(David Bondar) #1

Was Satan contrived to account for the growing existential frustration of a monotheistic people who found it difficult to accept a God who was potentially the author of both good and evil?

This question has been really bothering me and I ask this question because there is little mention of Satan in the old testament. The book of Job mentions him but he has an unconventional role in the book and the book of job is essentially a poem. The serpent in the garden of Eden is arguably not Satan since he is not directly addressed as Satan. The word satan was actually a general term used to describe an adversary or accuser. David was described as a satan in 1 Samuel 29:4 “He must not go with us into battle, or he will [become a satan] during the fighting.”

I figure that the New Testament has more content on Satan, but I was wondering about the old testament specifically.

(SeanO) #2

@bondar One concept that may help you think through this, though you may already be familiar, is progressive revelation. The best example is Christ in the Old Testament. Another example would be the Trinitarian nature of God. God did not hand Moses a list of theological beliefs to hold, but rather revealed Himself throughout salvation history.

So no, the Old Testament does not contain as many details on ‘the accuser’ as the New Testament. But that does not mean that the idea of a personal adversary - Satan - was invented. It fits the pattern we see of progressive revelation.

Regarding the specific theory you mention about existential frustration - that is only one theory. I could make up a dozen other sociological explanations if I wanted to, but that does not make them true. At the end of the day, I think we can root ourselves in progressive revelation and look to Christ, whom we trust, as our authority on matters where we are unsure. Jesus clearly believed in a personal adversary.

Luke 10:18-19 - 18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.

First, Limbaugh notes the importance of progressive revelation for understanding how Christ is revealed in the Old Testament. “Progressive revelation” simply means the original audience (and even author) didn’t share the same perspective as New Testament readers. While the Old Testament does contain legitimate testimonies to the person and work of Christ, many of these passages can only be understood as pointing to Christ retrospectively. Though always present, an Old Testament text’s Christological significance only becomes clear in light of subsequent revelation. Progressive revelation is vital, then, since it allows us to affirm the Old Testament’s Christological significance without straining the text beyond what it can exegetically sustain. Limbaugh generally allows for Christ-centered passages to emerge with the help of later revelation. Thus he remains true to the concept of progressive revelation, which he describes early within The Emmaus Code . For a popular level book, this is a commendable feat.

(David Bondar) #3

Hi Sean,

I greatly appropriate your response. I have actually never heard of progressive revelation but I’m familiar with some of the concepts. I defiantly will read the book you suggested.

(SeanO) #4

@bondar I’m glad it was helpful. The book is not directly related to your question, but it might help you think through how to understand the Old Testament and its relation to the New Testament.

If this topic interests you, I think this book is very good and I’ve read it. I have not read the book by Limbaugh, but I have read this one. It’s a bit technical, but very interesting.

(Steven Kalinowski) #5

Hello David
I would add Ezekiel 28 as describing something of Satan as well. It is kind of a mix of a king but also of Satan.

Hostage to the Devil

Hostage to the Devil: The Possession and Exorcism of Five Contemporary AmericansKindle Edition

I read the above book and another one by
Gabrielle Amorth. These books with the OT examples, the examples from the gospels, some experiences of some people I have worked with convinces me that it is not merely a socially made up idea either back then or now.
I guess it seems like a strange idea I our day but I think he still blinds us to deeper truths unless we are enlightened by Christ
Hope this helps.