Pristine Grace

Debunking the 'Great Satan' Myth
Part 1
The Biblical Argument
by Bob Higby
Debunking the 'Great Satan' Myth

One Little Word Shall Fell Him.”  Martin Luther, A Mighty Fortress

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour; whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:8-11, AKJV

Disclaimer: The author of this article is uncompromising in his defense of historic Reformation doctrine, confessing the absolute sovereignty of God in the Father’s purpose of Grace in Christ the God-man, who secured eternal salvation for all those predestined to eternal life in His Person and Work--apart from all human works achievement either through performance of the human will or by Spirit-filled empowerment of human character.  Many cited sources (though not all) are against the true gospel of Christ in their fundamental affirmations.  They are utilized only to provide evidence of the history of taught dogma related to the context of the subject in focus.

Disclaimer: All web sources cited in this article were verified to be accurate as of 08/17/2019.  There is no guarantee that the material cited at the links provided will still be available at any time in the future beyond this date.

Introduction and Background

     The history of post-apostolic Christendom is fraught with the doctrine of a ‘big’ Satan (the Adversary, according to the meaning of the name) that presents a real challenge to God.  This phenomenon of human speculation is presented as a great cosmic battle in which eternal principles of good and evil are constantly at war, with each challenging the other significantly as to the last outcome of history.

     Post-apostolic Christianity, as it emerged and matured over the early centuries from the post-apostolic ‘fathers’, has always been dualistic in its perspective of God’s relationship to the created universe.  Many of the ‘fathers’ came from a background of dualistic philosophy before professing Christ.  Justin and others (notably Origen) were pure Platonist in their philosophical background.  The teaching of Justin simply adopted the free-will philosophy of Plato into a constructed system of professed Christian belief, thus paving the way for the entire history of free will Christendom denying the full sovereignty of God.  Augustine was a Manichean in his early years, then later became influenced strongly by the philosophy of Plotinus (Neo-Platonism).  The stamp of Neo-Platonism pervades the entirety of Augustine’s core theology (including his doctrine of partial predestination), at least up until near the end of his life.

     At the outset, it is critical to note the difference between the Manichean philosophy of Gnostics like Marcion (https://www.gotquestions.org/marcionism.html) and the revised dualism of the Platonic ‘fathers’.  Marcion took the belief in cosmic dualism so far as to propose separate eternal gods, the supreme god being all-good and the inferior god all-evil.  Both gods were co-eternal corresponding to the two warring forces of good and evil.  Both were active and involved with humanity in the history of the Old Testament, with any references to a God of wrath who destroys His enemies affirmed to be the Demiurge (false god).  So Marcion was who we may term a pure-Manichean in philosophy.

     Augustine, the known and revered father of most of Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism, changed from being a Manichean to a neo-Platonist in conjunction with professing Christ.  But the elements of the neo-Platonic dualism that he espoused throughout most of his life remain as the predominant force in professed Christian philosophy to this day.  These include the following:

  1. God is not the ‘author’ of sin but only of the good (Plato, the Republic).  Sin arose and continues to thrive without God’s direct creation and precise involvement.  So, sin is un-created, it is an eternal principle that God had prescience of and formulated a plan to deal with once it manifested itself in history by infecting a soul otherwise created sinless and having no desire to rebel.
  2. God is bound to act in harmony with eternal principles of law that govern the universe.  We see this manifested continuously in the ‘God had to do this’ and ‘God could not have done that’ propositions of historic churchmen.  This phenomenon is especially obvious when it comes to the theology of what God had to do to save human rebels from sin.  In describing a teaching of what God achieved in Christ to atone for sin, affirmation is made continuously that “it could not have been otherwise” if God wanted to provide salvation, thus affirming a principle of eternal law that God cannot violate.
  3. The space-time continuum itself (as distinct from the material created order) is eternal and un-created, since the principles of eternal law and sin are an essential part of it and God did not create those as a part of his good pleasure.

     A basic illustration to attempt explanation of the Neo-Platonic dualism of Plotinus would be to picture the world as a circle with a complete history planned and destined by God.  Yet this world has a circular shadow in the background; one that defines the limits and perimeters of predestination, constituting the ‘warp and woof’ principles of the eternal universe that even God had to operate within in formulating His plan.  For an extensive understanding of the dualistic philosophy of Plotinus, see Ancient Philosophy, Dr. Gordon Clark, published by The Trinity Foundation, chapters: Plotinus’ Theory of Sensation; FANTASIA in Plotinus; Plotinus’ Theory of Empirical Responsibility; The Theory of Time in Plotinus; Plotinus on the Eternity of the World.  This work was first published as a part of a work titled The History of Philosophy, which Dr. Clark co-published with three other authors in 1941.

General Thesis

     The thesis of this paper will be that there is no dualistic Great Controversy between opposing forces of God and Satan, only a Great Redemption in Christ purposed from the foundation of the worldSatan appears to be a powerful force in the conflict of kingdoms throughout human history.  However, he had no power except that given to him from above.  It is only the non-elect humans abandoned by God to the soul destructive activities of Satan and his associate devils.  The souls of the elect of God cannot be harmed by him whatsoever.  This in no way denies that Satan works throughout history attempting to discourage and destroy professed believers.  The command of Peter to believers regarding diligence to escape the ‘lion’ is in this context, it is an exhortation to soberness in view of Belial’s persecuting activities in the dwindling kingdom of Satan.  But the only souls Satan is deceived into thinking he has great success with are those who are false professors, not destined by God to salvation.  The devil in fact cannot own souls or destroy souls--God in His sovereignty owns and destroys all reprobates among mankind.  Satan is an idiot pawn created solely for carrying out God’s historical purposes opposite of redemption, culminating in the final manifestation of wrath executed by the Son who has been given all judgment.  Though Satan is currently the Prince of this World in the kingdom of darkness, he will be the lowest and most scorned resident of the lake of fire, devoid of all power to torment any other residents of the place of divine comedy.

     It should be noted here that the history of Augustinian and Calvinistic predestination has never fully shed itself of Neo-Platonic dualistic philosophy.  The taught views of historic Calvinistic churchmen retain the dualism here presented; their actual position is a paradoxical union of prescience and predestination and not purely predestinarian.  In the established Calvinistic theology, God must deal with the established warp and woof of the undesirable principles embedded in the ‘dark side’ of the universe (eternal law and sin) when formulating His plan.  As a result, He cannot fully receive His pleasure in all things in the counsel of His purposes, He must mourn over the tragedy of damned souls eternally because ‘it could not be otherwise’ in universal principles of law.  When affirming God is not the author of sin, historic churchmen typically mean not only that God is not the approbator of sin (an absolute truth), they also mean He does not create it.  It is proposed that God cannot create evil external to Himself without also being evil in Himself.  Therefore, the creator is reduced to the creature, only able to perform acts of creation that are direct manifestations of His own internal being.  Universal law forbids Him from creating evil to achieve His eternal purposes unless the evil created is also a product of His own nature!

