechanism, did foolishly followed the ministry of Satan rather than esteeming God and His ultimate creation; “Man” better. Or as I said before, they were created for that purpose (though I believe its the former). For it is written that we will judge the angels (I Cor 6:3). By what standards do we judge ministering spirits if they have not the capacity to exercise free-will, upon which what is good or evil is set as a standard against it?

I. The Origin of the Alleged Fall of Lucifer (aka-Satan)

Most Christians realize that Jerome used the word in his Latin Vulgate Bible prepared sometime toward the latter half of the 4th century. But unfortunately that’s about the sum total of their knowledge of the history of the word. Because tradition has for so long said that “Lucifer is Satan,” they do not question the word or concept any further. But where did this tradition come from, and why, considering the many references to Satan in the New Testament, did not the concept of Lucifer ever come up?

It is not to Jerome, however that we owe the teaching of Lucifer to but to that most creative of theologians, Origen. (185-254 AD) Origen – of whose writings I consider of high esteem was, however, ms-guided here. It was he who first made the new connection between Satan and Lucifer. He brought together diverse Old Testament references from Job, Ezekiel and Isaiah. Arguing that Lucifer, the Prince of Tyre, and the Leviathan of Job, were all identical with the Devil. He used these texts to emphasize Satan’s pride and his fall from heaven.

With the aid of Tertullian (155-220 AD) who taught that before Satan’s fall he was not only an angel but the foremost angel, this concept of connectivity flourished. It is mainly to these three theologians, Origen, Tertullian, and Jerome that we derive the Lucifer myth. It should also be noted that the Lucifer myth can also be found in the Psedepigrapha; more precisely in the book of ‘The Secrets of Enoch.’ But since it is currently felt that The Secrets of Enoch is likely a 7th century document (at least in its present form), it is probably not the source of this Lucifer myth. (I will for now refer to the idea that Lucifer is Satan as the Lucifer myth insinuates, hopefully by the end of the article you will agree that it is indeed a myth).

An interesting side note is that Origen, and later Augustine, believed that the Devil’s envy arose from pride. Thus the Devil envied God. Tertullian on the other hand believed that the Devil was jealous of humans – believing that the Devil was furious that God had created humans in the divine image and had given them governance over the world. Needless to say, Tertullian view lost out to that of Origen. They took passages from Isaiah 14:12-14, Ezekiel 25-17, Rev 12:7-9 and combined it with that of Luke 10:18.

This supposition can also be found in the writings that is now commonly called, “Legends of the Bible” – translated by Louis Ginzberg. After reading the introduction, (and the entire book) I have found the “Legends of the Bible” to be based upon half truths, myths, and various religious legends that may have contributed to various concepts pertaining to different doctrinal beliefs – such as the paganism of Hell (as in Dante’s Hell or that of Milton), and the so-called fall of Lucifer; which can be found in the book/chapter entitled, “The Creation of the World”- all of which crept into Jewish culture. However, it must be noted that while ancient Judaism may have been affected by some of these stories, stories have a certain element of truth to them. Moreover, as it has been shown in other various studies conducted by myself, it would seem that the Jewish influence and their religion of hope through the promise of a Redeemer of some kind is a universal accepted form of belief. For the Christian however, this hope is fully realized the ministry and persona of Jesus Christ, who is called our Redeemer and true Messiah.

If we are to continually believe the story that Lucifer became Satan, the Adversary, then it behooves us to ask some basic fundamental questions. These fundamental questions shall be asked and answered by what is considered to be the apparent clerical response. After such a response, I will provide the alternative explanation (such as it is).

II. Questions

1. Can there be any such thing as sin in heaven?

Clerical Response: No and that is why any angel that sinned was cast away from the presence of God into hell awaiting judgment.

My Response: While it is true that there are some angels “held in prison” in a place called “tartarus,” awaiting the judgment of God, it is not true that “hell” (Gehenna) is the residence of fallen angels, or demons, or the devil. That is simply “Christian” mythology borrowed lock-stock-and-barrel from pagan Roman mythologies, via Dante and Milton. The book of Job states that Satan attends conferences in Heaven with God, even taking part in conversation with God (Job 1:6-12). 2 Chronicles 18:22 gives an interesting account of a conference in heaven in which “a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, saying, ‘I will entice [Ahab].’ And the LORD said to him, ‘By what means?’ And he said, ‘I will go forth, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And He said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go forth and do so.’ Now therefore behold, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of these your prophets; the LORD has spoken evil concerning you.” Again, they error, not being familiar with the Scriptures.

