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Satanic Cameos in the Bible
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Powwow
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 11:05 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote

After God cursed the snake He turned to the spiritual serpent Satan and cursed him. He will crush your head..you will strike his heel. This is prophetic of the struggle between the Devil and unbelievers and Eve's seed (Jesus Christ and believers) Satan could only cause Christ to suffer but Christ will destroy Satan with a fatal blow.
Pukon you wouldn't be suggesting that because the Jews that believe in the literal account are a small minority, that makes them wrong and the majority because of their numbers has to be right?
Traditional or Torah Judaism was the only form of Jewish practise prior to the 18th century. They believe the Torah is truth. But yes, sadly they are a small minority.
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Pukon_the_Treen
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BevIsHopeful,

Quote:
The only thing is, when you read the actual story, Adam and Eve experience shame, and they are cast out of Eden forever.  Because of this, I have a hard time seeing the story as inspiring or exciting.  Especially knowing how they suffer after the expulsion.


They weren't ashamed of their disobedience, they were ashamed of their nudity, which I see as a metaphor for sexual awareness. They were like children, or more like animals; no self awareness, no awareness of their mortality and no sense of shame. Then the serpent and the fruit; the 'deception' and the promise of knowledge and they come of age as fully fledged humans. How do they feel about this, and how does God feel about it? It's like a child leaving home for the first time; lots of conflicting emotions, pride but also sadness, fear of inevitable trials and tribulations, but also exultation of freedom, autonomy and independence.

Quote:
Having said this, I'm still not convinced it is a literal story, but I believe it symbolizes man's imperfect state in contrast to God's perfect will.  One might even see this as a metaphorical story that conveys a repeating scenario in the Bible, that is, the difference between walking right with God or falling out is based on ones invulnerability or vulnerability to temptation.


All good myths will be written is such a way as to explore universal human themes and aspects that can resonate in many different ways in different times and cultures, but it's like a good painting or a good piece of music; you will also be able to take your own experiences, ideas and and imagination with you and make it into something relevant to you.

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In the NT, Jesus' temptation in the desert is very similar, only he does not succumb to it.

So, I can see easily how the snake in Eden is likened to Satan elsewhere.


Satan tempts and accuses; that's in accordance with his divinely appointed role as you see it in the Book of Job. The role of deceiver, rebel and adversary is taking it a step further though. Don't get me wrong; I think the character of Satan the proud but ultimately doomed and defeated rebel is an excellent myth as well; he has some of the best lines in literature:

“Farewel happy Fields where Joy for ever dwells: Hail horrours, hail infernal world, and thou profoundest Hell receive thy new Possessor: One who brings a mind not to be chang'd by Place or Time. The mind is its own place, and in it self can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n.

What matter where, if I be still the same, and what I should be, all but less then he whom Thunder hath made greater? Here at least we shall be free; th' Almighty hath not built here for his envy, will not drive us hence: Here we may reign secure, and in my choyce to reign is worth ambition though in Hell: Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav'n.”
(Milton - Paradise Lost)

It's not really biblical though; we have taken the character from the bible and done so much more with it, and that's the essence and purpose of a good myth.
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Pukon_the_Treen
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pow wow,

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After God cursed the snake He turned to the spiritual serpent Satan and cursed him.


Except that's not in Genesis; it's a later interpretation.

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He will crush your head..you will strike his heel. This is prophetic of the struggle between the Devil and unbelievers and Eve's seed (Jesus Christ and believers) Satan could only cause Christ to suffer but Christ will destroy Satan with a fatal blow.


That's really tortuously stretching a passage that's obviously about a snake and trying to apply it to the Jesus myth, His apocalyptic second coming and a different idea of Satan's identity and role. I don't see that in the original creation myth at all.

Quote:
Pukon you wouldn't be suggesting that because the Jews that believe in the literal account are a small minority, that makes them wrong and the majority because of their numbers has to be right?
Traditional or Torah Judaism was the only form of Jewish practise prior to the 18th century. They believe the Torah is truth. But yes, sadly they are a small minority.


