Written By Thomas Perez. February 26, 2013 at 1:18PM. Copyright 2013.
This article is a response to a question asked in a Universal group. The question asked was, Quote: “What do you think? Do you think the scripture has a case for the devil and the fallen angels to be redeemed? If the lake of fire is correction, and the devil and his angels are thrown there it seems logical to believe that eventually they will also be redeemed. What do you think”? Unquote.
Its odd that the individual would ask this question. I just modified my belief concerning this issue….By the way, it might not be such a bad idea as Reconciliationists to look into other faiths concerning this topic. After all, we are Reconciliationists. But many just seem content to shed the light from the Canon. (Please read carefully)….I’ve been blessed by the conclusions. I’m at peace.
The term “Satan” did not originally mean the “Devil”. It didn’t refer to any one in particular. Satan is a Hebrew word that works as a noun or a verb, and it can refer to anyone who is an enemy. Satan in Greek is “diabolos” which is devil in English. Thus Satan became associated with the term devil. Satan can be revealed as an action taken by (not in) the Lord as I Chron 21:1 & II Sam 24:1 reveals. He can be a celestial being as the “angel of the Lord” who blocked the prophet Balaam (Num 22:32) or he can be “human” (I Kgs 11:23). Obviously it/he is an action, entity, and can be revealed as a person. I believe the person to be the author of sin (action-verb), rebellion (action-verb), and the cause of the sinful fall of Man (method-now revealed as a person). The action/verb/he is the result of God creating the universe that is not eternal (only God is eternal) therefore, creation itself can be considered evil because it did not always exist, that is why God had to declare by His Word that all was good (but not Holy). Only God inhabits Holiness. Creation can only reveal evil, not God in and of Himself. Thus, the term Satan – verb – many be a by-product of this creation before any other celestial beings came into existence. Satan/concept became what is known as the arch enemy of God and His ultimate creation; ‘Man’.
This makes the case for the incarnation of God in Jesus the more plausible as opposed to the Gnostic interpretation of all matter as being evil – insinuating that God can not become flesh. Is God not the Almighty? God can make all things good and be Holy in the flesh simply because He is Holy and this Holiness is eternal (Mic 5:2, Isa 9:6, Jn 1:1, 14). Therefore His Body was and is Holy. We are but a reflection of that image/body – our bodies didn’t always exist – reliant on the tree of life (allegory?). But I believe God always had a body (for He is a Body) of Spirit and Flesh, not as we know it; but as revealed in the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe God revealed His flesh in time, thus becoming flesh though the seed of His creation made in the likeness of men (flesh as we know it). Therefore He was subjected to the temptations of evil, its concepts, and that very entity; Satan, yet without sin.
Satan/Evil is the opposite of who God really is (goodness, mercy, and justice). Satan; the adversarial concept, influenced a third of the angels to sin (verb) with him by tempting their freewill of choice, resulting in their own sin – action (2 Pet 2:4, Jude 6). Satan is the foundation and corner stone of all rebellion. However, I also believe that evil cannot exist within itself. Evil is not a separate entity. I also believe that nothing is out of the control or foreknowledge of God, therefore; God provided the evil, just as He provided the good as represented and planted in the garden. Thus, all things were good, including the tree of knowledge containing the good and evil (Gen 2:31, 2:9, 3:1-5). If there had been no evil to compare the goodness against, we would never realize the greatness of His goodness.
Furthermore, it must be understood that the ministry (action) of Satan is to actually be the adversary of all men, since that may be the underlying cause for this concept and creation to begin with (John 8:44). Satan is a created being because its concepts exist. Some would suggest that evil was found in him based on these passages of Scripture (Ezek 28:12-19, Isa 14:12-20). But if that were so, then that would entail, something that sprang from outside its concept/entity, as if it was there, somewhere, lurking in the Cosmos. And if that is true, then that would entail an imperfect creation, thus an imperfect God. But Scripture teaches us otherwise, For all things were created good. Perhaps the account of Ezekiel & Isaiah is true. If it is, then it would have had to be God who summoned a prideful heart (an action verb) in Satan (this noun) – but if that was the case then freewill, as pertaining to this particular angelic being, did not exist – this is highy the most probable presupposition.
