Saturday, December 29, 2012

Is the Devil real?

I was reading the temptation account today and it got me thinking about the reality or otherwise of the Devil. It is common among theologians to argue that the Devil is not a being but an ancient explanation or personification for evil. As I read the Temptation,  I read of something that can approach Jesus, talk to him and interact with him. He can memorise Scripture, and use it in argument. He can carry Jesus across time and distance. He can think. He can hear. As I read the remainder of the NT his reslity is assumed. However difficult that may seem, it all sounds real to me.

Now, interestingly the argument for the personhood of the Holy Spirit and his status as a member of the Trinity is not dissimilar. Christians vehemently defend the Spirit is a person of the Trinity. We gain this from reflection on the action of the Spirit across Scripture--He speaks, hears, acts, guides, etc. How can we argue for the reality of the Spirit on the one hand and against the reality of the Devil? I suggest we need to be consistent and either argue for a binitarian God and the Devil as some cypher for evil; or we argue for a Trinitarian God, and the Devil as a real spiritual being.

I strongly prefer the latter. We engage a bitter antagonist who seeks to steal, kill and destroy. He and his minions are at work at all times hellbent on corrupting, possessing, distorting, prowling to destroy God's work. Jesus came to destroy his work. He is driven back and overcome when people yield to God, live to please him and do his work. That is what I choose to do. Shalom.

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