‘Satan’ in the Bible is a role, not a personal individual. It’s simply impossible to force every Bible reference to Satan to apply to a personal being of supernatural evil. There must be another approach or hermeneutic—and I suggest that this is in accepting that ‘satan’ simply means an adversary, and can refer to both good and bad adversaries of specific things at specific times.
One true understanding tends to lead to another, just as one erroneous understanding leads to another false interpretation. [Isaac] Newton scholar Steven Snobelen concludes that Isaac Newton’s rejection of the Trinity and his firm belief in only one God led him, in turn, to reject the idea of a personal Devil. I’ve written elsewhere of the error of the Trinity, particularly in The Real Christ. Both heresies, of the supposed three “persons” in the Trinity and of a personal Satan, hinge around a refusal to accept the plain Bible teaching that all existence is bodily existence. No other form of existence is known to the Bible. If God is indeed the only God, the only source of power, then quite simply there’s no room for the Devil, at least not in the way ‘he’ is commonly understood. But beyond this—our view of the Devil affects our view of God in more practical ways. The assumption that God will not permit the innocent to suffer has led to the need to create the idea of a personal devil in order to explain away the awful vistas of suffering and injustice we see all around us. But however we understand it, or try to understand it, the fact is that the God of the Bible does permit the innocent to suffer—the extraordinary mental and physical sufferings of His beloved Son being perhaps the clearest example. As ants are to a man, so are we to God. We can never hope to understand exactly why He permits sin and evil to be as they are. But ultimately we believe that somehow, some when, in the return of Jesus Christ to earth, His Kingdom will triumph. Then we will finally understand, only then will we join the dots and see the full picture, in every dimension of its beauty—and that for me is one of the Kingdom’s joys I look forward to the most. For me, the good news of God, of His Son and His Kingdom, runs as a thread throughout the Bible; each truth dovetails with others.
This network of Bible truth sadly has its opposite—a network of false understanding. The further one goes into that, the more seriously unanswered questions and contradictions arise, which in turn lead to the desperation and frustration so many feel when they think deeply about the problem of sin and evil. Here are a few of them:
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Author: Duncan Heaster
Keywords: Satanology, Demonology, Adversary, Christ tempted, Christ tempted in the wilderness, Christ's temptation, Christ's temptation in the wilderness, Devil, Devil and Jesus, Devil tempts Jesus, diabolos, Evil angel, Evil Inclination, Evil nature, Evil one, Hara Yetser, Ha-ra Yetser, Hara Yetzer, Ha-ra Yetzer, Hara Yezer, Ha-ra Yezer, Jesus' temptation, Jesus' temptation in the wilderness, Jesus tempted, Jesus tempted by Satan, Jesus tempted by the devil, Jesus tempted in the wilderness, Jesus's temptation, Man's sinful nature, Personification of evil, Satan, Satan and Jesus, Satan tempts Christ, Satan tempts Jesus, Seducer, Sin in the flesh, Sin within, Sinful nature, Snatcher, Temptation, Temptation from within, Temptation in the wilderness, Tempted in the wilderness, Tempted of Satan, Tempted of the devil, Tempted sexually, Tempted to do evil, Tempts Christ, Tempts Jesus, The devil tempts Christ, The devil tempts Jesus, The Evil Inclination, The Evil One, Wicked one, Wilderness temptation, Yatsar, Yetsarim, Yetser ha ra, Yetser ha tov, Yetser ra, Yetser tov, Yetzer, Yetzer ha ra, Yetzer ha tov, Yetzer Hara, Yetzer ra, Yetzer tov, Yezer ha ra, Yezer ha tov, Yezer Hara, Yezer tov, Two inclinations, Tempter, Envy of the devil
Bible reference(s): 1 Chronicles 21:1, Job 1:6-9, Job 1:12, Job 2:1-7, Isaiah 14:12, Zechariah 3:1-2, Matthew 4:1-11, Matthew 12:26, Matthew 13:19, Matthew 13:38-39, Matthew 16:23, Matthew 25:41, Mark 1:13, Mark 3:23, Mark 3:26, Mark 4:15, Mark 8:33, Luke 4:2-5, Luke 4:13, Luke 8:12, Luke 10:18, Luke 11:18, Luke 13:16, Luke 22:3, Luke 22:31, John 6:70, John 8:44, John 13:2, John 13:27, John 17:15, Acts 5:3, Acts 10:38, Acts 13:10, Acts 26:18, Romans 16:20, 1 Corinthians 5:5, 1 Corinthians 7:5, 2 Corinthians 2:11, 2 Corinthians 11:14, 2 Corinthians 12:7, Ephesians 4:27, Ephesians 6:11, Ephesians 6:16, 1 Thessalonians 2:18, 1 Thessalonians 3:5, 2 Thessalonians 2:9, 1 Timothy 1:20, 1 Timothy 3:6, 1 Timothy 3:7, 1 Timothy 5:15, 2 Timothy 2:26, Hebrews 2:14, James 4:7, 1 Peter 5:8, 1 John 2:13, 1 John 2:14, 1 John 3:8, 1 John 3:10, 1 John 3:12, 1 John 5:18, 1 John 5:19, Jude 1:9, Revelation 2:9, Revelation 2:10, Revelation 2:13, Revelation 2:24, Revelation 3:9, Revelation 12:9, Revelation 12:12, Revelation 20:2, Revelation 20:7, Revelation 20:10
Source: “The Real Devil A Biblical Exploration.”
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