     It is clear from the New Testament that the limited but significant power God granted Satan in past ages (such as in the history of Job) over weather, murders, thieves, and other destructive earthly elements and persons to test the loyalty of the elect is ended.  Satan is in reality a very small and imbecilic enemy from the eternal perspective, the biggest ‘meathead’ of all, arrogantly thinking that the infinite eternal God can be frustrated in His purposes--even unto the last judgment when he is put down forever.  All of Satan’s apparent successes as Prince of this World are viewed as great by the kingdom of darkness.  However, in fact they are puny temporal victories from God who is unleashing His present wrath against the non-elect.  He sends material judgment, spiritual deception (strong delusion), and ruination of soul to those who hate the truth of the gospel and take pleasure in rebellion against everything belonging to the kingdom of light.  Satan’s utter foolishness in thinking he is powerful against the eternal God extends even to the time of Christ’s final return, when he is released from his binding (restrained activity in the nations since Christ’s first advent) to deceive the remaining non-elect souls on Earth into thinking they can successfully stage a rebellion against Christ and his people (Rev. 20:7-9).  Can anything be more ignorant and stupid than the person of Satan?  It is not possible.  Yet we are educated from the cradle up on how incredibly smart the devil is: this situation had not changed today!  Church leaders (including the Roman pontiff, recently) and the media bombard us constantly with the ‘smart devil’ teaching.  But no matter how high the ‘intelligent quotient’ of a wicked angelic or human soul might be as evaluated by mere mortals, those who lack the wisdom of God are at the bottom of thinking and reasoning ability from an eternal perspective!  The perfect example of this among humanity are cult leaders who appear to have ‘great wisdom’ and thus gain control over thousands of minds, then end up destroying themselves, deluded into thinking they have such ‘power’ that nothing in the world (whether natural or governmental) can do anything to them, including God!

Pre-Christ Teaching on Satan

     As stated in the disclaimer, all quoted internet sources contain evidence of the position being affirmed in the context of their citation.  Yet most of them also contain a significant number of false skeptical anti-biblical assertions not supported by those who believe the entirety of God’s revelation in the sacred scriptures.  Certain truths essential to the gospel are purported to be invented myths, in typical humanistic fashion.   Believers who embrace the true gospel are trusted to recognize these errors and the false skeptical pre-suppositions behind them.  There will be no attempt to identify every falsehood of this sort and refute it biblically, which is beyond the purpose of this study.

     In the Old Testament, Satan is mentioned in various passages: 1 Chron. 21:1 (provoking David to number Israel with a census against God’s command), also Psalm 109:6-20 where David imprecates God to send Satan and a more wicked man than his persecutor (Saul) to be partners in crime against his (David’s) own wicked adversaries:

Set thou a wicked man over him:
and let Satan stand at his right hand.
When he shall be judged, let him be condemned:
and let his prayer become sin.
Let his days be few;
and let another take his office.
Let his children be fatherless,
and his wife a widow.
Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg:
let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places.
Let the extortioner catch all that he hath;
and let the strangers spoil his labour.
Let there be none to extend mercy unto him:
neither let there be any to favour his fatherless children.
Let his posterity be cut off;
and in the generation following let their name be blotted out.
Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with the Lord;
and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out.
Let them be before the Lord continually,
that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.
Because that he remembered not to shew mercy,
but persecuted the poor and needy man,
that he might even slay the broken in heart.
As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him:
as he delighted not in blessing, so let it be far from him.
As he clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment,
so let it come into his bowels like water,
and like oil into his bones.
Let it be unto him as the garment which covereth him,
and for a girdle wherewith he is girded continually.
Let this be the reward of mine adversaries from the Lord,
and of them that speak evil against my soul. Psalm 109:6-20

     This is not a passage likely to be exegeted in any Sunday morning sermon!  Most would consider prayer for God to imprecate non-elect enemies of the Gospel using Satan as the agent to be unrighteous and unchristian.

     Other Old Testament references are Job 1 & 2 and Zechariah 3.  In Job, Satan used the authority he was granted as the Adversary and Accuser of Brethren (pre-Christ) to murder all of Job’s children, destroy his property, and torment his body from head-to-toe for a year with a skin boil disease.  This was before Satan was thrown down from access to heaven’s court eternally at the cross and resurrection victory, never more to accuse or persecute Christ’s brethren directly and personally (Rev. 12).  In the Zechariah incident, Satan is simply rebuked by the Lord and ignored, indicating that such accusations had already become like a ‘scratched record’ in the ears of heavenly beings.

     There is not a shred of biblical evidence to support the notion that the Eden serpent was a manifestation of Satan who possessed an animal.  The following article summarizes the issue from a humanistic perspective but is very pertinent:

     https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/bible-interpretation/how-the-serpent-became-satan/

     Conclusions from the article:

Eden’s serpent is not identified with Satan anywhere in the Hebrew Bible or New Testament.

. . . the reference in Revelation 12:9 to Satan as “the ancient serpent” probably reflects mythical monsters like Leviathan rather than the clever, legged, talking creature in Eden.

     Satan is called a dragon (mythical) in Revelation 12.  The mythical dragon, referred to 22 time in the Old Testament (once in Job, 4 times in the Psalms, 6 times in Isaiah, 6 times in Jeremiah, and once each in Deuteronomy, Nehemiah, Ezekiel, Micah, and Malachi) is also equated to the mythical Leviathan in Isaiah 27:1.  So the equation with Satan as the dragon, the ancient (mythical) serpent who deceives the whole world, points to something different from the Eden serpent.  The two are related in that the first was created as the trickster to deceive one human being (Eve) and the second was created as the trickster to deceive all the masses of the world that were dispersed from Babel (Deut. 32:8, see the following article: https://faculty.gordon.edu/hu/bi/ted_hildebrandt/otesources/05-deuteronomy/text/articles/heiser-deut32-bs.htm.

     The clear distinction between the belly serpent of Genesis 3 and the ancient dragon serpent that deceives the whole world is also documented well in this article:

     https://wikivisually.com/wiki/Serpents_in_the_Bible

     The serpent in Eden clearly did not ‘deceive the whole world’, he deceived one woman who was not even the representative of mankind, Adam was.  And Adam was not deceived by the serpent’s false wisdom, he knew what he was doing and what the consequences would be when he sinned against God to please his wife (1 Tim. 2:14) by ”listening to the voice of his wife” (Gen. 3:17).  It is virtually impossible to find an interpretation of Gen. 3 that doesn’t propose a ‘de facto’ deception of Adam by the serpent through Eve, regardless of Paul’s insistence that Adam was not deceived.  But are we expected to accept this analogical and allegorical interpretation as legitimate Bible exegesis?

