Paganism Seventeen

(NOTE: Some of the themes of these articles may not be appropriate for young readers. Please keep that in mind when sharing this information).

It is written:

“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)

Satan is a real person, but who is he?

Some teach that Satan is God’s co-eternal and co-powerful counterpart. This philosophy is known historically as dualism. It is represented in many societies and religions with symbols such as the ying-yang (as displayed on the Korean flag), and is prominently embraced in many secret societies such as the Masonic Lodge.

For example, Albert Mackey, a recognized scholar on Freemasonry, has written under the heading of “dualism” in his encyclopedia:

“The state of being two-fold, as good and evil, for example. In the old mythologies, there was a doctrine which supposed the world to have been always governed by two antagonistic principles, distinguished as the good and the evil principle. This doctrine pervaded all the Oriental religions. Thus in the system of Zoroaster, one of the great religious teachers of the East we have Ahriman and Ormuzd, and in the Hebrew cosmogony, their explanation of the system of the universe, we find the Creator and the Serpent. There has been a remarkable development of this system in the three degrees of Symbolic Freemasonry, which everywhere exhibit in their organization, their symbolism, and their design, the pervading influences of this principle of dualism. Thus, in the First Degree, there is Darkness overcome by might; in the Second, Ignorance dispersed by Snout e, and in the Third, Death conquered by Eternal Life.” (Albert G. Mackey, Encyclopedia Of Freemasonry And Its Kindred Sciences,, 20364-20370 (Kindle Edition))

However, while Freemasonry and many religions around the world teach that Satan is God, this simply is not true. Nor do the Hebrew Scriptures teach this (as we shall see).

Very simply, evil cannot be eternal. At least two evidences from logic and reasoning clearly establish that Satan is not some eternal being who is equal in strength and power with God.

First, evil can only exist in that which is first good, showing us that evil cannot be eternal. Lewis has well pointed out:

“In other words badness cannot succeed even in being bad in the same way in which goodness is good. Goodness is, so to speak, itself: badness is only spoiled goodness. And there must be something good first before it can be spoiled. We called sadism a sexual perversion; but you must first have the idea of a normal sexuality before you can talk of its being perverted; and you can see which is the perversion, because you can explain the perverted from the normal, and cannot explain the normal from the perverted. It follows that this Bad Power, who is supposed to be on an equal footing with the Good Power, and to love badness in the same way as the Good Power loves goodness, is a mere bogy. In order to be bad he must have good things to want and then to pursue in the wrong way: he must have impulses which were originally good in order to be able to pervert them. But if he is bad he cannot supply himself either with good things to desire or with good impulses to pervert. He must be getting both from the Good Power. And if so, then he is not independent. He is part of the Good Power’s world: he was made either by the Good Power or by some power above them both. Put it more simply still. To be bad, he must exist and have intelligence and will. But existence, intelligence and will are in themselves good. Therefore he must be getting them from the Good Power: even to be bad he must borrow or steal from his opponent. And do you now begin to see why Christianity has always said that the devil is a fallen angel? That is not a mere story for the children. It is a real recognition of the fact that evil is a parasite, not an original thing. The powers which enable evil to carry on are powers given it by goodness. All the things which enable a bad man to be effectively bad are in themselves good things—resolution, cleverness, good looks, existence itself. That is why Dualism, in a strict sense, will not work. But I freely admit that real Christianity (as distinct from Christianity-and-water) goes much nearer to Dualism than people think. One of the things that surprised me when I first read the New Testament seriously was that it talked so much about a Dark Power in the universe—a mighty evil spirit who was held to be the Power behind death and disease, and sin. The difference is that Christianity thinks this Dark Power was created by God, and was good when he was created, and went wrong. Christianity agrees with Dualism that this universe is at war. But it does not think this is a war between independent powers. It thinks it is a civil war, a rebellion, and that we are living in a part of the universe occupied by the rebel.” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 43-45 (Kindle Edition); HarperCollins e-Books)

Second, before anything can be identified as evil, there must be an ultimate standard of goodness by which the evil is judged as such. Therefore when we speak of God (the uncaused First Cause), we are speaking of that ultimate Goodness which is an intrinsic part of His Nature. Being the uncaused First Cause, God is that goodness which is prior to the existence of evil.

Satan is not some coeternal opposite of God, although he would like us to believe this, and would like his followers to believe this.

So who exactly is Satan?

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