Nope. I think the Genesis story is a myth, and (as I have said above) as such, different people and cultures will be able to take different things from it. The actual numbers who interpret it one way or another are irrelevant, but if you think a myth is a literal historical account of an actual event then you are misusing it. It would be like looking at Picasso's Guernica and trying to pick out actual real objects and images as you would from a photograph.
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Powwow
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 12:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pukon,
Well Moses did write it down some time after the event but he knew what God was telling him. No stretch Pukon if you consider other scripture. Paul said, And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.
You will fined in Gen. 3:4-5 Satan speaks a direct lie to Eve and it shows that Satan is a liar and murderer right from the beginning. Satan's lies always promise benefits.
With no knowledge of evil before the fall, nakedness was shameless and quite innocent. So how is shame produced? I think by the awareness of the evil in something. Adam and Eve had no inward principle of evil to work on, it had to come from outside and it soon did. The apostle John and Paul both identify the serpent as Satan.
Pukon this is a circular argument in my opinion. You think a literal event is a myth and in your opinion you say I believe a myth is a literal event. I won't budge and I'm pretty sure you won't
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Pukon_the_Treen
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 4:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pow wow,

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Well Moses did write it down some time after the event but he knew what God was telling him.


And what reason, apart from tradition, do you have to suppose that Moses wrote the first five books of the Torah?

Quote:
No stretch Pukon if you consider other scripture. Paul said, And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.


Yes; Paul. That's New Testament, by which time the character of Satan was changing. Paul may well have been referencing Genesis when he wrote that, but that doesn't mean that he was being true to the intention of the original authors does it? Once a story is written, it is out of the hands of the author, and each generation is free to interpret and re-interpret it according to the needs, concerns and ideas of their own time and culture.

Quote:
You will fined in Gen. 3:4-5 Satan speaks a direct lie to Eve and it shows that Satan is a liar and murderer right from the beginning. Satan's lies always promise benefits.


Except, as I am sure I have already said, there is nothing at all in the Genesis story to indicate that the character of the serpent is supposed to be Satan. Actually there's nothing at all in the Old Testament to lead us to that conclusion; it's certainly not mentioned or even obliquely referred to in Satan's next cameo in the Book of Job. Your interpretation of Satan's character and nature as a liar and murderer came later.

Quote:
With no knowledge of evil before the fall, nakedness was shameless and quite innocent. So how is shame produced? I think by the awareness of the evil in something. Adam and Eve had no inward principle of evil to work on, it had to come from outside and it soon did.


They had no knowledge of anything very much did they? No knowledge of good or evil, loss or fear, death or pain. Animals aren't ashamed of being naked either, is that what God wanted for us; stuck naked in a garden, mindlessly rutting, eating, sleeping and scratching ourselves for all eternity? If I were a creator, or even a parent, that's not what I would want for my children. I would want them to experience life and find their own happiness and meaning.

The temptation of curiosity and investigation, and the subsequent knowledge of good and evil, life and death were necessary developments for humanity; we would never have amounted to anything otherwise. Sure, you are sad when your kids leave home, but you certainly don't want them living in your house, eating your food, having you take care of them all their lives. Eventual independence and autonomy is what we strive for; it's what we are, yet you Christians see it as something dirty and wicked, to be ashamed of! What a tiny, mean and timid outlook.

Quote:
The apostle John and Paul both identify the serpent as Satan.


New Testament writers, obviously. As you know, the bible is a collection of books, written by different people, in different times and cultures. The concerns and themes of each of the many authors vary much over the course of the work, and there is no reason why ideas and characters should not change. It's only if you insist on treating it as a single inerrant and internally coherent and cohesive work with a single internally coherent and cohesive purpose and message that you start running into problems.
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BevIsHopeful
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pukon?  In your analysis here, why would God tell Adam and Eve that they "must not" eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil?  Why would he warn them of "death" if they do eat that particular fruit?  And most importantly, why would he then banish them afterwards from having any access to the garden's edible flora, which had he not, had this merely been a natural course of events, surely would have made their lives much more comfortable?  