2. If there was sin in heaven, may not sin be committed there again?

Clerical Response: Scripture does not say that sin was committed in heaven, nor does scripture ever say that sin will enter into heaven at any time.

My Response: Same as above, See #1.

3. If an angel of light became a devil, was not Paul in error, when he said Satan is transformed into an angel of light? (2 Cor 11:14)

Clerical Response: No, because Satan is given the power by God to deceive and fool those who do not believe Him and want to believe a lie. God gives them the desires of their hearts (Romans 1:20-30).

My Response: Dodging the question again. Everything after “because” is a diversion, not an answer to the question. Scripture says Satan was created to be what he is. The continual references, and the common belief of many Christians, regarding “Lucifer” (“Light bringer”) are incorrect. “Lucifer” is not the name of Satan; it is a mistranslation from Isaiah 14, a reference to a human being, not the Adversary. Satan was never an angel of light. But he does impersonate one now (2 Cor 11:14), indicating that his chief activity is in the field of religion (2 Cor 11:15), not human frailty, morality, criminal activity, civil strife, etc.

4. As sin presupposes temptations of some sort, who tempted a holy angel to sin?

Clerical Response: Free will. Angels were created with free will just as Adam and Eve. All were created in perfection. Do you not believe this?

My Response: If Satan had been created perfect, then how could He have sinned? Either God made him with the capacity to sin, or God’s assessment that he was perfect was in error. If Adam and Eve were perfect, and went on to sin, then it was God who sinned, in declaring them perfect. But He didn’t say they were perfect. He declared that His creation was good, i.e., as He planned, what He intended (Gen 1:31).

5. If an angel could sin without a devil to tempt him, may we not sin without a devil to tempt us?

Clerical Response: No. Because we all have a sinful nature due to Adam and Eve. The devil tempts all. Lucifer was higher in power and rank than the other angels in heaven (Ezekiel 28:11-19) and led all angels in worship.

My Response: These questions are all closely related. By “angel” the question obviously means Satan, based on the common fallacy that Satan, or Lucifer, fell. The obvious meaning of the question then is, “if Satan” could have been tempted without an external “tempter,” can not we also be tempted and without external cause. When they say that “the devil tempts all,” they are simply mistaken. James says that we are tempted by our own internal desires, we don’t need an external force, be it the Adversary or any other. Ezekiel 28 has nothing to do with “Lucifer” (a fictitious character) or the Adversary.

6. If a holy angel was tempted to sin by surrounding evil, is heaven a holy place?

Clerical Response: Do you not believe scripture? If you do not, then why are you asking these idiotic stupid questions? If you do believe in scripture, then why do you ask such nonsensical garbage? Heaven is holy, whether or not you believe in this or not.

My Response: “Holy angel” is still Satan, I repeat, based on the false notion that he “fell.” How did Satan “fall?” What tempted him? What was it that made a perfect being sin, other than God making Him that way, or making it possible for him to sin?

7. If an angel was tempted by evil passions, could he have been holy?

Clerical Response: Scripture does not say that angels were tempted with evil passions, but that Lucifer led them into rebellion against God. You are adding to the word of God. All creation was very good according to God’s word. Live it, believe it or deny it.

My Response: We’re still talking about Satan. If he was tempted by something WITHIN him, then how could he be called perfect, or holy?

8. If an angel became a devil by sinning, was Adam’s the original sin?

Clerical Response: Adam’s sin was the first sin of the flesh. Angels are only spirits. Angels have no redemption for their sins (Hebrews 2:10-14, Romans 8:3) because they are only spirits and they were also in heaven without the presence of sin. They are without excuse because they beheld the glory of God and everything in heaven, but they chose to fall with Lucifer. Angels do believe in one God (James 2:19), but they chose to rebel against God before sin was ever in existence. That was clearly against the will of God because God created them in perfection.

