Post Number: 553
|Posted on Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - 10:18 pm: || |
Hey guys, I haven't been posting much lately, but I have had this topic on my mind recently, for various reasons, and I wanted to pose this question to the group. Not to begin an argument, but to get a better feel for the variations of thought on the subject. I am hoping that perhaps we can work together to see what scripture says about the topic.
I have come to believe that even our idea of what evil is was distorted in Adventism. It seems to me that Adventists and former Adventists alike can struggle with calling evil, evil. The word alone causes people to recoil and avoid the topic. I understand that, there is little reason to spend a lot of time camping on evil, our thoughts are to be set on things above. However, I think a denial of evil or avoidance of confronting evil is not a healthy place to stand when we are running the race of faith and contending for truth. I do not believe it should be a focal point in ones life, but we must not be blind to evil, we all know it can be quite insidious!
So, how do *you* define evil?
I want to add a disclaimer. The purpose here is not to focus on Satan or demons. However, I do believe that a part of experiencing the grace of the cross and the sovereignty of our Father includes seeing evil for what it is. Not so we can focus on making judgements, but so we can better know what we have been rescued from and what we are called to expose to the lost so that they too may see, know, believe and be rescued.
Post Number: 840
|Posted on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - 9:02 am: || |
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23
Evil is everything that comes short of God's glory.
In other words, whatever contributes to missing the mark of absolute perfection is characterized as evil (aka "sin").
Post Number: 558
|Posted on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - 9:42 am: || |
Do you (and if so how do you) differentiate between evil and Satanic?
Post Number: 841
|Posted on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - 11:34 am: || |
I never really considered any distinction until your question, which is really deep and challenging me to clarify my own view.
I would define "Satanic" as all evil that originates with Satan (without regard to man).
Since the fall of Adam there is also organic human evil (without regard to Satan). James says we sin when we are dragged away of our OWN lust, without any reference to Satan.
I think there is both Satanic evil and organic human evil.
Post Number: 86
|Posted on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - 2:29 pm: || |
I have been in the presence of satanic demons and possibly the devil himself. It is frightening and I could feel the evil.
Post Number: 13826
|Posted on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - 3:07 pm: || |
Very interesting question! And interesting insight, Freeatlast. I agree about the existence of evil that is satanic and organic human evil. Understanding that we have "spirits" is part of what clarifies that distinction for me.
Colossians 1:13 says we have to be transferred out of the domain of darkness into the kingdom of the Beloved Son. So this tells me (along with other passages like Eph. 2:1-4; Romans 1 through 3, etc) that there are two "places" spiritually: the domain of darkness where the prince of the powers of the air has dominion, and the kingdom of the Lord Jesus. We are by nature citizens of the domain of darkness.
Satan does have power in the domain of darkness, even though the sentence of destruction was pronounced over it when Jesus died and rose again. When people are not born again, however, they are totally vulnerable to the deceptions and manipulations of Satan. God does reveal Himself to those humans in the darkness, but those who are in darkness can resist the revelation and pull of God.
So Satan perpetrates His deceptions on those in darkness as well as continuing to attempt to deceive those who have been transferred to Jesus' kingdom. When people buy the deceptions, they anchor themselves more firmly into that domain of natural spiritual death.
I believe evil really is dark deception (or the result of dark deception) from Satan. Any organization that exists and maintains itself by false teachings (such as any cult) is perpetrating doctrines of demons.
We are born dead; by nature subject to the spirit at work in the children of disobedience (Eph. 2:2-3). When we embrace false teachings and dress them up as "truth", we descend, I believe, to a more conscious and more dangerous level of darkness. We put ourselves under the influence of evil. Even if we're born into such a cult, we are shaped by that deliberate and deceiving evil.
Post Number: 559
|Posted on Thursday, July 12, 2012 - 9:45 am: || |
So, when does wrong doctrine (statements of truth about God and reality) go from being organic human evil to satanic evil? And what about the idea that our life, before we are born again, is under the rein and rule of the prince of darkness who we are "following"?
When talking about the great apostasy and the "later times" we read in 1 Timothy 4:1,
"But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,"
So here are my thoughts. Timothy is talking about people in the church, because this is in the context of the Apostasy. So, these demonic doctrines (statements of truth about God) are deceitful. They are not overt Satanic worship. That would never infiltrate the church and create an Apostasy.
