To respond to a few of the matters raised:
1) God is indeed sovereign. The Book of Job makes that abundantly
clear. But it also
reveals Satan as a real person of potentially awesome power - power
to be exercised
only within the constraints imposed by God. He therefore appears as a
(Job 1:6-12, 2:1-7) and is allowed to do Job harm. This ultimately results in
bringing great glory to God - surely the true purpose of the whole
natural aversion to those created in God's image is here channelled
something significant in the divine plan.
I have heard it said that Satan functions as God's 'sheepdog'. Job's
appear to confim this view.
2) If, as you say, God does not lead us into temptation, what is the
point in our
praying, 'and lead us not into temptation'? Surely, He has the ability (and
sometimes, sound reasons) for doing just that.
3) Wouldn't you agree that the Lord speaks to, or of, Satan as a
person? eg Mt.4:10,
4) You say (paragraph 3), "... to ascribe reality to evil in any
form, is exactly
what evil wants us to do ...". But whose 'evil' are you referring to
here? Are you
not admitting the person of Satan when you think or say this kind of thing?
5) The 'principalities and powers' of Ephesians 6:12 may be without substance -
which is not to say, surely, that they don't exist as spiritual
entities of great
power - working within the constraints imposed by God. If you believe
in angels, you
must surely believe in 'fallen' angels - the principalities and
powers and their
6) In your penultimate paragraph you appear to maintain that God's creation
(presumably meaning ourselves and all we see around us) is
_currently_ very good.
Surely, the Bible tells us that this was once true - but no longer. Your claim
flies in the face of common experience. If what you claim is correct
then what of
the actual state of the world? - and why the need for Incarnation, Cross and
Stuart Kirkley responds:
Well, sir, I could just as forcefully argue that the 'wiles' of the
devil are actually to try and get us to believe in personified evil,
and to regard Satan as an entity, and to also regard God as a person,
and to further believe that these are two opposing powers which are
eternally at war with each other. How can that be if God is
omnipotent? If you allow that God is omnipotent, then how can an
opposing power ever exist. If you truly understand what omnipotence
is then how can you allow that there can be an opposing power to God
ever. It is only temptation which holds up the illusion of an
opposing power to our minds. This temptation is the carnal mind
beckoning to us to believe in personified evil and in mortality with
all it's attendant pleasures and pains, sin, disease and death. This
is nothing more than an erroneous mental suggestion which can be
rendered null and void by upholding the first commandment and
declaring the truth: that God is indeed omnipotent, and t!
His kingdom is the (only) power, and the (only) glory, forever, and
to know that God does not lead us into temptation, but delivers us
from evil. (Yes, that is part of the Lord's prayer).
To think that there is personified evil and an actual entity called
Satan is theological superstition which stems from a misinterpretaion
of the scriptures. Jesus proved Satan to be powerless, he opposed
evil and defeated it in all it's guises of sin, disease and death.
The BIble declares that the last enemy to be defeated will be death.
Did not Jesus triumphantly demonstrate his dominion over this 'last
enemy'. Jesus said 'I am the way, the truth, and the life' He proved
that this way, or Christ, is the truth, which, when faithfully
declared, rebukes the temptation of the devil, or appearance of evil,
in all it's myriad guises. The BIble further clarifies this erroneous
suggestion to be the carnal mind, or carnal mindedness. This carnal
mind is a bald imposition on our God given dominion over all the
earth, and everything of it. All we need to do to defeat this
supposed 'carnal mind' is to faithfully declare the truth ourselves,
the truth of our own God given dominion,!
d rebuke the offensive lie of mortality, and claim our God given
heritage as the sons and daughters of God, as Jesus did, as joint
heirs with CHrist.
Again, to ascribe reality to evil in any form, is exactly what evil
wants us to do, to make a reality of it, and especially to personify
it. IF you believe that Osama bin Laden is truly an evil man, then
aren't you breaking the very commandments which Christianity is based
on, to love our enemies, and to learn how to forgive. As soon as you
personify evil, it is very difficult to forgive. But if you
de-personify evil, this better allows us to achieve forgiveness. IF
we know that the misdeed, no matter how abhorrent, stems from the
mesmerism of the carnal mind, which is not person, but merely
erroneous mental suggestion, then we can rebuke the error with the
truth of God's true creation, where everything is seen by Him as
being very good, and we de-personify the evil and find we are able to
forgive, and indeed that we are also forgiven. Did not Jesus say that
this was the penultimate of grace, to forgive others at all times.
