Jehovah`s Witness/the Devil
QUESTION: Hi Brenton,
There are some who say that the idea the Devil of the Bible is an actual person is unscriptural, they claim that because the Bible teaches that man is responsible for his own sin and that this sin comes from within him therefore the Devil/Satan in Scripture is simply a “personification” of sinful desires of mans rebellious lusts.
How do JW respond to this claim?
ANSWER: Hello Cos
Nice to hear from you again. Its been a while.
The first thing that I do is look at the meaning of the words devil and Satan
The Greek word for Devil means slanderer, and both the Hebrew and Greek words of Satan mean adversary. When wee look at the way the words are used , they are applied to “individuals” who stand in opposition to someone else.
According to Strongs Hebrew Lexicon word number <7854>,the Hebrew word that is translated as Satan into English is שָׂטָן
(saw-tawn’) It is interesting to see some of the other ways this word is used. These are from the KJV. The numbered in < > are references to Stong's Hebrew Lexicon word numbers
And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary
<7854> against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him.
And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand
<7854> thee, because thy way is perverse before me:
1 Samuel 29:4
And the princes of the Philistines were wroth with him; and the princes of the Philistines said unto him, Make this fellow return, that he may go again to his place which thou hast appointed him, and let him not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he be an adversary
<7854> to us: for wherewith should he reconcile himself unto his master? should it not be with the heads of these men?
2 Samuel 19:22
And David said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries
<7854> unto me? shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel? for do not I know that I am this day king over Israel?
1 Kings 5:4
But now the LORD my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary
<7854> nor evil occurrent.
1 Kings 11:14
And the LORD stirred up an adversary
<7854> unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king’s seed in Edom.
1 Kings 11:23
And God stirred him up another adversary
<7854>, Rezon the son of Eliadah, which fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah:
1 Kings 11:25
And he was an adversary
<7854> to Israel all the days of Solomon, beside the mischief that Hadad did: and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria.
The first time the KJV uses the word Satan is at 1 Chronicles 21:1
. In this text we are told “ And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.” (KJV) Commentaries such as Barnes, Clarke, Gill, and Pool indicate that they feel that “Satan” here is the “supernatural spirit creature”. Our commentary says that it may be referring
to “The Satan”, or... to a bad advisor who was acting as an adversary. The context does not give as a definite answer. However the context of many our scriptures do help us to determine if the “Satan” is referring to a human adversary, or the “spirit creature” turned evil.
The next mention of Satan is in Job chapter 1 where “Satan” is having a conversation with God. This Satan must be a spirit creature because he is in the heavenly assembly and the presence of God. He is asked where he has been and he answers “going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” (Job 1:7
Now the idea that ….“the Devil/Satan in Scripture is simply a “personification” of sinful desires of man's rebellious lusts.”
…. is very difficult to defend here because of what we know about the Almighty.
First we need to ask .. Was God here possibly speaking to an abstract principle of evil in Job, or was he perhaps even talking to himself? Furthermore, would God be praising the virtues of Job at one moment and allowing Job to be tested by a principle of evil the next? Ascribing such motives to God would amount to making him a perverse Being. This can not be so because we are told “there is no unrighteousness in him..” (Psalm 92:15
JKV) In the Book of James we are told “for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man” (James 1:13
JKV) Also in Deut. 32:4 we learn that there is in injustice with God and that all his ways are perfect “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” (KJV) So, quite the contrary, God refused to ‘thrust out his hand’ to harm Job. Clearly, the Devil is not a principle of evil or a dark side of God’s personality but a spirit person who made himself God’s Adversary.
The first mention of Satan in the NT is at Matthew 4:10. This is where Jesus is being tempted by an “adversary” (Satan) These temptations could not come form the “ sinful desires of
[Jesus's] rebellious lusts.