Also, there are deceitful spirits leading people astray. I can't help but think of Jesus saying to the people that they were a "wicked and adulterous generation looking for signs..." There is such a strong movement in the US saying that Christians are luke-warm because we don't see enough healing and people being raised from the dead...etc, however they say very little about Jesus.
In both cases, people are professing Christians, however they are being lead astray by doctrines of demons and deceitful spirits. These are doctrines that are written with the pen of mankind, but inspired by demons. Does this mean the writers were all possessed when they came to create these or can it mean that some were lead astray because they were not grounded in scripture and were ripe for the "following"?
When do you know that doctrine has crossed over from organic human sin, to Satanic influences? Is there a difference? Scripture calls Satan the father of lies. To me, this doesn't just mean he is the best liar, it means that he is the originator of them.
In no way do I mean to take responsibility away from mankind for their own sin. We are not innocent! This I know personally! But I think as soon as we take away too much power from the prince of darkness, we are playing games with reality in the other direction. And that too is dangerous in my opinion.
Post Number: 560
|Posted on Thursday, July 12, 2012 - 9:47 am: || |
Colleen, you wrote, "When people are not born again, however, they are totally vulnerable to the deceptions and manipulations of Satan."
Do you think that means that those who follow the deceptions during the Apostasy were never born again? Or are born again believers also vulnerable to the deception?
Post Number: 2709
|Posted on Thursday, July 12, 2012 - 12:52 pm: || |
I don't think that a born-again saved person can "lose" his salvation by being deceived into false doctrine. For example, I don't think that a person who's saved and then gets deceived by an SDA "Revelation Seminar" and becomes an SDA loses his/her salvation.
However, if someone isn't saved and becomes an Adventist; Adventist doctrine makes it impossible for him/her to GET saved if they believe the SDA doctrines, because human effort/works are snuck into the mix as a requirement for salvation.
Post Number: 2710
|Posted on Thursday, July 12, 2012 - 1:32 pm: || |
The title of this thread reminds me of the documentary video "Expelled" with Ben Stein. He discusses the teaching of evolution versus intelligent design. The holocaust is discussed too and at one point you see Ben Stein and another person walking around the remains of the buildings at the German death camp at Dachau. Ben sits on the foundation where one of the buildings had been torn down, puts his head in his hands and asks the person with him if he believes in evil. The other person says that absolutely, he believes in the existance of evil. Among the many things the movie goes into is the fact that Darwin's theroy of evolution directly influenced Hitler's thinking.
As far as demonic encounters go, the only really overt one(s) was when God was opening my eyes to the reality of the falseness of SDAism. I was studying some verses that pointed to that fact, and one day as soon as I got home from work, I opened the Bible to study some more. When I tried to read it, nothing made sense. It was like reading Greek or something. I could think about anything else I wanted to, but not the simplest thing from the Bible! It was like thinking through mud. As soon as I could though, I mentioned it to the person who'd been fasting and praying for me in the first place. She prayed and the "mud" evaporated immediately! This happened two or three times before I completely came out of the SDA church.
Post Number: 563
|Posted on Thursday, July 12, 2012 - 2:36 pm: || |
Asurprise, I have heard of similar stories for people who are just leaving Adventism and are attacked with confusion when trying to read scripture. The gal I am thinking of also said that when she was prayed for that went away. Interesting...
I agree that we won't loose our salvation once we are born again, but I do believe that if we are not abiding in the words of scripture we can be deceived and swept up into false churches or movements. I believe that would result in us being among those who get in with "smoke on their clothes". IMO, salvation aside, born again believers should still be cautious. I have met a few formers who were born again and then found themselves in Adventism only to realize that they had lost so much of the joy they had while attending a Christian church. It seems to be a LOT easier for them to leave SDA'ism though, than for those of us who have only known Adventism.
So, I have recently been involved in a FB "conversation" (some of you may have seen) that evolved into a discussion of whether or not Adventist doctrine is satanic (or the doctrine of demons to put it another way) or if it is just a false system created by what has been called here, organic evil from man. If it is Satanic in nature than we should be aware of that! If it is not than there are other consequences to be considered when that claim is being asserted. I am completely convinced that it is, but I want to hear from other formers of both convictions.
I am not asking whether or not we should open our witnessing to SDAs with, "Hey, you're in a satanic cult!" However, knowing if this is true could certainly affect how we approach witnessing and how we approach our own level of involvement with their programs and outreach.