My Response: Adam’s sin was indeed the first sin of which we have a record. “Sin of the flesh” is an unscriptural expression, and has no valid meaning. The Adversary was created to be what he is. While sinning angels are not “saved” (because they are never referred to as “lost”), or “vivified” (because they are spirits; not mortal beings, needing resurrection in order to live after death), yet they are included within the sphere of what Christ accomplished on the cross, according to Colossians 1:20. They are estranged from God in need of reconciliation, and the blood of Christ achieves the reconciliation of God’s enemies, those in heaven and those on earth.

III. If This Isn’t Enough to Convince You, Then Perhaps Some Citations From Various Sources Might Do Some Justice.

Here’s what the ‘Universal Jewish Encyclopedia’ has to say about Lucifer:

Lucifer, the rendering of the Vulgate for the Hebrew phrase helal (“day-star”) in Isa. 14:12; the verse is rendered in the Authorized Version as: How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!” The passage in question is a song of derision over the downfall of a Babylonian king; the figure used may trace back to a Hebrew or Babylonian astral myth like the Greek story of Phaethon, in which the day-star is cast out of heaven because of presumption. The term Lucifer is never used in Jewish legend; but Christian writers identified Lucifer with Satan who, according to the gospels (Luke 10:18), fell from heaven like lighting; accordingly, Lucifer became one of the terms for the devil in Christian theology.

The Jewish Encyclopedia Vol 8. 1904 Funk and Wagnalls Co. page 204

“Lucifer: Septuagint translation of Helel [read “Helal”] ben Shabar ” – ” the brilliant one,” “son of the morning”), name of the day, or morning, star, to whose mythical fate is that of the King of Babylon. It is compared in the prophetic vision (Isa. xiv. 12-14). It is obvious that the prophet in attributing to the Babylonian king’s boastful pride, followed by a fall, borrowed the idea from a popular legend connected with the morning star: and Gunkel (“Schopfung und Chaos,” pp. 132-134) is undoubtedly correct when he holds that it represents a Babylonian or Hebrew star-myth similar to the Greek legend of Phaethon. The brilliancy of the morning star, which eclipses all other stars, but is not seen during the night, may easily have given rise to a myth such as was told of Ethana and Zu: he was led by his pride to strive for the highest seat among the star-gods on the northern mountain of the gods (comp. Ezek. xxviii. 14; Ps. xlviii. 3 [A.V. 2] but was hurled down by the supreme ruler of the Babylonian Olympus. Stars were regarded throughout antiquity as living celestial beings (Job 38:7).

The familiarity of the people of Palestine with such a myth is shown by the legend, localized on Mount Hermon, the nothern mountain of Palestine and possibly the original mountain of the gods in that country, of the fall of the angels under the leadership of Samhazai (the heaven-seizer) and Azael (Enoch, vi. 6 et seq: see Fall of Angels). Another legend represents Samhazai, because he repented of his sin, as being suspended between heaven and earth (like a star) instead of being hurled down to Sheol (see Midr. Abkir in Yalk. I. 44; Raymond Martin, “Pugio Fidei,” pl 564). The Lucifer myth was transferred to Satan in the pre-Christian century, as may be learned from Vita Adae et Evae (12) and Slavonic Enoch (xxix. 4, xxxi.4), where Satan – Sataniel (Samael?) is described as having been one of the archangels. Because he contrived “to make his throne higher than the clouds over the earth and resemble ‘My power’ on high.” Satan-Sataniel was hurled down, with his hosts of angels, and since then he as been flying in the air continually above the abyss (comp. Test. Patr., Benjamin, 3; Ephes. Ii.2, vi. 12) Accordingly Tertullian (“Conta Marionem.” V. 11, 17) Origen (Ezekiel Opera,”iii. 356), and others, identify Lucifer with Satan, who also is represented as being “cast down from heaven” (Rev. xii. 7,10; comp. Luke x. 18)

Clarke’s Commentary the Old Testament Volume 4: Isaiah Through Malachi By Adam Clarke; 1826. 