” In 1 John 3:5
we are told that “in him there is no sin.” (RSV)
When Jesus was being tempted to bow before Satan in a show or respect and honour to him with the reward of being given all the Kingdoms for doing so, how could that temptation be explained? Was Jesus being tempted by some evil thought or by some inner turmoil that possibly followed his baptism? Our understanding is no. What Jesus tells us, is, that the one tempting him was the ruler of the world (John 12:31
Our view of the word Satan is, that the name can refer to an individual as well as to the rebellious spirit Son of God that deceived Eve and tempted Jesus, as such he has become Gods chief enemy. The context of the scripture must be considered.
But, in general, when we see the word “Satan” we tend to automatically think of the disobedient angel that rebelled against God at the time of Adam and Eve.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hi Brenton,
Thank you for your reply. Let me just state that your response was informed and astute.
You mention the first time the word Satan is used is in 1 Chronicles 21:1 and that your commentary (I am presuming you mean a JWs commentary) states that it could have been a “bad advisor” who incited David to number Israel. It’s interesting to note that some of the advocates who dismiss the Devil as an actual person apply this same line of reasoning at this verse.
Turning to Job 1, here the prevailing thought, by some, is keeping in mind the varied use of the Hebrew word “saw-tawn” that one of the angles in the heavenly courts role is that of prosecuting attorney, one who presses God’s case and does God’s work of probing the integrity of human beings . They argue that nowhere in the Old Testament is “saw-tawn” a creature of malevolent evil. They say that that idea must be read into certain passages from a preconceived notion.
On the confrontation between Jesus and Satan, you must realise that some people have a wide and varied opinion about Jesus, there are some that say that Jesus has a sin nature because He was flesh, and even though Jesus has a sin nature, He never committed a sin and thus, they claim, explains the intent of 1 John 3:5 “in Him there is no sin”, because during His life He did not sin.
They say that as Hebrews 4:15 shows Jesus overcame all temptations and lived a perfect life in obedience to His Father’s will. Jesus understands every weakness of ours, because He was tempted in every way that we are. But He did not sin!
They will say that because Jesus fasted for such a lengthy period of time that “yes” He battle with His own desires and temptation.
I have briefly shown how some people can so readily dismiss your response. So there must be some tangible way to show that the Devil is a real person from the Scriptures. How else could this be done?
ANSWER: Hello Cos
Thank you for the follow up. Sorry for the delay. I have had to re write parts of this several times to try to make it coherent. I found that as I was trying to formulate an answer, I would go in a different direction and start approaching the subject from a different angle. I have probably over thought this and written to much.
(Unless otherwise stated, Bible quotes are from the KJV)
You have actually taught me some things about the idea that Satan is not a real person. There are some aspects of what you presented that I do not recall ever being aware of. About the only thing I was aware of, in regard to such a view, is that some people thought that Satan or the Devil, was some sort of personal aspect or “ sinful desires of mans rebellious lusts” that each of us had.
To a degree, we would agree that man, himself, is most often responsible for the wrong that he does as an individual. (James 1:13-15
). We do not see Satan as necessarily literally being behind every single thing that we do wrong, but we do see him, at this time, as the major adversary and blocking agent to Gods will and purpose for this earth being fulfilled. That is where I find myself starting on this matter. What was Gods purpose?
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Adam and Eve had a commission to fill the earth with their own offspring. They also had the commission to look after their home Gensis 2:15
“And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”
They were not told anything about being able to be like God if they ate of “his” tree. Not eating from it was no hardship to them. They had absolutely everything they needed for food “ Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat” Gensis 2:16
All that the knew was, that to eat “ of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, ... thou shalt surely die.” Gensis 2:17
What would give a human the idea of being like God, being able to decide for themselves what was good and bad? Would not a wrong thought be something like...
“If I eat of that tree will I actually die? Is God keeping something delicious from me that I would really enjoy eating?
