Guy M. Richard: The Bible’s account of the fall in the Garden of Eden raises a number of important questions. Chief among them usually goes something like this: Where does evil come from in a good world created by a good God? We must admit that the Bible does not explicitly and definitively answer this question. But we must also acknowledge that the Bible does tell us many things that, taken together, can help us make a reasonable attempt at an answer. Where Did the Serpent Come From? Genesis 3:1 is the first Bible’s first mention of a serpent. Genesis 1–2 gives no record of God creating any such animal. But several factors support the idea that God created serpents at the same time he made every other “beast of the field.” For one thing, Genesis 3:1 tells us the serpent was “more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made,” which implies that God made the serpent, just as
Satan Always Asks Permission John Piper: What does the Bible present to us, through the whole range of redemptive history — from beginning to end — as the way God relates to Satan’s will? I don’t want to speculate. I want Bible verses. I want Bible statements about how God relates to Satan, and then maybe seeing enough ways that God relates to Satan, I could project back and say, Well, if he relates to him that way here, he related to him that way there. That’s my approach, and you can assess whether you think that’s wise. What I want to do is just give you seven glimpses of how God relates to Satan in the Bible. 1. Satan is just God’s lackey. Satan is called “the ruler of this world” in John 12:31. However, other texts say things like this: “The Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” (Daniel 4:17) The Lord
John Piper: Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. (James 5:11) Behind all disease and disability is the ultimate will of God. Not that Satan is not involved — he is probably always involved in one way or another with destructive purposes (Acts 10:38). But his power is not decisive. He cannot act without God’s permission. That is one of the points of Job’s sickness. The text makes it plain that when disease came upon Job, “Satan . . . struck Job with loathsome sores” (Job 2:7). His wife urged him to curse God. But Job said, “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). And again the inspired author of the book (just as he did in 1:22) commends Job by saying, “In all this Job did not
. Andrew Wilson: Who gave Paul his thorn in 2 Corinthians 12? It might sound like a slightly obscure, angels-on-a-pinhead question, but it is actually very significant, because it cuts to the heart of questions about divine sovereignty, suffering, goodness and the agency of the devil. Does God send adversity, to teach us or bring us to maturity? Do God and Satan work together, in some weird way? Is Satan able to act on his own initiative? Does God sometimes actively will for people to experience things they find painful, that good may result? You get the idea. The text doesn’t tell us what exactly the thorn was, and it doesn’t tell us who exactly gave it to Paul. So let’s start with what we know. 1. The thorn was “a messenger of Satan.” 2. It was given “to keep me from being too conceited” (hina mē huperairōmai). 3. It was painful, to the point that Paul pleaded with the
John Piper in Bloodlines: Satan is called the god of this world. He is a real supernatural being who hates humans and is in diametric opposition to God. He comes to steal and to destroy. There is little doubt that where maddeningly hopeless, sinful, self-destructive behaviors and structures hold sway over large groups of people—white or black, left or right—the Devil is deeply at work. “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers” (2 Cor. 4:4). “He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). What hope does a message of personal responsibility or structural intervention have against this supernatural power? None. None. They are like feathers in a hurricane. How shall any human stand against the deceitful, murderous power
From Ray Ortlund: “Fool’s gold: a term for non-gold ore similar in color to gold, usually mistaken by beginning prospectors because of the brassy glitter.” In The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God(1741), Jonathan Edwards pulled out of 1 John 4 the biblical indicators that God is at work, even if the people involved are complicating it with their own sins and eccentricities. The true gold of grace is discernible in these four ways: One, when our esteem of Jesus is being raised, so that we prize him more highly than all this world, God is at work. Two, when we are moving away from Satan’s interests, away from sin and worldly desires, God is at work. Three, when we are believing, revering and devouring the Bible more, God is at work. Four, when we love Jesus and one another more, God is at work. Satan not only wouldn’t produce such things, he couldn’t produce them, so
From Tim Chester: Here’s a helpful quote from Russell Moore (via Justin Taylor) reflecting on Satan’s third temptation of Jesus: Satan ultimately has a power that is not found most importantly in moral decay or in cultural chaos. His power is in the authority to accuse. The power of accusation. The power of holding humanity captive through the fear of death and the certainty of judgment … Satan is not fearful of external conformity to rule. Not even to the external conformity of the rule of Christ – provided there is no cross. Satan does not mind family values – as long as what you ultimately value is the family. Satan does not mind social justice – as long as you see justice as most importantly social. Satan does not tremble at a Christian worldview. He will let you have a Christian worldview as long as your ultimate goal is viewing the world … He will let you get what
This is excellent from Adrian Reynolds: All taken from Luke 8.26-39 which contains not less than all this stuff and probably more: 1. The demonic world is REAL (v27) 2. The demonic world is OPPOSED to JESUS (v28) 3. The demonic world is EXTENSIVE (v30) 4. The demonic world is DANGEROUS (v29) But… 5. The demonic world is LIMITED (by space and time)(v32) 6. The demonic world is UNDER JESUS (v31-32) 7. The demonic world is DOOMED (v31,33) 8. The demonic world is ultimately POWERLESS to stop salvation (v35-39) Brilliant! Only, if I’ve read 2 Cor. 10.3-5 correctly and Eph 6.10-18, our neglect of the battling aspect of Christianity and our neglect of, in particular, prayer, renders us much more open to the terrors of 1-4 and much less certain of the reassurances of 5-8….
From John Piper: Why doesn’t God totally remove Satan and all demons now, since he will someday without their approval (Revelation 20:10)? Here is the answer I propose in the first paragraph of chapter nine of Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ. The rest of the chapter gives the biblical basis and implications. The glory of Christ is seen in his absolute right and power to annihilate or incapacitate Satan and all demons. But the reason he refrains from destroying and disabling them altogether is to manifest more clearly his superior beauty and worth. If Christ obliterated all devils and demons now (which he could do), his sheer power would be seen as glorious, but his superior beauty and worth would not shine as brightly as when humans renounce the promises of Satan and take pleasure in the greater glory of Christ.
“Looking unto Jesus.”-Hebrews 12:2 It is ever the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan’s work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, “Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of His children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus.” All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: He tells us that we are nothing, but that “Christ is all in all.” Remember, therefore, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee-it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee-it is Christ; it is not even faith in
From 9Marks blog: Southern Seminary professor Chuck Lawless imagines what he would do if he were Satan, trying to ensnare pastors and church leaders. The whole article is here, but his seven basic points are First, I would attack those who are most gifted . . . by reminding them that they are gifted. Second, I would encourage leaders to talk about accountability . . . but not be personally accountable to anyone. Third, I would challenge leaders to emphasize spiritual disciplines . . . but only for others. Fourth, I would focus the leader’s attention on tomorrow . . . rather than today. Fifth, I would encourage ministry by e-mail . . . especially with those of the opposite gender. Sixth, I would not hinder ministry success . . . as long as “success” results in few changed lives. Seventh, I would stress failure . . . and then lead the church to do the same.
. “How could Jesus triumph over Satan in His death? We can understand this only if we recall that Satan is a parasite. He depends for His power and authority entirely upon the sinfulness of men and women. So long as we are still accounted guilty before the heavenly Judge, Satan has solid legal grounds to accuse us. Once the debt is paid, once the penalty has been administered, Satan’s head is crushed, and he falls from heaven like lightening. He no longer has an airtight case against God’s people; he has no case at all. When the Judge pronounces a ‘not guilty,’ the accuser must fall silent.” – Peter J. Leithhart, The Kingdom and the Power (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 1993), 39. (HT: Of First Importance)