Vol. 7, No. 11
Since You Asked
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Names may be included at the discretion of the Editor unless querists request their names be withheld. Please check our Archive for the answer to your question before submitting it; there are over 1,000 articles in the Archive addressing numerous biblical topics. Submit a Question to GGO.
Ascribing equal power to God and Satan is called "Dualism." "In theology, Dualism explains evil by assuming two original principles or beings, one good, the other evil. The doctrine of two primal causes, one good and the other evil, constantly warring with each other..." (McClintock and Strong). Conservative students of the Bible consistently acknowledge the supremacy of God and disavow the concept of dualism.
We must always remember, however, that Biblical religion is not a form of dualism like the religions of ancient Babylon and Persia. God's word never presents a picture of two kingdoms (light and darkness; good and evil) with equal power! In the Bible we learn that Jehovah is without beginning and end and is all powerful forever. Satan has only such power as is relegated to him and is constantly subject to the control of Almighty God...(Butler, First Corinthians)
Jehovah God is the absolute Sovereign of all creation--including the devil. There is no religious dualism taught in the Bible. There is no Biblical doctrine of two eternal, coexisting deities, one evil and one good, engaged in a "showdown" for supremacy over human life. Such supernatural dualism is Zoroastrianism (Persian religion) and not Biblical. God alone is God. (Butler, Second Corinthians)
The Bible clearly does not teach any form of dualism despite any influence that some see from Persia in the Apocrypha. There is no hint of this view carried over into the New Testament. Satan is clearly pictured as inferior to God, not equal. (Murrell)
The very certainty of the Satan's ultimate ruin and God's final victory speak to the impossibility of dualism. "Here is a few words is the final rebuttal to that dualism that insists that there are two equally powerful forces in the universe, one infinitely good, the other infinitely evil, that decide the fates of man" (Fowler).
So first, it is important to distinguish between the natures and origins of God and Satan. God is eternal in nature and consequently had no beginning; God is the original cause of all that is. Satan, though is a created being and had a beginning; therefore, there exists a great disparity between the natures of the Creator and the created--under discussion here--Satan.
Though Satan is essentially an angel "gone bad," and as such, he and his fellow band of renegade angels have powers that exceed those of mere mortals such as ourselves, Satan has limitations.
But the NT is sure of his limitations and defeat. His power is derivative (Lk. 4:6). He can exercise his activity only within the limits that God lays down (Jb. 1:12; 2:6; 1 Cor. 10:13; Rev. 20:2, 7). He may even be used to set forward the cause of right (1 Cor. 5:5; cf. 2 Cor. 12:7). Jesus saw a preliminary victory in the mission of the Seventy (Lk. 10:18). Our Lord thought of 'eternal fire' as 'prepared for the devil and his angels' (Mt. 25:41), and John sees this come to pass (Rev. 20:10). ... The witness of the NT then is clear. Satan is a malignant reality, always hostile to God and to God's people. But he has already been defeated in Christ's life and death and resurrection, and this defeat will become obvious and complete in the end of the age. (Douglas)
Yet Satan's attributes, impressive as they are, are not limitless. His power is subject to God's restrictions (Job 1:12; Luke 4:6; 2 Thess 2:7-8). The reins of God on his activities are illustrated by Satan's request to God for permission to afflict Job (Job 1:7-12). (Nelson's)
In the New Testament delineation of Satan, his limitations are clearly set forth. He is superhuman, but not in any sense divine. His activities are cosmic, but not universal or transcendent. He is a created being. His power is definitely circumscribed. He is doomed to final destruction as a world-power. His entire career is that of a secondary and dependent being who is permitted a certain limited scope of power-a time-lease of activity (Luke 4:6). (ISBE)
The Biblical doctrine of Satan is not dualistic. Satan's empire had a beginning, it will have a definite and permanent end. Satan is God's great enemy in the cosmic sphere, but he is God's creation, exists by divine will, and his power is relatively no more commensurate with God's than that of men. Satan awaits his doom. (ISBE)
In conclusion, Scripture admits of only one God (Isaiah 45:5-6) and only concedes persons of that one Godhead possess the ability to know the mind or thoughts of mankind (Psalm 139:2; Jeremiah 17:10; Amos 4:13; Matthew 9:4; 12:25; Mark 2:8; John 2:24-25; Hebrews 4:13; Revelation 2:23). Satan himself acknowledged that his power was entrusted to him (though as a malignant angel he uses those powers for evil) by his Superior (God) (Luke 4:6). We have no biblical reason to suppose that Satan can read our minds; it would be strange were Satan able to read minds that he had not discerned from our Lord or one of his disciples that the crucifixion of Jesus Christ would be a hollow, short-lived victory. Satan operates primarily through temptation (Matthew 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:5), and he cannot interfere with the freewill of humanity (1 Corinthians 10:13; Revelation 22:17).