You mention Ephesians 6:12. It is crucially important to this
argument to note that the verse begins with the phrase, 'For we
wrestle not against flesh and blood' . Is this not a clear indication
that the war is not against anything of actual substance, and that
the 'principalities, powers, the rulers of darkness, and spiritual
wickedness' are without any real substance, but are mental
suggestions. Evil can only start as a mental suggestion, or
temptation, the lure of the carnal mind. If Osama, or Hitler, etc.
had been rightly guided, would they have done their terrible deeds.
But they weren't, they listened to the lies of hatred and malice, and
became fixated, or mesmerised, by these mental assasins, and allowed
themselves to be governed by them, instead of by good, which is the
way, the truth and the life, or the kingdom of God.
Evil acts stem only from acting on the impulses of the carnal mind.
There is no evil entity which plays with our livesand wars against
God's righteous kingdom. Recognising that evil has no power, or that
Satan is not any entity, is truly liberating for the mind and the
soul. Seeing that evil is nothing more than an erroneous mental
suggestion, which can be rebuked by the truth, brings all the power
of truth to bear on the situation, and no lie can withstand the
faithful application of the truth. This is demonstrable at any time,
for the truth is always readily available. Did not our master say
that 'ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free'.
Personified evil is not the truth, it is a lie, and the father of it,
and the sooner you rebuke the lie with the truth of God's ever
present and wholly good creation, as founded in Genesis 1, then the
sooner you will experience that freedom which Jesus spoke of, and
discover the 'peace which passeth all understanding. Th!
is the benefit of forgiveness which Jesus refers to in Matt 6:14, 15.
YOu will never be able to forgive as long as you believe in
personified evil. This is the entire thrust of the sermon on the
mount. It is always good to read that blessed sermon and be refreshed
with the understanding of meekness before our Lord, the God of Truth
YOu warn against thinking that Satan is not a personal entity. You
probaly believe that my position is a position of being gullible and
slackminded. NOthing could be further than the truth. It is even more
important that Christians, and all right thinking individuals,
realise the error of believing in personified evil. This is a
dangerous mesmeric suggestion which leads us away from the truth of
being, the truth wherein God sees all HIs creation, and it is very
good. Remember that this is GOd's kingdom, and in it He sees all,
for HE is omniscient, and omnipresent. THe BIble declares that He is
of purer eyes than to behold evil. GOd sees all his creation, and
behold, it is very good. WHat is it you are seeing? Are you seeing
GOd's creation, are you allowing God's creation to be seen. IT is
ever present, and eternal, and real, and there is nothing evil or
corrupt in it at all. THis is what the spiritual understanding of
Revelation reveals, where all evil is cast out of hea!
, or the consciousness of eternal harmony, and the rule of GOd reigns
supreme and eternal, from Alpha to Omega. There is no evil there and
all tears are wiped away. THis is a present possibility, not some
mystical supernatural event.THe way to achieve this state of harmony
is to follow CHrist, or Truth, and to uphold the commandments,
beginning with the first, in which we have no other Gods before me
(Truth), especially the idea of anything evil in His creation. If you
believe in a personal devil, then you are making an idol, or another
god, which is clearly a violation of this first, and most important,
I know that this may be a bit of a leap from traditional scholastic
theology, and I could expound upon this a great deal further, but I
will allow you to try to refute my argument first. My argument is
not with you, but with what I perceive to be an erroneous
interpretation of scripture, which has hindered the true, practical
application of scriptural truths for centuries. IT is the crux of the
debate of the nature of good and evil, and it will not stand the test
of scientific inquiry. For me, this issue is crucial to an
enlightened understanding of Christianity and of reality itself, so
if you want to have a constructive and objective debate about this, I
am more than glad to engage you.
On Fri, 26 Jul 2002 15:29:18
Vernon Jenkins wrote:
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