     In addition, Adam was the representative of elect mankind in his sin (Rom. 5:15-19, 1 Cor. 15:20-23, Rom. 11:29-32) and the expression ‘deceiver of the whole world’ refers to the world of reprobates, as the word ‘world’ often does in Revelation (3:10, 16:14).  The ancient deception of the world referred to is probably what happened in the kingdom of Nimrod’s Babel and the dispersion of all those duped into supporting it to the ends of the Earth (Deut. 32:8 cited above), which paved the way for the entire kingdom of demonic princes ruled by Satan to engage in their work of deception throughout the individual territories they were appointed to rule over.  The post-Babel order of demonic princes deceiving the whole world of reprobate souls continues to this day and will continue even unto the final coming of Christ.  The entirety of false gods constructed and worshipped by those without God’s redemptive revelation have demonic counterparts, Baal (Beelzebub) the sun god being the chief demon and false prophet of the world’s religions hating the one true God.

     God planned the great sin in the Edenic creation to plunge humanity into a state of universal rebellion, where the redemption of mankind purposed in Christ would become the most exalted action of God in all history, bringing glory to Himself in a manner that nothing else would.  The serpent as an enemy of God was given his message to speak as sure and certain as Balaam’s donkey was given his message.  The serpent was not an eternal spirit, after being cursed to crawl on his belly for the rest of his existence he passed out of existence.  His only purpose as the prototypical adversary of Christ was to be God’s trickster deceiving Eve and a representative of the spiritual seed of all future reprobates, including Satan.

     The entirety of Old Testament references to The Adversary (meaning of ‘Satan’), who became the chief of demons and Prince of this World in the present age, reveals to us that nothing whatsoever about Satan the Adversary is mentioned anywhere in the pre-flood scriptural history.  Only in post-flood history, following the dispersion of Nimrod’s Babel and the appointment by God of princes to rule over reprobates in their territories, does the work of Satan as elected leader of the host of earthly demons come into focus.  Those who see Satan in charge of the demonic hosts before the flood are not false teachers, however, nothing is recorded in the Bible regarding this.  But it is recorded that the pre-flood demons perished in the flood and were sent to Tartarus to await final judgment (Jude 1:6, 2 Peter 2:4,5) and also that Christ sent devils possessing men at Gadara to a similar destiny ‘before the time’ (Matt. 8:28-32).  So it very difficult to legitimately propose that Satan was the sole devil left unsent to Tartarus when God did not spare the demons possessing mankind at the time of the flood.

     The doctrinal controversy between pre-Christ Jews in this context is very significant.  The Pharisees and Sadducees considered the reality of demonic opposition to God as low in significance, due to their increasing belief in the reality of human free-will and the ‘obvious’ ability of every man and woman in their perception to make choices in their ‘God-given abilities’ to resist any demonic forces (whatever they are) and obey the Torah.  Jewish Nonconformity, on the other hand, placed a great emphasis on recognizing the work of demonic principalities and powers in this world as significant enemies of God’s elect attempting to plot their destruction.  The Dead Sea Scroll writings mention Belial (the ‘worthless’ one) most often as the prominent enemy of God’s elect, though Belial and Satan are never the same demon in pre-Christ or first century demonology.  Belial is the great persecutor (‘beast’, angel of destruction, angel of darkness), carrying out Satan’s orders in planning and orchestrating persecution against the elect of God to attempt destruction of their faith.  There exists a large amount of number of Old Testament references to this devil, such as the sons of Eli called ‘the sons of Belial’ (1 Sam. 2:12).  As Belial is often translated ‘worthless’ in most biblical versions, this fact is often overlooked.  Eli’s sons described as children of this top subordinate demon in Satan’s kingdom were men who did nothing but desecrate and pour contempt upon all of God’s sacred ordinances, attempting to force worshippers offering sacrifice into false worship.  Belial the Worthless attempts to force worship practices dishonoring to the Lord upon God’s people and make them abandon faith in Yahweh and His covenant promises.  The wicked and persecuting Hasmonean priesthood that developed in late second temple Judaism was essentially a repeat of the priesthood of Eli’s sons.  A large number who opposed it were put to death by the Pharisees in their alliance with queen Salome Alexandra (see below).    

     When Paul states “What accord has Christ with Belial (the demon named ‘Worthless’)? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?” (2 Cor. 6:15), he was perfectly aware of what it meant to sit at such a table having fellowship with Pharisees persecuting and killing true believers.  The party of Pharisaic Jewish leaders had been the chief persecuting enemy of God’s people for centuries before Christ.  Paul’s actions before his arrest by God on the road to Damascus were nothing but a carrying out of Pharisaic orders to perform the same murderous acts against opponents they had already performed for centuries before.  Paul had been the chief hero of Belial’s earthly empire.  Most of the persecution of gospel Christians in the first century was plotted by the ‘synagogue of Satan’, Pharisaic Jews who allied with the Roman government to persuade them to confiscate the property of Christians and put them to death.

     Some background on the Jewish concept of Belial as the chief demon in charge second only to Satan may be found here: http://www.occultopedia.com/b/beliar.htm.  It should be kept in mind that the full equation of Belial with Satan (as with Beelzebub) was in no way part of Jewish or first century Christian belief--but only evolved later among those who were convinced that Satan is the only named devil in scripture.  Belial was historically affirmed to be Satan’s chief agent.  Even John Milton in Paradise Lost, though affirming the traditional dualistic Augustinian belief on the nature and origin of Satan, distinguishes Belial and Beelzebub as personal demons separate from but ruled by Satan.  This harmonizes with a knowledge of traditional Jewish views.

Traditional Jewish Views of Satan

     The following quotation is a summary of the traditional Pharisaic views on this matter, whether before or after Christ’s first advent.  After Pharisaic Judaism rejected the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Messiah in the first century, it was able to silence other Jewish sects in general (whether Sadducee or Nonconformist) and unite apostate Judaism under one Pharisaic banner of Talmudic doctrine.  Nothing significant has changed since then.  The following online quotation is from a site defending traditional Pharisaic Judaism against Christianity:

Christian View

In Christian belief, Satan is a fallen angel that has freedom of choice and rebels against God. Christians conveniently use the “Satan, to explain any evil or irrational behavior (such as non-belief in Jesus as messiah or god). The New Testament is fertile ground for this outlook. It is only here that Satan becomes a wicked, rebellious angel, which quite likely evolved the character called Satan into an evil angel and enemy of God based on theological Persian dualism where such a construct is present.

Jewish View

He (Satan) is clearly subordinate to God, a member of His suite (Heb. Bene ha-elokim), who is unable to act without his permission. Nowhere is he in any sense a rival of God. [The Encyclopedia Judaica]

The Christian claim that it was Satan who created evil is utterly fraudulent according to our Tanach:

I (God) form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.  Isaiah 45:7

God creates all things, not simply good things.

There isn’t a single verse in the entire Tanach that states that Satan ever created evil or ever disobeyed a command from God. Satan is an obedient servant of God in the Tanach who serves the role of man’s accuser in God’s court.

Creation of Temptation

God created the temptation to do evil partially to test our loyalty, and partially to improve us. That is why the word (Satan- שטן) in Hebrew literally means an adversary (Numbers 22:22) that comes to challenge us. We find this notion throughout the Book of Job, where God gives permission to the Satan to challenge the righteous Job.

