Satan Is Not Omnipotent: A Philosophical Arguments (2)
Overview of Biblical Record:
At creation, God saw all things He has made and said, “it was good” (Gen. 1:31). In literary, the angelic world that God had created did not contain evil angels or demons at the time. However, in Gen. 3:1-5, we discover Satan, in the form of a serpent that tempted Eve to sin. Consequently, some period between the events of Gen. 1:31 and Gen. 3-1, a rebellion must have occurred in the angelic world with some angels turning against God and becoming devilish.
The New Testament corroborated this assertion in 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6:
God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of nether gloom to be kept until the judgment – 2 Peter 2:4
The angels that did not keep their position but left their proper dwelling have been kept by God in eternal chains in the nether gloom until the judgment of the great day – Jude 6
There is also a possible reference to the fall of Satan in Isaiah 14:12-15:
How you are fallen, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart; I will ascend to Heaven, above the stars of God. I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High, But you are brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the Pit. (Isa. 14:12-15).
Here we see that five times, Satan rejects the place where God has set him and tries to usurp God’s throne.
- I will ascend into Heaven.
- I will exalt my throne above the stars.
- , I will also sit upon the mount of the congregation.
- I will ascend above the heights of the clouds.
- I will be like the Most High.
Not only did Satan reject God’s plan and place for himself, but he also deceived Eve into rejecting God’s plan for humankind. Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field, which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'”
And the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it, you will open your eyes, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. – Genesis 3:1-6.
Satan as Head of the Demons:
Satan is a rebel and a tyrant. He proclaims independence, but his rule portends oppression and slavery. He is represented in chains for the liberty of sin, which captivates the mind. As Satan is a captive of his own making, all the beings who belong to him are his prisoners. He is their torturer and destroyer. Satan is mentioned in Job 1:6, where “the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them” (see Job 1:7-2:7). In Zech. 3:1, Zechariah saw a vision of “Joshua, the high priest, standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him.” The New Testament also speaks about Satan. In Matthew 4: 10, So Jesus, in his temptation in the wilderness, speaks to Satan directly, saying, “Begone, Satan!” Luke 10:18 says, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”
There are other names for ‘Satan’ in the Bible. He is called ‘the devil’ (Matt. 4:1; 13:39; 25:41; Rev. 12:9; 20:2), ‘the serpent’ (Gen. 3:1, 14; 2 Cor. 11:3; Rev. 12:9; 20:2), ‘Beelzebul’ (Matt. 10:25; 12:24, 27; Luke 11:15), ‘the ruler of this world’ (John 12:31; 14;30; 16:11), “the prince of the power of the air’ (Eph. 2;2), or ‘the evil one’ (Matt. 13:19; 1 John 2;13).
In Job 1 & 2 prologues, Satan appears as a member of the Celestial Council of Angelic Beings that have access to the presence of God; with a special function to watch over human affairs and beings with the sole aim of exposing men’s sins and accusing them in the Celestial Court. Satan is invested with malevolent (evil) and malignant character but has no power to act without the Divine permission of God (This same view is evinced in Zechariah 3:2 “The Lord rebuke you, Satan!)
The original meaning of the Greek word ‘Demon’ stands for a malignant being of superhuman nature and powers. Hastings said the idea of malignancy at first was not necessarily associated with these beings. Some beings are regarded as harmless and others as wielding even benign influence. Still, gradually they were considered operating exclusively in the sphere of mischief and needing to be guarded against by magic rites or religious observations. Demons are spirit beings without bodies. They can only achieve their nefarious and super evil plans by living in the bodies of men or animals. The key to the presence or entrance of a demon into a person is authorized. People inadvertently, in many ways, give authority to demons to enter their bodies and exercise control over them. Other names used for Satan in the NT, especially in the book of Revelation (Rev. 12: 9) are a great dragon, the ancient serpent, and in v.10b – ‘accuser of our brothers’.
Angels and Fallen Angels:
“Angels are created, spiritual beings with moral judgment and high intelligence, but without physical bodies.” [i] Angels are known as Celestial Beings. Existence of angels is taken for granted in the OT, and the account of their origin is not given. Angels have not always existed. They are part of the Universe that God created. Ezra refers to Angels as the “host” of heaven “You are the Lord, you alone have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host … and the host of heaven worships you.” (Neh. 9:6; cf. Ps. 148: 2, 5).
Angels exercise moral judgement as seen in the fact that some of them sinned and fell from their positions (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). They possess high intelligence as recorded throughout Scripture as they speak to people (Matt. 28:5; Acts 12:6-11, et al.) and sing praise to God (Rev. 4:11; 5:11). Therefore, belief in angels may be based on the earlier Animism that is common to all races in the pre-polytheistic stage of culture. Angels are represented as appearing in human form, and as having many human characteristics. They speak like men (1 Kings 19:5); eat (Gen. 18:8); fight (Gen. 32:1, 2 Sam5:24); they possess wisdom, with which that of men is compared (2 Sam 14:17, 20). They have imperfections (Job 4:18); can become invisible (2 Kings 13:18, Ps 104:4), and they can fly if as appears to be the case, Seraphim are to be included under the category of Angels (Is 6:5)[ii].
Since angels are “spirits” (Heb. 1:14) or spiritual creatures, they do not ordinarily have physical bodies (Luke 24:39). Consequently, they cannot usually see them unless God gives us a unique capability to see them (Num. 22:31; 2 Kings 6:17; Luke 2:13). However, angels sometimes take on a bodily form to appear to various people as reflected in Scripture (Matt. 28:5; Heb. 13:2). Scripture uses other terms for angels, such as “sons of God” (Job 1:6; 2:1), “holy ones” (Ps. 89:5, 7), “spirits” (Heb. 1:14), “watchers” (Dan. 4:13, 17, 23), “dominions,” and “principalities,” (Col. 1:16). Satan is believed to be archangel Lucifer, and the fallen angels are Satan’s cohorts driven from God’s presence due to their misdemeanour and disobedience to the Divine Commandments. Fallen angels’ or depraved angels are the ones’ cast out from heaven together with Satan (Rev. 12:9). In 1 Corinthian 10:21, Paul warns believers against the worship of angels, which he compares with demons’ worship. Revelation 12: 7-12 give us the reason for the fallen angels’ vs 7-9 says
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 – NIV.
- [i] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, Nottingham: Inter-Varsity Press,
- [ii] Hastings, James. Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible. Fifth Printing, (USA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2001), 476
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