Verse 12. O Lucifer, son of the morning – The Versions in general agree in this translation, and render heilel as signifying Lucifer, the morning star, whether Jupiter or Venus; as these are both bringers of the morning light, or morning stars, annually in their turn. And although the context speaks explicitly concerning Nebuchadnezzar, yet this has been, I know not why, applied to the chief of the fallen angels, who is most incongruously denominated Lucifer, (the bringer of light!) an epithet as common to him as those of Satan and Devil. That the Holy Spirit by his prophets should call this arch-enemy of God and man the light-bringer, would be strange indeed. But the truth is, the text speaks nothing at all concerning Satan nor his fall, nor the occasion of that fall, which many divines have with great confidence deduced from this text. O how necessary it is to understand the literal meaning of Scripture, that preposterous comments may be prevented! Besides, I doubt much whether our translation be correct. Heilel, which we translate Lucifer, comes from yalal, yell, howl, or shriek, and should be translated, “Howl, son of the morning;” and so the Syriac has understood it; and for this meaning Michaelis contends: see his reasons in Parkhurst, under halal.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible Condensed Version 1710.

Chapter 14

The destruction of Babylon, and the death of its proud monarch. (1-23) Assurance of the destruction of Assyria. (24-27) The destruction of the Philistines. (28-32)

Isaiah 14:1-23: The whole plan of Divine Providence is arranged with a view to the good of the people of God. A settlement in the land of promise is of God’s mercy. Let the church receive those whom God receives. God’s people, wherever their lot is cast, should endeavor to recommend religion by a right and winning conversation. Those that would not be reconciled to them, should be humbled by them. This may be applied to the success of the gospel, when those were brought to obey it who had opposed it. God himself undertakes to work a blessed change. They shall have rest from their sorrow and fear, the sense of their present burdens, and the dread of worse.

Babylon abounded in riches. The king of Babylon having the absolute command of so much wealth, by the help of it ruled the nations. This refers especially to the people of the Jews; and it filled up the measure of the king of Babylon’s sins. Tyrants sacrifice their true interest to their lusts and passions. It is gracious ambition to covet to be like the Most Holy, for he has said, Be ye holy, for I am holy; but it is sinful ambition to aim to be like the Most High, for he has said, He who exalts himself shall be abased. The devil thus drew our first parents to sin. Utter ruin should be brought upon him. Those that will not cease to sin, God will make to cease. He should be slain, and go down to the grave; this is the common fate of tyrants.

True glory, that is, true grace, will go up with the soul to heaven, but vain pomp will go down with the body to the grave; there is an end of it. To be denied burial, if for righteousness’ sake, may be rejoiced in, Matthew 5:12. But if the just punishment of sin, it denotes that impenitent sinners shall rise to everlasting shame and contempt. Many triumphs should be in his fall. God will reckon with those that disturb the peace of mankind.

The receiving the king of Babylon into the regions of the dead, shows there is a world of spirits, to which the souls of men remove at death. And that souls have converse with each other, though we have none with them; and that death and hell will be death and hell indeed, to all who fall unholy, from the height of this world’s pomp’s, and the fullness of its pleasures. Learn from all this, that the seed of evil-doers shall never be renowned. The royal city is to be ruined and forsaken. Thus the utter destruction of the New Testament Babylon is illustrated, Revelations 18:2. When a people will not be made clean with the besom of reformation, what can they expect but to be swept off the face of the earth with the besom of destruction?

Isaiah 14:24-27: Let those that make themselves a yoke and a burden to God’s people, see what they are to expect. Let those that are the called according to God’s purpose, comfort themselves, that whatever God has purposed, it shall stand. The Lord of hosts has purposed to break the Assyrian’s yoke; his hand is stretched out to execute this purpose; who has power to turn it back? By such dispensations of providence, the Almighty shows in the most convincing manner, that sin is hateful in his sight.

Isaiah 14:28-32: Assurance is given of the destruction of the Philistines and their power, by famine and war. Hezekiah would be more terrible to them than Uzziah had been. Instead of rejoicing, there would be lamentation, for the whole land would be ruined. Such destruction will come upon the proud and rebellious, but the Lord founded Zion for a refuge to poor sinners, who flee from the wrath to come, and trust in his mercy through Christ Jesus. Let us tell all around of our comforts and security, and exhort them to seek the same refuge and salvation.

Easton’s Bible dictionary 1897. 

Lucifer – brilliant star, a title given to the king of Babylon (Isaiah 14:12) to denote his glory.

John Wesley’s Notes on the whole Bible the Old Testament By John Wesley 1765.