In fact, one of the most dramatic and powerful expressions of man’s struggle with God and his conscience involves Job and Satan. God had given Satan permission to afflict Job with all manner of hardships and misfortune. In turn, Job loses his family and possessions, and is stricken with boils and disease. As he sits in sheer agony, his close colleagues remark, “Your piety is your foolishness.” Even his wife chews him out, saying, “Are you still holding fast to your integrity? Curse God, and die.” But Job tells them, “You speak as one who is despicable. Should we accept only the good from God and not also accept the evil?” (Job 2:910).

Source: The Jewish View of Satan, an article posted at the Jews.for.judaism.org website.

     The ‘Christian View’ portrayed above is assuredly not the New Testament teaching but is very much like the later dualistic perspective of Justin, Origen, and Augustine who later modified the biblical doctrine according to their Platonic and Neo-Platonic free-will philosophy.  Since the doctrines of Augustine on the nature, origin, and history of Satan are still recognized as ‘orthodoxy’ by virtually all historic churchmen, it is clear why the present ‘Christian’ beliefs are summarized in this manner by Talmudic Judaism.

     The ‘Jewish View’ portrayed above regarding Satan’s origin, except for the denial of Satan’s adversarial role as the chief enemy of God, largely reflects the Old Testament perspective reviewed above on the nature of Satan and where he came from.  He is not the creator of evil, he never ‘fell’ from heaven in rebellion after first being a holy and righteous cherub covering the glory of God, he never led a third of holy and sinless Sons of God into following him in rebellion.  God is the creator of everything including evil.  While even Pharisaic Judaism admits this fact, it completely denies the corollary truth that only God can deliver from the sin nature present in every soul from conception and regenerate the spirit of man.

     The Jews for Judaism article cited above concludes with these words:

“It is the mission of every conscientious person to overcome temptations and do what is correct. The Torah itself (Genesis 4:7) teaches that is a mission within our grasp to fulfill. There is nothing to fear from the temptations of the Satan when one is focused on Godliness and self-improvement.

     In this context, we turn to the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, written between the Old and New Testament scriptures, which summarizes the accepted Pharisaic position still believed and promoted today by anti-Christian Pharisaic Talmudists.

     https://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/fbe/fbe266.htm

     The Platonic free-will philosophy in this Pharisaic work the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs is obvious.  It stands in clear opposition to the nonconformist doctrine of the Teacher of Justification in 1QH of the Dead Sea Scrolls.  The ‘teacher’ who probably authored the 1QH psalms, in the judgment of this writer, was likely the Zadokite priest Onias III who was the last known legitimate high priest in Israel.  He was murdered by conspiracy (followed to his ‘place of hiding’) by the ideological ‘fathers’ of Pharisaic Judaism, who quickly rose to power in second temple Judaism after the overthrow of Antiochus Epiphanes by the Maccabees.  The Pharisees became a monstrously murderous sect after rising to full power under Queen Salome Alexandra (Flavius Josephus, The Wars of the Jews, Book 1, Chapter 5).  To please Alexandra, they installed her son John Hyrancus as High Priest and inaugurated the corrupt Hasmonean priesthood that entirely did their bidding.  The dastardly line of powerful reprobate priests from that point on ultimately killed both Zechariah father of John (the last recorded ‘just’ temple priest in Israel) and Jesus Christ the Messiah.

     The Testaments is from the same era as the Teacher’s ministry and the contrast is readily apparent:

The distance of the anthropology of the Testaments from the Qumran doctrine of the spirits could not be greater. In the Testaments God is not the source of both the good and evil spirits; the presence of evil spirits is against both God and humankind. Not only is the internal struggle a deviation from the original plan of creation, but also God has not preordained the outcome. The number of good and evil spirits is the same in each individual, which guarantees humans fairness in the struggle and gives the last word over to human responsibility. It is the "conscience of the mind" that ultimately makes the difference. Gabriele Boccaccini, Beyond the Essene Hypothesis (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing—March 30, 1998), p. 141.

     The philosophy of the Rabbis and other Platonic-thinking Jews would affirm that all of mankind knows truth and error equally; that each person is responsible to choose between the two using absolute freedom of choice. The outcome of such ‘knife’s edge’ choices are not predictable in advance, since there is a complete possibility of both outcomes materializing.  The rabbinic teaching here is opposite of the teachings of Christ, the Apostles, and the nonconformist Teacher (1QHodayot Psalms) from the late second temple era B.C.E.  The free will system of belief in the Testaments is grounded in a dualistic philosophy of the powers in control of the universe and man’s ultimate destiny.  The gospel of Christ affirms only one power in control of final outcomes: the sovereign purpose of Yahweh.

     The history of the doctrine of Satan and the ‘demonic trinity’ ruling the non-elect of this present world, leading up to Christ and the Apostles as well as subsequently, is largely summed up in this article in the Encyclopedia Brittanica:

     https://www.britannica.com/topic/Christianity/Satan-and-the-origin-of-evil

     The content of this work is very pertinent, though it also presents a false conclusion regarding the nature of Satan and his followers as taught by Christ and the apostles.  The Manichean dualism as referred to is not the same as the two kingdoms taught in Isa. 45.  It is not what influenced the Old Testament prophets, Christ, and the apostles in formulating doctrine!  But it is interesting how so many sources refer to Isa. 45:7 as evidencing God’s creation of both the kingdoms of light and darkness; good and evil.  But most expositors of this passage claim the darkness God creates is calamity only and not spiritual wickedness, thus denying God’s creation of the entire temporal kingdom of darkness for His ultimate glory in its downfall.

From the article:

The Devil first appears as an independent figure alongside God in the Hebrew Scriptures.  There evil is still brought into a direct relationship with God. Even evil, insofar as it has power and life, is effected by God: “I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe, I am the Lord, who do all these things” (Isaiah 45:7).

In the New Testament the features of an anti-godly power are clearly prominent in the figures of the Devil, Satan, Belial, and Beelzebub—the “enemy.” He is the accuser, the evil one, the tempter, the old snake, the great dragon, the prince of this world, and the god of this world, who seeks to hinder the establishment of God’s dominion through the life and suffering of Jesus Christ. Satan offers to give to Christ the riches of this world if Christ will acknowledge him as supreme lord. Thus, he is the real antagonist of the Messiah–Son of Man, Christ, who is sent by God into the world to destroy the works of Satan.

Contemporary Evangelical Views

     Below are links to articles from two prominent hypo-Calvinist teachers of current day evangelicalism promoting the classical view of the ‘fall’ of Satan from heaven.  Although these are presentations attempting to explain the origin of evil and why it exists, neither ends up with any definite solution to how and why sin came to exist in the creation of God.  In harmony with the continued dualism of the Augustinian Neo-Platonic perspective on the principle of evil being eternal and external to anything God created, we are exhorted to leave the issue in mystery and not attempt to explain what cannot be explained.  We simply are left to affirm the ultimate contradiction that a Satan and Adam created sinless without a single impulse toward sin nonetheless caved to the infection of the sin principle ever-present in the universe.

