6 Satan II
The topic of today's sermon is Satan as he is depicted in mythology and literature; also we will touch on Satan not only as an individual, but as the leader of a band of fallen angels. The reason we do this is to emphasize the fact that Satan has been around a LONG time.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."And ALMOST from the beginning Satan and his minions have been at war with God, and with us. Reports of demons and evil-doers go back to the roots of oral history, and tell the same tale over and over again. We have previously affirmed that we must resist taking, too-literally, any verbal statements concerning the supernatural, spiritual nature; it therefore poses no problem, nor any danger of blasphemy, to review the many world versions of Satanic lore for the purpose of extracting the essential truth from the many details of invented narrative.
Our first historical quotation comes from the Illuminati bibliotecapleyades.net:
"In The Two Babylons, by Hislop, p. 227, we read the following:"Along with the sun, as the great fire-god, and, in due time, identified with him, was the serpent worshipped. In the mythology of the primitive world, says Owen, 'the serpent is universally the symbol of the sun. In Egypt, one of the commonest symbols of the sun, or sun god, is a disc with a serpent around it. The original reason of that identification seems just to have been that, as the sun was the great enlightener of the physical world, so the serpent was held to have been the great enlightener of the spiritual, by giving mankind the 'Knowledge of Good and Evil.' ' "
[Sidebar: Once again, as we have noted in other sermons, there is a difference of opinion about the significance of original sin: some insist that the original sin was an exile into bondage, the bondage of mentation, of verbal structures, of self-limited and self-limiting verbal meaning; however, an opposite interpretation has been offered on numerous occasions as well, i.e., the idea that the knowledge of good and evil was an entry into freedom. Thus, from the outset, from the very beginning, we have a picture of Satan as both a captor of the human spirit into bondage, and at the same time a liberator of the human mind into spiritual freedom.]
"The ancient Mayans of the Yucatan in Mexico worshipped the serpent god under the name of Can. Can means "serpent" in the Mayan language, as Can or A-Can was the ancient Sumerian and ancient Scottish word for serpent. Here we find the origin of our word canny, shrewd or serpent-like.
The Babylonians worshipped Can the serpent and Vul, the god of fire.
The Romans simply combined the two words into 'Vulcan," the Roman god of fire from when also comes our word "volcano". This seems to be how the Mayans and Mexicans named their gods. They too combined two words to describe their serpent god. "Kulkul" means "beautiful bird," and "Can," serpent. Hence, "Kulkulcan," which means "Bird Serpent" in the Mayan language. This is the exact same meaning for Quetzalcoatl, the Mexican pagan messiah in central Mexico.
Interestingly enough, the cosmic symbol for Quetzalcoatl was a feathered serpent! Here is another interesting observation. The origin of the word "Vatican" also derived from two words. The Latin word "vatic" or "vatis" means "prophet or soothsayer".
The combined word, "Vatican," appears to mean "divination by the serpent"! The symbol for Astrology is often shown in pagan arts as a serpent in a circular position with his tail in his mouth. This represented eternal life."
[Sidebar: You will remember, from last week, the suggestion, found in some of our texts, the it was God the Father Himself who was responsible for some of the first so-called Satanic temptations, those of Abraham and Isaac, and of Job. It was further suggested that a dynamic and co-operative relationship exists between God and Satan. It was furthermore related, in William Blake's "Theory of Contraries", that black and white--good and evil--might be subsumed under a single, inclusive, cosmic umbrella. Clearly, the question of the paradoxical Divine Nature pursues us throughout all these investigations; but let's not forget the bottom line: Satan is here to lie, to tempt, to corrupt, and to damn.]
From the ORACLEThinkQuest website, we read:
"In the ancient Greek mythology, the Devil is called Pan, a god who was a goat-man with horns, cloven hooves, and a pointed tail. The word "demon" is a Greek word used for Pan and his followers. A demon is a spirit who could take over a person's mind and body making them act ferociously, foam at the mouth, fall madly in love, and blurt out hidden truths and prophecies. When someone acted like this, people would call an exorcist to cast the demon out and away from the person's body by reciting prayers."
[Sidebar: It's a piss-off that the devil is so often associated with music--the devil Pan, the devil plays the violin, Nero fiddled while Rome burned, etc. But it is not surprising that the hypnotic effects of music should be equated on some level with the hypnotic effects of mystical illusion; remember the witch in The Silver Chair who nearly enthralled the children and the the Marsh-wiggle with harp music.]
