Sunday, September 16, 2007

The devil is not God's opposite

(This post is part of the "7 things you ought to know about the devil.")

Dualism is the belief that there are equal and opposite forces that push against each other. In some ways it can be like the yin and yang of the Eastern religions, but the idea is more like the pagan concept of a good god and an evil god in constant war against each other.

This pretty accurately describes the way most Americans, even Christians, think of the devil.

Look at popular culture (from Southpark to Spawn) and you'll get a picture of two kingdoms locked in pitched battle each hoping that they'll be able to turn the tide and defeat the other side. The technical term for this is "horse hockey."

The biblical picture is far more one-sided. Yes, we see that the fighting is fierce, and the angels must occasionally go toe-to-toe (see
Dan 10:12-14), but there is One whom the demons fear (see Luke 8:26-31) and His victory is certain (Rev 19:11-20:10).

Contrary to popular culture, the spiritual war is not two equally matched sides. It is one all-powerful side patiently exchanging a few spit balls with the enemy until the time comes to drop the nuclear bomb.


Spherical said...

While I understand your point (I think), aren't there some ways in which we can view Satan as God's opposite? If we view God as light, in whome there is no darkness, can we not view Satan as darkness in whom there is no light?

God is light, yet sometimes allows "bad" things to happen, but those happen ultimately for our good. Likewise, Satan is darkness, yet won't Satan sometimes use good things so that bad will result?

I agree that they are not COMPLETE opposites, in that they are not EQUAL. The war is over and Christ has won, though the battle rages on. So isn't it possible to view them as opposites without a dualist philosophy?

ChrisB said...

You might can say that they are opposites in purpose, and you can probably say they are opposites in method -- one speaks the truth, the other only enough truth to twist into a lie.

But the dualism is the important part. If we let ourselves believe that God and Satan are equally matched in a pitched battle we will look at the world, and act, differently than if we realize that it really is no contest.