March/April 2001

person or personification?

It has been said that if you not believe in the devil, you cannot believe in God; that Satan's greatest act of deception is to make one believe that he does not exist.  The word "satan" literally means "adversary" in Hebrew and does not refer to a specific person.  It can refer to anything which is against us; or against God, goodness, light, etc.  The term "devil" comes from the Greek "diabolos," which means "liar or deceiver."  The Bible personifies this liar and adversary, but is this personification literal or metaphoric?

The Bible is rich with metaphors.  Jesus Christ Himself spoke in parables, another form of metaphoric language.  Beside the confusion in discerning which passages are literal and which are metaphoric, there is also the issue of translation which further skews the original text and meaning.  While it is nearly impossible for us to know for certain whether or not God created a being known as the devil whose sole purpose is to torment and tempt us into sin, we should have enough spiritual awareness and common sense to believe that a loving God would never deliberately put evil in our lives.  It is clear that human nature is what provokes evil, by the choices we make in our free will.  I do not believe God created a demonic beast who preys upon our weaknesses and causes us to sin.  I believe that the human nature which separates us from our Godly nature leads us to evil and separates us from God.

While the existence of the devil is arguable, the existence of good and evil is clear.  They do both exist.  Like the inverse nature of light and dark, evil is the absence of goodness.  Goodness itself is synonymous with Godliness.  Traits such as anger, jealousy, greed, lust, hatred, violence, neglect, apathy, and bitterness come from choices we make within ourselves.  When we are perfectly aligned with our spiritual nature, we will not desire to act in these selfish and hurtful ways.  

Our lives here on this earth are temporary.  God said He/She would give us a free will, meaning to me that God has created us in such a way as to not know that we are Divine creations.  We come to earth without conscious knowledge of our eternal connection to the Divine.  As we become more aware and seek to expand our spiritual awareness, we remember who we are: God.  Our separation from our Creator gives us the opportunity to grow and learn as we journey back to Him/Her.  It also gives us the ability to further separate ourselves from our heavenly nature.  That choice results in living a life of deception; believing that worldly ways are all that matter and limiting our sight to only what our physical eyes can see.  To deny our Divinity opens the door for evil in our lives and brings to life this mythical devil.

The words of the Bible are true and clear.  There is a Satan, but it is not a particular being, but a state we live in when we have made a choice to distance ourselves from God.  Desiring to know God will bring forth goodness in our lives and the opposite is also true: consciously denying the presence of the Lord in our lives brings forth evil, from which we ourselves are the personification, not some force from the bowels of hell.  

How you choose to exercise your free will determines the existence of the devil in your own life.

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