     John MacArthur:

     https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/90-235/the-origin-of-evil

     Sample from MacArthur:

Now, let me take it a step further.  God did not create evil, He did not author evil, He did not make evil.  But listen carefully, very important, God did decree to use evil as a part of His eternal plan, okay?  He will not be culpable for it.  He did not bring it into existence.  That would be impossible because God is good, all good, and only good.  Therefore, whatever comes out of Him is all good and only good.  God can therefore produce only good.  And what is evil but the absence of that good, which is a choice made by the reasonings, based upon the information revealed through His creatures.  But, God was not caught off guard.  In fact, God decreed that evil would be part of His plan.  He is not the creator of evil and He is not the cause of evil.  He did not bring evil into existence in a cosmic sense, and He did not and does not bring evil into existence in a personal sense.  He is not the cause of sin, nor is He the cause of sins in the lives of people.  But He does use it for His purposes.

And that’s why in Isaiah 45:7, write this down, you may run across it, it says, “God creates calamity.”  Some older translations say He creates evil.  That is a really poor translation and not true.  God does create calamity.  If you read the context of Isaiah 45:7 it is clear that judgment is the issue.  God does not create evil, but God does bring judgment on evil, creating therefore the calamity by which evil is judged.

Now, listen carefully.  Scripture written by God always assigns the guilt and responsibility for all sin to creatures, never to God, never to God.  Folks, that’s all we know.  Okay?  I’ve taken you as deep as I can go.  There’s nowhere else to go.  That’s all we know.  Beyond that, we operate in faith. 

     John Piper:

     https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/where-did-satans-first-desire-for-evil-come-from

     Samples from Piper:

As far as I can see, no explanation is offered in the Bible for how Satan became evil. I know there are hints that he was a perfect angel created by God.

I am not a dualist. God and his goodness and wisdom and power are the only ultimate eternal realities. Evil is somehow derivative. It is secondary without God being a sinner. Concerning all of that virtually all Christians agree on.

How did Satan become evil? I do not know. It is plain to me that those who believe in ultimate self-determination of God’s creatures, like angels and humans, don’t know either. To say that Satan had free will — that is ultimate self determination — is not an explanation for why he committed his first sin. It is a label. It is not an explanation.

We don’t know. The Bible doesn’t explain how.

Rob quotes Norman Geisler who says, “The unmistakable, logical conclusion for the extreme Calvinist for both Lucifer and Adam that they sinned is because God gave them the desire to sin.” Now I am not sure whether I qualify for Geisler’s extreme Calvinist, but I strongly suspect that I do. But just at this point I am disagreeing with that description of me, and I am saying: “No, I am not driven to say God gave Lucifer his first desire to sin. That is an oversimplification of virtually everybody’s viewpoint. I do not know how Lucifer came to feel his first inclination to rebel against God.”

Here is what I do know. God is sovereign. Nothing comes to pass apart from his plan, which includes things he more or less causes directly — things he more or less permits indirectly. There is no doubt in my mind that Satan’s fall and all of the redemptive plan of God for the glory of his grace afterwards was according to God’s eternal plan. But it is precisely at this point that the how of the causality of Satan’s first sin worked we do not know.

I have a category in my thinking, in other words, for the fact that God can see to it that something come to pass which he hates. This is what he did, for example, when he planned the crucifixion of Jesus, according to Acts 4:27–28.  The murder of Jesus was sinful, and it was planned down to the detail by God. You can read it in the Psalms, and you can read it in the New Testament. Precisely how God does that, maintaining his sinlessness and the sin of the things that comes about and the moral accountability of those who do those sins, the how of that, I do not know. But I think the Bible leads us to believe that he is sovereign over all sin and that he never sins. That is what I believe the Bible teaches.

     John Piper evidences a reasonably clear understanding of the philosophical issue; he attempts to formulate his argument based on an anti-dualistic thesis.  Nonetheless, he ends up with the same anti-knowledge conclusion espoused by majority of professed Christian teachers, leaving the issue to ‘mystery’.  The core basis of Augustine’s Neo-Platonic dualism remains in the teaching of both men quoted above, who are using the same arguments of almost all expositors since St. Gus.  When John Piper relegates the origin of evil to “things he [God] more or less permits indirectly”, he has caved to Neo-Platonic dualism whether he will admit it or not.  Indirect permission means that God predestined all created history with the assumption that the principle of sin was already present in the eternal fabric of the universe, so God’s purposes had to be formulated on the basis of His prescience of the inevitable and eventual occurrence of the ‘mystery of iniquity’, not on the basis of His definite predestined purpose in causing sin as the awful reality Christ would save elect humanity from.

The Monstrous Doctrine of Satan Owning Souls

     In the context of what has already been stated earlier, there is nothing whatever in the Old or New Testaments teaching that Satan possessed the Eden serpent after planning to cause the ‘fall’ of mankind before creation after being banished from heaven with his angelic followers.  According to the populist view, this ‘fall’ gave Satan ownership of all the souls of mankind, which ownership God gained back in the redemption achieved in Christ.  This erroneous teaching assumes that Satan knew of God’s plan to create the Earth and Adam (mankind) to inhabit it, then came up with an ingenious plot to win ownership of all human souls and take them away from God, thus possessing the serpent in Eden which act God ‘allowed’.

     The doctrine of a pre-creation ‘fall’ of Satan and his angels with the subsequent plan to win the souls of mankind through temptation goes hand in hand with the Patristic or ‘classical’ doctrine of atonement.  Since most of visible Christendom agrees on the teaching of Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Protestantism, and Nonconformity regarding ‘fallen angels’ before creation, all follow Augustine as they do on a myriad of other doctrines.  Most Christian teachers deny the classical atonement view as a ransom paid to the devil invented by Origen and believed for centuries after.  This has been replaced by a doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement owed to the eternal law.  But the basic doctrine that Satan gained ownership of souls when he succeeded with Adam has not changed.  In the new doctrine since Anselm, Satan succeeded in using the eternal law that God derives His honor from to gain ownership of souls instead of making a bargain with God for a direct paid ransom.  The ransom is owed to the eternal law governing the universe which is the backdrop constraining God’s predestined purposes.  The same dualistic philosophy is present in either view, God was obligated to pay a ransom by the death of His Son that is owed to something or someone external to Himself.  The atonement is not something God is determined in His sovereignty to owe to Himself, it is instead owed to an eternal principle of law demanding justice.  This justice gave God no other option for achieving the salvation of humans once Satan succeeded in owning all souls.

