Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Devil

Robert Fulford is an outstanding writer for the National Post. In today's Post he has an article on the devil. Dr. Fulford confesses to not believe in God, but his writing is fair-minded, and his mind well-stocked.

I approach belief in the devil this way:

A person may not believe in God or the devil, but one must believe in Jesus Christ, to the extent, at least, that he existed.

Christ believed in the devil, and viewed his healing ministry as restoring what the devil had stolen -- "he went about doing good, and healing all that were sick and oppressed of the devil".

So, like all ultimate matters concerning humanity, it all comes down to what one believes about Jesus Christ.

The Christian witness is that God is: a) all powerful, and b) all good. But we see much evil in the world. We see death, decay, injustice. How do we square what we see with what we believe? We add a third maxim: c) God is all-wise.

God knows things we don't. And one of the things he knows and comprehends completely, which we only see dimly, is the existence of a malignant entity called the devil. God did not create the devil, at least, not in his present form. The devil became the devil when he rebelled against God and took a third of the angels of heaven with him. The devil is the entity that God, in his wisdom, permitted to tempt Adam. The devil is the entity who is the legal owner of the earth today (the god of this world), because God gave man dominion over the earth, but man in turn succombed to the devil's tempation and gave the devil permission to rule spiritually over mankind.

Scripture gives witness to the fall of man. Life on earth cannot be properly understood without an appreciation for it and the devastation that it has wrought upon the earth. And yet, even in the midst of a fallen, decayed, broken world, the goodness and power of God Almighty can still be seen, and we can sing,

This is my Father's world,
and to my listening ears
all nature sings, and round me rings
the music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world:
I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
his hand the wonders wrought.

2. This is my Father's world,
the birds their carols raise,
the morning light, the lily white,
declare their maker's praise.
This is my Father's world:
he shines in all that's fair;
in the rustling grass I hear him pass;
he speaks to me everywhere.

3. This is my Father's world.
O let me ne'er forget
that though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father's world:
why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let the earth be glad!

In Scripture, the devil is portrayed as a Tempter, a Deceiver, an Accuser, and an Oppressor. Those who make serious moves towards Christ at some point run smack headlong into this malevolent, opposing force. The devil's oppression was so great in Luther's life that I believe at one point he (Luther) threw an ink bottle at him!

On a personal note --

When I was in the process of converting to Christ at university, as I contemplated taking the plunge, I remember something deep inside me protesting and profanely saying that I didn't want to do that; I was astonished by this inward outburst -- I didn't even know that this "thing" had existed inside me. I persisted, and it vanished. But I now recognized that, prior to my conversion, this evil (or, at least, Christ-opposing) entity had indwelt me, and that, afterwards, I belonged to a Spirit of a different sort.

True Christianity is, at its heart, experiential, and therefore, proveably true.

Praise God for the One who said, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free"!

I love God and hate the devil. My prayer is that each word of each lyric of each song I write will witness to God's glory and the devil's doom.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

No comments:

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"