Answering “Questions Christians Can’t Answer” #19 Demons?

 

Why Demons?

This is the 19th in a 50-article series which attempts to examine the article “Top 50 Questions Christians Can’t Answer“. “50 Questions” is not an article which contains monolithic challenges to the Christian worldview. The questions seem aimed to hit the individual Christian with a “gotcha” question, and then watch them stumble and stutter as they try to give a rapid and coherent response. R. E. Pucket, the author of the article, has built into the article a criteria which practically no answer provided could satisfy. Says Pucket:

“Don’t get me wrong, they will have an answer for them. You will find, however, that their answers have no basis in verifiable fact or evidence whatsoever, and will be largely based in their blind faith forsaking all reason.”

For Pucket, it isn’t enough for the answer to show that the Christian belief system is internally consistent: the answer must convince him, an atheist, using whatever kind of evidence he would accept.

Since the author asks a metaphysical question and then asks for material evidence, these questions set the Christian up for failure. This article series is written for the purpose of giving metaphysical answers to metaphysical questions in order to dodge the “gotcha” nature of the questions and to show the internal consistency of the Christian worldview. This almost certainly would not satisfy Pucket, but it also doesn’t disarm the Christian.

It is also intended to show the misconceptions about Christian beliefs which the author brings to the table, and to correct these misconceptions where they occur.

Now for question 19:

19 – If, in the beginning, there was only God and he created everything, why would he create angels that had the propensity to defy him? This very fallacy led to Lucifer challenging his authority because he desired to share the same power as God.  This led to the rise, or fall depending on how you look at it, of Satan, the most notorious enemy of God and his followers. Failed, again! 

There are many subjects upon which the Bible doesn’t really teach, or touches only in passing. It doesn’t spend a lot of time talking about finance, political theory, or any particular field of science. To say that it is untrue because it doesn’t discuss these things is absurd. The Bible accomplishes the purpose for which it is written, and that is a discussion of the relationship between human beings and their Creator.

One of the subjects upon which the Bible spends very little time is the origin and purpose of non-human beings such as angels and demons. Certainly they are mentioned in passing, especially as they relate to human beings (humans being the primary focus of the Bible), but their overall story remains a mystery.
Since the story of Satan is more hinted at than told outright, it would be difficult to assess the nature of the story either to justify or to ridicule it. This question talks about the creation of angels, but the Bible contains no creation story for angels, and it is impossible to know the circumstances under which they were created. It states that Lucifer challenged the authority of God. Presumably this refers to the passage in Isaiah 14. Since this passage is talking about the fall of Babylon and of its ruler, this may not be speaking of Satan at all.
Satan is called “The accuser of the brethren, who accuses them before our God day and night ” (Revelation 12:10). This places Satan in the role of prosecuting attorney, appealing to God’s justice to destroy sinful humans. God’s act of salvation through Jesus overcomes his objections. In the book of Job, Satan attempts to question God’s worthiness of worship, stating that Job only worships God for the entirely selfish reason of getting handouts. In allowing Satan to test Job, God proved to Satan that he (God) is worthy of worship because of his very nature, not because of gifts and blessings he doles out.
To suggest that Satan is the “enemy of God and his followers” is to suggest that God has some weakness that an adversary could expose or exploit making him susceptible to attack or defeat.
In his rare appearances in scripture, Satan serves the role of trying to poke holes in God’s plan and nature. In testing God from every possible angle, God is proven to be perfect. In attempting to corrupt God’s creation, God’s revelation of his justice and love were brought about through Christ’s redemption. In opposing God, Satan unintentionally upholds God.

This question borrows a great deal from the fictional work of Milton’s Paradise Lost, which has shaped people’s conception of Satan and his fall as strongly as Dante’s Inferno has shaped people’s conception of Hell. Assuming that Satan is who this question seems to think he is, then the question harkens back to the exact same objection as “Why would God allow a world with the potential of evil?” And the answer would be the same in both cases: A world wherein it is possible that God is not the only moral agent, and people are capable of testing him, is a world wherein all aspects of God’s nature are actualized.  When moral agents such as humans – and maybe angels – search for purpose outside of God’s nature and fail to find it, God’s nature is justified.

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