     The following excerpt from a sermon of Charles H. Spurgeon is very exemplary of the typical ‘evangelical’ doctrine prominent to this day that either God or Satan owns every individual soul:

Aye, we bless God, we thank him that there will be no separate table for one and for another. The Jew and the Gentile will sit down together. The great and the small shall feed in the same pasture, and we shall "sit down with Abraham, but my text hath a yet greater depth of sweetness, for it says, that "many shall come and shall sit down." Some narrow-minded bigots think that heaven will be a very small place, where there will be a very few people, who went to their chapel or their church. I confess, I have no wish for a very small heaven, and love to read in the Scriptures that there are many mansions in my Father's house. How often do I hear people say, "Ah! straight is the gate and narrow is the way, and few there be that find it. There will be very few in heaven; there will be most lost." My friend, I differ from you. Do you think that Christ will let the devil beat him? That he will let the devil have more in hell than there will be in heaven? No; it is impossible. For then Satan would laugh at Christ.  There will be more in heaven than there are among the lost. God says, that "there will be a number that no man can number who will be saved;" but he never says, that there will be a number that no man can number that will be lost. There will be a host beyond all count who will get into heaven. What glad tidings for you and for me! For, if there are so many to be saved, why should not I be saved? Why should not you? Why should not yon man, over there in the crowd, say, "cannot I be one among the multitude?" (New Park Street Pulpit, Vol. 1, “Heaven and Hell”, September 4, 1855)

     No Christian believer who loves the gospel will challenge Spurgeon’s affirmation of the triumph of eternal Grace over eternal Wrath in the purposes of God.  Nonetheless, Spurgeon is very wrong in expositing the superiority of Grace as an issue of numbers of souls saved versus those damned.  It is the purposed ownership of human souls by Satan prior to his possessing a snake in Eden, in harmony with the Augustinian doctrine of Satan’s planned theft of souls before creation, that governs the perspective of Spurgeon.  Spurgeon perceives God’s defeat of Satan’s purposes in this regard as insuring that He will own more souls in heaven than Satan will own in hell.  The continuous evan-jelly-fish browbeating of members on the urgency of ‘witnessing’ to give God the greater victory than Satan in the end is evidence that Spurgeon’s doctrine has not changed in popularity.  Growth in numbers of registered church membership is viewed as the equivalent of success in God.

     This notion of the devil in charge of hell, instead of being its chief and deepest subject according to the scriptures, is also front and center of neo-Calvinist and Arminian teaching to this day.  It is entirely the product of the notion of Satan owning souls & causing the torturing fire and roasting portrayed in traditional ‘hell evangelism’ preaching fables.  Every media news story about a skeptic dying and going to hell, witnessing the torture of demons toward damned human souls, & then coming back to warn the world has top attention immediately.  A fake news story in 1989, documented at this website: https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4307, was immediately circulated as undisputed fact by massive numbers of hell-evangelism ministers in the United States and elsewhere, including the Trinity Broadcasting Network.  The alleged event proposed that scientists drilled 9 miles into the Earth in Siberia and discovered hell and the screams of its tortured inhabitants.  The story is still believed by a large populace to this day.  The publisher of the false news story had written an ‘official’ communication letter sent out from a fictional scientific engineering company.  It was totally intended as a joke to see how fast it would catch on with undiscerning masses.  He was rewarded tenfold in his expectations!  It is no wonder that ‘evangelicals’ in general are viewed by the world’s masses as lunatics.

     This longstanding Texas American poem from about Satan owning souls and torturing them is typical of the hell-evangelism doctrine and earns much praise from most ‘evangelicals’:

A Texas cowboy lay down on a barroom floor,
Having drunk so much he could drink no more;
So he fell asleep with a troubled brain
To dream that he rode on a hell-bound train.

The engine with murderous blood was damp
And was brilliantly lit with a brimstone lamp;
An imp, for fuel, was shoveling bones,
While the furnace rang with a thousand groans.

The boiler was filled with lager beer
And the devil himself was the engineer;
The passengers were a most motly crew—
Church member, atheist, Gentile, and Jew,

Rich men in broadcloth, beggers in rags,
Handsome young ladies, and withered old hags,
Yellow and black men, red, brown, and white,
All chained together—O God, what a site!

While the train rushed on at an awful pace—
The sulphurous fumes scorched their hands and face;
Wider and wider the country grew,
As faster and faster the engine flew.

Louder and louder the thunder crashed
And brighter and brighter the lightning flashed;
Hotter and hotter the air became
Till the clothes were burned from each quivering frame.

And out of the distance there arose a yell,
"Ha, ha," said the devil, "we're nearing hell!"
Then oh, how the passengers all shrieked with pain
And begged the devil to stop the train.

But he capered about and danced for glee,
And laughed and joked at their misery.
"My faithful friends, you have done the work
And the devil never can a payday shirk.

"You've bullied the weak, you've robbed the poor,
The starving brother you've turned from the door;
You've laid up gold where the canker rust,
And have given free vent to your beastly lust.

"You've justice scorned, and corruption sown,
And trampled the laws of nature down.
You have drunk, rioted, cheated, plundered, and lied,
And mocked at God in your hell-born pride.

"You have paid full fair, so I'll carry you through,
For it's only right you should have your due.
Why, the laborer always expects his hire,
So I'll land you safe in the lake of fire,

"Where your flesh will waste in the flames that roar,
And my imps torment you forevermore."
Then the cowboy awoke with an anguished cry,
His clothes wet with sweat and his hair standing high

Then he prayed as he never had prayed till that hour
To be saved from his sin and the demon's power;
And his prayers and his vows were not in vain,
For he never road the hell-bound train.

Web address: https://allpoetry.com/Hellbound-Train

     A myriad of so-called ‘evangelical’ preachers have taught that God created eternal torturing hellfire as the reality described above--so that those who proclaim such doctrine vividly will have great numerical success in evangelism.  This notion makes hellfire something that brings glory to man, not God. Where is there any testimony in scripture regarding the gospel where a regenerate soul confessed “I believed on Jesus Christ as my savior to escape the devil’s hell”?  Enough said.  The lake of fire (God’s perpetual tormenting presence) is primarily and specifically created for Satan and his angels (Mt. 25:41).  Reprobate humanity ends up in the same state as the demons led by Satan, though in lesser misery.  The details of all this will be deferred to other studies.  But the reprobate demons do not torment the reprobate humans, instead all damned souls will endure the undesirable presence of God as a consuming fire unto His glory.  He will laugh at their misfortune (Psalm 2:4, 37:13, 59:8; Prov. 1:26) along with the redeemed saints (Ps. 52:6), which is the earned fortune of their prior self-exaltation.  Satan is hell’s lowest and most derided creature in charge of nothing, not even one of the demons above him.  Hell ‘evangelism’ based on the torturing activity of Satan and demons is lying false teaching.

     Satan, being cast down (Rev. 12) and sealed in the bottomless pit (Rev. 20) can no longer argue as an adversary of God as he formerly did regarding Peter (Luke 22:31).  He and his hosts can no longer murder, control weather, bring illness to God’s elect, or many other former abilities.  He reigns from the bottomless pit, meaning a position of no authority to personally possess souls of men or control earthly kingdoms. Rev. 9:1-11 teaches that demonic forces in the New Covenant era, upon kingly orders from the destroyer who rules them from the bottomless pit, have power only to torment reprobates in this life with bondage to sin, lies and deception, and physical torture by disease or calamity--but not to kill them.  And all of these activities only achieve the purposes of God to bring present wrath upon the non-elect.  The only power given to demons with respect to the elect of God is external (not internal) temptation which is used of God to test and strengthen His own.  The binding of the strong man as illustrated by Christ in is complete.

