CHAPTER 8 Lucifer’s Fall in Isaiah 14, Explaining the Myth
It may seem difficult to accept such a seldom heard of concept as there not being any Satan. We are going to look at yet another clue that casts doubt on the idea of a cosmic satanic being and his hordes of minion demons, propagating and creating evil in the world. For the moment though, I would like to ask a serious question that many of us ought to ask ourselves. The question is; “Why do I need to believe in a Satan?” That may be a question one would hear from an atheist-apologist who is challenging a believer in God as to whether or not there is a God. “Why do you need to believe in a God?” they might ask. However, to ask, “Why do you need to believe in a Satan?” is not a question one would find them self confronted with along the path of typical human interactions.
It is for this reason that I ask you to find a quiet place without the influence of your pastor, rabbi, spouse, or friends and ponder this question. “Why do you need to believe there is a Satan?” Is it the same thing to say you believe there is a Satan as it is to say you believe in a Satan?
Perhaps you notice I worded those questions differently. In one question I asked,“Why…believe
in …”, and in the next I asked, “Why…. believe there is….?” Look at those two questions again and notice the different wording this time. “Why do you need to believe in a God?” “Why do you need to believe there’s a God?” “Why do you need to believe there is a Satan?” “Why do you need to believe in a Satan?”
The reason for the different wording is simple. I want you to be able to see that in conversation both ways to ask the question yield the same result. On semantics alone, it can be determined that there is a difference between the two wordings but communication is not always reliant on strict semantics. Let’s explore how both questions mean the same thing. If you ask someone the question, “Why do you need to believe there is a God?”, and you also ask them, “Why they need to believe in a God?” you will see that you are asking the same question. If you do the same word switch as I just did with the question of ”Satan,” then no one would consider the questions to have a different meaning. Believing there is a God is likened to believing in a God. Why would someone consciously believe there is a God but say I don’t believe in a God? The same thing is being said; believing there is a God is believing in a God. It is the same concept that says; believing there is a Satan is to believe in a Satan. By believing there is a Satan one is then believing that Satan does what so many attribute him to doing, that is causing evil.
Therefore, if you believe there is a “Satan” who causes evil then you are believing in a Satan. I am not implying you would be placing your life in his hands in the same way many believe in Yahweh. To admit to believing in a Satan does not mean you are admitting your reliance on Satan for your salvation. I realize there are probably only a handful of people in the world who totally reverse the roles of Yahweh and Satan and believe “Satan” to be the good guy and God is trying to annihilate the world. But I am saying, by attributing any of the things God does to a false “Satan” is not only an affront to the Creator, but shows that a person “believes” in a Satan. This unfounded but very real belief is similar to the way a child who believes there is a Santa Clause, and through the belief of his existence, believes in him. So too is having a belief that there is “Satan”, to believe in him. I suppose if one believes there is a Satan, one ought to ask him or her self this question about Satan’s abilities, “If I believe there is a Satan, what do I believe he is capable of doing?”
• Can Satan inhabit a person’s soul or take on other physical forms?
• Does Satan transcend time or is he bound by time like you and I?
• Can Satan thwart God’s plans in any real and effective way?
• Does Satan bring illness upon people and then lift the illness from them as a manipulative way to mess with their minds so they won’t turn to God?
• Can Satan resist the curse in the garden that was placed upon the serpent who according to some is supposedly Satan?
• Can Satan tell the truth about anything at all?
• Does Satan bring death or does Yahweh kill and make alive as Deuteronomy 32 states?