The idea of being like God surely would come form “someone” who had let their desires of wanting to be be like God, worshiped like God, get the better of them. They were drawn out by that desire. Eve had no reason to be like God. On the other hand a spirit son of God who had witnessed the formation of the the physical universe the perpetration of the earth and finally the creation of other intelligent creatures that he was superior over could well think that it would be a good idea to have these new creations worship himself and not God.
The account in Genesis tells us that the woman was deceived Genesis 3:13
“And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” The Hebrew word translated as beguiled means “to lead astray, i.e. (mentally) to delude, or (morally) to seduce:” The interlinear http://biblehub.com/interlinear/genesis/3-13.htm
uses the word tricked. I person does not trick them selves. A trick is played out on an unsuspecting victim. Eve was led astray not by here own thoughts but by means of trickery.
By his rebellion Satan upset Gods purpose for the earth and mankind.
What would a Hebrew in the days after Moses penned those words understand by what what was happening?
The Apostle Paul supports the idea of Eve being tricked. He tells us that Eve was deceived 1 Timothy 2:14
“but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”
None of the words suggest that Eve had an internal dispute with here conscience as to what she was to do.
What I like to try to keep in mind when reading the Bible, is who were the original audience that it was written for. What would they understand by the words used, and not what we think the meaning should be.
Keeping that in mind, our understanding is, that Satan is the one that is referred to as the god of this world. Why? And what would the Greek readers of the NT understand by the words used in association with the devil?
2 Corinthians 4:4
“ In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
There is a powerful or mighty one who has considered to be “the god of this world”. This is not referring to the Almighty or Jesus, as this “god” has the means to blind our minds, and stop “the light of the glorious gospel of Christ” from shining. The Greek text uses the single form of god here not a plural form, so it is talking about one
“god this world”.
This “god” is also called the “archon” ( first in rank or power - chief, ruler, magistrate, prince
) of this world
”Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince
[or ruler] of this world be cast out.”
“Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.”
“Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.”
“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience”
In 1 John 5:19
we are told that “the whole world is in the power of the evil one.” (RSV) The KJV says “ the whole world lieth in wickedness.” That rendering may be one verse that those that say there is no Satan might turn to, as it seems to indicate that the world in general is wicked. It is interesting to see what Greek text says of this passage. It literally reads “ We-know that of the God we-are and the world whole in the evil(one) lies-under-control” http://biblehub.com/interlinear/1_john/5-19.htm
So the Greek actual tells us that the world isn't just “lieth in wickedness” but is under control of the evil (one)
The one that Jesus spoke about in John as the ruler (or prince) of the world would be the one that was bale to tempt Jesus with giving Jesus authority over the kingdoms of the world at Matthew 4:8
. Jesus did not have the kingdoms of the earth to give to himself. Another entity had that power. No human had the power of world rulership, or the authority to give it way.
Those that do not believe in a personal devil use the argument “ ..On the confrontation between Jesus and Satan, … say that Jesus has a sin nature because He was flesh,.....that because Jesus fasted for such a lengthy period of time that ... He battle with His own desires and temptation.
..” , From what I understand form that, their reasoning is that that Jesus was having a debate with his own conscience. Am I correct?
The context of Matthew 4:1-8
tells us that there was a second individual involved in these temptations. I reason on that this way, keeping in mind what the original audience would understand by what was written.
“... Jesus led ... to be tempted of [by] the devil.” (see http://biblehub.com/interlinear/matthew/4-1.htm
) The Greek word devil here is diablolou. This word mean s “backbiter, an accuser, slanderer...is literally someone
who "casts through
," i.e. making charges that bring down (destroy) ”
The very meaning and use of the diablolos would tell the Greek speaking audience that this referred to an “individual”. That audience would not think of an internal personal struggle.