When you read the text, clearly some form of punishment is taking place,  The consequences of their actions are harsh in comparison to what they had before.

I do agree that God had to have designed the possibility for man to take two paths (thus the Law later on), but I can't eek out of the text an interpretation that even mildly indicates the disobedient one is a good one.  

But, then, I've long viewed "Nature" as full of consequences and pain.  My eyes were keenly opened to this the summer I rehabilitated baby wrens (and one bluejay).  In those few weeks when I was easing them into the wild, the gaping teeth of nature seemed to open wide and threatened their innocent ventures in ways I'd never seen before.  And that was only my cultivated garden!
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BevIsHopeful,

Quote:
Pukon?  In your analysis here, why would God tell Adam and Eve that they "must not" eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil?  Why would he warn them of "death" if they do eat that particular fruit?  And most importantly, why would he then banish them afterwards from having any access to the garden's edible flora, which had he not, had this merely been a natural course of events, surely would have made their lives much more comfortable?  

When you read the text, clearly some form of punishment is taking place,  The consequences of their actions are harsh in comparison to what they had before.


It's a myth, a metaphor; Eden isn't literal, it's a state of mind and of existence; a state of innocence and ignorance. Most people look back at childhood with feelings of affection, loss and sadness, but going back is impossible and inappropriate (which is one of the things that makes the Christian striving for heaven so peculiar).

To be human is to eventually outgrow the security and protection of childhood, and stagger out into the cruel and dangerous world of self-governance. The passage from child to adult is traumatic and terrifying; it can feel as though the whole universe is punishing you for something (hence the weird and unfocused angst and isolation that teenagers experience). If the myth had described the expulsion from the the garden as God clapping them on the back, passing them a beer and saying, “well done; you're all grown up! I'm so proud”, then it would not have been successful as a myth. It would not have adequately described the bewildering, alienating and frightening process of coming of age. It's not fun, but it is important, necessary, empowering and it is right and good. You can't really creep back into childhood, back into the garden, back into the womb, and it's a bit odd to go around saying you want to.

Where Genesis is really clever is that it takes that traumatic and double-edged experience of coming of age and applies it to the whole of mankind, saying that this is what we as a species experienced in the mythical past. This way the story can be used as part of a binding and unifying cultural identity, but also as an individual explanation for the whole rather ambiguous and confusing experience of personal autonomy.
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Lexilogio
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is an interesting discussion.

I certainly don't want to stilt it in any way - but was wondering if there were any other references. Am I right in thinking that the next reference to Satan isn't until Job? Or are there any other implicit references in the Torah that I've missed? I'm afraid I've never paid a great deal of attention to this particular aspect - apart from in the book of Job, which I find endlessly intriguing.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Disregarding the Eden serpent, which the Jews do not consider to be a Satanic cameo, he pops up three times in the Torah; Job, 1 Chronicles 21 and Zechariah 3.

Job is excellent, but I like it for the fascinating relationship between God and Satan, rather than between God and the unfortunate Job. In that, God and Satan remind me of the two old men in Trading Places, who destroy Dan Aykroyd and elevate Eddie Murphy just as a whimsical bet, just because they can.
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Powwow
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first theme in the book of Job is the debate between God and Satan in Heaven. God wanted to prove the character of His believers to Satan. The accusations are made by Satan. He pointed out that God's claim of jobs righteousness hadn't been tested. I believe Satan was confident in turning Job against God because he had been successful in corrupting Adam and Eve and He had led other angels in rebelling against God. Satan asserts that believers are only faithful as long as they prosper and he wanted to prove salvation was not permanent.
Isaiah 14:12 starts How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!
Just as God talked to Satan in His words to the serpent in Gen. God is speaking to the king of Babylon and to the Devil behind him in Isaiah 14:12-17
Christ also used verse 12 to describe Satan's fall in Luke 10:18
Believers have a very real adversary, this adversary is Satan who is described from Genesis to Revelations.

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