Butler, Paul T. Studies in First Corinthians. Second Printing CD-ROM. Joplin: College P, 1992.
- - -. Studies in Second Corinthians. Second Printing CD-ROM. Joplin: College P, 1988.
Douglas, J. New Bible Dictionary. Second ed. Wheaton: Tyndale, 1982; CD-ROM. Bellingham: Logos, 1996.
Fowler, Harold. The Gospel of Matthew. Volume Two. CD-ROM. Joplin: College P, 1975.
International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (ISBE). CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1996.
McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 2000.
Murrell, Jerry. "Satan Working Supernaturally Today Refuted." Satan: Diabolical Ruler of the World and Enemy of God and Man. Curtis A. Cates, ed. CD-ROM. Memphis: Memphis School of Preaching, 2002.
Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary. CD-ROM. Nashville: Nelson, 1986.
Dear Brother Rushmore, My understanding from I john 1:9 states that each Christian is responsible for confessing their sins and that no one else can speak in our behalf that our sins are forgiven. The "if" is conditional and the "we" refers to each and every individual Christian. Thinking about what the apostle Paul wrote by inspiration in Rom.14:12 makes it clear to me, that it is totally the responsibility for a Christian to confess his or her own sin(s). I realize I john 5:16 I states: " If any man see his brother sinning a sin not unto death, he shall ask and God will give him life for them that sin not unto death." I may be wrong, but my understanding," sin not unto(leads to) death," is a sin confessed to God by the Christian who has sinned. I believe that it also refers back to confessing our faults(sins) one to another in James 5:16. We as Chrsitians should always pray to God in behalf of one who has repented and confessed their sins to God, that God may strengthen the Christian that he or she may not fall into the temptation again. Also we as Christians, who are God's servants must do all that we can to encourage the repented brother or sister. I certainly would appreciate your understanding concerning these verses of scripture. Sincerely, Your Brother in Christ, Kenb Wyatt
Essentially the question is, "Must we personally word and verbalize our acknowledgement of sin to a congregation, instead of perhaps a preacher or elder verbalizing a summary of the reason for one's response to the Gospel invitation." Further, the "proof text" presented in an attempt to substantiate this proposition is 1 John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." An additional "proof text" submitted for consideration is Romans 14:12: "So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God." References to 1 John 5:16 and James 5:16 appropriately address the application of those passages.
However, the immediate context of Romans 14:12 pertains to Final Judgment, where it is granted that Final Judgment will be personal between our Great Judge and ourselves, one at a time. There is no apparent connection between personal Judgment and the circumstance of a brother or a sister responding to the Gospel invitation during an assembly. Further, there is no biblical example in the New Testament either for what Peter called upon Simon to do (Acts 8:22) or what John recorded in 1 John 1:9. An individual responding to the Gospel invitation whereupon he or she publicly addresses the congregation does not appear upon the New Testament pages of inspiration.