Going down to verse 2 “And when the tempter came to him, ..” The word tempter refers us back to verse 1, to the identity of the tempter is being “an accuser, slanderer...is literally someone
who "casts through
," i.e. making charges that bring down (destroy) ” - the devil (the Greek uses the definite article “the” in referring to the devil)
Moving on to verse five dispels the idea that Jesus was has having“ battle with His own desires
”. We are told that “ the evil taketh him up into the holy city,”. This one tempting Jesus takes or leads Jesus to the high point of the temple. The temptation here is to test to see if God would save Jesus if he jumped of the pinnacle. To paraphrase that -- “throw yourself of because God wont let you die. You have only just started your ministry. Go on, show us how much favour you have with God. Surely God will save his son” There was no physical need that Jesus had, like he did with the food, when he was tempted to use his God given miraculous power for selfish reasons – eating. Jesus answer to this temptation was that “ "Again, it is written, 'You shall not test Jehovah, your God” (New Heart English Bible 2009 [NHEB]) The rightful God of the one testing Jesus was “Jehovah”. This is also what we learn from verse 8,9
“8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.”
This tempter of Jesus was in a position of authority, being able to assign to Jesus the kingdoms of the world. This one wanted Jesus to bow before him to show him honour as a superior (proskynēsēs). The rebuke Jesus gave was “ "Go away , Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship [literally show honour to] Jehovah your God, and you shall serve him only.'" (NHEB)
What man could Jesus possibly honor as being superior to him who was in a position to give Jesus the kingdoms of the world? Was Jesus debating about showing honour to himself? The god and ruler of this world was in such a position.
Again think about the words used in Greek and what the Greek audience reading those words would understand All three “temptations” show that someone was actually tempting Jesus.
Two other texts show that, the one Jesus spoken of as the devil, was form old, from the beginning of human suffering.
“ Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”
Satan became a murder due to lie to Eve that she would be like God being able to decide for herself what id good and what is bad, that led Eve and Adam to sin (that is fall short of Gods standards)
In a vision The Apostle John was inspired to record these words at Revelation 12:9
“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
The Greek word translated here as “ old serpent” is archaios. You might recognise the connection with the word “arche” (first, beginning, chief, corner) The word “archaios” has to do with time and denotes “original
or primeval: — (them of) old (time)” (Strongs Greek Lexicon http://biblehub.com/greek/744.htm
) At the same site you will see Thayeres Greek Lexicon which says ([from ἀρχή beginning, hence] properly , that has been from the beginning, original
, primeval, old, ancient, used of men, things, times, conditions”.
Depending on context of where the word archaios is used, depends on the way it is translated in to English. At Revelation 12:9
all but one on the 30 plus English Bibles I checked used words like “old serpent” or “ancient serpent”. That wording tends to just say that the serpent was aged, being around for a long time. Only one Bible uses the primary meaning of “original” serpent. That was the NWT.
If we take the wording of the NWT as representing the intent of the Greek, than we get a connection between Satan the Devil and the “serpent” that was used to temp Eve. I can understand how most people do not want to trust the NWT but you could use the biblehub web site mentioned above to show the meaning of the word.
The point I see from Revelation is the link between the things Jesus said and what Paul records in other passages of this one being the ruler of the world and misleading mankind.
2 Corinthians 4:4
1 John 5:19
I am only guessing here, or maybe asking if you know, is the reason that some take view, that Satan is not a real “person” because they do not think God would created “a creature of malevolent evil
If that is what they think, we do not take that view either. We were created with free will. Our creator did not wanted any of his intelligent creatures (heavenly or earthly) to serve him out of fear, but out of love and appreciation for the fact that he gave us life, and not because we have to.
The Bible writer James gives us some insight into this at James 1:13-15
“13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (KJV)
The NHEB reads “13 Let no man say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each one is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then the lust, when it has conceived, bears sin; and the sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death”
No doubt that is a text that those that do not believe in a personal devil will use.
