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#1670248 - 02/27/12 03:39 PM Why Christian Belief in Satan is NOT Dualistic
TheManofSteel Offline
10K Club

Registered: 11/02/06
Posts: 10048
Loc: Fortress of Solitude
I remember of all people a (theologically renegade) Catholic Priest chiding Christinas who believed in the existence of Satan as being dualistic and therefore falsely believing. He could not have been more in error. This discussion sets forth what Catholic, Eastern Ortodox, Episcopalians and Protestants actually believe with respect to the nature of evil and Satan. Interesting stuff.

Full discussion:

http://www.warrenapologeticscenter.org/l...in_of_Satan.pdf

Excerpt:

A Philosophical Response to Dualism
Metaphysical dualism is untenable because of the meaning of good and evil. C. S. Lewis explained this point in the following:

There are only two views that face all the facts. One is the Christian view that this is a good world that has gone wrong, but still retains the memory of what it ought to have been. The other is the view called Dualism. Dualism means the belief that there are two
equal and independent powers at the back of everything, one of them good and the other
bad, and that this universe is the battlefield in which they fight out an endless war. . . .
They both existed from all eternity. Neither of them made the other (Kind of like the Yin Yang Symobol - my own comment - TMOS) . . . .

Now what do we mean when we call one of them the Good Power and the other the Bad Power? Either we are merely saying that we happen to prefer the one to the other . . . or else we are saying that, whatever the two powers think about it, one of them is actually wrong, actually mistaken, in regarding itself as good. Now if we mean merely that we happen to prefer the first, then we must give up talking about good and evil at all. For good means what you ought to prefer quite regardless of what you happen to like at any given moment. If “being good” meant simply joining the side you happened to fancy, for no real reason, then good would not deserve to be called good. So we must mean that one of the two powers is actually wrong and the other actually right. But the moment you say that, you are putting into the universe a third thing in additional to the two Powers: some law or standard or rule of good which one of the powers conforms to and the other fails to conform to. But since the two powers are judged by this standard, then this standard, or the Being who made this standard, is farther back and higher up than either of them, and He will be the real God. In fact, what
we meant by calling them good and bad turns out to be that one of them is in a right relation to the real ultimate God and the other in a wrong relation to Him. (33-34).

The very meaning of good and evil implies the nonsensical nature of any explanation of reality that says God and the devil have coexisted eternally. Lewis defines badness (i.e. evil) as “only
spoiled goodness. . . . [T]here must be something good first before it can be spoiled” (35, emp.added). Logically, good then must be prior to evil, and good must be superior to evil. “In the
conflict between Good and Evil, Goodness is prior and Evil is the corruption of the Good.” (Nash 210-11, emp. added). Before something can be described as objectively evil there must
exist an absolute, objective standard of reference by which evil is defined. “. . . [T]hat standard must be the Absolute Good” (211) which is God. Philosophically, God is prior to all and is above
all. C. S. Lewis describes evil as “a parasite” (35).

Nash explains: ". . . As we know, a parasite is an organism that survives by living in or off of a host organism while contributing nothing to the survival of the host. . . . In order for a parasite to grow and survive, it must prey upon a healthy organism. The
parasite needs its host; the host is not dependent upon the parasite."

Following this analogy, Lewis states that the Good is primary and Evil is always a corruption of some prior good. It would be odd to contend that the healthy human body is the parasite and the tapeworm is the host. (210, emp. added).

In view of the above, I submit the following argument:
1. If good is both prior and superior to evil, then God (Deity) is prior and superior to any, and every, being (whether good or evil).