Here are a few Wikipedia accounts of some Satan (or Devil) figures who appear in the mythologies of certain other religions:
In Islam, the Devil is known as ʾIblīs. According to the Quran, God created Iblis out of "smokeless fire or from the pure flame of fire" (along with all of the other jinn) and created man out of clay. The primary characteristic of the Devil, besides hubris, is that he has no power other than the power to cast evil suggestions into the heart of men, women, and jinn, although the Quran does mention appointing jinn to assist those who are far from God in a general context. "We made the Shayatin (devils) ʾAwliyāʾ (protectors and helpers) for those who believe not." (سورة الأعراف al-ʾAʿraf, Chapter #7, Verse #27)
In contrast to Christianity and Islam, Hinduism does not recognize any central evil force or entity such as the Devil opposing God and man. Hinduism does recognize that different beings (e.g., asuras) and entities can perform evil acts, under the temporary dominance of the guna of tamas, and cause worldly sufferings. The Rajasic and Tamasic Gunas of Maya are considered especially close to the Abrahamic concept, the hellish parts of the Ultimate Delusion called "Prakriti". An embodiment of this is the concept of Advaita (non-dualism) where there is no good or evil but simply different levels of realization.
On the other hand in Hinduism, which provides plenty of room for counterpoint, there is also the notion of dvaita (dualism) where there is interplay between good and evil tendencies. A prominent asura is Rahu whose characteristics are similar to those of the Devil. However, Hindus, and Vaishnavites in particular, believe that an avatar of Vishnu incarnates to defeat evil when evil reaches its greatest strength. The concept of Guna and Karma also explain evil to a degree, rather than the influence of a devil.
In the Gathas, the oldest texts of the Zoroastrian Avesta, believed to have been composed by Zoroaster himself, the poet does not mention a manifest adversary. Ahura Mazda's Creation is "truth", asha. The "lie" (druj) is manifest only as decay or chaos, not an entity.
Later, in Zurvanism (Zurvanite Zoroastrianism), Ahura Mazda and the principle of evil, Angra Mainyu, are the "twin" offspring of Zurvan, 'Time'.
No trace of Zurvanism exists after the 10th century.
Today, the Parsis of India largely accept the 19th century interpretation that Angra Mainyu is the 'Destructive Emanation' of Ahura Mazda. Instead of struggling against Mazda himself, Angra Mainyu battles Spenta Mainyu, Mazda's 'Creative Emanation.'
[Sidebar: Notice how much the Hindu "Tamasic Gunas of Maya", and the Zoroastrian "Destructive Emanation of Angra Mainyu" echo our account of Kal Nuranjan, the Satan figure of Eckankar from last week's sermon, Satan I; note, in particular, the relationship of Kal, or the illusions of the material plane, to "TIME":
Kal Niranjan is characterized as the:
"Full name of the Negative Power, often shortened to Kal. Niranjan means "beyond illusion,"and is applied to Kal ("Time") because he is the creator of illusion. (Time beyond illusion.)" . . .
Kal means "Time,"and since the devotion described implies the suspension of all his activity, for incalculable periods of "time," it would appear that the practices done by Kal please Sat Purush because of their implications when done by him, rather than because standing on one foot has any particular objective merit. . . as we have seen, the fall of Time was probably inevitable once he was separated from the One."
Hence, the illusion of time--that which takes the non-local wholeness of the eternal present, and breaks it up into locally specific sequential bits--is one of the primary ingredients of "sin", and is, thereby, one of the primary aspects of the temptations of Satan. Satan always offers us the rewards of TIME; he can offer us, realistically, ANYTHING that won't last forever, but NOTHING that WILL last forever. Thus, a basic ingredient of sin is the enslaving thralldom of time's ever-withering fruits.
Nevertheless, stepping out of the infinite freedoms of eternity, and into the constraints of time, seems to be a necessary pre-requisite for soul development in the material plane; but with that self-limitation comes the risk of becoming involved in a narcissistic love of the self-limited self. As we have seen, it was narcissism that made it possible for Satan's love for God to become perverted into an uncompromising hatred of God.
[Sidebar: Let's review that point:
The two sides of love are:
the object of the love, and
the lover himself;
when these two become confused, there is sin.
