Friday, May 12, 2006

Sin...why, and wherefore?

Sir John has been thinking about the origin of sin. He says "The convential explanation is that Satan was a good angel and then became proud. That come from Ezekiel 28 which may be simply refering to the king of Tyre. I have not found any other place that supports that idea of Satan once having been good, though there my be one."

If that is the case, where did Satan's pride come from?

13 comments:

  1. As to Ezekial 28, from the literal standpoint it does in fact seem to be refering to the King of Tyre. However study of prophecy often includes allegorical interpretations and double-meanings. Furthermore tradition, while it should not be given the same weight as scripture, neither should it be scorned.
    As to why Lucifer would fall through pride actually CS Lewis addresses that in Mere Christianity. I will have to give a more detailed description of his argument but basically he believes that pride was the only sin Lucifer could have committed. He could not commit sins of the Flesh for not only was he not fallen yet, he didn't even have an animal half(how can someone who doesn't know what apples taste like be tempted by an apple). He couldn't be tempted by the Devil as the devil didn't exist yet-he was the devil to be. And he couldn't be tempted by the World because there was no world. By process of elimination the only sin Lucifer could have commited was pride-discontent with the state God has place one in, and desire to raise oneself up rather then be satisfied to give glory to God. Lucifer had at least the choice to worship God or himself, and he chose himself.
    Now this is speculation. The fall of Lucifer may in fact be just a legend-the Bible doesn't exactly say that is what happend. It doesn't say that is not what happend either. If it is not just a legend it explains a lot. Even if it is a legend it gives us all a warning.

    Sir Jason of Much-coffee

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  2. Good reference to Mr. Lewis' theory, Sir Jason. Unfortunately, it has the problem of origin. As a creation of God, were Satan's thoughts (and resulting pride) his own...or did God predestine that it should happen?

    If the thought was his own, it implies that we, too, as creations of God, could originate sin from our own thoughts, free of the influence of our ancestry.

    This idea, however, would seem to contradict Our Lord's teaching in John 8:44..."Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do."

    Jesus' next statement seems to support the idea that sin was a creation of God. "He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him."

    If Satan was a "murderer from the beginning", with "no truth in him", then the implication is that God created him that way, does it not?

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  3. If Satan was a "murderer from the beginning", with "no truth in him", then the implication is that God created him that way, does it not?

    11:22 AM
    ----------------------------------
    "Murderer from the beginning" is ambiguous. It could mean,"formed specifically as a murderer", it could mean, "turned to murder from the momment of his creation", or it could mean "murderer from the beginning of the Earth as we know it". Only the first is incompatible with Lewis' speculation.
    I find the idea of God creating something with the possibility of becomeing evil, both more plausible and more attractive then the idea of God specifically creating evil. In any case the truth is probably far more complicated then either of us are supposeing.

    Sir Jason

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  4. Greeting to all.

    Congratulations to Sir Chuck for the idea of a blog.

    Sir Paul,

    Nice to read your post again. I remember your knowledge of church history and would be interested in you comments on the DaVinci Code. As you know, it purports to blow away every thing we believe.


    My own concern is not so much to explain the mystery of where sin originated, though that is interesting. What really concerns me is that the traditional teaching of Satan originally being a good angel does not appear to have a lot of direct scriptural support. Also, I cannot find any direct statements in scripture stating that Satan is, or was, and angel.

    Sir John the Literalist

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  5. I'm buried in my typical world of corporate chaos, but a quick comment. I've made it before in other ways.

    Lucifer's sin, regardless of the details, was to reject God's will; to make a choice against God.

    God did not create sin. He only allow our free choices - obedience or rejection/sin.

    His omnipotence can give us choice without eliminating His omniscience.

    sir don.....
    knight of the golden horseshoe

    ReplyDelete
  6. I knew it; Satan was a Baptist!

    :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Biggest bunch of sinners in the South.....Come see us sometime

    sir don.....
    knight of the golden horseshoe

    ReplyDelete
  8. Sirs John and Jason,

    Apparently the legend of Satan as a fallen angel derives from the KJV of Isaiah...

    Isa 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! [how] art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

    If Lucifer and Satan are assumed to be the one and same, then one might draw the conclusion that Satan started out as a heavenly being.

    Other verses "hint" at Satan being an angel:

    Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.

    Rev 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

    The last verse seems to corroborate the Isaiah 14 story, and so therefore would seem to link Satan as Lucifer.