2. If God (Deity) is prior and superior to any, and every, being (whether good or evil), then God is prior and superior to the devil.
3. If God (Deity) is prior and superior to the devil, then metaphysical dualism is false. The first premise (1) is true. This is the case because, as earlier affirmed, good, by its very
nature, is both prior, and superior, to evil. If such is the case, then it must be true that God (Deity), who is infinite in goodness, is prior, and superior, to any, and every, other being, whether good or evil. Furthermore, if God (Deity) is prior and superior to any, and every, other being, then He obviously is prior, and superior, to the devil (2). Therefore, it must be the case that metaphysical dualism is false

(3).Not only is it the case that metaphysical dualism is untenable because of the meaning of good and evil, but it is also untenable because God is omnipotent. Metaphysical dualism undermines
the omnipotence of God. This is the case because any doctrine that implies the devil necessarily exists (i.e. an existence that is eternal and self-contained without beginning or end) also implies
that God is not omnipotent.

The following argument explicates this point:
1. If God (Deity) is omnipotent, then God (Deity) possesses the power to destroy (if He freely chooses) any, and every, being.

2. If God (Deity) possesses the power to destroy (if He freely chooses) any, and every, being, then no being (except God) is a necessary being (i.e. a being that cannot not exist).

3. If no being (except God) is a necessary being (i.e. a being that cannot not exist), then the devil is not a necessary being.

4. If the devil is not a necessary being, then metaphysical dualism is false.
_________________________
"Beneath an ever watchful eye...the angels of the temple fly"

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#1670252 - 02/27/12 03:29 PM Re: Why Christian Belief in Satan is NOT Dualistic [Re: TheManofSteel]
Tater Offline
Gold Star

Registered: 01/10/06
Posts: 427
Loc: Missouri
Never knew there was any doubt among Christians that Satan does indeed exist. To simplify it, believing that the Holy Bible is the inspired Word of God inherently projects a belief in the existence of Satan as a temptor and fallen angel.
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Born once? Die twice.
Born twice? DIE ONCE!

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Opinions are my own and do not reflect any others

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#1670258 - 02/27/12 03:48 PM Re: Why Christian Belief in Satan is NOT Dualistic [Re: TheManofSteel]
TheManofSteel Offline
10K Club

Registered: 11/02/06
Posts: 10048
Loc: Fortress of Solitude
Agreed Tater. But what is not necessarily set forth in Scripture without some theological reasoning to the Scripture is whether our belief in a Satan, or generally in the nature of evil, is dualistic or not. In common every day discussion, many Christians would give someone the impression that we do believe in duality, but the truth is, our beliefs concerning the origin and nature of evil could not possibly be more different than Far Eastern Religious thought, such as Monism and Manicheanism etc.
_________________________
"Beneath an ever watchful eye...the angels of the temple fly"

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#1670266 - 02/27/12 03:59 PM Re: Why Christian Belief in Satan is NOT Dualistic [Re: TheManofSteel]
MB Guy Offline
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Registered: 05/26/04
Posts: 9888
Loc: Toes in the sand...
My belief always was that since God gives us freewill, He allows evil to exist, and that evil is, essentially, doing opposite the Will of God.

IMHO, evil doesn't equal God; God just lets us have freewill to choose to follow Him or not which allows for true love.
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#1670269 - 02/27/12 03:48 PM Re: Why Christian Belief in Satan is NOT Dualistic [Re: Tater]
B_F Offline
Power Poster

Registered: 11/28/06
Posts: 7221
Loc: Cincinnati, OH
Originally Posted By: Tater
Never knew there was any doubt among Christians that Satan does indeed exist. To simplify it, believing that the Holy Bible is the inspired Word of God inherently projects a belief in the existence of Satan as a temptor and fallen angel.


Tater, anyone who simply believes because the Bible, as the inspired Word of God, tells them there is a God has failed to do their homework. That's like saying that you believe in the tooth fairy because the tooth fairy left you a note that said the tooth fairy is real. It's called "begging the question". Serious theologists work to prove and understand the nature and existence of God outside of the Bible, in order to help them to have faith in the Bible as the inspired Word.

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#1670273 - 02/27/12 04:06 PM Re: Why Christian Belief in Satan is NOT Dualistic [Re: MB Guy]
TheManofSteel Offline
10K Club

Registered: 11/02/06
Posts: 10048
Loc: Fortress of Solitude
Originally Posted By: MB Guy
My belief always was that since God gives us freewill, He allows evil to exist, and that evil is, essentially, doing opposite the Will of God.