12. Fallen – From the height of thy glory. Lucifer – Which properly is a bright star, that ushers in the morning; but is here metaphorically taken for the mighty king of Babylon. Son – The title of son is given in scripture not only to a person or thing begotten or produced by another, but also to any thing which is related, to it, in which sense we read of the son of a night, Jonah 4:10, a son of perdition, John 17:12, and, which is more agreeable, to the present case, the sons of Arcturus, Job 38:32.

13. I will advance myself above the state of a weak man. Above – Above all other kings and potentates; or, above the most eminent persons of God’s church. North – This is added as a more exact description of the place of the temple; it stood upon mount Moriah, which was northward from the hill of Zion strictly so called.

The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary 1987 page 267.

(Heading Daystar, no listing of Lucifer)

“Another name for the morning star (cf. 2 Pet. 1:19; Rev. 2:28) or the planet Venus, which appears in the sky before the sun. At Isa. 14:12 the babylonian ruler is compared to a “Day star” (NIV “morning star”), which has fallen from heaven and has been felled like a stately tree. Though the Church Fathers associated this verse with the fall of Satan from heaven (cf. KJV “Lucifer”), it actually speaks of the end of tyranny rather than a prelude to it, as with Satan who after the fall still retained much power. Some commentators link this idea with an ancient myth about the banishment of a divine person from heaven.

The New Testament, which contains Jesus’ remark about the fall of Satan (Luke 10:18), does not identify Lucifer with Satan. Instead, the author of 2 Peter suggest that the morning star” (Gk. Phosphoros “light bearer”) refers to Christ’s second coming, while the aged John possibly alludes to Christ, who will support the church at Thyatira (Rev. 2:28, Gk. Aster proinos; cf 22:16).

The Oxford English Dictionary 2nd edition Vol. 9 page 81.

As it’s proper name, and allusively:

1. The morning star; the planet Venus when she appears in the sky before sunrise.

2. The rebel archangel whose fall from heaven was supposed to be referred to in Isa. xiv. 12; Satan, the Devil. Now rare in serious use; current chiefly in the phrase as proud as Lucifer.The scripture passage…is part of a parable against the king of Babylon’ (Isa. xiv. 4); but the mention of a fall from heaven led Christian interpreters to suppose that ‘King of Babylon was to be interpreted spiritually, as a designation of the chief of ‘the angels who kept not their first estate’. Hence the general patristic view that Lucifer was the name of Satan before his fall. The Latin word was adopted in all the Eng. Versions down to 1611; the Revised version has daystar.

Other sources include:

Satan the Early Christian Tradition. By Jeffrey Burton Russell. Cornell University Press; Ithaca, 1991.

The New Schaff-Herzog Religious Encyclopedia…

IV. What Then is to Become of Satan?

I have searched everywhere (at least as far as I can tell) concerning the ultimate fate of Satan. I have searched through books and various websites, and blog’s; but I can find no reference to the supposition that Satan will be reconciled back onto the Lord God as the Anointed Cherub whose name will be Lucifer once again. I even searched for this reconciliation within the annuls of Christian Universalism, and can find nothing..

Instead what I find in many Universalism blog’s and websites is the same “ol story” as popularized by Origen, Tertullian, and Jerome – Satan will not be reconciled back unto God. If he is reconciled back unto God, then it is considered ‘Radical Universalism’. If he is not, then it is considered ‘Human Reconciliation’ only.

But this is where we/they error. As it has been pointed out, Satan (in all probability) was not a created being called Lucifer (a perfect angel with free-will) who in turn rebelled against the Lord of Hosts. But rather it is more likely that he was created (as other angles are) as a ministering spirit. Moreover, this ministry entails various titles that has been given unto him called: ’The Adversary,’ The Accuser,’ ‘The Liar,’ ‘The Thief,’ ‘The Murderer,’ ‘The Serpent,’ ‘The Prince of Darkness,’ ‘The Angel of Light,’ ‘The Deceiver,’ etc. This is a clear indication of an individual without free-will. Moreover, it is revealed that he (Satan) was as such since the beginning (John 8:44). Not much of a choice I would say!