. . . it was the love-hate dimension of Satan's relationship to God that laid him low; whether we take the tack that Satan loved God too much to bow before Adam, or the tack that Satan identified with God so much that he wanted to BE God, the bottom line is that Satan confused himself with God in an unwholesome way. This seems to me to be a very important aspect of Satan's character, in that this carnal energy comes from a place of high affection for God. Satan's over-the-top self-involvement with God erupted in energetic action that crossed some kind of line. It was the too-egocentric affection, the too-narcissistic affection for God, that was Satan's downfall. If he could simply have put God first, then God's decrees would have never been in conflict with his love. But his love became narcissistic; he became obsessed with himself, and in himself he lost sight of his love. Thus, a love, that is too wrapped up in itself, becomes a perversion of that love, and the price must be paid. This is a lesson we must all bear in mind: it is very easy to lose sight of the one we love, by loving too much, or finding in our love of the other a too-vivid reflection of ourselves.
Back to our discussion on the Time aspect of sin:]
Stepping out of the infinite freedoms of eternity, and into the constraints of time, seems to be a necessary pre-requisite for soul development in the material plane; but with that self-limitation comes the risk of becoming involved in a narcissistic love of the self-limited self. To be sure, when the Messiah stepped out of Eternity into a finite body, He not only made Himself into a finite focus of the Infinite, so that He could redeem Man from the penalties of Adam's original sin, He also opened Himself up to the assaults of Satan's corrupting influence. The example, of Jesus' resistance of Satan's temptations in the desert, (of which there was not necessarily a pre-determined outcome), should not be trivialized. I'm sure that the persuasions of Lucifer in the desert, were on an order of magnitude of much greater power than they were in the Garden of Eden. Thankfully, Jesus was stronger than Eve.
We continue our Devil survey with this section from The Catholic Encyclopedia:
"Diabolus enim et alii dæmones a Deo quidem naturâ creati sunt boni, sed ipsi per se facti sunt mali." ("the Devil and the other demons were created by God good in their nature but they by themselves have made themselves evil.")
Here it is clearly taught that the Devil and the other demons are spiritual or angelic creatures created by God in a state of innocence, and that they became evil by their own act. It is added that man sinned by the suggestion of the Devil, and that in the next world the wicked shall suffer perpetual punishment with the Devil. . ."
Now, last week we discussed, in great detail, the question of the fall of the Angels in the first or second instant of creation. Clearly from the statement read above from the Catholic Encyclopedia stating that the devils were originally:
". . .angelic creatures created by God in a state of innocence, and that they became evil by their own act."we must conclude that the Angels fell of their own choice. Thus, the question of sin and of free will is a problem to be investigated. The question is whether sin was
1.) a positive element in the divine plan from the beginning, or whether
2.) it was self-created, as merely one of an infinite number of potentials included in the Angelic nature.
Clearly, individual entities were thrown out of the wholeness of God, by God Himself; if the nature of these created entities included the component of free will, the function of free will must have always been, from the beginning, to raise the question of whether the individual would move back toward God, or away from God. Having been separated from God, could the created individual cleave back to the bosom of God or would he take off on his own direction--a direction dictated by free will? Surely some movement away from the center (the Big Bang) must have been part of the plan! The only question is how far away from the center, or how long a journey away from the center would the created being be allowed to go before he must return to the source of his being. Movement away from the source was sin, movement toward the source was salvation. Hence, the ultimate temptation, the true Original Sin was not the creation of free will, but the exercise of free will: the only free will is action CONTRARY to the will of the Father.
I wish to emphasize the idea that the EXERCISE of free will is the original sin. We can understand this idea if we look at it like this:
"And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day."
How could God see that it was good, if it were not somehow OUTSIDE HIMSELF, and therefore objectively observable? Indeed, the whole idea of CREATION is to bring forth out of the self something made of the self that is NOT the self. The observation of the created thing requires a separation of the self from the created thing. Clearly, the creation of the material cosmos out of the mind of God was a creative act which involved such self-reflection.
As we have discussed elsewhere, the love, of another, must necessarily incorporate into its fabric a narcissistic element. The level of narcissism becomes, therefore, the level to which the will of the Father and the will of the created being are separate; we are created out of the mind of the Father, and yet we are ourselves, separated, in some subtly mysterious way, from the Father. C.S. Lewis says, many times, that our small, puny selves only truly exist within the larger Self of the Father; that it is only when we discover that our will and the Will of the Father are one, that we are truly free. Again, idea of CREATION is to bring forth out of the self something made of the self that is NOT the self. Lewis's concept of Man's will being subsumed under the umbrella of the Father's will, exemplifies just such a miraculous expression of being and not-being.