    However, the context of the Isaiah text is the name Lucifer (light-bearer) applied to the king of Babylon (back to him again :-), with a reference that he "fell" after ascending to heaven and sitting on the throne - in his heart. So there you go, back to the pride issue. So,was Isaiah speaking literally of the King of Babylon, or figuratively of Satan, or both?

    Sir John, like you, I can find no direct reference to Satan as an angel, although he always seems to be hanging out with them. I know the commentators in many of my bibles peg Satan as an angel.

    I'm trying to see the bigger picture here - does your interest lie in Satan's nature because of his role as the Temptor, therefore making the origination of sin sometime in Genesis 1:1; or afterward, just before Genesis 3, when God throws Lucifer (Satan) to the earth in the form of a serpent?

    Intriguing...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sir Chuck,

    I just now read your original post. I didn't see it tucked way down at the bottom.

    Your comments have lead me to further study. In doing a word search, I find that the word "Lucifer" does not appear anywhere else in scripture. Please correct me if I am wrong. In a search of the New American Standard Bible, I cannot find it at all.
    The literal reading of chapter 14 would lead one to believe that the discourse is about the great king of Babylon.
    Isa 14:4 that you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon, and say, "How the oppressor has ceased, {And how} fury has ceased! Isa 14:5 "The LORD has broken the staff of the wicked, The scepter of rulers..

    Even verses 12 and 13 seem, to me at least, to be directed toward some very proud earthly king.

    Isa 14:12 "How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations! Isa 14:13 "But you said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north.

    Still, I have to admit, that v. 12, also taken literally, seems to be relating to something more than an earthly king.
    "How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth,

    Then, however, the text goes back to discussing what has to be an earthly king.

    Isa 14:20 "You will not be united with them in burial, Because you have ruined your country, You have slain your people. May the offspring of evildoers not be mentioned forever.

    As for Satan being an angel, it is true that he is a spiritual being, apparently being present at most high level, conferences. When I say "high level", I really mean it.:) Yet, he seems to be described separately.

    Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.

    What I am wondering is if the whole idea of Satan once being good is a creation of Arminian theologians who cannot conceive of God creating something so basically evil. However, the idea of God creating someone of great power who would become evil, ostensibly beyond His control, is equally disturbing.

    Also, I have often pondered a small verse in proverbs:
    The LORD has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of evil. Pro 16:4.

    Once again, thanks for the stimulating thoughts.

    Sir John, the Wordy

    ReplyDelete
  10. "What I am wondering is if the whole idea of Satan once being good is a creation of Arminian theologians who cannot conceive of God creating something so basically evil. However, the idea of God creating someone of great power who would become evil, ostensibly beyond His control, is equally disturbing."

    "Also, I have often pondered a small verse in proverbs:
    The LORD has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of evil. Pro 16:4."

    Good points, Sir John. If one believes that evil is beyond God's control, or was not intended by Him in the first place, then the whole book of Revelation becomes irrelevant. And God of the Old Testament becomes a firefighter, not a omnipotent power.

    ReplyDelete
  11. And God of the Old Testament becomes a firefighter, not a omnipotent power.

    Very good analysis of the situation.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Is God Culpable for Evil He Knows Will Take Place?



    Gregory Koukl

    Why doesn't God save everybody?


    This question is among the most difficult that Christians and Christian philosophers have to face.
    This is not merely a problem for Christians. It is a problem for non-Christians as well. I have stated in the past that I think one of the best arguments for the existence of God is the presence of evil in the world. One way I can demonstrate that is to ask the non-Christian that raises this question, do you believe there is evil in the world? They must believe it because that's what prompts the question they are raising.

    Then I ask them to tell me, as a non-Christian, where it comes from. Secondly, tell me where good came from. Thirdly, tell me how you distinguish between good and evil. Those are very thorny problems of which the Christian only has to answer one, but the non-Christian has to answer three. This is a philosophical question that applies to all people, it's not a drawback on the Christian religion, it is a drawback of life. It's a comment more on life than religion.

    Before you had children did it occur to you that your children would disobey and do bad things? You had the option to have children. You knew the children would do bad things, some could turn out very, very bad. Yet you still decided to have children. Why? There are some ineffable kinds of motivations that one has for creating life. If that's true of human beings, it strikes me that it's true of God as well. From our perspective God has some inexplicable motive to create, to make children, to create someone in His image though He knows that they will go bad at some point in the future, just as you know that those that you create out of your love for each other will go bad in the future.