From that text we told that “Each one is ... being drawn out and enticed by his own desire.” (NWT). Now I assume that is where the idea of no Satan comes form in that it seems that the “Bible teaches that man is responsible for his own sin and that this sin comes from within him”
. It also explains how one of Gods heavenly spirit sons became the “resistor”. He let his desire (“lusts”) to be worshipped in the same way as his creator develop to the point where it overshadow is loyalty to God resulting in his getting Adam and Eve to follow him. That is why the temptation to Eve was not just to eat a nice looking piece of fruit, but the idea was planted that she would not be dependent on God for life but would be just like him. What an inducement to stop being obedient to their creator.
Our view is that Satan is not
personally responsible for all
the wrong that a man does. In light of that text each one of us lets our own sinful desires at times get the better of of. Satan however is responsible in the large part of putting those temptations in from of us just as he did to Eve (and tempted Jesus). We have the choice to follow those sinful desires or to push them away. We get tempted to do wrong by the things of this word that Satan is “prince” (ruler) over. We are bombarded with wrong things all the time.
We also inherited “sin” from Adam. There are so many things that we do that we have no control over. Adam and Eve were created without sin just as Jesus was born without sin. The Bible account tells us that the only reason why they would die is if they sinned. We die from sickness and old age because we inherited this blemish from Adam. Paul tells us that at Romans 12:5
“as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” Mankind now has a sinful nature because it was inherited by the actions of Adam. Jesus did not have a sinful nature because his father was God, just as Adams father was God.
In 1 John 3:8
the devil we are told is the one causing sin from the very beginning “ He who practices sin is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. For this reason the Son of God appeared, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (EMTV) That verse supports John 8:44
mentioned above in that the devil was around “from the very beginning”. Which points back to the beginning of human history and Adam and Eve. The ransom sacrifice of Jesus opened the way for mankind’s reconciliation to God
I found it interesting that you report that some who say that Satan is no “..<i>a creature of malevolent evil.... say that that idea must be read into certain passages … that one of the angles in the heavenly courts role is that of prosecuting attorney, one who presses God’s case and does God’s work of probing the integrity of human beings</b>..”
To come to the idea that God has used one of his own angels in that way, is reading more into a text than the idea of one of his heavenly sons turning bad. For God to uses one of his angels as a prosecuting angel to test the integrity of his servants runs contrary to what we know about God and makes God the one behind “<i>a creature of malevolent evil....” that God uses to tempt mankind. He is not a God that puts temptation (or evil) in front of his servants.
Deutronomy 32:4 “ The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice: a God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and right is he.” (NHEB)
“The Rock, perfect is his activity, For all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness who is never unjust;
Righteous and upright is he.” (NWT)
This next text definitely tells me that our creator would not have one of his angels act as a prosecutimng atterney
“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:”
For him to use one of his angels would mean that he is behind the temptations.
Gods ways are perfect and he becomes a shield to those taking refuge in him (2 Samuel 22:31
) It is unthinkable on the part of God not to honour those that honour him “but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, (1 Samuel 2:30
) Not to honour those that honour God is far from his mind, so why would he use one of his spirit sons to act as a prosecuting attorney and probe the integrity of his servants.
For, me the evidence shows that “Satan” must be one of Gods spirit sons that rebelled against his
(our) creator, and is now intent on turning all mankind away from serving God.
I hope you have been able to follow my reasoning.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hi Brenton,
Thank you once again for your response. I'll try and be brief, here are some counter augments that can be raised.
Take for example the story of the Fall in the Garden of Eden. The attitude of some is that the serpent was just as the text says a simple serpent, not a supernatural devil. "Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made" (Gen.3:1).
Their view is that the serpent is another beast of the field. The issue whether the account in Genesis 3 is a narrative of fact or a skilfully allegory. The New Testament confirms that the account in Genesis is fact. So remains the question of the serpent.