Regarding 1 John 1:9, the first pronoun ("we") is a part of the Greek word for "confess." The pronoun "our" is plural, and the pronoun "us" likewise is plural. The next pronoun "our" has not corresponding Greek word for its appearance in our Bibles, and the next pronoun "us" is plural as well. Hence, the verse essentially reads, "If we [Christians] confess our [as Christians] sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [Christians] sins, and to cleanse us [Christians] from all unrighteousness." Therefore, 1 John 1:9 is an inappropriate "proof text" for the proposition under consideration.
In conclusion, I am not aware of principle or divine instruction that requires a Christian responding to the Gospel invitation to personally word and verbalize his or her sins to the congregation. A Christian has a responsibility to repent of his or her sins. Beyond that, God has not specified and we should not. I am aware of the potential for losing control of a congregational setting when others besides the biblically qualified church leaders or those they confidently designate are granted liberty to address the church publicly. Everything respecting our assemblies needs to "be done decently and in order" (1 Corinthians 14:33, 40).
Q:why is it that in the bible it says that god is the creater of everything but it says nothing about dinosaures I' ve just noticed that there is nothing about how dinosaures were created however scientists are figuring out how they were created not only that they are discovering new planets in the universe that aren't in the bible but if they were created by god then he must of over looked those planets or simply just didn't create them.
Yes, the Bible does represent God as having created everything that has been created, which would include dinosaurs and planets. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:1-3). Further, everything continues to exist through the same supernatural power responsible for its creation. "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist" (Colossians 1:16-17). Specifically, Jesus Christ (references above) as a part of the Godhead participated in creation (Genesis 1:26).
First, it is seriously inaccurate to suppose that "scientists are figuring out how they [dinosaurs] were created" (emphasis added). Second, unfamiliarity with certain parts of the Bible may lead one to suppose that no reference to dinosaurs appears in the Bible. The English word "dinosaur" did not appear in the English language until more than 200 years after the translation of the most popular and longest popular English translation of the Bible: the King James Version. However, other words that predate the existence of the word "dinosaur" and that refer to dinosaurs do appear in the Bible.
The Bible refers to the "behemoth," which is usually identified as a dinosaur. Strong defines "behemoth" as "1a) a Diplodocus or Brachiosaurus."
Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox. Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly. He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together. His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron. He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him. Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play. He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens. The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about. Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth. He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares. (Job 40:15-24)
Another dinosaur mentioned in the Bible is the leviathan (Job 41:1; Psalm 74:14; 104:26; Isaiah 27:1). Strong defines "leviathan" as: "sea monster, dragon...1a) large aquatic animal...1b) perhaps the extinct dinosaur, plesiosaurus... The word "whale" appearing in Ezekiel 32:2 in its context there is identified as a "dinosaur," again a "plesiosaurus" (Strong). There are various sources available on the Internet that expand upon this information, as well as provide useful sketches, etc. See:
Respecting planets in the inquiry, the Bible acknowledges that the universe exists with its spheres, etc. (Genesis 1:14-19). Elsewhere, Isaiah writes about the constellations (Isaiah 13:10). Still elsewhere, the Bible refers to various clusters of stars (Job 9:9; 38:31; Amos 5:8). Venus, the morning star, is referred to twice in the Bible (Isaiah 14:12; Revelation 2:28). Second Kings 23:5 mentions generally "the planets." Other verses mention the numberless host of bodies in the universe (Isaiah 40:26; Jeremiah 33:22). The heavenly host in the universe are noted and attributed to God (Psalm 19:1). However, the Bible is not primarily a science book, and it only mentions scientific matters incidentally. The Bible's thesis is religion (spiritual mattes) and everything else is incidental to that. Therefore, the Bible could hardly be faulted for not identifying all the planets in our solar system or any other.
Strong, J. The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible : Showing Every Word of the Test of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurence of Each Word in Regular Order. CD-ROM. Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship.