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Author Topic: The Real Enemy of God  (Read 550 times) Average Rating: 5
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Poppy
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« on: June 19, 2011, 09:16:37 AM »

Can people sort me out on satan, lucifer, the devil which just when i think i have it, someone mentions something to mess me up.

satan is just a enemy it means adversary right?? and can be used of the devil but also can be used to mean any enemy.

the devil IS lucifer??

why exactly is his name changed??

When people refer to The Enemy, they are refering to the devil right??

Also is the devil the main enemy in all this because it seems like man (sarx, the flesh) is a worse enemy than even lucifer. So what is the real enemy of God is it the devil or is it more people's own flesh??
« Last Edit: June 19, 2011, 09:17:45 AM by Poppy » Logged
John Ward
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« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2011, 09:29:26 AM »

I don't know all the answers to you're questions. But on the name change, I can offer this:

The name "Lucifer" means "bearer of light." The name "Satan" means "adversary" and "devil" is from diabolical. Isaiah 14 talks about Lucifer and how Lucifer talks about taking the place of God. Perhaps that's where the name change comes into play. He's a fallen angel and, as such, no longer can bear the Light of God.

In my experience, when the Fathers talk about the enemy, they refer both to the devil and to our passions. You hit on a good point, about the flesh being a worse enemy. I've read in several places, especially the desert Fathers, that the devil doesn't even attack us. Our fallen nature and our passions attack us enough as it is. They say that he only attacks those who have conquered their flesh (to what degree they've conquered, I don't know). I remember reading that and thinking how sad it is that the devil doesn't even have to do anything. I do it to myself.

I'm sure someone will come and give a better answer as I'm speaking from my very limited knowledge.
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« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2011, 09:36:49 AM »

It's a start babe and thanks because i hadn't thought about the fall and it happening then, maybe it did. I shall go look!!! Thanks
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« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2011, 10:45:46 AM »

The real enemy is when we choose to sin.  A good tip is to concentrate less on figuring out satan and more on living like God would want us to.
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« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2011, 12:57:13 PM »

Well that's a nice little platitude and if i was a Christian i might consentrate on that but as i'm not, i need the definitions of things sorted so i can figure out what people mean when they refer to things.
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J.M.C
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« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2011, 04:00:42 PM »

Satan does mean "adversary", and of course Jesus said "get behind me satan" to Peter because the Apostle had argued that Jesus couldn't/wouldn't/shouldn't be murdered. However, the reason it is always translated as "satan" and not as "adversary" is because the original Greek Gospels do not use the Greek word for "adversary" but the literal word "satan" (satanas). "Satanas" is not a Greek word but a transliteration of an Aramaic word, which means "adversary". But, the fact that the Greek text transliterates "satan", and doesn't translate it, shows us that perhaps the word was meant as a "title" or "name". Therefore, I would say that satan is always a "name" of the devil, and is rarely used to just mean "adversary". Yes, it means Jesus is calling Peter "the devil", but He is not adverse to using harsh language! I also believe Jesus said it directly after He called Peter "the Rock" (you are Peter and on this Rock I will build my Church) to show that Peter's title of "the Rock of the Church" was based on his confession of faith, rather than him as an infallible person. Peter calls Jesus the Messiah and he is "the Rock"; he then tries to oppose Jesus and he is "satan". So much for Petrine succession!

Anyway, that's getting off the point. Satan is, I would say, the name of the devil -- and I would even go so far as to caution you when you read something which implies the devil/satan is our own fallen human nature or passions. Lucifer (light-bearer, as mentioned above) was the angel who tried to usurp God's power, and was cast down from Heaven along with his own army of angels. From then on, he is known primarily as "satan" or "the devil", whilst his army of angels are the demons. In essence, the difference between an angel and a demon is that the first is a messenger of God, whilst the second was a messenger of God. Therefore, you cannot believe in angels and not the devil and his demons. Both are real and active. John Ward mentions that if we cannot control our flesh (more of that below) then the demons don't need to do anything -- their job is already done! But just as true is that if we don't believe/know the devil exists, and tries to tempt us, then it's easy for us to succumb. More than easy, it's inevitable.

I mention that the devil tries to tempt us. Jesus was tempted too, and we can see that the devil here appeared directly to him and his attacks took the form of suggestions which seemed very nice on the surface and... well... tempting! Jesus was not contending with His own human sub conscience, but with a separate being. For us, it is similar. Jesus Christ saw His adversary, as did some of the Saints - like Anthony the Great who physically fought with demons - but the rest of us do not get to see our enemy in such a direct way (thankfully - I'd have a hert-attack). But the form of assault is the same: through suggestions... thoughts that "pop into our heads", without us inviting them or seeking them.

So this is the enemy, and his forms of attack. In fact there is something I might post later which goes into more detail about this, and how these thoughts can turn into sins. What I want to talk about now is the flesh.


The flesh is not our enemy. As much as I want to make clear the reality of the devil, I want to make clear that the flesh is not our enemy. All the talk about conquering and subduing the flesh is about controlling it, and healing it; not destroying it. We are told to flee the devil, but how can we flee our own bodies? All we can do is control them. In other words, we look after (or let God look after) our body's needs, not our body's wants. In other words, the need for food doesn't become gluttony; the need for sleep doesn't become laziness, and so on. The devil plays upon these weaknesses within us - the tendency for our body to control us, rather than us control our bodies, which is why it's useful to know how he does it.

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« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2011, 04:09:05 PM »

This is a useful summary, written by an Orthodox parish in Canada as it happens, identifies "5 stages of sin":

  • 1. Assault - a thought enters our heads; e.g. "Look at this pile of money - you should take it!" To receive this thought is not sinful: if we are trying to live faithful lives we should expect such thoughts to assail us. The Church Fathers would identify such thoughts as having a demonic source, and are designed to make us fall.