    When your children do go bad are you as parents responsible for the bad that they do? You are not morally culpable because human beings are free moral agents. If that is true for you, it's true for God as well. It seems to me to be very reasonable.

    What about if I knew the child I was to have would be Adolph Hitler?

    The issue here is not just the extremes like Adolph Hitler, it is all the little Hitlers in all of us that we express at different times. You knew in one sense or another that you were giving off a little chunk of Adolph Hitler. You have a little human being that has his own mind and wants his own way and you're training him not to live out that natural brokenness and become a Hitler. The fact is that everyone has a little of that in them.

    I would say that the parallel between you and God is precise. You do know that your child is going to do some things wrong. The only difference between you and God in this case is that God knows the particular things that every one of His children is going to do wrong. You don't know the particulars, but you know it's inevitable. If it is true that God is morally responsible for what His children do because He knows in advance, then it is also true that you're morally responsible. But if it's true that you're not morally responsible because you know in advance, then it's also true that God is not responsible. That's why I argue that neither is morally responsible because the wild card, in a sense, in this discussion is free moral agency.

    Human beings are not mechanistic. If you take a long stick and poke somebody in the eye with that long stick, that stick is not at fault. It is merely responding in a mechanistic way to your will. That's why the person that initiates the action with the stick is the one that is culpable, the person to blame. But if what's standing in your way is not a mechanism, but another human being that has free moral agency, that removes your culpable role in the process because you are not causing somebody to do something else. You merely give birth to somebody else who then makes choices for themselves. Because men can make choices, good choices and bad choices, they are moral agents in themselves and it's not appropriate to look back on you as the parent or God as the creator as the one who is morally responsible. That's true because men are not mechanistic, they are moral agents.

    Why does God create a child He knows will go to Hell?

    First, we have to distinguish between a goal and a desire. I would say it's not God's goal that all of His children come to Him. God never has a goal that is thwarted. God gets what He starts out to get. But His desire can be thwarted if we make a distinction between His sovereign desire and His moral desire. For example, it is God's desire that nobody ever sin. Clearly people do sin. So here is a desire of God's that can be thwarted.

    One of those things that God desires of a moral nature, God's moral will that He desires men to do that men can choose not to do, is to believe in His Son so that they can be forgiven for the times that they don't obey Him. That is a choice that men have to make and men can choose against God and therefore thwart God's desire.

    But God also has a goal. The goal is that all of whom He chooses and gives to Jesus, Jesus loses none but raises them up on the last day. That's John 6 and that goal will never be thwarted because it is something that God has purposed to do.

    I need to make this clarification: nobody turns to God and they don't turn to Him unless they are elected. In other words, unless God works on them to draw them, nobody would turn so if men are operating in their complete free will, then nobody is going to turn to Him. They consistently and persistently run from the God that pursues them. And God's merciful response to that condition is to rescue some. Those are the elect.

    God is certainly not unjust to rescue some because it is just to punish anybody who breaks God's law. But one rightly raises the question of curiosity, why does God save some and not others? And if he's not going to gather up all men, then why doesn't He not create those He doesn't gather up? In a way that is another way of asking why doesn't He save everybody?

    One could argue that God hasn't created a lot of people that He wouldn't be gathering up. There's an infinite number of those He didn't create that wouldn't believe. Logic shows that that question is answered, but it doesn't answer the more fundamental question: why doesn't God save everybody? To that I have no answer. I can only say that in the long run it will work out more to His glory that He does not save everyone. I don't know how that works out.

    That sounds lame to some people, but if I have to come up with some response I think that it probably has something to do with God's glory and I think we'll understand later how that does not impugn His justice. To some people His justice is impugned and they assume He's guilty until proved innocent. My response is that there are lots of things that tell me about God's goodness and graciousness and mercy that gives me confidence in Him. In those things that I do see I have confidence in Him, so that helps me to have confidence in those things that I don't understand. I got this from a poster but it makes the point very well: All of those things that I do know about God give me reason to trust him for those things that I don't know. That's reasonable. That's fair.