Can we truly be free from evil if we cannot discern what evil is? It seems to me that this is an important issue to "unpack". Not because I enjoy camping on evil, but because discernment is important, and I believe scripture equips us with these answers.
As an Adventist, when I heard the word "Satanic" I instantly thought of human sacrifice, praying to the devil, cannibalism...etc. Obviously those things are satanic, however, scripture says that Satan also disguises himself as a messenger of light. I believe he is able to be whatever he needs to be to get whatever population of people he is targeting. And when it comes to the Bride of Christ, there is no better way to deceive than to appear to be a part of the church.
When I think of an inability to see evil, I think of the woman who is living with a child abuser and excuses it because she is able to see some good in him. Her inability to discern truth and reality is dangerous and she becomes a tool of access for the abuser. It is not fun to examine evil and I think there is a risk for some people to want to dwell on this topic. But we cannot run from it and hide behind verses of scripture that tell us to only think on good things when scripture also tells us to be discerning and wise and contend against lies and attacks on the gospel.
Post Number: 2713
|Posted on Thursday, July 12, 2012 - 3:04 pm: || |
Free2dance; 1st Timothy 4:1-5 talks about doctrines of demons, which involve abstaining from foods and forbidding to marry...
"Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer."
Post Number: 564
|Posted on Thursday, July 12, 2012 - 3:33 pm: || |
Sounds familiar doesn't it?
Adventism, Catholicism and a few others come to mind.
Post Number: 13829
|Posted on Thursday, July 12, 2012 - 9:39 pm: || |
Free, very interesting insights. I agree with you; it's really a moot point to try to tease apart "satanic evil" from "natural human evil" although in practice some people have chosen to make a deal with the devil while others think they're "a-religious", or free from all religious constraints. In reality, people these people are serving themselves which takes them on the same path as serving the devil because natural man is born into the domain of darkness.
If we really embraced the reality that we are born dead in sin and by nature children of wrath, we would struggle so much with the idea that "satanic" isn't all that different from "natural man". It's all part of the domain of darkness.
The problem with overt doctrines of demons when taught to people as spiritual truth is that it really twists their ability to understand God's Word. It messes with the definitions of normal Christian words and concepts, and it's really hard to understand what the truth IS and MEANS.
Free, I like your comparison of the woman living with a child abuser to the person who is unable to call evil by its true name. Very good comparison.
Post Number: 423
|Posted on Friday, July 13, 2012 - 10:30 am: || |
"It seems to be a LOT easier for them to leave SDA'ism though, than for those of us who have only known Adventism. "
Free, your analogy is even more clear to me if I consider that many women who were abused at a very young age, by "Uncle Huey" don't know that it was evil. It was just life. Sometimes these women don't protect their own children from the very same 'Uncle' later on in life. Spiritual adultery & molestation can be carried on generationally in similar fashion. Those of us born into it have a harder time identifying & naming it for what it is.
I read Waking the Dead by John Eldredge in December then studied the book of Job that next spring. The 2 together served to show me that 'there is no neutral ground.' Either Satan is running to & fro over all the earth seeking whom he may devour; or the eyes of the Lord run over all the earth seeking to strengthen those who are wholeheartedly devoted to Him. Even our thoughts are not neutral; they may be subtle, rather than neutral. Our enemy would love for us to think things are neutral or benign.
That's just my take on things. I did not want to think that things were that 'black & white'; either Godly or satanic. It just seemed too constricting & restrictive. Surely there was Godly music, evil music, & neutral music!! You know, right now as I write that I think it is because we had 1 day in 7 that was set apart as 'holy' & 6 days that were 'secular' that makes it easy for us to think that way. We had 'sabbath' records & music; the other days we had secular music; then there was 'evil' music (rock & roll or jazz of course, or hip-hop or reggae).
I have always said that 'truth can stand scrutiny'; and that truth & deception are so close that discernment can be difficult, otherwise it wouldn't be possible to capture our belief.
The other thing I see all through scriptures, written to believers or chosen Israel is that weeds & wheat grow together. That false teachers & false teachings come from 'among YOU.'
I agree with you as to us being grounded in the scriptures, for me - with the Holy Spirit as my teacher (my ID verse). Everything now goes thru that filter for me.
Post Number: 13834
|Posted on Friday, July 13, 2012 - 2:57 pm: || |
J9, very powerful insights. I was just talking with a friend, and in the course of our conversation I said to her, "I've become far more black-and-white than I ever thought I'd be."
