Who did God curse in Gen. 3:1, 14;
Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
Genesis 3:14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
God clearly cursed the serpent; one of the creatures that he had made.
Do you think it is the devil who was cursed above all cattle and above every beast of the field, and goes around on his belly in the dust all the days of his life? If this is the case why doesn’t Genesis say so?
Who offered Jesus the world for one act of worship? Matt. 4:1 - 11;
Matthew 4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
Is there a mountain high enough to see all the kingdoms of the world? Did Jesus leave the wilderness to go there? Does the devil have the power to give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world? Does not God rule in the kingdoms of men? Does not God ordain the powers that be? Has God given the kingdoms of this world to the devil?
Daniel 4:17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.
Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
If the world is ruled by God how can the devil have the power to give the kingdoms of the world to Jesus unless God authorised him to do it?
Does this mean that God sent the devil to tempt his son to sin?
If Jesus had worshipped him what would the devil have gained?
Does the devil have a sensible strategy with an end in view and if so, where is it explained in the Bible?
Is it not infinitely more rational to consider that the temptation came from within the mind of Jesus? He had the Holy Spirit – the power of God at his disposal – surely the temptation was really about acquiring the kingdoms of the world in his own way instead of God’s way. Only he had the power to rule the world and if he did it his way he could avoid crucifixion.
Jesus was tempted exactly as we are and James explains how that happens.
James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
The devil Jesus was tempted to worship was himself and his own desires.
Jesus cast out demons/ devils Matt.4:24;
Matthew 4:24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.
Here you pass from devil to demon. Do you think that the devil is a demon – an unclean spirit? Do you think that the devil as a demon has nothing better to do than sit inside people’s minds and make them mentally ill?
What happened to release him from the curse of going about on his belly in the dust? How is he able to go from going about on his belly in the dust to sitting inside people’s minds? Where in the Bible are we told how it was done? Did God change his mind about the curse?
Having somehow managed it, does ‘possessing people’ strike you as part of a master plan to organise the world which according to the last question he already has control of? Is it not infinitely more rational to consider that an unclean spirit is just the personification of a mental illness? Does not the New Testament speak of ‘the spirit of your mind’?
Ephesians 4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
Is the spirit of your mind a supernatural entity?
Man possessed said WE are Legion for we are many.
Mark 5:9 And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.
Do you really think the man was the reluctant host of some 2000 devils (being the number of swine they entered into)? Do you think that 2000 devils have nothing better to do than sit inside the mind of one individual who spends his life among the tombs cutting himself? What would be the rationale for that?
Is not multiple personality disorder a recognised mental illness today? Notice that it was the man who spoke. Are we not given a clue when the man cured is said to be in his right mind? Is it not infinitely more rational to consider that the man had a multiple personality disorder?
Mark 5:15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind...
Jesus said, Come out of him.
Mark 9:25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.
Similar language is used of the fever that Peter’s mother-in-law had. Was the fever a supernatural entity? Did it literally leave her or is it just a figure of speech to say that she was cured?
Luke 4:39 And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them.
He healed a boy who was foaming, thrown in fire/water to destroy himself Mark 9:17
Mark 9:17 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; 18 And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. 19 He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. 20 And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. 21 And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. 22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. 23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. 24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. 25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. 26 And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. 27 But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose. 28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? 29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
The symptoms indicate that the boy was deaf and dumb and mentally ill, possiby epileptic. Again I have to ask, if his problem was literally caused by a supernatural entity, what would be the point? The inability of Jesus’ disciples to cure the child was lack of belief that they could. How do you cure a child that can’t hear you, can’t speak and is mentally ill? It was a tall order. How does fasting and prayer literally help to dislodge an unclean spirit? The healing was by the power of God, the power of God isn’t weak, it was simply their lack of faith which prevented them using it.
Jesus ordered devils out and do not enter again.
When Jesus spoke to the wind and waves could they hear him?
Mark 4:39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
Isn’t Jesus’ speaking to the ‘dumb and deaf spirit’ done for the same reason? – for the benefit of the hearers? Those who suffer from mental illness and their relatives need reassurance that it isn’t going to return.
Rev. 12: 7 - 9 - Michael fought against satan in heaven.
Revelation 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Revelation is a book of symbols, where what is shown represents that which is not seen. Consequently none of the following are literal:
... a woman clothed with the sun... travailing in birth... a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns... his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth... she brought forth a man child... her child was caught up unto God... the woman fled into the wilderness.. they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
... there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon... and his angels... the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan... he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
There can be no literal pregnant woman in heaven. The heaven represents the political heaven of the Roman Empire, and the other symbols must be identified accordingly. In verse 11 we see that Michael and his angels symbolise the faithful who preached the gospel, for it was they who ‘overcame him’ (the devil).
11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
The 'devil' they overcame was the idolatrous pagan government of the Romn Empire.
If the devil was cursed to go about on his belly in the dust in Genesis it needs to be explained how he is in heaven fighting in Revelation, the events of which were future to John’s time.
Rev. 20: 1 - 3 devil bound for 1000 years....then released again to do battle...
Revelation 20:1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
Again we are dealing with symbols which are not to be taken literally.
The bottomless pit is a symbol for non-existence. The ‘beast’ is currently residing in the bottomless pit.
Revelation 17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition:
The devil in symbol in Revelation represents government by the Godless precepts of men. During the reign of Christ this will be suppressed. Prior to the final resurrection and judgment evil men will again be allowed to rise to prominence to bring about a final confrontation. The nations are not, and never have been, deceived by a supernatural being. Men have ruled according to their own will and invented their own gods and religions.
Romans 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
All the evil comes from within men not from without.
Mark 7:21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
V.10 - devil cast into fire
10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
We are dealing with symbols. There is no literal lake of fire and brimstone. It is a symbol of utter destruction – death and hell (hades - the grave) are also thrown into it and it represents the second death.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
There is no literal beast or false prophet. The beast represents the political system and the false prophet the religious system that oppose Christ at his coming. Death and the grave are clearly not literal entities and neither is the devil.
Don't these passages suggest that Satan is a real, spirit being and not just a representation of one's evil side?
Yes, they certainly do, to a majority who don’t think through the absurdity of their belief to its logical conclusion.
It’s not as if personification, metaphors and parables are not common in scripture – on the contrary they are widely used.
For some reason which escapes me people don’t expect their religious beliefs to make any sense.
What’s going to happen to all those ‘immortal’ souls being tormented in hell for eternity by the devil and his angels when their tormentors and place of residence are thrown into the lake of fire after the final judgment?
I expect, though, it will be a bit of relief for the devil after all these years of crawling about on his belly, not knowing whether he is on earth or in heaven.
I hope you have found this helpful.
God bless you,