Thus, if we accept the premise, that the narcissistic reflection of the created being, back on its source, is a natural component of the creative process, we must admit that any created thing will have embedded, in its very essence, the potential for sin. Therefore, if we understand that our only true will is the Father's will we must conclude that the only exercise of free will is the realization of our inherent potential for movement AWAY from the Father. Furthermore, an inner realization of the potential, for movement AWAY from the Father, becomes, like the knowledge of good and evil, an ACTUAL movement AWAY from the Father. Ultimately we must come to understand that the resistance of sin is the game that God has built into this created works --the game of losing Himself, and finding Himself, and losing Himself, and finding Himself again.
Continuing with The Catholic Encyclopedia:
"As may be gathered from the language of the Lateran definition, the Devil and the other demons are but a part of the angelic creation, and their natural powers do not differ from those of the angels who remained faithful. Like the other angels, they are pure spiritual beings without any body, and in their original state they are endowed with supernatural grace and placed in a condition of probation. It was only by their fall that they became devils. This was before the sin of our first parents, since this sin itself is ascribed to the instigation of the Devil:"By the envy of the Devil, death came into the world" (Wisdom 2:24).""Thus, we return to the Catholic Encyclopedia for an account of Satan's fall, and the creation of his diabolical organization:"And there was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels: and they prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven. And that great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduceth the whole world; and he was cast unto the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him." (Apocalypse 12:7-9)"
"The language of the prophets would seem to show that Lucifer held a very high rank in the heavenly hierarchy. And, accordingly, we find many theologians maintaining that before his fall he was the foremost of all the angels. Suarez is disposed to admit that he was the highest negatively, i.e. that no one was higher, though many may have been his equals.
But here again we are in the region of pious opinions, for some divines maintain that, far from being first of all, he did not belong to one of the highest choirs--Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones--but to one of the lower orders of angels. In any case it appears that he holds a certain sovereignty over those who followed him in his rebellion. For we read of "the Devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41), "the dragon and his angels" (Apocalypse 12:7), "Beelzebub, the prince of devils"--which, whatever be the interpretation of the name, clearly refers to Satan, as appears from the context: "And if Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? Because you say that through Beelzebub I cast out devils" (Luke 11:15, 18), and "the prince of the Powers of this air" (Ephesians 2:2).
At first sight it may seem strange that there should be any order or subordination amongst those rebellious spirits, and that those who rose against their Maker should obey one of their own fellows who had led them to destruction. And the analogy of similar movements among men might suggest that the rebellion would be likely to issue in anarchy and division. But it must be remembered that the fall of the angels did not impair their natural powers, that Lucifer still retained the gifts that enabled him to influence his brethren before their fall, and that their superior intelligence would show them that they could achieve more success and do more harm to others by unity and organization than by independence and division."[Sidebar: We must never forget that Satan is the leader of a gang. He is the head of all the wicked, and he has managed to engineer a connection between his minions of subsidiary demons, whose purpose is to enact his main purpose of tempting, accusing, and confusing mankind; the purpose of the fallen angels is to make it more difficult for Man to proceed upward toward the divine perfection.
I remind you of a premise suggested in last week's sermon--of the possibility that:
"It may be that Satan is a faithful servant of God--whose temptations are not only condoned by God, but ORDERED by God: the function of these temptations is to temper the souls of those entities trapped in the lower planes, and prepare them to graduate to higher planes of existence. Those who succeed in passing the temptation tests of Satan are free to move on up the ladder of spiritual evolution--those who fail, are sent back down to try again."Again and again, however, I want to reiterate the point that no larger cosmic virtue of the Devil ought to taken into account, in Man's dealings with Satan; the big picture is God's business and should in no way affect our dealings, of a lower nature, with the demons. Satan MAY be working for God, but never forget that he is working for God AGAINST US; total rejection ought to be our only response to Satan's speeches.]
The following is taken from Koinonia Fellowship website:
"Satan wasn’t the only person to rebel against God. In Revelation we read that a third of all the angels in Heaven followed after Satan and rebelled against God.
“Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born”.
[Sidebar: This scripture is crammed with implications: it refers to "a third of the stars", which is how many angels Satan is said to have recruited for his rebellion; it paints a grisly picture of a monstrous dragon lying in wait to pounce on the innocent child of God; for "her child" substitute innocence of Man, and you have a picture of the serpent in the garden waiting for just the precise moment to corrupt the innocent Eve.]