IMHO, evil doesn't equal God; God just lets us have freewill to choose to follow Him or not which allows for true love.


An analogy I use to explain the nature of evil follows upon the position that evil is the absence of good, therefore what evil is actually is a condition, where as good is the reality for which, the absence of or lessening of good brings about a condition called evil.

The analogy has to do with the symbols most often used to contrast them, namely light and darkness. If duality was true, then darkness is the absence of light, but also, light is the absence of darkness. Each would need the other to be defined. However, the Christian does not believe that light requires darkness to be defined, but rather, that darkness requires light to be defined. When you walk into a room, if it is dark, you turn on the light. When you leave the room, you do not turn on the dark, you turn off the light, which results darkness or the absence of light. Such is it with good and evil. God is the source of good, the ultimate, there is no higher. The absence of good (absence of God) results in evil, whether moral evil (the absence of moral good as in an act of wickedness) or physical evil (the absence of physical good, such as a broken arm which is the absence of health for your arm).
_________________________
"Beneath an ever watchful eye...the angels of the temple fly"

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#1670301 - 02/27/12 04:31 PM Re: Why Christian Belief in Satan is NOT Dualistic [Re: TheManofSteel]
AquaMarine Offline
100 Club

Registered: 06/23/11
Posts: 141
Loc: New York, NY
Satan (singular) is the fallen angel (Lucifer) who was given the overall authority in this world. Satan, along with his followers (evil spirits) are indeed in existence. Read the Bible and your doubts will surely be answered.
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"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." -Thessalonians 5:18


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#1670307 - 02/27/12 04:53 PM Re: Why Christian Belief in Satan is NOT Dualistic [Re: AquaMarine]
MB Guy Offline
Power Poster

Registered: 05/26/04
Posts: 9888
Loc: Toes in the sand...
Originally Posted By: AquaMarine
Satan (singular) is the fallen angel (Lucifer) who was given the overall authority in this world.


Given or took?
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The weather is here, wish you were beautiful...

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#1670319 - 02/27/12 05:05 PM Re: Why Christian Belief in Satan is NOT Dualistic [Re: MB Guy]
HappyGilmore Offline
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Registered: 06/11/04
Posts: 17476
Loc: Moron, Mongolia
Originally Posted By: BF
Tater, anyone who simply believes because the Bible, as the inspired Word of God, tells them there is a God has failed to do their homework


My friend, I suggest you look up the definition of the word "Faith." People believe in God because of Faith, not because the Bible says He exists...
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The only people you should be getting even with are those that have helped you in some way.

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#1670321 - 02/27/12 05:16 PM Re: Why Christian Belief in Satan is NOT Dualistic [Re: TheManofSteel]
Pale Rider Offline
10K Club

Registered: 08/09/02
Posts: 33957
Loc: under the Lone Star
just look at some of the avatars on this here banking site, we wrassle not against flesh and blood but against the prince of the power of the air, who goes around like a roaring lion trying to devour us....
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This is the government the founders warned us about!

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#1670327 - 02/27/12 05:37 PM Re: Why Christian Belief in Satan is NOT Dualistic [Re: Pale Rider]
Miscuit Offline
10K Club

Registered: 08/23/05
Posts: 18789
Loc: TX
::looks around at the avatars::


::shrugs::

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#1670364 - 02/28/12 06:08 AM Re: Why Christian Belief in Satan is NOT Dualistic [Re: TheManofSteel]
DeeQ Offline
10K Club

Registered: 12/04/02
Posts: 40584
Loc: I don't know!
*stares at Miscuit*
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Fake people have an image to maintain, real people don't care. - unknown

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#1670366 - 02/28/12 06:57 AM Re: Why Christian Belief in Satan is NOT Dualistic [Re: DeeQ]
Hrothgar Geiger Offline
10K Club

Registered: 06/11/05
Posts: 10395
Loc: Jersey Shore
Hey, Hot Stuff, how's it going?
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Every morning tell yourself: today I am going to meet a busybody, an ingrate, a liar, a schemer and a boor.

