Yet there always exists the possibility that the test, like all tests, could Understanding the bible essay failed. As troublesome as it may be to conceive of God as being the author of malevolent acts, more bothersome yet is the creation of another supernatural being in competition with God within a strictly monotheistic religion.
But it can also lead to destruction.
How do we practice righteousness unless there is temptation in our lives? If Satan did not exist, then perhaps he would have had to be created to serve as an adversary so as to vindicate God. And why is this Satan doing good, specifically keeping Paul from the sin of pride?
The ethics of the privileged and powerful can blame all misery caused by oppression that benefits them on Satan, or natural selection, or karma, or just bad luck, while excusing themselves from all responsibility and liability.
But what would happen if Christians were to reread some of the biblical texts with new eyes, refusing to impose their theology upon the text? Satan as trickster serves a crucial role.
It does not depend on Satan, an implement used by God, but rather, it depends on humans and the choices they make. A simple good versus evil binary understanding of reality leads to an ethical perspective that might cause more evil than good.
Likewise, it could raise the consciousness of the one benefitting from the status quo, leading them to repentance and to a more liberative course of action that can result in the former oppressors discovering their own salvation. The text does not say.
If Satan has no power except that given by God, we are left wondering whether evil can come from God, a proposition which the early biblical writers and Understanding the bible essay Church Fathers like Augustine raised.
Natural disasters will claim thousands of lives, as with the Japanese earthquake and tsunami ofand the victims will include innocent men, women, and children. Once we eliminate Satan as some type of quasi-deity who can be blamed for all of the evils which befall humanity, we are left asking if God has a dark side.
As it became less acceptable to have aspects of God represented in evil elements or events, independent evil figures had to be birthed. The Bible and Interpretation Rethinking Satan as Absolute Evil If Satan has no power except that given by Understanding the bible essay, we are left wondering whether evil can come from God, a proposition which the early biblical writers and ancient Church Fathers like Augustine raised.
Not only is this theology challenged by the Bible, it is also challenged by existentially and morally comparing such a theology of absolute Good versus absolute Evil with the realities of life.
If, then, you, who are evil, know to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good things to those that ask? While possibly taking pleasure in testing human weaknesses and strengths, Satan can create situations that can lead humans to make proper moral choices.
What type of parent would allow a child to suffer if they had the power to prevent evil from touching or hurting their child? When we consider the billions of senseless deaths, tragedies, and atrocities which define human history, it would seem that history denies more than it confirms the paternal love of a caring and merciful father God.
All have faced, or will face, tragedy, misery, illness, and death. And more importantly, how would Satan as trickster shape our morality? Yet, reading the morning paper, one finds stories about tornadoes that have wiped out good Christian families while they slept peacefully in the middle of the night, or innocent children who perished at the hands of child molesters and murderers, good decent individuals who die in freak accidents, and many others who suffer under moral evils those actions caused by humans and natural evils those actions caused by nature.
Upon evaluating the information based on the social location of the oppressed, the formulation of actions serving to change their situation becomes possible. Contrary to popular opinion, the biblical text does not begin by introducing its readers to Satan as the Prince of Darkness and enemy of God whose primordial spiritual warfare continues to manifest itself in our times.
More disturbing is the passage where God sends evil spirits to torment King Saul 1 Sam History has conditioned Christians to read into the biblical text an understanding of Satan as the evil antithesis of God.
Unfortunately, an original understanding of Satan as trickster has been lost by Christians. We propose to return to the early biblical Satan because it leads, in our opinion, to a better ethical framework from which to operate in the bringing about of justice and redemption.
What if we were to answer the theodicy question by simply reducing evil to a punishment for sins? It is God who appears to be giving the tens of thousands who die each day of hunger and preventable diseases a stone when they are begging for bread, or hands them a snake when they are praying for fish.
The ethics constructed by those privileged by the status quo is part of a false consciousness that accepts oppressive social structures as normative, one that does little if nothing to dismantle those structures.
What society normalizes can mask oppressive structures that make resistance seem futile as both those who benefit and those afflicted by those structures are lulled into complicity.
This is a God who sends evil spirits to torment, as in the case of Saul 1 Sam Unfortunately, the book of Job deals with the theodicy question by illustrating that evil befalling an individual is not necessarily caused by sins that individuals have engaged in or committed.
And if so, how does such an understanding of Satan feature in our appreciation of evil? In the final analysis, Satan as trickster is an agent of change.God’s portrayal as a character of absolute goodness is the result of a theology that is read into the Christian Scriptures, yet which is not necessarily supported by a close reading of the texts.
Not only is this theology challenged by the Bible, it is also challenged by existentially and morally. The Holy Bible: King James Version. PsalmsDownload