The Real Devil foreword

Chapter 6 Some Conclusions

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Chapter 6 Some Conclusions

6-1 Some Conclusions

Digression 7: Suffering (Bev Russell)

1-1 A History Of The Devil And Satan In Old Testament Times

To begin at the beginning. The words Satan, Devil, demon, Lucifer, fallen angel etc. simply don't occur in the whole of the book of Genesis. Throughout the Old Testament, the one and only God is presented as all powerful, without equal and in no competition with any other cosmic force. The Old Testament makes it clear that any 'adversary' to God's people was ultimately under the control of God Himself. All Angels are spoken of as being righteous and the servants of God, even "Angels of evil / disaster", who may bring destruction upon sinners, are still God's Angels carrying out His will and judgments. God's people Israel initially held this view; but as has so often happened to God's people, they mixed their true beliefs with those of the world around them. The very early Jewish rabbis spoke of the human tendency to evil [yetser ha-ra] and the tendency to good [yetser ha-tob]. This tendency to evil they understood as being at times personified or symbolized by "the devil": "Satan and the yetser ha-ra are one" (1). But those early Jewish rabbis rejected the idea that angels had rebelled, and they specifically rejected the idea that the serpent in Genesis was satan. At that time, "the Jewish devil was little more than an allegory of the evil inclination among humans" (2). It is noted by the editor of Dent's edition of the Talmud that neither the Talmud nor the Midrash (the Jewish interpretations of the Law of Moses) even mention Satan as being a fallen angel (3).

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