Isaiah 14:3-23 and Ezekiel 28:1-19

     Nowhere is Satan mentioned in these two prophetic passages regarding the certain doom of Babylon and Tyre.  Yet age after age, a legion of interpreters confidently assert that these are direct prophecies outlining the nature, origin, history, and destiny of Satan himself.  The hermeneutic used to support this notion is strictly one of reasoning from analogy, which is always false interpretation when expositing any biblical passage.  The Bible uses a lot of analogy to illustrate truth but never as a sole basis of establishing truth.  People of God need to listen to what teachers are saying and recognize when a ‘slick’ use of analogy is provided as the basis for ‘sure and certain fact’.

     Starting with the published views of Origen of Alexandria in the 3rd century, these two Old Testament passages have been cited as evidence of a pre-creation ‘fall’ of Satan and the lesser portion of angelic beings with him.  Origen was a staunch Neo-Platonic dualist, his treatise On First Principles is the classic work on ‘christened’ Neo-Platonism.  Augustine was later to refine, legitimize, and systematically defend Origen’s philosophical teaching on the origin of evil.  As with a host of other traditional dogma, there is a simple 3-word phrase that accurately summarizes the history of this doctrine ever since: all follow Augustine!  The second part of this article will document detailed sources tracing the post-apostolic history of how the Augustinian doctrine of Satan came to exist.

     The Isaiah 14 passage is akin to any other prophecy of doom on a nation, the language is not unique at all.  The history of the rise and fall of the kingdom of Babylon is stated, its utter arrogance in claiming godlike power and the certainty of utter destruction in the end, with the result as peoples of the earth celebrating deliverance from her!  The name Lucifer refers to the rising day star in the morning (Venus) and isn’t even associated with evil, it is merely an illustration of what Babylon once was in its relative greatness.

     The Ezekiel 28 passage is a double-taunt, one against the prince of Tyre and the other against the kingdom of Tyre.  The Old Testament often cites a correspondence between earthly rulers and their demonic counterparts (Dan. 8:11; 8:25; 10:13,20; 11:22).  Both the human rulers and the territorial demons possessing them are called Princes.  In this context it is important to note that not all territorial princes (“sons of God”) dispensed to the nations after the fall of Nimrod’s Babel (Deut. 32:8) were non-elect angels, only some.  The non-elect wicked principalities referred to in Ephesians 6:12 and both elect and non-elect principalities referred to in Colossians 1:16 are all God’s agents, achieving His predestined purposes in the history of nations.  Both the elect and non-elect territorial angels were created as they are, with either eternal immunity to the possibility of sin or inevitable rebellion in sin as the essence of their core being.

     Michael the elect Archangel is also called a Prince (Dan. 8:25, 10:13, 10:21, 12:1).  Christ the anointed one (High Priest) who is to come is called a Prince (Dan. 9:25,26), as well as Onias III--the last just high priest in Israel who faithfully defended the covenant (Dan. 11:22).

     It is very important in consideration of this passage to acknowledge that although parallels are drawn in scripture between prince (general earthly ruler) and devil, nowhere in scripture is a parallel drawn king and devil.  The taunt against the Prince of Tyre (both ruler and demonic possessor) is in verses 1-10.  But when it comes to the second taunt in verses 11-19, this is against the king/kingdom of one relatively small territory.  It is true that Satan is at the helm of the kingdom of darkness and devotes his existence to sowing the seed of rebellion against Christ throughout the world.  But again, unlike the parallel between prince and devil, there is no parallel in scripture between king and devil when it comes to specific limited territorial entities.  The taunt in verses 11-19 is exclusively against the kingdom of Tyre and its entire history from when God raised it up to when God brought it down.  Though we have little recorded history of this kingdom in its original justness, the passage clearly states that it was originally established in justice and followed the Lord’s expectations for earthly nations.  Therefore, we have the analogic references to Eden, the guardian cherub, blamelessness, and the mountain of God (Zion in Israel).  A covenant of mutual justice and peace between the king of Tyre and the king of Israel, established within Israel at some point in the past, is the event most likely referred to.

Interpretation of the Genesis 3:15 Messianic Promise

     The promise of the seed of the woman (male by gender) crushing the head of the serpent confirms to many that God was directly addressing Satan when He stated it, since Christ destroyed the work of the devil in His victory over sin and death.  The fault of this reasoning is that it doesn’t comprehend the representative nature of the entities involved.  The serpent as the type of Satan to come and Eve as the type of Christ to come are the realities expressed here.  Satan is the SEED of the Eden Serpent as Prince of this World and head of the demonic trinity, along with Belial the Beast--Prince of persecution against God’s people (‘worthless’ or ‘lawless one’ in Daniel and Paul), and Beelzebub the Prince of False Prophecy and Religion.  These are equivalent to the demonic ‘trinity’ of Rev. 20:10, along with ALL of Satan’s demonic and physical human followers. Christ is the SEED of the woman together with all elect humanity who are in Him.  But these SEEDS are not the same in an exact comparative sense.  Christ is the ONLY elect seed from humanity who is also God and the purposed Savior of mankind.  Elect mankind is ‘in him’ by substitution and representation, whereas all non-elect are the seed of the serpent as direct individual souls.  Christ the promised redeemer would crush the head of Satan, the purposed chief adversary of God and of all his non-elect followers--both demonic and physical human.  All of these were individually represented in the serpent as enemies of God.

     The doctrine of Satan as the Eden serpent started with Justin AFTER the post-apostolic fathers and progressed further until Origen, who basically came up the fundamentals of a dualistic doctrine perfected by Augustine.  The origin and planning of Satan in history kept getting pushed earlier and earlier in the history of the universe, leading finally to a pre-creation rebellion and ‘fall’ of angels (instead of at the cross) with Satan as the leader.  All of this was based on Platonic philosophy adopted originally by Justin, who was a Platonist.  Origen the heretic, who believed in eternal transmigration of souls based on Platonic free will, came up with the fundamental essentials of a pre-creation Satan scheming how to war against God in obtaining ownership of angelic and human souls.  Augustine as a Neo-Platonist was the final perfecter of the doctrine still believed by almost all without exception of professed Christianity today.

     The notion of Satan possessing the Eden serpent might not be anti-biblical in and of itself, if paired with the notion that Satan himself was created evil as the original trickster and ruler of demons to inhabit the flying animal.  The present writer believed this approach for a long time.  But after much study of the Bible and history, I came to increasingly doubt the accuracy of this approach.  There is nothing wrong with proposing an analogy between the flying serpent in Eden and the flying dragon Satan, who deceived the whole world in general to worship demonic gods for ages, following the dispersion from Nimrod’s Babel.  The end of Satan’s ability to deceive the nations in this regard came through the completion of the work of Christ and His exaltation as Lord of All things.  But the narrative in Genesis 3 does not in any manner point to the serpent as being possessed, including the curse of confinement to a belly crawl and ultimate death following the deception of Eve.  In no manner does this suggest that the serpent was able to sin (impossible for animals), he was created as the trickster and given his message to utter solely for the purpose of leading Eve into sin and representing all non-elect mankind who would be his spiritual seed as enemies of God.  The fact that a curse comes upon the serpent for his actions is no different than God’s commanded curse of death to be executed upon animals that have killed a human being.