Back to Koinonia:
“And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
‘Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short’”."
In the material taken from the Catholic dictionary, we find some disagreement about Lucifer's original place in the angelic hierarchy. He is most often considered to have been the highest Angel, next to God; but some authorities consider him to have been a member of one of the lower choirs of Angels, but still with authority over other angels. In any case, it was his ability to enlist an army of angels, that enabled him to stage the Heavenly rebellion in the first place. All of these angels became demons when they failed to overcome God's dominion or sovereignty. In retrospect, it all seems to have been a bad idea, worthy of repentance; however there is a very interesting section in Milton's Paradise Lost where the devil addresses his minions, and persists in prideful defiance, even in defeat.
"Fall'n Cherube, to be weak is miserable
Doing or Suffering: but of this be sure,
To do ought good never will be our task,
But ever to do ill our sole delight,
As being the contrary to his high will
Whom we resist. If then his Providence
Out of our evil seek to bring forth good,
Our labour must be to pervert that end,
And out of good still to find means of evil;
Which oft times may succeed, so as perhaps
Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb
His inmost counsels from thir destind aim.
But see the angry Victor hath recall'd
His Ministers of vengeance and pursuit
Back to the Gates of Heav'n: The Sulphurous Hail
Shot after us in storm, oreblown hath laid
The fiery Surge, that from the Precipice
Of Heav'n receiv'd us falling, and the Thunder,
Wing'd with red Lightning and impetuous rage,
Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now
To bellow through the vast and boundless Deep.
Let us not slip th' occasion, whether scorn,
Or satiate fury yield it from our Foe.
Seest thou yon dreary Plain, forlorn and wilde,
The seat of desolation, voyd of light,
Save what the glimmering of these livid flames
Casts pale and dreadful? Thither let us tend
From off the tossing of these fiery waves,
There rest, if any rest can harbour there,
And reassembling our afflicted Powers,
Consult how we may henceforth most offend
Our Enemy, our own loss how repair,
How overcome this dire Calamity,
What reinforcement we may gain from Hope,
If not what resolution from despair."
[Sidebar: Unlike that portrait of Satan as a great lover of God, (so painted in the Persian myth), the Miltonian description of Satan as a hater of humanity and a hater of God, is the traditional picture of him commonly upheld by most Christians. To be sure, Milton's conception of Satan does not rule out the older Persian interpretation of Satan as a lover of God, because it is very easy, as we all know, for love to turn to hate when the object of our love appears to turn against us; our hatred can become as intense as our love was; indeed, the more intense the original love is, the more intense and furious the hatred may become. But Lover of God, or Hater of God, it is all one: the important essential fact to adhere to is that Satan is a narcissist, and he insists on projecting his own face on the face of the universe.
"Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven!" has been the warring cry of many a maniac. This is madness, of course, but we must remember that it is also a prime ingredient in the all-or-nothing obsessions of perfectionists. Thus, the striving for perfection may bring with it heavenly harp music, or infernal noise.]
The following are excerpts are taken from an article comparing the sayings of William Blake with parallel Gospel readings:
Satan, Sin, and Death: Satan Comes to the Gates of Hell:
"Listen to Blake and the Bible commenting on Jesus, Sin, Error, Forgiveness, Satan and Judgment. These quotes from the two sources allow us to compare New Testament concepts and how similar ideas appear in Blake:
"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous":
Vision of the Last Judgment,
"Forgiveness of Sin is only at the Judgment Seat of Jesus the Saviour where the Accuser is cast out. not because he Sins but because he torments the Just & makes them do what he condemns as Sin & what he knows is opposite to their own Identity"
"And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night."
Vision of the Last Judgment,(E 564)
"Christ comes as he came at first to deliver those who were bound under the Knave not to deliver the Knave. He Comes to Deliver Man the [Forgiven] not Satan the Accuser-- we do not find anywhere that Satan is Accused of Sin, he is only accused of Unbelief & thereby drawing Man into Sin that he may accuse him.
Such is the Last Judgment a Deliverance from Satan's Accusation. Satan thinks that Sin is displeasing to God; he ought to know that Nothing is displeasing to God but Unbelief & Eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil"
"Man must & will have Some Religion; if he has not the Religion of Jesus, he will have the Religion of Satan, & will erect the Synagogue of Satan. calling the Prince of this World, God; and destroying all who do not worship Satan under the Name of God. Will any one say: Where are those who worship Satan under the Name of God! Where are they? Listen! Every Religion that Preaches Vengeance for Sins the Religion of the Enemy & Avenger; and not the Forgiver of Sin, and their God is Satan, Named by the Divine."
