• The Incoherence of Satan

    Many people, particularly fundamentalists, still believe in a real and actual Satan. Of course, to everyone else, this is completely incomprehensible. And here’s one reason for why, as John Loftus sets out in his book The End of Christianity (p. 100):

    That the highest created being, known as Satan or the Devil, led an angelic rebellion against an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, omnipresent God…and expected to win. This makes Satan out to be suicidal, inexplicably evil, and dumber than a box of rocks. Yet he still defies God’s power by supposedly meddling in the world without God stopping him even though he could.

    If we take God’s omnipotence as being infinite, then his power if even infinitely greater than Satan’s, whatever power Satan has (to see the interesting nature of infinity, read James Lindsay’s awesome Dot, Dot, Dot: Infinity Plus God Equals Folly). Satan would surely have realised God’s superiority and power and so any rebellion would logically be the most pointless pastime in conception. And if God allowed and allows it, then Satan is just a pawn in God’s plans, which means that God is executively managing evil. This and more I set out in my chapters on Satan and Hell in The Little Book of Unholy Questions. Whatever one’s conception of Satan, if at all real, there are massive problems. Which is why the evolution of such ideas has led to Satan being a mere metaphor for evil and wrongdoing: the temptation of man to err from the path of goodness.

    Fundamentalists and literalists, of course, have to claim a more ontologically real character, and the Bible would certainly seem to defend this view.

    It just doesn’t make a whole heap of sense. But then, what in the Bible really does?

    Category: AtheismBiblical ExegesisFeaturedGod's CharacteristicsHell


    Article by: Jonathan MS Pearce