New Testament References to the Activity of Satan

Satan Tempting Christ in Matthew 4, Mark 1:13, Luke 4:8

     This passage states that Christ fasted 40 days to prepare for the temptations of the devil ‘in all points’ (Hebrews 4:15), meaning ‘to the fullest extent’ as all human beings are tempted.  The three great categories of temptation summarizing all sin are mentioned in 1 John 2:16, the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and pride of life.  In this context John 14:30 (KJV) should be very relevant, “Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.”  The temptations of Satan, though purposed by God, demonstrated clearly that Jesus had no impulse whatsoever to give in to them.  He was the God-man with no impulse to sin whatsoever, thus as the predestined Savior of mankind he was impeccable with no possibility of disobeying His Father.  40 days of fasting meant nothing in terms of weakening Christ’s will to resist the sin of changing rocks into bread for food.  This, of course, shows us that physical weakness and impairment of any kind are never the real source of any human sin.

     The narrative here explicitly confirms that Christ considered the temptations of Satan as an idiotic and annoying voice, reminiscent of Zechariah 3 when the Lord simply stated “I rebuke you”.  There is no indication that Christ in His frail bodily state from fasting had any possibility of succumbing to the temptations of the devil.

Christ Damning the Sun God Baal in Mark 3:25-27, Matthew 12:26

     Some will claim that these passages equate the personal demon Beelzebub (corresponding to Baal the sun god) with the personal demon Satan, which is not the correct meaning.  Beelzebub as the agent of Satan does his work, thus the question “how can Satan cast out Satan?”.  Beelzebub is the same demonic false prophet of old working miracles under the name of Baal the sun god, the demon conquered through Elijah under the power of God which is greater than any miracle working devil.  Beelzebub is likely the demonic equivalent of the False Prophet in Revelation.

Satan ‘Stealing’ the Word from Hearts in Mark 4:15, Matthew 13:4

     It is interesting to note that only the Mark passage mentions Satan stealing the Word from the seed sown on the path, not Matthew.  But the point here is that Satan is only given the ability to immediately snatch the Word from hearts that have no interest in it.  The hardening of hearts involved in deeper apostasy from the Word represented by the grain sprouting and growing on rocky and thorny soil comes only by the direct action of God Himself.  Satan is only given very puny and laughable ability to oppose the Word of God by his own action, as illustrated by His snatching the Word away from those who haven’t even a nominal interest in aspects of its content.

Satan Entering Judas Iscariot (Luke 22:3, John 13:27)

     This passage speaks for itself, Satan personally entered and possessed Judas Iscariot until his desired objective of Christ’s arrest unto murder by the Pharisaic Jews was achieved.

     Other Passages (Acts 5:3, 26:18, Rom. 16:29, 1 Cor. 5:5 & 7:5, 2 Cor. 2:11, 11:14, 12:7 thorn is temptation, 1 Thess. 2:18 (satan hindered), 2 Thess. 2:9, 1 Tim. 1:20 & 5:15, Rev. 2:9,13,24, 3:9).

Following is a brief summary of these verses/passages:

  1. Satan’s activity as chief Adversary and Prince of this World (leader of all non-elect angelic Princes) will operate full force until the end of the age.  He commands and issues his plans from the bottomless pit through his demonic agents.  His powers over the non-elect specifically are still as alive and well as in the former age, except that he is unable to murder them at will by natural or man-caused disasters.  All whom he ‘seeks to devour’ (1 Pet. 5:8) that are non-elect will certainly be devoured.
  2. The power of Satan still operates fully in the hearts of the non-elect through his agents.
  3. Satan is already fallen from participation in the heavenly meetings of Princes and will soon be crushed entirely and forever in all aspects.
  4. Satan through his demons is still able to tempt/oppress elect believers through circumstantial obstacles of persecution, difficulty in achieving planned gospel activities, and preying upon observed weaknesses of the flesh.
  5. The ‘synagogue of Satan’ mentioned in Revelation refers to centers of government persecution established in Asia Minor, where anti-gospel Pharisaic Judaism united with the Roman monarchy to carry out a planned persecution of gospel believers.  The ‘table of Belial’ referred to elsewhere by Paul as somewhere he once fellowshipped is significant in this regard.  Apostate Jewish and Roman tyrants possessed by Belial--the demonic ‘beast’ of history and mighty Prince second only to Satan himself, supped in table fellowship to plan the destruction of their gospel-believing enemies.
  6. Satan through Beelzebub (the False Prophet) has great power to deceive the non-elect by a myriad of invented anti-gospel religions, through signs and lying wonders.

Conclusive Summary

     This article has presented evidence for a non-dualistic position on the origin, nature, activity, and destiny of Satan as the chief of devils and Prince of this World.  The historic Augustinian view is based on neo-Platonic dualistic philosophy.  The harm of dualistic and  paradoxical reasoning in interpreting the Bible in this fashion is greater than any human can imagine.  The Soli Deo Gloria implications of the Reformation gospel are ignored and abandoned in dualism, when it comes to recognizing God’s full sovereignty over evil.  Protestant confessions dogmatically affirm Plato’s ‘testing truth’ in his Republic, of which philosophical teachers in nonconformity are to be shunned: God is not the author of sin, but of the good only.  Plato was familiar with the Hebrew prophetic writings and knew that he was excluding men such as Isaiah (45:7, 46:9,10) from respect in the community of legitimate philosophers.  From the biblical perspective, sin, death, and the devil are entities created by God solely for the purpose of magnifying His glory in the victory of Christ over them.  God is never the approbator of sin (which might be implied in the expression (‘author’), however, He is most certainly the creator of sin (in terms of impulses resident in His created creatures) unto His glory, being overcome and abrogated in the redemption of Christ from it.  The dualism in the Augustinian doctrine of Satan philosophically affirms sin and law as eternal entities in the warp and woof of a space-time continuum, one without a beginning.  It denies the full sovereignty of God, in proposing that God necessarily had to design the plan of redemption with the constraints of this eternal dualistic backdrop, one that limited His will and purposes to operate within the eternity of the world and universe--of which the principles of evil were guaranteed to manifest at some point in future time.

     Paul states of Christ: He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.  For by Him were all things created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions or principalities or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him.  And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.  (Col. 1:16,17).  The entire demonic host of principalities was created in evil solely for manifesting His glory in their ultimate downfall and punishment by the eternal rule of Christ, the elect angels, and the redeemed saints over them.

    Part 2: The Historical Argument, will follow.

    Ended