    2. Interaction - this is when we start weighing up the options; e.g. "Should I take the money?" Those Saints who through God's grace truly become like Christ do not reach this stage - as the initial thought bounces off them like a stone bouncing off a statue. However, for most of us, and even the greatest of Saints on occasion, interaction with the thought is needed in order to reject it. Therefore, it is not sinful; however it can lead on to....

    3. Consent - we decide that it is a good idea to take the money. We have probably already thought of some good reasons for taking the money. This is the stage which Christ talks about: "if you lust after your neighbour's wife then you've already committed adultery." It is a sin, and needs to be confessed. However at this stage it is still possible to not actually steal the money, and so not compound the problem.

    4. Captivity - this is when we are defeated and become a hostage to the thought. We will, now, steal the money, regardless of the guilt, shame or fear we know we will feel afterwards. This obviously is a sin - an actual act - and should be confessed, though it will be harder to confess than when we merely consented to stealing the money. But it should be confessed, otherwise we are likely to be drawn into the 5th stage:

    5. Passion - this is when the sin committed becomes an obsession. We have stolen once, why not do it again? The temptation will return again even stronger, and more frequently, and the sin, whether lust, avarice, pride or whatever, really does become our weakness, and one which we are liable to succumb to ever more easily.

In the above, step 1 is rightly called assault, because we don't choose to have this thought, it just appears as if from nowhere. The reason that it's useful and right to think of this thought as an assault is because it lets us realize that it's not us. The thought is not ours. Knowing this means we're not sad about letting it go on the one hand, and that we don't start to hate everything about ourselves and become despondent on the other.

The way to break this "chain of sin", as Jesus Christ tells us, is to cut off the sin at the root - in the early stages before we "consent" to them. Asceticism can, through God's help, control our flesh so that these "assaults" don't really trouble us (a pile of money? who cares! my treasure is in Heaven. Let someone else burden themselves with it). To God be all the glory!


ps: sorry for the length of the posts on both of these posts, especially the first (you can easily see which one was written by me and which was copied from elsewhere!)
« Last Edit: June 19, 2011, 04:19:53 PM by J.M.C » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2011, 04:48:51 PM »

Don't apolagise. Gives me something to think on for weeks there's so much in it. It's like having a huge meal and then you can't eat for days after!!! lolOl

Also many answers for one thing here, leads to more answers for other things as well so, it's usefull on a tonne of levels.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2011, 04:50:03 PM by Poppy » Logged
HabteSelassie
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« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2011, 11:02:44 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

The trouble with the concept of Satan/The Adversary is the mistake of personification.  We have personified the character of Satan into a kind of almost physical being, and then we get caught up in all our anachronistic and imaginary interpretations of what, who, and how he is.  Let me clarify a bit then in more mystical terms.

Ha'Satan in the context of the theological Hebrew of Jesus Christ's time was a concept, almost a force of nature, which was in Opposition to God.  The Adversary essentially is the ever existing "What-If?" questions which as other posters have mentioned, assault the human attention and tempt it towards not accepting God's reality and attempting to create one's own, egocentric pseudo-reality.  The mind lives and reigns in the memories of the past, and its apprehensions and fantasies of the future, but in the present moment the mind is absolutely powerless and so always attempts to avoid being present in reality.  Unfortunately for us, the only place where God is inherently Real is in the present moment of reality, in our memories and fantasies we are almost like our own Gods.  This is what Ha-Satan, the Adversary, brings into the world.  Hebrew mysticism, as preserved in the Ethiopian Book of Enoch (a canonical book in the Tewahedo Church), teaches that the first created beings to fall from Grace were a cabal of Angels called the Watchers, who were the Stars of Heaven, the Heavenly Hosts.  This small cabal were led by a single Angel, who we now have come to think of as Satan, the Devil, the Dragon, the Adversary. So while Evil is a plurality, in the chicken and egg what came first question the answer is simple, that first Fallen Angel who led astray the others is the original and persistent source.  Again, not in a necessarily personified sense, Satan could perhaps exist and operate in the Universe in the same impersonal way that Gravity operates alongside ElectroMagnetism.  Both are simply forces which influence and dictate the parameters and circumstances of reality, however the dice roll is the real game.  Satan in this sense (which is how the Hebrews thought of it) is simply the potential force of opposition which always presents itself.  Just as free-will also presents us the opportunity to embrace or accept God's reality, it conversely offers us an opportunity to reject it, and this rejection is the force of Satan.  He may not literally than whisper in our ears so much as exist as this contrary force which we in our free-will can embrace (which is to Sin) or reject (which is humility and Grace).

This is a correct teaching, that Satan and the Devil is a single entity, led by a single created being.  However it is more complicated, firstly, the Angels and the Spirits do not operate like human beings and other physical creatures do, they are more like Forces of Nature.  So we must be careful not to personify them and give them our physical attributes, neither the Angels like Michael, or the devils like Satan.  Where it gets more confusing, is that all those lesser minions, who we think of as Demons (which comes from the Greek term for diminutive teachers), though also explained by the mystics as being individual entities, seem to cooperate as a solitary unit or force of Evil "What-If" questioning.  So while there is indeed a teaching that there is a single, fallen Angel we think of as the Devil, there is equally the teaching that the Adversary is a single force composed of many other fallen spirits cooperating for Evil.  They do not force our hand, rather the influence us to give into the inner question of our own free-will.  Evil is to oppose the Will of God, human beings have the inherent capability to be Evil in that we can reject the Will of God, but we are often influenced by either the Devil or devils.  Of course, this is not to say that sometimes, we influence him Wink

Stay Blessed,
Habte Selassie
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