I’ve noticed that some of my friends on Facebook post comments regarding this or that activity of the devil, plus the detailed comments of their friends regarding an actual full-blooded devil. Honestly, I’m struck by the fact that educated, intelligent people factor the devil as still roaming the world, seeking whom to devour, a devil in a constant state of “reefer madness,” and worthy of their attention.
I’d like to address it, formally.
The devil is a topic, if one believes in the devil, which puts devil-believers up in arms merely to bring up. Why? Because YOU might be the devil, too. Devils, to the devil-believer, are all about!
So, let me confess at the start, that I am not a devil. However, even stating this, suspicions are aroused. Therefore, one cannot confess to not be a devil without drawing attentions. And this argument could go on for a very long time, like Pee Wee Herman saying, “I know you are, but what am I?” The answer? The devil.
However, if I state that I AM the devil, now the argument goes in the opposite direction, for people who know all about the devil can explain all the many reasons why you are not the devil. So, there is a very thin slice from which to address the topic, that is, somewhere between the idea that I am a devil and the obvious fact that I could not be. Still, there remains the possibility that the devil is actually typing for me here, in-between my actual thoughts of goodness and well-wishes, while I myself, am irrelevant.
I am not making light here. I actually have had these discussions.
Now, Christians differ from Jews, how so? To the Christian, Jews are missing an advancement of God’s revelation. Given this description, we have two groups. One group in the old form; one in another, more recent form.
The same exact thing happened in science. For centuries, Christians took the biblical narrative as a scientific document in which God created all things and ruled the heavens. Prior to Galileo, scientists (to Plato) and Christians believed that things Above behaved one way, while on Earth, rules were more limiting. Galileo got into big trouble, not just for observing that the planets rotated around the sun, but for observing that “the heavens” obeyed the same laws as on Earth. This began a new advancement of understanding and now we have two groups again; 1) the old Catholic guard and 2) the new scientific mode of redefinition.
Once the threats of murder from within the Catholic church quieted down against the many new Galileos, the scientists pretty much left the Christians alone, as the Christians pretty much had left the Jews alone. (And btw, Judaism has a very different concept of the devil than do the Christians.) That said, the scientists generally abandoned the Bible as a scientific document in the same way they abandoned Aristotle’s theory of motion. It just didn’t fit. So science kept advancing once freed from various shackles, while the church kept strong to its basic cosmology, minus a few recalculations intended to maintain their dignity.
The Devil, in order to function in his evil administration, must be free to operate by the laws of the heavens; not Galileo’s heavens, but the Medieval church’s heavens (Satan talking to God, talking to Jesus, demons entering a herd of pigs, the AntiChrist destroying civilization, etc.). Now these pockets of believers maintained their traditions for roughly 350 years and suddenly there are people fully believing again in devils, and they know all about them, the this, the that, and the other. Satan, once again, completely operates by his own set of physical laws, not bound by Earth, which I am not sorry to say, is conceptually grounded in Medieval times.
If culture just dropped from the sky and these ideas about the devil just spontaneously formed, like a Spiderman comic from somebody’s imagination, then it’s interesting. But, however, if these ideas were put forth in actual history and we can trace their origins through the western hemisphere, then they are subject to debunking. The real problem comes that one cannot debunk the devil without debunking Jesus, which really is the conundrum here. We’re too feeble of mind to have another idea!
So we keep the devil, we keep Jesus, we keep God the Father of the Jews, as a group, a revelation, to some (just a few). It’s always to just a few, you know.
Now the world is falling apart, just like the New Testament predicted it would (wars and rumors of wars) and God still paces under the Medieval image, like Batman who is incensed by the Joker, and Jesus is pacing like Robin (Holy Jesus Batman), because Lucifer is causing a ruckus in Gotham, again. They shake their Mighty Fist crying, “I’ll get YOU!” If you believe some form of this, this is called “cosmology,” dear friends. If you believe it, you can trace your roots to the Medieval Christian church.
What’s at stake here is that the Medieval mind likes to capture naysayers and torture them, for Christ’s glory in Heaven and on Earth, of course. It’s a mindset, and it approves of torture, when you boil it down, or trace it from history, those struggling-guards perpetuating the mindset, our devil-hunter, jousting-heroes winning the eternal maiden, for themselves.
So, if the laws of the heavens are immutable, as the Church still proclaims, then Galileo is still wrong. But today’s Christians make a leap of faith, to say that regardless of scientific advancement, the devil is still free to roam about by laws yet-to-be explained. The devil can fly. The devil can enter into humans and creatures and take all sorts of forms. The devil is perfectly powerful, like Jesus, that he can do most anything, save to steal your free will. Then there are all sorts of ways and rule-bending the devil has figured to accomplish that, to bring one to Hell, for torture, a place modeled after the Medieval period of the Christian church from which one can never, ever escape. (That does sound like hell.)
The problem with this game is that it’s all or nothing, winner take all. And you are not part of it, except as a bit player. But if there’s a devil, now you can battle the devil, and you are no longer a bit player. Now it’s all the devil, which means you are a pretty tough egg, battling the devil, which is like real people you’re after, like friends on Facebook or the people of China.
Meanwhile, Jesus is trapped up in Heaven, and he is soon returning on a horse, of all things. Not a motorcycle or a speedboat or a helicopter, for they hadn’t been invented yet, I guess, in Heaven. But He does possess enough Batman gadgetry to keep an eye-out, not just on all things, but on the thoughts of all things, recording it (writing fast) with a quill, for the long, long drawn-out future trial, of all things, like an Inquisition.
And the Devil truly cares about the whole drama, I’ve been told, and has his own computer banks of seeing-devices. It would be quite fantastic, the way this all works, if it made any sense, other than to the Medieval mind. Yet it’s equally fantastic, in the post-Galileo paradigm — of welcoming new ideas. For there are real shining stars and galaxies out there and here we are, quite simple and profound, still looking up into the night. For as something undervalued, there is something divine in a single thought passing through one’s mind and the feelings one might feel or share.
Still, this appreciation might require time, for one to mature, to develop a soul, a soul that could never be stolen. And this you know, when you have it. A soul with its own meaning. No devil required. S.