There is no neutral ground. There is the domain of darkness, and there is the kingdom of God's beloved Son. We are born in the domain of darkness; our thoughts and hearts are evil continually. The Lord Jesus brings us to Himself and gives the choice to submit or indulge the flesh from then on.
There really is nothing neutral. Things either draw us toward truth or toward our own control.
I know I sound pretty dogmatic...if you could see my face, I don't think you'd think I was quite that "hard"!
Nevertheless, things are not neutral. Actions and things and events themselves may not have any moral significance intrinsically, but our reactions to them and/or our moves toward or away from them signify either a move toward truth and reality or a move toward personal "indulgence". I'm not speaking from a soapbox here, but I'm speaking from the relentless struggle with my own fleshly heart.
I'm just so thankful that the Lord Jesus has purchased me and brought me to life and sealed me with His Spirit! Even if I act in deception, He does not ever leave me, and He leads me back to being centered in Him!
Post Number: 182
|Posted on Friday, July 13, 2012 - 10:39 pm: || |
I have made this point a few times here, usually getting a shrill reaction. It seems to me that nothing is gained by calling groups satanic or evil - unless they are deliberately worshipping Satan and deliberately harming others.
Whatever you may think of SDAs, you can't in good conscience claim that they (as a group) want to harm others or worship Satan.
In addition, when formers use those labels for SDAs, they sound remarkably like the extreme groups of SDAs themselves.
You can argue that anything false is Satanic and evil. By that definition, all groups and individuals are Satanic and evil at times, and/or in some ways.
It is important, though, to point out false teachings and doctrines. Especially those from someone who claimed to be inspired.
Post Number: 424
|Posted on Saturday, July 14, 2012 - 6:13 am: || |
Truman, I agree with what you are saying & cautioning. I just had to get really clear in my own mind & self. I had to be able to see & say that certain things were cultic. I have been led in my own mind & heart via scriptures that there is no neutral territory. Then I must be guided & led as to how to approach others. When to speak very directly; when to be silent & pray; when to ask questions rather than state directly.
Jesus didn't label everyone 'whited sepulchers', or vipers. He used that term for the leaders who deliberately & consciously refused conviction & conversion. They knowingly & consciously realized truth & then went out & planned to kill Him.
We can look even at the leaders of sdaism & not truly know their hearts.
Post Number: 7988
|Posted on Saturday, July 14, 2012 - 6:49 am: || |
This conversation reminds me of a time a few years back when I took my brother sailing with me in the pacific. We were 20 miles off shore on a beautiful sunny day. Even 20 miles out no land can be seen.
As I realized it was time to turn the boat for home, I turned the helm in the direction I needed to take.
My brother became confused with so much open water and he said, “I think that way is land.” Pointing toward Japan.
I said, “No, we are going in the right direction.” He began to be alarmed and adamant that we were going in the wrong direction. He was completely convinced that we were sailing away from the direction of land and began to get upset and argumentive.
I said, “Usually I would appease you to avoid argument, but not this time, I can’t do that, we do not have enough food and water aboard this boat.” I began to wonder if I was going to have to fight for the helm of that boat.
Finally I thought of a way to get him calmed down and I said, “Look, we will sail for one hour and you will see the top of an oil platform, that oil platform is on our course for home.” “If that oil platform doesn’t show up, I will turn the boat in the direction you want to go.”
We sailed for an hour and sure enough the top of that oil rig began to show over the top of the horizon and by that he knew that I was sailing in the right direction.
It is awfully hard to convince someone they are going in a direction completely opposite of where they should be when their mind is wrongly oriented.
No one wants to end in complete disaster, but going in the wrong direction has the same affect on all who set their helm away from Jesus, whether saved or saint.
Hebrews 5:13 says, For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
Hebrews 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
I don’t know of a place in the Bible that differentiates between good and evil. We live in a sea of evil, yet with our minds stayed on Christ we can arrive at that safe haven.
Our course is either true or it is not, and if not, we need to make the right course corrections.
Post Number: 90
|Posted on Saturday, July 14, 2012 - 11:31 am: || |
Truman, you are a lone voice of reason.
Post Number: 7989
|Posted on Sunday, July 15, 2012 - 2:30 am: || |
Quoting myself: I don’t know of a place in the Bible that differentiates between good and evil.
Scatter brained I guess, I don't know the thought I was trying to convey now so strike that and it reads the way I intended.