My classmate is in the process of finishing up his paper, and it occurred to me when I read over it that I didn’t include in mine what might be a rather important aspect of the nature of evil. The problem, I guess, is that I don’t know if it’s a real, created being – Satan – or if it’s a personification of the evil created by man – rather like we use Mother Nature to personify anything occurring in the natural world. If it’s a created being, then obviously God created him. So the question is, as a created being, did he make choices that then led him to be the one who tests and tempts mankind? Is he truly evil, or is he doing the work of God – rather like the story of Job, where temptations and torment were the test of the day?
Now there are a couple of reasons for how I look at things. The first is a story I read long ago about Lucifer, the “morning star” or “bearer of light”, the angel who was the most favored of God because he loved God so very much. And when God told the angels that they were to worship and obey Christ in the same way, Lucifer could not see that Christ was God, but only that God was telling him to love someone else as much. He refused, declaring that his love was only for God, no one else, and God, angry at being disobeyed, thrust him out of heaven. I have to imagine that if this is the case, he has to understand now that God and Christ are one and the same being, and now he helps mankind to grow in knowledge (arguing my own POV) through providing the evil choices as a penance for disobeying God.
The other reason that I look at “Satan” as being a personification as opposed to a real being is that I look at hell differently. I think that hell is the distance we put between ourselves and God, and we can throughout our life be closer to hell than to heaven, when we stop listening to God through the Holy Spirit, when we think that we know better, or when we worship at the idols of money or electronics or my personal downfall – information.
So, not to include the personification of evil in my study of the nature of evil was likely a mistake. And of course, the paper is long turned in. So, it goes here.