The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Satan, a person or a personification?

Because the Bible gives no ontology of these supposed creatures and they can’t be proven empirically or logically to exist.

Can angels, God, Jesus, Adam & Moses be “proven empirically or logically to exist”? If so, how?

What would the Bible need to say to prove Satan’s existence as a personal being?

Something like, “Before God created the heavens and the earth he created angels. And the angels were created to [insert reasons]. And the angels were created in God’s image. And then one day one angel rebelled. This is what the angel and God said to each other, [insert dialogue]. Other angels sided with this evil angel. God then put them in abeyance. On day [insert number] of the creation of the heavens and the earth, God cast these rebel angels to the earth. But unlike God’s new creature, man, the rebel angels were invisible. But even though they couldn’t be seen, they could interact with people, and even control their bodies.”

My perception is that some Biblical writers probably perceived ‘Satan’ to be one of the universe’s actual creatures, perhaps a perverse angelic one. But that this doesn’t stop others from believing that the actual reality they were trying to account for, is an impersonal ‘power’ toward evil that is not in reality lodged in one real person.

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What does it matter whether Satan is a person or merely a power?

Does it matter how many angels can sit on a pinhead?

My doctrine? I’m not smart enough to have doctrine but the folks i referenced do and i believe them so if that’s dogmatic and ridiculous i’ll take it all day long.

It affects our understanding of God. If we find a doctrine incoherent and damaging to our faith, then either we can accept it with cognitive dissonance or discard it. To me, the idea of angels is incoherent. Rather than accepting it with cognitive dissonance, I’ve discarded it.

If angels are creatures that exist to carry out tasks on God’s behalf, then this would mean either God is not all powerful and needs help, or he created rational creatures superflously. Neither being less than omnipotent nor creating rational beings for an arbitrary reason sounds like the all powerful, perfectly reasonable God I worship.

If God created angels to counsel him, then either God is not omniscient or the angels’ advice has no effect on what God does since God qua God knows better than any possible creature. Why would an omniscient being need advice? If OTOH the advice angels give God has no effect on God’s decision-making, then God creating these beings to counsel him would be meaningless. The angels’ entire existence would be meaningless.

BTW is this conversation just between you and me or are am I unwittingly playing a game of telephone with people on another forum?

Is the source of that thought a “person or a personification?”

It’s a simple yes or no question. Am I discussing the issue with just you, or are you playing telephone between me and other people on another forum?

Of course the possibility that God created Angels for reasons beyond your understanding must be a incoherent thought!

Ah, the old ‘the Lord works in mysterious ways’ deus ex machina to doctrinal gaps. But even if that were the case, the Bible still doesn’t give an ontology of angels. There’s no delineation of God creating creatures before he created Earth, having a dispute with them, and then sending them to Earth (and/or hell?). The illogicalness of it combined with the fact that the Bible never describes these putative creatures’ creation leaves me thinking it’s highly unlikely that the traditional view is true.

I read the article in the PDF which Davo posted.
The author correctly asserts that the word translated as “Satan” means “adversary”.
However, I fail to see why that fact should be considered as evidence that Satan doesn’t exist as a person.

My name on this forum is “Paidion”. It means “trained, little child.” Is that fact evidence that I don’t exist as a person?

Even my real name “Donald” has a meaning. It means “world ruler”. More evidence that I don’t exist?

I’m not sure what so clearly a translation you’re using Steve BUT Paul nowhere across his Corinthian epistles… “says Satan blinds the minds of unbelievers”, period! Further… that gentiles were in the Corinthian church doesn’t make it any more… “a gentile church” than anything else. In fact the textual evidence suggests the exact opposite, i.e., that the early churches right across Asia Minor were inherently Jewish with then increasingly gained gentile growth.

Have a look at the prelude to your 2Cor 4:4 reference above you claim speaks of unbelieving gentiles and thus has no Judaic connections…

2Cor 3:13-15 — unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart.

As I have pointed out elsewhere… Paul’s audience in the Corinthian church is heavily Israel-centric; consider the following and ask yourself what sense this would have made to your gentile unbelievers

1Cor 10:1-5 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

And you assert Paul’s primary audience was gentile and thus find no Judaic connection, really… :question:

From Paul’s letter to the Galatians:

…and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. (Galatians 2:9 ESV)

Paul saw his Gentile converts as grafted into the tree of the Jewish patriarchs. But as Paidion implies, asserting most converts in churches built by the evangelist focused on reaching Gentiles were not Gentile calls for clear evidence.

Bang on the money!

I’m not quite sure what you percieved Paidion’s apparently implied assertion to be, but Paul certainly after appealing to Israel has a changed focus toward bringing the Gentiles into the early Diasporic community. As I have noted time and again the early church among whom many a Gentile came to find Christ, was inherently Hebraic wherein the gospel gained early traction and growth; again please reconsider the evidence…

Jn 7:35 Then the Jews said among themselves, “Where does He intend to go that we shall not find Him? Does He intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks?

Acts 15:21 For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”

Acts 2:5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. — as per verses 8—11

Acts 18:2, 9-10 And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla… Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.” This was pre-Corinthian epistles… consider verses 4—8

1Pet 1:1 To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,…

Jas 1:1 James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings.

Join the dots… ancient Israel was the seedbed of the burgeoning church… wherein certain Gentiles then came to faith in Christ. Check out the reaction in Antioch…

Acts 13:42, 46-48 So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. … Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ” Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.

I trust this textual evidence to my point is clear enough.

IMO, satan is a literal being who Stands in opposition to God = Tetragrammaton. However I also believe that the scriptures personify mans own evils as satan also.

There were indeed Jewish believers in Corinth & Paul later on mentions two Jewish leaders but every study bible I looked at KJV,NKJV,Reformation & Holman all describe Satan as being “the god of this world” in 2nd Cor 4.4.

If you mean by ‘Hebraic’ (contra Paidion) that most of the early converts in Paul’s churches were not Gentiles, I’m not seeing how your offered texts make that clear. It is plain that some key converts were Jewish, such that your Acts 18 reference to Aquila relevantly confirms that. But I’m not seeing how the other texts you cite verifies at all the makeup of Paul’s churches. I see focus on converting Gentiles.

Ok thanks Bob.