Sunday, October 10, 2010

A different perspective on the devil

I saw a link to an e-book called Calvinism: A Closer Look by Daniel Gracely on another blog, a few weeks back. I've been working my way through it a bit at a time, and today I'm reading chapter 9. It gives some interesting information about the book of Job, and he's discussing some things about the nature of the devil that are also very interesting. One thing it mentions is
The book of Job is believed by most scholars to be the oldest book of the Bible.
Apparently I don't read many scholarly books, because I don't think I'd seen that before. I've really enjoyed what I've read so far in the previous chapters and I've no doubt I'll feel the same through the rest of the book which appears to be a total of 21 chapters. Here's an important paragraph from the 9th chapter I'm reading:
The position we have been advancing in this book is that God is a free will Person, and that He has made other free will persons. We also want to press forward the idea that all free will persons whom God has made, both angelic and human, have retained their free will. In fact, humans have retained it despite the Satanic activity which has affected human history, and also despite the unlawful acquiring by Adam of the knowledge of good and evil (a knowledge we inherit in seed through the male, Adamic line). In short, we believe the book of Job will show that God does not choose the choices of other persons.
Following are a few more sentences from the article, which certainly give food for thought.
For his own part Job never mentions Satan in any of his conversations, and he seems unaware of the role the Devil played in bringing about his ruin.

The Devil does not appear to be double-minded, however. By being single-mindedly set against God, Satan is all the more effective because he never gives his opposition—God and the believer—the benefit of the doubt. He always assumes the worst about God and us, and this assumption informs his protest.

Perhaps this explains why the Enemy presumed to believe the worst about Jesus, and why the demonic world was astonished when they learned that Christ had risen from the dead. In fact, the Bible tells us that had the demonic world known about Jesus’ resurrection they would not have crucified Him.

Thus, according to the Bible, God took all of Job’s possessions, including Job’s children, and put them into Satan’s power. God did this without directing Satan toward any specific end. God is not the causal agent for any of the disasters brought against Job, even though God speaks in an idiomatic way as though He were responsible for Job’s ruin by having removed His divine protection.

But we must allow God to describe Himself, not some theological system that differs from the Bible. As a friend of mine has pointed out, when Christians allow the latter, they end up going to church and worshiping theology (i.e., so called) rather than the God of the Bible. The point here is that Job teaches us that God is not sovereign in everything, but rather sovereign over everything. To be sovereign in everything would mean God foreordains ‘whatsoever comes to pass.’ To be sovereign over everything means God will ultimately judge how others have been sovereign in their own sphere of decisions.

There's a lot more there, absolutely worth reading.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

I'm reading through Job right now, too, and found this blog entry interesting. I agree with everything said. Recently, although God's sovereignty is one of the biggest themes/questions in Job, I've actually been exploring eschatology and found a very interesting passage. Before I get to that, let me say that my wife has been watching a lot of YouTube videos about eschatology for weeks now, and although my position has been "Partial Preterism" for years, I'd not really looked into it for a while and found my sense of certainty waning. After running by Gary DeMar's videos, I came to a Blog written by en equally discerning woman regarding Preterism. I found her blog after looking into evaluations of Gary DeMar. She said that he's done little to counter hyper-preterism, which is a heresy previously known as Hymanaeism which denies the ultimate resurrection and judgment. You should check out her blog and podcast. We listened to the first one last night, and it was REALLY well done.

Dee Dee Warren's

Now to Job!
This passage, from the ESV, actually seems to contradict the heresy of hyper-preterism/hymanaeism, which says that there is no final resurrection and judgment.

Job 19:23-29
23 Oh that my words were written!
Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
24 Oh that with an iron pen and lead
they were engraved in the rock forever!
25 For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
26 And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
yet in my flesh I shall see God,
27 whom I shall see for myself,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
My heart faints within me!
28 If you say, 'How we will pursue him!'
and 'The root of the matter is found in him,'
29 be afraid of the sword,
for wrath brings the punishment of the sword,
that you may know there is a judgment.

Does that not sound strangely familiar? Like Jesus' coming physically, the resurrection of all, and the final judgment?

Thanks and Blessings,