Those who say that the Devil is not an actual person will argue that from the Genesis account that the serpent was punished for its involvement and so must have been responsible for its own actions – it was therefore not a “tool” in the hands of the Devil, "Because of what you have done, you will be the only animal to suffer this curse-- For as long as you live, you will crawl on your stomach and eat dirt." (Genesis 3:14).
The punishment on the serpent was that it would crawl on its stomach for the as long as it lived. They say that the Devil does not crawl about on its stomach and therefore is not the subject of this punishment. They point out that when Adam was questioned about what he did that he passed the blame onto Eve, and in turn Eve passed it on to the serpent, but the serpent does not say "the Devil made me do it".
They argue that the account in Genesis the serpent was just that a serpent, and that this fact is reinforced in the New Testament (see 2 Cor 11:3).
They argue that Eve did succumb to her own desires as she looked at the fruit (Genesis 3:6)!
They argue that the passages such as 2 Cor. 4:4, John 12:31, Eph 2:2 etc. are just personification just like the passage in Phil 3:19 " their god is their belly".
Let me try to explain how some look at this. They say that the words 'satan' and 'devil' are used figuratively to describe the natural sinful tendencies within man, and that this tendency is shown in several passages, "As the children (us) are partakers of flesh and blood, he (Jesus) also himself likewise took part of the same; that through (His) death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil" (Heb.2:14). The devil is here described as being responsible for death. But "the wages of sin is death" (Rom.6:23). Therefore it is claimed sin and the devil must be parallel.
Similarly James 1:14 says that our evil desires tempt us, leading us to sin and therefore to death; but Hebrews 2:14 says that the devil brings death. The same verse says that Jesus had our nature in order to destroy the devil. Contrast this with Rom.8:3: "God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh (that is, in our human nature) condemned sin in the flesh". This they argue shows that the devil and the sinful tendencies that are naturally within human nature are effectively the same.
It was only because Jesus had mans human nature - the 'devil' within Him - that we can have the hope of salvation (Heb.2:14-18; 4:15). By overcoming the desires of his own nature, the Biblical devil, Jesus was able to destroy the devil on the cross (Heb.2:14). They claim that if the devil is an actual person, then he should no longer exist.
Heb.9:26 says that Christ was manifested "to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself". Heb.2:14 matches this with the statement that through His death he destroyed the devil in Himself. By His death Jesus in prospect destroyed "the body of sin" (Rom.6:6), i.e. human nature, sin revealed in (the form of) mans very bodies.
They string together passages that say "He that committeth sin is of the devil" (1 Jn.3:8), because sin is the result of giving way to our own natural, evil desires (James 1:14,15), which the Bible calls 'the devil'. "For this purpose the son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil" (1 Jn.3:8).
They say that the devil is our evil desires, therefore the works of our evil desires, i.e. what they result in, are our sins.
I have tried to surmise it as best I can within the short space allotted to me, if you want to have a detailed expose on how they believe and say what they do, go to http://www.thechristadelphian.com/do_you_believe_in_devil_online.htm
To show that the Devil is a real person we must show that only a actual person can speak to another person, and that only an actual person can be called a liar and a father, with the ability to think and rebel, these are the attributes of a real person, wouldn’t you say?
Thank you for that link to the Christadelphian web site. That was the first time I had ever had any detail as to why they do not believe in a literal devil.
We are supposed to try to reply in 3 days. This is just a quick not to say that I will be taking a little longer and that I will edit this post when I am done, and you will receive notification of the edit.
I went a long way in preparing an answer based on the information at that web link. I later decided to do some more reading on what they believe and found that some of my reply touched on subjects that I took for granted such as Jesus pre-human existence, but found they do not believe that.
It seems that they have two definitions or identities for the Hebrew and Greek words. One is the inner struggle that we all have, and the other is that at times the words refer to different individuals that resist others. (That one I agree with in certain contexts)
I have decided to re do what I had prepared and look in particular at the context of each occurrence as well as the grammar.
I will try to get this done in the next couple of days.
Thank you for being patient.