Can't God kill Satan

Satan, death and the devil

Friday, May 21, 2021

Evil in the mirror of world religions

From Susanne Mack

The diabolical temptation as a test for the believers (Stock.XCHNG / George Crux)

If God made a good world, where does evil in this world come from? And how can we master it? A search for traces in Christianity and Judaism.

"Evil in Christianity can of course be argued about. I have to think of a somewhat obscure story. The fact that the Diet of Norway, which has a Lutheran regional church, was asked a few decades ago whether it was 'the bad', So Satan gives. And how that then does a parliament, it has set up a committee of inquiry with conservative and more liberal theologians. And then in the end it came out that they could not agree. And the Reichstag, the Norwegian, said: 'If the experts cannot agree on whether there is' the bad guy 'or not, then we don't know either and we cannot give a judgment on it.' "

Peter Zimmerling, Professor of Protestant Theology.

Is there such a thing as "incarnate" Satan? The devil personally? For Salomon Almekias-Siegl, the state rabbi of Saxony, "Satan" is not a person, but a metaphor: a linguistic image for evil that appears in various forms.

"For example: What can Satan be? - A beautiful woman! The boss works, is married, has a family, and his secretary is so beautiful that he desires her every time. Still - goodbye! After work he goes home, she goes But there are bosses who are persuaded about the beauty of women! Or ... jewelry! I don't have that much money, but my neighbor has a nice ring, and I also want ... well: desire! Everything belongs to the subject of Satan ! "

In Martin Luther's translation of the Gospels, Satan has a second name: "the devil". The word is of Greek origin: "Diabolos" - Diabolos is a demon who confuses the human mind: twisting and veiling the truth for it.

The devil is a liar and a father of lies.

A word of Christ from the Gospel of John. Father Bernhard Venske, monk of the Dominican Order:

"I think the best way to explain it to ourselves is that we tend to make the world a little bit the way we want it to be and not the way it really is. So, I'm 51 years old, getting older . I have gray hair, a stomach, and wrinkles slowly form too. Now I could say: 'I think that's totally stupid, actually I want to look like Brad Pitt! I could just dye my hair to look younger. I could, like aging men like to do it now, inject Botox somewhere to make my wrinkles disappear. But that's a lie. I want to be something what I am not! "

"Thomas Elyot once said the beautiful sentence: 'People don't take much reality.' And that only a few people can stand this gaze, that they are surrounded by these pitfalls of being evil. "

"There is no question that there is 'evil' for anyone who is reasonably awake and observes day-to-day events or world history. So, especially when you think of the German history of the past century, that is the case On the hand."

"Sure. And the bad news ... terrorist attacks ... that, of course, hurts when you see the pictures. And that's all human hands! It's a shame that we humans have to suffer because of those people who want to destroy the world. And as a religious person I have to say: I can't understand that people who are believers do something like that. It's sad! "

Actually, says Rabbi Almekias-Siegl, believers should know what behavior God abhors. Why do human creatures not keep the commandments of their Creator? Obviously not just because they are atheists and don't believe in this Creator. Because even believers covet and steal the goods of their fellow men. And kill them. And it is not uncommon for them to pretend to be doing this in the name of God.

And God saw everything that he had made, and lo and behold, it was very good.

... it says in the book "Genesis" of the Hebrew Bible. Where does the human tendency towards the diabolical come from? Who created the devil?

"If I see that correctly, then it is the case that the biblical texts are actually very reserved about the origin of evil. Nowhere is there any speculation about where it actually comes from."

Peter Zimmerling, the Protestant theologian.

Salomon Almekias-Siegl, the rabbi, explains Satan's existence as follows:

"When God created the world, he also created Satan. Because: The goal why we humans came to this earth is to improve ourselves. To find a better way to become better people!"

And the serpent was more cunning than all the animals that the Lord God had made, and said to the woman: "Yes, should God have said you should not eat from all kinds of trees in the garden?" The woman said to the serpent: “God said of the fruits of the one tree in the middle of the garden:“ Do not eat of them, that you do not die! ”The serpent said to the woman:“ You will by no means die of death; but God knows that on the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened - and you will be like God!

Was it a surprise to God that Eve and Adam were persuaded by Satan? Rabbi Almekias-Siegl says: Not at all. He knew that beforehand:

"Sure! God knows everything. But he wants to show: I gave you the choice. It's exactly like this: when you have a son, you say, 'Well, boy, listen! If you smoke, that's it Dangerous! You can get sick, then you puke. If you drink, then you are an alcoholic, then you take drugs afterwards ... 'At least, you gave him the alternative, although you know that he meets people who might like him make to smoke and make to drink and to make drugs. So, definitely: Satan was born with us. We run parallel to each other. And if I managed not to persuade me, then I passed the world. "

"I believe that evil is made by God so that we can actually live our free will. And it is free will that God has given us as the greatest gift so that we can freely and confidently decide for it. Otherwise he wouldn't love us. Then we'd be puppets! "

Father Bernhard Venske.

God has given people free will so that they can choose between good and bad. This idea has become popular in modern times through Erasmus of Rotterdam. His contemporary Martin Luther was of a different opinion: humans have no free will with regard to good and bad!

"Luther saw the core of Reformation knowledge threatened in the conflict with Erasmus. Because Reformation knowledge assumes that man cannot earn his salvation, the grace of God. Luther saw the whole of world history as a struggle between the good and the And he says that humans are either determined by evil or by good. So, he is of the opinion that humans basically have no free will, which in a certain way hits the face of all modern human images. "

… Says Peter Zimmerling, Protestant theologian. Father Bernhard Venske, Catholic, finds Erasmus' conception more contemporary than the Lutheran one. And more biblical too.

