God or Satan?

From the IAmAnAtheist.com feedback form:

Your “tract” about Satan is a clearly a cheap shot at Christianity. It is below your dignity. Christians do not give God credit for things Satan is responsible for. Satan destroys an airplane, God saves people from death. Is there anything plainer on the face of it?

God does not do evil things even for a later benefit. Evil is an abomination unto God and he has nothing to do with it. All good is for God so Satan does no good. Christians also cannot be tricked by Satan if they truly Christians are. Christians can hear in their hearts the voice of God commanding and Satan tempting. If the woman driving to Nevada was a Christian and she heard Satan in her heart tempting her with a drink to pull over she would rive straight into the desert and trust in God to keep her safe on her way! (That is a telling sign, God does not have to make her change the tire, he can just keep it from being flat in the desert).

You treat Christians like fools but we are not single minded fools like you are. We know God’s work. If anyone is tempting on the orders of Satan it is you who are tempting Christians to question God but it won’t work because we have a direct line to God in our hearts.

I certainly didn’t intend to take a “cheap shot” at Christians. In fact, I think that my point is very much worth considering from a theological standpoint and, unfortunately, you don’t give me much reason to think otherwise.

Let’s take a closer look at the situation as you describe it. You say that God does not do evil things, even for a later benefit. Perhaps we are disagreeing about the definition of “evil.” I’d say that killing children, natural disasters, and diseases are evils (for the purposes of this conversation). They are also things that God is credited with doing in the Bible to teach people lessons, punish them, or glorify God.

You also say that Satan does no good. If that’s the case, then isn’t it difficult for Satan to tempt people? He can’t offer to help their business succeed, feed their starving family, take away their pain, etc., because those are all good things, even if they might help forward Satan’s ends. All that’s left is for Satan to tempt people with evils (lust, greed, etc.), and although that may be effective in many cases, it’s also neither clever nor particularly subtle. Do you really think that Satan is so easy to avoid?

You say that Satan destroys an airplane but God saves people from death. In the example of the airplane crash, how do you know that God was involved at all? Maybe Satan just didn’t do a thorough job? Or maybe he wanted there to be a sole survivor to tell the horrifying story of how the others died? On the other hand, how do you know that Satan was involved at all? Perhaps the crash was pure human error and no supernatural cause is needed.

Let’s look at another aspect of the situation. God, being all powerful, could have saved everyone. The fact that He didn’t seems to imply that the miraculous survivor was chosen for a reason. Can we assume that someone who survives a disaster does so because they are more deserving or better loved by God than those (including, possibly, infants) who didn’t survive? No, because that would either make God capricious or biased, or it would imply that one can (in some sense) “purchase” a measure of immunity from disaster by being favored by God, which is apparently not the case. That leaves us with God saving the person because of some future good. And if God can act to create a future good, why can’t Satan act to create a future evil?

The fact is, we can’t say whether God or Satan did an act unless we know all the future repercussions of that act.

Posted on June 24, 2010 at 10:07 am by ideclare · Permalink
In: Discussion

One Response

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  1. Written by ed42
    on June 24, 2010 at 8:25 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    A definition of evil that I’ve lately embraced “evil means to harm the innocent”. As ideclare has pointed out there are numerous instances in the bible (particularly the O.T.) where harm to the innocent is attributed to God’s command.

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