Back to the Catholic Encyclopedia:]
"Besides exercising this authority over those who were called "his angels", Satan has extended his empire over the minds of evil men. Thus, in the passage just cited from St. Paul, we read in
"And you, when you were dead in your offenses and sins, wherein in times past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of this air, of the spirit that now worketh on the children of unbelief."
In the same way Christ in the Gospel calls him "the prince of this world". For when His enemies are coming to take Him, He looks beyond the instruments of evil to the master who moves them, and says:
"I will not now speak many things to you, for the prince of this world cometh, and in me he hath not anything." John 14:30
There is no need to discuss the view of some theologians who surmise that Lucifer was one of the angels who ruled and administered the heavenly bodies, and that this planet was committed to his care. For in any case the sovereignty with which these texts are primarily concerned is but the rude right of conquest and the power of evil influence. His sway began by his victory over our first parents, who, yielding to his suggestions, were brought under his bondage. All sinners who do his will become in so far his servants. For, as St. Gregory says, he is the head of all the wicked--"Surely the Devil is the head of all the wicked; and of this head all the wicked are members". This headship over the wicked, as St. Thomas is careful to explain, differs widely from Christ's headship over the Church, inasmuch as Satan is only head by outward government and not also, as Christ is, by inward, life-giving influence (Summa III:8:7)."
[Sidebar: This distinction between the authority of Satan over his subjects and the authority of Jesus over his subjects is worthy of comment. In the words of St. Thomas Aquinas:
"Satan is only head by outward government and not also, as Christ is, by inward, life-giving influence."
This point is not merely of dogmatic significance, but hints at a strategic tool by which the subterfuges of the Devil are made transparent to the faithful, to whit: no matter how convincing the arguments of the Devil seem to be, they NEVER touch the inner life of Man. Next week we will return with full force to the subject of deterring Satan's influence, but, for now, let us just say that the litmus test of spiritual validity is whether the words only touch the mind or whether they penetrate to the heart.
Back to The Catholic Encyclopedia:]
"What has been said so far may suffice to show the part played by the Devil in human history, whether in regard to the individual soul or the whole race of Adam. It is indicated, indeed, in his name of Satan, the adversary, the opposer, the accuser, as well as by his headship of the wicked ranged under his banner in continual warfare with the kingdom of Christ."
Next week we will be looking at many examples of demon possession--the many ways man may be corrupted and invaded by demonic personalities; for now let us leave the subject of Satan's minions, and suffice it to say that he is not working alone.
In conclusion, the above presentation shows that the Devil has been perceived, spoken about, and written about in many ways. Some slants on him are outside the box, many are merely the same box with different trim. Regardless of the color frame we put around our personal portrait of Satan, we must be ever mindful of this central fact: Satan's primary end is to separate man from himself, and, by inference, from God.
It will not be surprising that I agree with Blake on this important point: we must be ever mindful that one of Satan's tools is the church itself, with its involved catechisms and lists of sins. Most organized religions have devised moral codes which condemn anybody of which they do not approve; this approval may be on spiritual grounds, but is just as often in obedience to social codes not spiritual ones. It seems that, through the ages, religious leaders have taken delight in accusing their enemies of unpardonable sins. (Note that Satan is referred to as "the accuser".) Even a saint like Martin Luther, a backwoods minister, was condemned to Hell by a pope merely because the Papal power and authority were politically threatened. By using the church's authority, and convincing Man that his life in the flesh is essentially sinful, the Devil seeks to enslave the mind in bonds of literal self-limiting definition. It is not always temptations toward excess or low carnality, but any obsession that blinds Man to his wholeness in God.
Back to Koinia:
"Obviously there is a whole lot more that could be said concerning our Adversary (like his different names, characteristics, etc.), than what’s been covered in this brief lesson. The thing that we need to keep in mind is that the Devil is a real, literal, powerful foe that was defeated at the cross of Calvary. One day he will be cast in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:1-15). In Romans 16:20 Paul gives the following exhortation to the Roman believers: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”
Let us pray: Jesus, deliver us from the snares of Satan. Reveal to us his insidious presence at our elbow, in all its various colorful disguises, and give us power to say to him, "Get behind me. There is only room for one face before my eyes." Amen.