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#1670370 - 02/28/12 07:16 AM Re: Why Christian Belief in Satan is NOT Dualistic [Re: TheManofSteel]
DeeQ Offline
10K Club

Registered: 12/04/02
Posts: 40584
Loc: I don't know!
wink Just showing off my costume. smile
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Fake people have an image to maintain, real people don't care. - unknown

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#1670371 - 02/28/12 07:18 AM Re: Why Christian Belief in Satan is NOT Dualistic [Re: TheManofSteel]
Hrothgar Geiger Offline
10K Club

Registered: 06/11/05
Posts: 10395
Loc: Jersey Shore
I like the crown. Or is that just a really fancy tiara?
_________________________
Every morning tell yourself: today I am going to meet a busybody, an ingrate, a liar, a schemer and a boor.

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#1670372 - 02/28/12 07:18 AM Re: Why Christian Belief in Satan is NOT Dualistic [Re: TheManofSteel]
DeeQ Offline
10K Club

Registered: 12/04/02
Posts: 40584
Loc: I don't know!
It is a tiara. Another BOLer made it for me. smile
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Fake people have an image to maintain, real people don't care. - unknown

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#1670374 - 02/28/12 07:22 AM Re: Why Christian Belief in Satan is NOT Dualistic [Re: TheManofSteel]
Hrothgar Geiger Offline
10K Club

Registered: 06/11/05
Posts: 10395
Loc: Jersey Shore
Very nice.
_________________________
Every morning tell yourself: today I am going to meet a busybody, an ingrate, a liar, a schemer and a boor.

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#1670375 - 02/28/12 07:23 AM Re: Why Christian Belief in Satan is NOT Dualistic [Re: TheManofSteel]
kitten Offline
10K Club

Registered: 07/27/06
Posts: 12579
Loc: Not prison
I can't see it.
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I shall call you Thunder Twonk. ~TfD

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#1670428 - 02/28/12 09:22 AM Re: Why Christian Belief in Satan is NOT Dualistic [Re: TheManofSteel]
Purple Pride Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/03/06
Posts: 25
Loc: Where I am supposed to be
Originally Posted By: TheManofSteel
Originally Posted By: MB Guy
My belief always was that since God gives us freewill, He allows evil to exist, and that evil is, essentially, doing opposite the Will of God.

IMHO, evil doesn't equal God; God just lets us have freewill to choose to follow Him or not which allows for true love.


An analogy I use to explain the nature of evil follows upon the position that evil is the absence of good, therefore what evil is actually is a condition, where as good is the reality for which, the absence of or lessening of good brings about a condition called evil.

The analogy has to do with the symbols most often used to contrast them, namely light and darkness. If duality was true, then darkness is the absence of light, but also, light is the absence of darkness. Each would need the other to be defined. However, the Christian does not believe that light requires darkness to be defined, but rather, that darkness requires light to be defined. When you walk into a room, if it is dark, you turn on the light. When you leave the room, you do not turn on the dark, you turn off the light, which results darkness or the absence of light. Such is it with good and evil. God is the source of good, the ultimate, there is no higher. The absence of good (absence of God) results in evil, whether moral evil (the absence of moral good as in an act of wickedness) or physical evil (the absence of physical good, such as a broken arm which is the absence of health for your arm).


I don't know if evil is so much the absence of good, but the perversion of that which is good. For example, lust is not the absence of love but the perversion of it. Gluttony is the perversion of the enjoyment of food that was given to us by God. Wayne Grudem does a good job of discussing this within his Systematic Theology.
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If God had wanted man to play soccer, he wouldn't have given us arms.
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#1670505 - 02/28/12 10:40 AM Re: Why Christian Belief in Satan is NOT Dualistic [Re: B_F]
Stupendous Man Offline
New Poster

Registered: 11/24/10
Posts: 5
Loc: Texas
Quote:


anyone who simply believes because the Bible, as the inspired Word of God, tells them there is a God has failed to do their homework. That's like saying that you believe in the tooth fairy because the tooth fairy left you a note that said the tooth fairy is real. It's called "begging the question". Serious theologists work to prove and understand the nature and existence of God outside of the Bible, in order to help them to have faith in the Bible as the inspired Word.


