Is There a Satan?

Is There a Satan? May 24, 2024

Practical Spirituality series

Getting rid of unnecessary tradition for a fresh start with new generations; Gen Z.

Satan is another rich tradition that has developed over the centuries. It gets the blame for everything bad that happens to us. It is an endless aggravation. Really! We need to go back and understand what Satan means.

Satan tempting others by Microsoft Designer. Party or Tragedy on Flickr.
Satan tempting others by Microsoft Designer. Party or Tragedy on Flickr.

In the hours before his crucifixion, Jesus said in John 12: 31-32, “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.””

The ruler of this world was understood in Jesus’ time to be Satan. Satan is now cast out. The apostles spoke of Satan later, but we need to understand context. Satan wasn’t an entity to them.

The idea of Satan in the Hebrew Bible connotes an “accuser,” “hinderer” or “tempter.” It means temptation and evil doings rather than an entity. For 1500 years, ancient Judaism didn’t understand Satan as an actual entity. This would have been Jesus’ understanding. Satan is a personification of something external bothering our mind to accuse, hinder, or tempt us. Satan exists as a concept in our own mind, a personification.

Jesus changed the world

Jesus brought forgiveness. We no longer have self-doubt, attacks on our faith, and can overcome temptation because we are free of the chains of wrongdoing. When we do something wrong that hurts others, we feel guilt and often shame. These tear away at us and keep us going in the wrong direction. Forgiveness means that sin has no grip on us. We are free. Satan has no power. To blame Satan is to deny the power of Christ – don’t deny Christ.

I wondered if I have done anything to hurt others. Drat! Shouldn’t have opened that floodgate.

Jesus’ understanding of Satan is clear from scripture

Jesus spoke of Satan in the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke about his being tempted. He spoke of his apostles, saying to Peter that he prays that he and the other apostles faith not fail so that they wouldn’t fall to fear. Peter was to strengthen the other apostles. Jesus spoke of Judas who was tempted with 30 coins to betray Jesus. In these we see the work of temptation and doubt.

Jesus said now … now we’re done with this. Forgiveness is at hand. We don’t need to live with the guilt and resulting shame that traps us in a downward spiral, as the Apostle Paul describes in Romans 7:23. Paul states that Christians have died to sin and Christ’s work has set them free from it.

We see the power of Jesus and the Kingdom of God in Luke 10: 17-19. Seventy disciples returned with joy saying that even the demons are subject to Jesus’ name. Jesus replied to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”

Sorry about the crushing blow to demonology. We all have inner demons, but actual demons are fiction. They have no power over us. Through Jesus in our lives, we have power over our inner demons.

Timeframe for the word “now” means that through Jesus’ immediate action of crucifixion and resurrection, this is accomplished. We are set free from doing evil and being accused, forgiven for our wrongdoing. It means that, even though we face temptations, we can overcome them by following the Way to live Jesus showed us. Forgiveness and living in the kingdom destroy temptation and wrongdoing. Satan, fallen like lightning, no longer rules this world by trapping us in temptations and wrongdoing.

When the Apostles, who were Jews, refer to Satan, they are referring to the temptations that we all face, but are no longer trapped by them.


Satan? Demons? Say it ain’t so!

I have enough trouble in life without tilting at the windmill of Satan, like Don Quixote, a knight-errant in search of monsters under the bed.

Blaming Satan for our problems means denying the power of Christ. Not good.

If we get rid of these notions of Satan and a band of demons being real entities, will this make our lives and our beliefs simpler?

Probability Space

What probability spaces can we open in our minds to rid ourselves of the heavy load of Satan?

Instead of asserting that Satan is responsible, can we just realize that life presents us with challenges and temptations? Can we acknowledge that there are individuals in this world who will deliberately harm us? These are the nature of being human and living with other humans.

Bad things happened to Job, which is a philosophical story. He was restored. Several times, my family and I have experienced loss and restoration. We triumph over things in our lives and are restored. God helps us through difficulties in our lives then restores us. Think about that.

Potential Space

If you think creatively and allow your mind to wander and explore, how can we help restore others?

–           Dorian

Our answer is God. God’s answer is us. Together we make the world better.

Restore. Take time to celebrate life. Sing and dance regularly, even every day.

About Dorian Scott Cole
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