    It points out two things. First of all, there are some aspects of it that cannot be answered. We have to simply settle. We have to say we can't answer that. It points out also that there are aspects of it that can be answered in a very reasonable way if we argue from analogy to human beings. The third thing that it points out is that the person who asks the question has a bigger problem than the person that has to answer it. The person who asks must answer the problem of evil in light of a holy and powerful God. But the person who asks the question must also solve the problem of evil. They must also solve the problem of good and they must thirdly solve the problem of distinguishing between evil and good in a universe in which there is no God to give any sense to either of then. So the non-believer has the thorniest problem but they just aren't put on the defensive enough and we are.

    God is not necessarily culpable and worthy of blame because He creates human beings that He knows to some degree will go bad in the future.

    There is a tendency in that whatever we don't understand we just stick God in the gap. There is a truth that we need to be able to say that there are some things we don't understand about God. However, there are a lot of things that can be explained that people don't take the time and energy to articulate. But there will be some things that we just can't fathom. But that's true of the unbeliever as well.





    This is a transcript of a commentary from the radio show "Stand to Reason," with Gregory Koukl. It is made available to you at no charge through the faithful giving of those who support Stand to Reason. Reproduction permitted for non-commercial use only. ©1992 Gregory Koukl

    For more information, contact Stand to Reason at 1438 East 33rd St., Signal Hill, CA 90755
    (800) 2-REASON (562) 595-7333 www.str.org




    Resources for Additional Study


    Title Author Contents Price
    Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air Gregory Koukl 2 cassettes & study notes $12.95
    The Problem of Evil (Masters Series 1997) William Lane Craig 2 CDs $8.95



    ____________________
    of some relevance

    Sir Jason the Longwinded

    ReplyDelete
  13. Is God Culpable for Evil He Knows Will Take Place?



    Gregory Koukl

    Why doesn't God save everybody?


    This question is among the most difficult that Christians and Christian philosophers have to face.
    This is not merely a problem for Christians. It is a problem for non-Christians as well. I have stated in the past that I think one of the best arguments for the existence of God is the presence of evil in the world. One way I can demonstrate that is to ask the non-Christian that raises this question, do you believe there is evil in the world? They must believe it because that's what prompts the question they are raising.

    Then I ask them to tell me, as a non-Christian, where it comes from. Secondly, tell me where good came from. Thirdly, tell me how you distinguish between good and evil. Those are very thorny problems of which the Christian only has to answer one, but the non-Christian has to answer three. This is a philosophical question that applies to all people, it's not a drawback on the Christian religion, it is a drawback of life. It's a comment more on life than religion.

    Before you had children did it occur to you that your children would disobey and do bad things? You had the option to have children. You knew the children would do bad things, some could turn out very, very bad. Yet you still decided to have children. Why? There are some ineffable kinds of motivations that one has for creating life. If that's true of human beings, it strikes me that it's true of God as well. From our perspective God has some inexplicable motive to create, to make children, to create someone in His image though He knows that they will go bad at some point in the future, just as you know that those that you create out of your love for each other will go bad in the future.

    When your children do go bad are you as parents responsible for the bad that they do? You are not morally culpable because human beings are free moral agents. If that is true for you, it's true for God as well. It seems to me to be very reasonable.

    What about if I knew the child I was to have would be Adolph Hitler?

    The issue here is not just the extremes like Adolph Hitler, it is all the little Hitlers in all of us that we express at different times. You knew in one sense or another that you were giving off a little chunk of Adolph Hitler. You have a little human being that has his own mind and wants his own way and you're training him not to live out that natural brokenness and become a Hitler. The fact is that everyone has a little of that in them.

    I would say that the parallel between you and God is precise. You do know that your child is going to do some things wrong. The only difference between you and God in this case is that God knows the particular things that every one of His children is going to do wrong. You don't know the particulars, but you know it's inevitable. If it is true that God is morally responsible for what His children do because He knows in advance, then it is also true that you're morally responsible. But if it's true that you're not morally responsible because you know in advance, then it's also true that God is not responsible. That's why I argue that neither is morally responsible because the wild card, in a sense, in this discussion is free moral agency.

    Human beings are not mechanistic. If you take a long stick and poke somebody in the eye with that long stick, that stick is not at fault. It is merely responding in a mechanistic way to your will. That's why the person that initiates the action with the stick is the one that is culpable, the person to blame. But if what's standing in your way is not a mechanism, but another human being that has free moral agency, that removes your culpable role in the process because you are not causing somebody to do something else. You merely give birth to somebody else who then makes choices for themselves. Because men can make choices, good choices and bad choices, they are moral agents in themselves and it's not appropriate to look back on you as the parent or God as the creator as the one who is morally responsible. That's true because men are not mechanistic, they are moral agents.