All these questions need to be asked if one has decided they believe Satan exists. For to believe something exist is to believe something has power, whether small or great, the facts are that a belief in Satan must be coupled with the belief that he does certain things that only a supernatural being could accomplish. For a child to believe “there is” a Santa Clause is to believe Santa has power to perform marvelous things such as fly around the entire world in 24 hours dispensing gifts to billions of people all over the world and return at the close of Christmas to begin preparing for the next Christmas in a year from that point. Believing there is “Satan” is to believe in a Satan because one then believes he has the power to dosupernatural things such as inhabit a person through “his demons” or bring evil on a city, or send a nation into exile, which we have discussed is completely an act of the sovereign Yahweh. Recall the words of the prophet Amos in chapter 3 verse 6 that teaches evil in a city is done by Yahweh:
Shall the horn be blown in a city, and the people not tremble? Shall evil befall a city, and the LORD hath not done it? Amos 3:6 Jewish Publication Society
Why would someone believe there is a Satan who causes evil, when here the prophet, speaking on behalf of Yahweh, tells us when evil befalls a city it is Yahweh who causes it? Imust remind you yet again that Isaiah 45:7 clearly tells us Yahweh does all the good and evil things. This of course is not referring to the evil that is sin and comes from man’s heart, rather the calamitous evil that falls upon individuals or people groups. Aside from the evil which proceeds from a man’s heart, nothing, absolutely nothing that is seen as “evil” is to be attributed to any force other than Yahweh. To do so means one believes in another like Yahweh. There cannot be “another” because we were told in Yahweh’s own words that there is none like Him. Isaiah is not the only one to herald this vital message. We first saw this message go to the people of God when they were engaged with the multi-god Egyptian culture prior to their exodus. At that time, Yahweh proved all the man made gods to be nothing.
For I will this time send all My plagues upon thy person, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like Me in all the earth. Exodus 9:14 JPS
If hanging on to a cosmic “Satan” helps you feel better, well then that’s sad. It is sad that many of us seem to have a need to believe in lies like the tooth fairy or that “Satan” is a living, breathing being. If you do choose to believe there is a “Satan” who is responsible for doing evil, then you in essence believe in Satan. As I have suggested above, you may not rely on this Satan as the God who could save you, but neither did the ancient Israelites who were told not to conform to the practices and beliefs of the neighboring nations, who were guilty of serving many gods. To acknowledge that there is another God who has power overanything such as the crops or the weather or illness, is to serve another God. Don’t bemistaken, Yahweh never accused Israel of serving another God to the exclusion of acknowledging Him. While acknowledging some of the gods of the pagan nations, Israel still maintained the belief that there is an omnipotent all-powerful God responsible for saving them. Much like the case of the Zoroastrians, who believed in the supremacy of their God, yet attributed all the evil to another deity and were seen as serving other gods, so too was Israel seen to be going after other Gods by their acknowledgment and homage paid to other gods.
We may be guilty of having a belief system of acknowledging more than one God. This is so when we consider the pseudo-monotheistic religions of the Far East. According to the Scriptures, use of the word gods in its plural form, referred to the primary false deity of that culture and any other false deity that was believed to require appeasing or was said to be feared. The inclusion of all their deities as “other gods” shows us that if we accept the false idea of “Satan” which is a “god” developed from the concepts in other false religions, we are accepting the existence of multiple gods. Yahweh would see that same multi-god concept being adhered to in religion today, which includes a cosmic “satan,” as if the participants are guilty of believing in a false “god.” The Scriptures say we should have no other “Gods” before Him. Supernatural power is an attribute that belongs only to Yahweh. Looking at the journey and experience of the Israelites, who have been called Judahites, in the exile to Babylon, which was conquered by Persia prior to the return of the exiles to Jerusalem; one is able to see why they found it beneficial and convenient to believe in “Satan.”
The emerging belief in a being who is responsible for the evil in their world, brought comfort to the exiled Israelites. As we have discussed in the previous chapter, they would not have to credit the evil that had befallen them, to their good and loving Yahweh. The exiles had experienced much calamity or “evil”, as many would see itand the God they had come to trust in was not capable of doing such evil to the people He loved, in enacting judgment upon His son. At least this was the thinking in their minds at the time. God was only doing what any loving parent would do to their child who continually disobeyed the parent and chose to rebel against the parents instructions and reject the request of the parent to live according to the rules that the child had agreed to abide by atone time. Eventually that parent will exercise their right to discipline that child and just may send him or her off to a type of remedial boot camp for a while for rehabilitation. In a sense, the periods of exile, which were imposed upon Israel by Yahweh, are a very serious bootcamp given as a consequence upon the disobedient and rebellious nation as a result of theirobstinance. Israel was responsible for their exile and whether we like it or not, both the exileof a delinquent son to a boot camp, and the exile of the delinquent nation of Israel, particularly Judah in this discussion, is done for their own good.
The exile is simply a response by the Master to repeated, delinquent behavior. When in exile the wise person will look at where and why they are in exile and learn the lesson it is intended to teach them. They will learn that exile is designed to direct them back to the path of truth, and therefore they will work to get on that path and stay there if it at all has anything to do with them andtheir choice. And it always does.
Continue to Part 2