Thursday, April 20, 2006

Pardon the Snake!

As reported by Barney Zwartz, the fallen angel is not so satanic after all! It seems we do have a devil's advocate and his name is HenryAngsmar Kelly. He has an ambitious project, namely, rehabilitating "the most maligned figure in history": the devil.

This article makes the saying “The Devil made me do it” take on a whole new meaning.

According to Professor Kelly, the devil - aka Satan, the Accuser, the Prince of this World, the Father of Lies, the great dragon, the old snake - has endured 17 centuries of unjustified character assassination.

Better the devil you know, the saying goes, but, according to Professor Kelly, we only think we know him. In fact, we don't - our image was shaped from the second century church fathers to the Middle Ages. The biblical picture is quite different.

"For 1700 years, Satan has been the enemy of God, whereas in the Bible he works for God, he's his prime minister or attorney-general, in charge of policing the world. He is one of God's angels and his job is to test people," Professor Kelly says.

The professor, 71, has been the devil's advocate for more than four decades, publishing books and scholarly articles. The former Jesuit turned University of California professor calls himself a "diabologian". He says the devil doesn't have a kingdom, doesn't rule over hell, and doesn't try to damn people.

I beg your pardon Mr. Kelly! Surely the Bible teaches that “Beelzebub, the prince of the devils” (Matthew 12:24) is “the constant enemy of God, of Christ, of the divine kingdom, of the followers of Christ, and of all truth; full of falsehood and all malice, and exciting and seducing to evil in every possible way.”

As a matter fact, although his power is certainly very great in the world, he is far from being God’s prime minister. He is a “roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). People are said to be “taken captive by him” (2 Tim. 2:26). Christians are warned against his “devices” (2 Cor. 2:11), and called on to “resist” him (James 4:7). Christ redeems his people from “him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14).

Everywhere the New Testament sees a great conflict between the forces of God and of good, on the one hand, and those of evil led by Satan, on the other. This is not the conception of one writer or another, but is common ground. Satan is continually opposed to the gospel. He is a malignant reality, always hostile to God and to God’s people. But he has already been defeated in Christ’s life and death and resurrection, and this defeat will become obvious and complete in the end of the age (Revelation 20).

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