You seem like you've put some effort into it, so just curious, what do you think "inspired Word" means. Like, what do you think the nature of the bible is? God's word exact? A literal description of what happened?

Originally Posted By: HappyGilmore

My friend, I suggest you look up the definition of the word "Faith." People believe in God because of Faith, not because the Bible says He exists...


Well, for one, I dont think he said everyone believes because of the bible. Only that some do, and they are doing it wrong.

But where did that faith come from? Do you think it's something that one's born with? Learned from the people who raise you?

How do people find out about God in the first place and determine what they believe him to be?

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#1670565 - 02/28/12 11:40 AM Re: Why Christian Belief in Satan is NOT Dualistic [Re: TheManofSteel]
Pale Rider Offline
10K Club

Registered: 08/09/02
Posts: 33957
Loc: under the Lone Star
"Inspired word" -----------

God-Breathed - 2 Timothy 3:16

God breathed out words – and those words took form on the pages of the Bible. In 2 Timothy 3:16, it says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God…”

The phrase “given by inspiration of God,” is one word in the Greek text. It is the word theopneustos, which means "God-breathed."

Therefore, all Scripture is God’s breath. When the human authors like Moses, or David, or Isaiah, or Paul, wrote Scripture – that Scripture was God’s inspired Word. These men were guided in such a way that what they wrote was exactly what God wanted them to write. God actually spoke through them so that the result was a book that was really written by God. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” It is “God-breathed.”

It was inspired and without error in the original documents. The errors that have been introduced into the text over the last 3,000 years are minor, and do not touch upon important theological points.

Take it or leave it.......
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This is the government the founders warned us about!

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#1670610 - 02/28/12 11:58 AM Re: Why Christian Belief in Satan is NOT Dualistic [Re: TheManofSteel]
DeeQ Offline
10K Club

Registered: 12/04/02
Posts: 40584
Loc: I don't know!
*holds her breath*
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Fake people have an image to maintain, real people don't care. - unknown

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#1670623 - 02/28/12 12:25 PM Re: Why Christian Belief in Satan is NOT Dualistic [Re: TheManofSteel]
Pale Rider Offline
10K Club

Registered: 08/09/02
Posts: 33957
Loc: under the Lone Star
How do people find out about God?

Through natural revelation.... see Psalm 19 -

God reveals himself through his world, through nature.
Verse 1 and 2 mentions the heavens, the day, night, etc. He says that they are telling of God's glory.
Verse 4 shows us that natural revelation reaches every place on earth, therefore it reaches every person........

Then there is "special revelation" ....see God-breathed" above..


take it or leave it.....
_________________________
This is the government the founders warned us about!

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#1670628 - 02/28/12 12:29 PM Re: Why Christian Belief in Satan is NOT Dualistic [Re: TheManofSteel]
Pale Rider Offline
10K Club

Registered: 08/09/02
Posts: 33957
Loc: under the Lone Star
Romans 1:20

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
_________________________
This is the government the founders warned us about!

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#1670635 - 02/28/12 12:25 PM Re: Why Christian Belief in Satan is NOT Dualistic [Re: TheManofSteel]
Bankbb1, PITA Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/16/04
Posts: 38
Loc: The Sovereign State Of Oklahom...
I am way late to this party, but I will say this. Human's inherently attempt to explain or ratioanlize God. But I belive this
1. God is simply beyond the limited capacity of even the most brilliant human mind.
2. Faith is belief without concrete evidence
3. There will never be a "smoking gun" to empirically and scientifically prove the existence of God.

This is my belief and my opinion. But you are all welcome to yours.
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I bring new meaning to the phrase "In your Dreams"....

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