Therefore, I reject dualism.
In ref to demons or jinns (Islamic term), it is written that they kept not to their first estate (Jude 6) thus implying a freewill (as Christianity and Islam suggests). Or it may be said that they were created for Satan to usurp authority over, nullifying a freewill. These are they, which upon a possible freewill mechanism, did foolishly followed the ministry of Satan rather than esteeming God and His ultimate creation; “Man” better. Or they were created for that purpose (though the former serves a better interpretation in reference to their freewill). In Islam, the “jinn” (including Satan – who is a jinn) have freewill – regular angels don’t. However, this Islamic interpretation is dualistic in concept.
But In reference to angels in the scope of Christianity, it is written that we will judge the angels (I Cor 6:3). But by what standards do we judge ministering spirits if they have not the capacity to exercise freewill you may ask? Freewill is thus implied to angels in this instance – who can and may be called jinns – who in turn are called spirits /demons/angels. This is possibly the reason why Islam, as well as Judaism and Christianity believe that the angels (though in Islam it’s the Jinn) would be judged. “They are spirits/Jinns” and thus being so, are capable of freewill and are able to change their temporary punishments and take a remedial course instead.
Perhaps the Pauline expression is one of a general statement in reference to the term “angels“. However, freewill and the ability to exercise it in reference to Satan would imply something (in this case pride) existing outside the omnipotence of God which underscored His perfect creation, Lucifer/Ibless, and that simply can not be the case since both interpretations (Christianity and Islam) fail to answer the question concerning the origin of evil. Perhaps, the story of the garden, the serpent, the fall, is an allegorical one. Perhaps a bigger picture is being thought here.
Moreover, upon creation of all; God created the concept of freewill also. God set a standard against freewill and called it ‘obedience’. Man failed. Apart from the angelic beings who kept not their first estate, but succumbed to the influences of Satan, freewill also existed & exists only for his most mysterious creation of all – ‘Man’. But man, by his very nature rejects God by a tainted freewill. Perhaps that’s why some have resorted to teaching an eternal torture chamber in order to convict and persuade men to God. But it is God’s will that none perish (II Pet 3:9). Therefore, the problem of sin does not rest upon or comes from the shoulder’s of our Creator God, but upon the by product of all that is evil and the choice of choosing evil.
Satan, its concepts, and very nature is a defeated foe. He is a conquered enemy to all believer’s. For he is judged already (Jn 12:31, 16:9, 10, 16:11, I Jn 3:8, Col 2:15 Rev 12:10, 20:10). I believe it/he/ and its concepts are bound and imprisoned, for it can not interfere with the internal affairs pertaining to the continual growth concerning the Kingdom of God in the spiritual (ontological) sense. Yet I still see it/him/evil – wickedness, and sin all around me. I believe that it/he/evil walks as a roaring lion; seeking whom it/he/evil may devour in this non-spiritual, materialistic, fleshly, and empirical world. Similar to a convict who is bound and imprisoned, but yet has full access to the grounds of a facility where he or she may roam about – calling the shots – as permitted by the true CO – Correctional Officer (Job 1:6-7, Matt 4:2-11, I Pet 5:8, I Jn 4:4). And in this world, Satan seeks to keep Man from the truth of the Lord, and when he cannot succeed in this; he seeks to weaken the testimony of Christ. As said, Satan has at his disposal, a third of the fallen angels, now called demons/Jinns to carry out destructive plan and purpose against Man and the Church of Christ (the Believer). This is possibly the reason why Islam, as well as Judaism and Christianity believe that the angels (though in Islam it’s the Jinn) would be judged. Satan can be overcome by the power of God (I Jn 4:4).
As one that believes in the Ultimate Reconciliation of all things, it is highly probable that Satan would eventually surrender his role as the adversary and be reconciled back unto the Lord – or take another place in ministry – as the saints would judge the angels. His (Satan’s) ministry of temptations (trials), testing’s, accusations, and defense on behalf of His Majesty (the Lord God) would no longer be warranted or needed. For the Lord God would be all and in all. However, there are many other Ultimate Reconciliationists that would disagree with me on this issue. However, a study on the words ‘Forever’, and ‘Everlasting’ will shed some good light.