"Evil is definitely not a counter-power to God!"

But it came to pass on the day that the children of God came and stood before the Lord, that Satan also came among them and stood before the Lord.

A verse from the book "Job". He suggests: Satan is a son of God and is under divine authority.

Should a Christian view the occasional temptation of Satan, evil, as a spiritual test? As a test he can pass - or not?

"That sounds so weirdly educational. I think it's more of a criterion for maturity. As a child, I also do some bad things that Mommy and Daddy don't want. But I have to do it in order to develop myself. The moment I turn around, if I go one quality level higher, I get a little further. "

"It is true that God brings situations of temptation into human lives. So, God has no interest in leading a person to apostasy, but he obviously has an interest in keeping a person in his Believe yourself! "

The diabolical provocation as a school leaving examination - Jesus of Nazareth also had to pass it, as the Gospel of Matthew reports:

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert so that he might be tempted by the devil.

"Well, the spirit that leads him into the desert is apparently the spirit of God ..."

And having fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came to him and said, If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread. - And he answered and said: It is written: "Man does not live from bread alone, but from every word that goes through the mouth of God!"

"Yes, that is the most interesting story. And indeed these are the temptations: 'You are hungry? Well, then do something against nature! After all, you are God's son, you have all the power, you can but let stones become bread! ' Very interesting thought! What if Christ had followed this temptation? Nobody would have noticed whether such a stone had become bread or not. Of course not. But he would have done something against the laws and order of the cosmos, against the good order, he would have created chaos. So, it's less this hunger than the temptation: 'You will be like God!' "

"Well, I find it very plausible why in the creation myth this tree of knowledge is withheld by God from man. He is forbidden to eat from this tree."

"What does the snake say to the woman? Apart from that, that's Quark too, that the woman there now ... it was both of them: one who does something, the other who does nothing about it. The snake says: 'You will be like God when you eat of this fruit of knowledge! '"

"That seems to be the original sin and the starting point of evil, that man is obviously not able to limit himself.
And we experience it today through modern technology, modern medicine, that it is incredibly difficult for us to find this limit. Where man's talent, his incredible intelligence, and also the ability to cultivate the earth, turns into their opposite. So John is probably right when it says that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. By holding the manifesto of the Sermon on the Mount against human brutal egoism. "

The egoistic delusion of people, their eternal fear of falling short in comparison to others is actually a powerful source of evil, says Rabbi Almekias-Siegl - with a view to a well-known story from the Torah:

"Cain and Abel! Cain killed his brother. Because, supposedly, when he was supposed to bring a sacrifice to God: Abel had smoke coming up, Cain didn't. And he believed: 'Aha, that is no smoke, that is, God did not accept my prayer! ' And killed him out of jealousy! "

Obviously, many people find it difficult to limit the ego's lust for power. However, even more people seem to be afraid of putting power-hungry egomaniacs in their place, says Father Bernhard Venske:

"There is a Latin American legend that there is only one place left in hell. And standing there, a huge queue of people: murderers and criminals and very bad people. And one of them stands there a bit, according to the motto: ' I don't even know what to do here! ' Satan stands at the open door and asks this person: 'Who are you, what are you doing here?' The person says: 'I don't know either!' Satan asks: 'Yes, why? What have you done?' Man: 'Nothing! I've never done anything!' And then the legend says that Satan said: 'Come here, my friend, this place is prepared for you!' And that Satan has huddled very close to the door frame so that he has no contact with this person who has never done anything. "

"Jewish mysticism tells us that when God created the world and his Torah, he also created the 'Teshuwa'. 'Teshuwa' means turning around from bad things to get from the bad way onto a good way. That is Teshuvah - repentance! Because God knew that man cannot live without sin. "

Rabbi Eliezer said: "Repent a day before your death!" His students then asked: "How should we know when we are going to die?" He replied: "Of course you do not know that. Therefore you should repent today, because you could die tomorrow!"

In Christianity, too, the recognition of one's own wrongdoing has an important place. Catholic Christians even have a duty to regularly confess their sins to a priest and to repent.

"Yes. But these duties ... Well, I don't want it to be a duty. I would like it to be a need. Of course we have a bitter taste, because we all know penance. , It all sounds really terrible. It actually comes from the Germanic: 'buorta - reparation'. If you emphasize that a bit differently: 'again - good - do', then the whole thing gets a different taste! "

There is no duty to confess with the Evangelical Lutheran Christians. Martin Luther wanted confession to be a voluntary matter. As a result, more and more Protestant Christians took the liberty of turning down the offer of confession. Unfortunately, says Lutheran Peter Zimmerling. He is convinced that a good confession has a liberating effect:

"That confession helps me to recognize my creatureliness. And creatureliness includes the fact that we are always guilty: the failure, the other-people-remaining-guilty. And here is a means that helps me, with this Failure to come to terms with this guilt. Without having to suppress it or gloss over it or get sick from it. "

"We have no confession. In Judaism we turn directly to God, we have no mediator. What I cannot understand is that Christians took Jesus as a mediator. He was a Jew and he didn't want any of that!"

... says Rabbi Salomon Almekias-Siegl. Even without confession, Jews would have enough space and time to think about their sins.

"'Let Satan, don't let evil persuade me. Remove me from evil people, from Satan, from everything that is evil', that's what we say every day in prayer! We believe in the Messiah, and the Messiah will come "Only if we are decent. We always say when the Messiah comes: He is building the third temple for us. Two temples are already broken in Jewish history, the third temple is being built by the Messiah himself. So there you go! Then wait with patience and." we are drinking tea!"

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