Friday, February 11, 2011

Defending the Faith

I recently received this note from a non-christian friend. I thought I'd share my response in case it helps someone else in thinking through these things. Pray for his salvation.

Friend's comments: I was gonna ask you about this show I watched the other night. God vs Satan. We all know that god cast Lucifer out of heaven for basically trying to throw a coup. At this time Lucifer was a cherub, and he had managed to get one third of gods angels to back him. I have no idea who created gods cherubs, that's another mystery to me, but he cast out Lucifer and in turn made him king of the underworld. I think that was a big mistake for someone who knows all and sees all. He turned an ordinary cherub, into a king. Some call it a balance. Kind of like the ying and yang.
If we look at society today, it's easy to see that the devil is winning this game. Now don't get me wrong, I don't believe in any of that crap. But if I was a god. I believe I would have sacrificed Lucifer instead of waiting so long than to creep into a womans house when her man wasn't home and raping her like a common criminal.
I'm a big fan of the History channel where they are continously blowing gods out of the skies and this idea had occured to me. That god in the old testament makes a lot of mistakes, just in the first book of Genisis.
And another thing occured to me in our last discussion about evolution. I have to go with the walk of man as a good example of that. At least that is solid proof. And why could Jesus perform all the magic tricks like walking on water, raising the dead, healing the sick, and feeding the multitudes but he couldn't do a thing with those nails. But cried to his so-called daddy and his daddy turned his back on him. Lucifer came out smelling like a rose.

My Comments:
In exploring things like this it is important to separate what the Bible actually says from things that it is purported to say by those who build straw men arguments against it. It is true that the Bible teaches that there must have been a rebellion in the angelic world (2 Pet 2:4; Jude 6). It is also possible that Isa 14:12-15 is a reference to the fall of Satan, although that is debated.

The cherub designation comes in if Ezekiel 28 is a reference to Satan (That is debated as well since this is in the context of referring to judgment upon earthly kings). But let's say that Satan is a cherub. It is important to note that cherub in the Bible is not some fat baby angel like in art works, but was a class of angels.

You say that you do not know who created God's cherubs. Well, that Bible says, Exodus 20:11 11 "For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them."

So, it appears that God created the angels as well.

You also mention the name Lucifer, which only appears in the KJV of Isaiah 14:12, which should probably be translated as "shining one."

But, regardless of all of that, the Bible does not say that God made Satan the king of the underworld.

Understanding how to answer that depends though on what you mean by "underworld." If by that you mean hell, then the Bible does not teach that Satan is in charge of hell. Rather hell is the place designed for his eternal punishment (Rev 20:10).

If however by underworld you mean the earth where people live, then God also did not make Him the king of the earth. Now, you may be arguing that God's act of casting Satan out of heaven made him a default ruler of sorts. If that is what you mean then i would agree, but that is only because the hearts of unbelievers follow him. It is true that he exercises a dominion over the hearts of those who do not believe in Christ. He serves as their so-called "god" as he blinds their eyes and holds them captive to do his will (Acts 26:18; 2 Cor 4:4; Eph 2:1-2; 2 Tim 2:26).

However, it is not really like the Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang. In the Bible God and Satan are not equal opposing forces. God is the sovereign creator who rules all of creation and Satan is a created but fallen being and a defeated foe (Hebrews 2:14-15) on a short leash allowed certain freedom to do his evil, but really only ends up furthering God's plan. He is able to be resisted by Christians (James 4:7; 1 Pet 5:8-9) will be crushed under their feet (Rom 16:20), and will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev 20:10).

As for looking at society and thinking that the devil is winning the game, once again this is not a biblical perspective. The Bible does not teach that God is trying to win some game. Rather, the Bible teaches that God is accomplishing the salvation of His people. And I can testify as one of them that he is doing really well. It never teaches that the world will get better, rather the expectation is that things will get worse. A rule of righteousness, peace, and love will only occur when Christ returns as King and destroys His enemies.

Now as to your idea that it would have been better to sacrifice Satan, well, once again, according to the Bible that would not have accomplished anything other than killing Satan. Jesus, who was fully God and fully man, was sacrificed in fulfillment of the OT prophecies and sacrificial types in order to as a human perfectly fulfill God's law in order to be a blameless sacrifice, and as God he was able to bear an eternity of the wrath of God toward the sins of all of His people in the short time upon the cross. Thus, he perfectly satisfied God's justice so that those who believe in Him as their savior may have the forgiveness of all of their sins.

As far as Jesus on the cross. The fact is that he could have called 12 legions of angels to defend him (Matthew 26:53-54) or could have come down himself if he had wanted to, but why would he? He lived his whole life for this purpose, to die for the sins of His people. The Bible teaches over and over that he laid down His life willingly. Then, he was resurrected so that those who believe receive the benefits of his death and are joined to Him in His resurrection as well to live a new life which will go on for eternity. As for his crying out "My God, My God Why have you forsaken me?" That is a quote from the OT in Psalm 22 and signals that Christ was fulfilling prophecy. It is true that he was abandoned to suffer the cross in the place of sinners so that he could bear the wrath of God, but this was not a weak or pitiful thing, it was rather a path to victory over death, sin, and Satan.

As for your contention that the incarnation was an act of rape, again you have it wrong on several counts. First, just for facts sake Mary was not yet married, so her "man" wouldn't be home with her. She was probably still living at home. Second, God did not rape her. He did not have a body, and did not have intercourse with her. He performed a miracle by causing her to conceive. After this miracle she is still called a virgin. So the biblical picture is not of rape. Third, perhaps you do not like the fact that He caused this to happen at all and feel that it was forced upon her. Well, if you read the account Mary is a very willing participant and in fact rejoices over her privilege to have this happen (Luke 1:26-2:7). So, your straw man argument doesn't hold up.

As for the statement that "Lucifer came out smelling like a rose." Its absurd (whatever it means?). Rather, I think he will smell more like burnt toast.

Two final comments: 1) As to your contention that God made mistakes, there is no evidence of that in the Bible. If you read the whole thing it consistently reveals that God is perfect and His whole plan can be seen in context. It is only when one tries to stand in judgment upon the Bible by their own skewed perspective and does not take it as it is intended by God that it could be construed as God making mistakes.

2) I have no idea what you mean by "the walk of man" as "solid proof" of evolution. Do you mean the fact that man walks upright? If so, wouldn't that better be evidence of a great designer?

Well, thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak the truth about my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and hopefull clarify some things. I pray that your eyes will be opened to see your sin and your need of the glorious savior and His work on the cross.

Grace and peace,