This is one of the biggest 'Too Many Questions'.
I have spoken to many theists, and so far, none have been able to answer a 3-pronged problem that's bothered me for a while.
1. Why hasn't God just 'dealt' with the Devil?
God is hailed as the supreme being remember, creator with power over ALL things so, why can the Big-beardy-grandad-good-guy, not just scrub the pesky-pointy-red-guy?
Is he not up to the job somehow?
Has the sly-red-one got some sort of voodoo defense grid goin on or what? ( Answers in the 'comments' please - no really I'd like to know!!! ) Because you see for me, if a God can't just deal with a Devil,
(Added 19/01/11)There have been some readers, admittedly only those lost within the haze of the Christian magic story but some, who have complained that their 'teachings' tell that god has dealt with the devil, quoting something akin to "but he did deal with the devil, on the cross."
Firstly, in this instance, as is indicated above, the usage of the word 'dealt' carries the implied meaning of permanently terminated, killed, destroyed,'life'-span ended, a Devil who has ceased to be. This, is an Ex-Satan... That sort of dealt.
By assuming that what the 'teachings' tell is true instead of accepting the reality of the situation, that in this instance dealt means 'destroyed', isn't the believer guilty of deliberate faulty thinking? So that the believer can continue to believe the story in which they've so much invested, the believer chooses to ignore the clearly implied 'death' meaning of deal.
Secondly, if we look at the 'cross scenario' as 'a full answer', that as the Christians suggest, god has dealt with the devil there, then we may only conclude that the indignant Christian must have chosen to replace the meaning with an alternative. And, as I see it, the only other connotation moves 'dealt' into the realm of transaction, as in dealt fairly, business dealings etc.
But doesn't this alternative usage spawn a new paradigm? Does it not posit that Christians are following a god who did a deal with a devil?
That they do not notice, or choose to ignore, this new paradigm is a clear evidence that the religious person's default choice is to disregard reality in favour of protecting their investment in their after-death fantasy, and I feel supports the subject of Trial by Jury on Trial but that's probably the topic of an entirely different, and way longer, post.
Anyway, as I said, I've never had a convincing answer for point 1, but as believers make the case that the status quo, god/heaven satan/hell, is a current depiction of the supernatural situation, we are obliged to take as read that for whatever reason
So, to consider the implications of the supernatural landscape, as set out in a number of 'good books'; the stories tell us that if you're 'bad' you go to hell; that seems fair enough, kind of karmic you might say, baddies get their comeuppance etc.
2. But hang on a minute, why does that occur? Why should it be karmic?
Satan and God are supposed to be on opposite sides, aren't they?
So why would those sent to hell get punished?Those following God's rules expect to be rewarded, surely satan would reward equally, those flouting his opponents rules! If you were at war with someone, would you do EXACTLY what your opponent wanted you to do? I doubt it, more likely one would flaunt and parade the flouting of the opponents wishes! So why does Satan accept the soul? I can only guess they must sustain him, give him power and strength.
If that is the case, the only conclusion is another question
3. Is God plain stupid or in league with Satan?"
Why doesn't God just relax the 'getting in to heaven' rules for a few millennia and starve Old Nick into oblivion.
It's what you'd do, the moment you realised it would work, and God, apart from being omniscient has been at this game with old nick for a good long while; so why hasn't he thought of it?
Well, according to the various tenets, we can rule out that he's too stupid or incapable of the task (Omnipotent remember) so, we must conclude that he's happy with the status quo; he doesn't actually want to defeat satan!
"Super-Grandad makes deal
with Bad-boy McPointy!"
with Bad-boy McPointy!"
Makes sense really, god gets all the nice-shiny-posh souls, perfectly suited to his 'pearly gates' image and satan gets the bad asses. Nice neat mutually beneficial scheme; both have souls enough to continue existing and the fear of the one place keeps the flock clinging to the hope of heaven.
Best confidence trick ever!
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