    Why does God create a child He knows will go to Hell?

    First, we have to distinguish between a goal and a desire. I would say it's not God's goal that all of His children come to Him. God never has a goal that is thwarted. God gets what He starts out to get. But His desire can be thwarted if we make a distinction between His sovereign desire and His moral desire. For example, it is God's desire that nobody ever sin. Clearly people do sin. So here is a desire of God's that can be thwarted.

    One of those things that God desires of a moral nature, God's moral will that He desires men to do that men can choose not to do, is to believe in His Son so that they can be forgiven for the times that they don't obey Him. That is a choice that men have to make and men can choose against God and therefore thwart God's desire.

    But God also has a goal. The goal is that all of whom He chooses and gives to Jesus, Jesus loses none but raises them up on the last day. That's John 6 and that goal will never be thwarted because it is something that God has purposed to do.

    I need to make this clarification: nobody turns to God and they don't turn to Him unless they are elected. In other words, unless God works on them to draw them, nobody would turn so if men are operating in their complete free will, then nobody is going to turn to Him. They consistently and persistently run from the God that pursues them. And God's merciful response to that condition is to rescue some. Those are the elect.

    God is certainly not unjust to rescue some because it is just to punish anybody who breaks God's law. But one rightly raises the question of curiosity, why does God save some and not others? And if he's not going to gather up all men, then why doesn't He not create those He doesn't gather up? In a way that is another way of asking why doesn't He save everybody?

    One could argue that God hasn't created a lot of people that He wouldn't be gathering up. There's an infinite number of those He didn't create that wouldn't believe. Logic shows that that question is answered, but it doesn't answer the more fundamental question: why doesn't God save everybody? To that I have no answer. I can only say that in the long run it will work out more to His glory that He does not save everyone. I don't know how that works out.

    That sounds lame to some people, but if I have to come up with some response I think that it probably has something to do with God's glory and I think we'll understand later how that does not impugn His justice. To some people His justice is impugned and they assume He's guilty until proved innocent. My response is that there are lots of things that tell me about God's goodness and graciousness and mercy that gives me confidence in Him. In those things that I do see I have confidence in Him, so that helps me to have confidence in those things that I don't understand. I got this from a poster but it makes the point very well: All of those things that I do know about God give me reason to trust him for those things that I don't know. That's reasonable. That's fair.

    It points out two things. First of all, there are some aspects of it that cannot be answered. We have to simply settle. We have to say we can't answer that. It points out also that there are aspects of it that can be answered in a very reasonable way if we argue from analogy to human beings. The third thing that it points out is that the person who asks the question has a bigger problem than the person that has to answer it. The person who asks must answer the problem of evil in light of a holy and powerful God. But the person who asks the question must also solve the problem of evil. They must also solve the problem of good and they must thirdly solve the problem of distinguishing between evil and good in a universe in which there is no God to give any sense to either of then. So the non-believer has the thorniest problem but they just aren't put on the defensive enough and we are.

    God is not necessarily culpable and worthy of blame because He creates human beings that He knows to some degree will go bad in the future.

    There is a tendency in that whatever we don't understand we just stick God in the gap. There is a truth that we need to be able to say that there are some things we don't understand about God. However, there are a lot of things that can be explained that people don't take the time and energy to articulate. But there will be some things that we just can't fathom. But that's true of the unbeliever as well.





    This is a transcript of a commentary from the radio show "Stand to Reason," with Gregory Koukl. It is made available to you at no charge through the faithful giving of those who support Stand to Reason. Reproduction permitted for non-commercial use only. ©1992 Gregory Koukl

    For more information, contact Stand to Reason at 1438 East 33rd St., Signal Hill, CA 90755
    (800) 2-REASON (562) 595-7333 www.str.org




    Resources for Additional Study


    Title Author Contents Price
    Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air Gregory Koukl 2 cassettes & study notes $12.95
    The Problem of Evil (Masters Series 1997) William Lane Craig 2 CDs $8.95






    © 2005 Stand to Reason ARR | 1438 East 33rd Street, Signal Hill, CA 90755
    Voicemail (800) 2-REASON TM | Local phone (562) 595-7333 | Fax (562) 595-7332 | questions@str.org
    _____________________________
    Of some relevance

    Sir Jason the Longwinded

    ReplyDelete