It is the most logical conclusion to the facts given above. Since he is not a fallen angel (as some would contend) then he was created by the Lord God for the very purpose of glorification. He was created to be our Adversary, our Accuser, our Liar, our Thief, our Murderer, our Serpent, our Prince of Darkness, our Angel of Light, our Deceiver, etc. Without the attributes of Satan, how can Man exercise his free-will which was bestowed upon him in the Garden – via Adam? God gave Adam the ability to choose between the knowledge of good and evil. It was God who planted the “Tree of Knowledge” concerning the good and evil – hence God called ALL that He had created, “Good.” However, it was through the created vessel of Satan, that man’s free-will was put to the test. And since God cannot tempt man with evil (James 1:13) the escape clause that He used was Satan – for that is the purpose of his glorious ministry as a ministering spirit. For he was created to be the opposite of who God is. And he was created to be the opposite in all – as pertaining to God’s attributes and character. He is the negative, by which the contrast can be compared against.

It is the consensus (according to my conscience) that the salvation of Satan should not be an area of debate within the camps of Ultimate Reconciliationists, since salvation is offered only to man to begin with. To claim a redemption of Satan is to claim a belief that he fell, therefore warranting reconciliation. If he is not to be reconciled, then God truly lost one of His created. If he is lost for all time, then we are lost for all time since it is written that the works pertaining to the god of this world is destroyed (I John 3:8). The author of death is destroyed. Who is that author? Who is He that pronouced death in the Garden for all? The answer is God (god), the god of this world – Yahweh. If Yahweh’s works are destroyed, then we are not truly reconciled and made right with God either. Death therefore, in and of itself, is a reconciliational point back to God.

You see, it must be understood that the Ultimate Reconciliation of all has its basis of triumph in one work, and one work alone – the effectual work of Christ in us – the hope of glory, hence all is fulfilled – It is also fulfilled as in the Preterist view of Eschatology; whether it be partial of full preterism. It is also fulfiIled in our Pygmalian effect. It is also fulfiIled, or rather I should say, will be fulfilled, as seen within Futuristic camps. It is the only logical way death is destroyed. For one can not die twice. This is not to be confused with NDE’s. If Satan’s work is destroyed then he no longer needs to play the role of an Adversary, Angel of Light, Murderer, etc. What we experience today may be the by-products of the fruit inherited in our nature (it is a part of our growth pertaining to our progressive sanctification), which can so easily beset us. Or it may be a personification of evil or, more plausibly, some kind of epiphenomena supervening on human evil (individual and social). Surviving on our re-stored free-will fully given us through the work of Christ Jesus. It is more likely that He gave/or will give up his role as the Adversary of Man and thus take on a different ministerial position in the cosmos. This interpretation does not interfere with any prophetic view point.

Perhaps this is why the Scriptures declared that we ought to consider it all joy when we fall into diverse temptations and trials. It is the only way we can grow in Christ. This is why the saints can boldly proclaim, “Father forgive them.” Bold in the face of death, bold in the face of the Adversary.

Some might accuse me of giving the Devil his fair due…But before you accuse me of such a thought, please consider this…

Negative theology played an important role early in the history of Christianity, for example, in the works of Clement of Alexandria. Four theologians who emphasized the importance of negative theology to an orthodox understanding of God were Clement of Alexandria, Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom, and Basil the Great. John of Damascus employed it when he wrote that positive statements about God reveal “not the nature, but the things around the nature.” It continues to be prominent in Eastern Christianity (see Gregory Palamas). Apophatic statements are crucial to many modern theologians in Orthodox Christianity (see Vladimir Lossky, John Meyendorff, John S. Romanides and Georges Florovsky). Negative (Apophatic) Theology stands in contrast with Cataphatic Theology – Cataphatic Theology is the expressing of God or the divine through positive terminology – I.e., God is Eternal, God is Love, God is Good, God hath all Wisdom, etc.

However, Aquinas summed it up best when he stated that positive and negative theology should be seen as dialetical correctives to each other, like a thesis and an antithesis producing a synthesis, Lossky argues, based on his reading of Dionysius and Maximus Confessor, that positive theology is always inferior to negative theology, a step along the way to the superior knowledge attained by negation. (Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church p. 9 & 26).

I’ am not condoning negativity. However, it must be understood that negative theology is expressed in the idea that mysticism is the expression of dogmatic theology par excellence. In other words – this form of mysticism (not mysticism in and of itself) can be encouraged to produce positive results as we know the meaning of the word.

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