Monday, April 24, 2006

The poor Devil

He's just so... Misunderstood. Right?

A former Jesuit turned university professor has set himself an ambitious project: rehabilitating the devil.

Henry Ansgar Kelly says Satan is the most maligned figure in history and has endured 17 centuries of unjustified character assassination.

"For 1700 years Satan has been the enemy of God, whereas in the Bible he works for God, he's his prime minister or attorney-general, in charge of policing the world," Professor Kelly said.

"He is one of God's angels, and his job is to test people."

...The devil did not have a kingdom, did not rule over hell, and did not try to damn people, Professor Kelly said. These ideas had developed from the second to the fourth centuries AD, and were refined for the next 1000 years. Professor Kelly said it was important to recapture the biblical understanding of Satan to combat the doctrine of original sin, "in which the whole human race is delivered to Satan".

Full article.

Ahhhh. The old "it's all the fault of the eeeeevil doctrine of original sin!" line again. Personally I think the concept of original sin makes a heck of a lot of sense. It's pretty difficult to read Genesis and get any other impression, ya know? St. Augustine seems to have really pointed out the obvious. It also fits in quite well with the human experience of our brokenness. Certainly with my experience, anyway.

And how do you read about the Fall of Adam, and get from that the idea that Satan is in charge of "policing the world"? I do believe that he's the wretch who tempted Eve in the first place. Not a very good policeman, going around getting folks to break the laws. Perhaps Prof. Kelly has also never read the Apocalypse. I believe that in the "war in Heaven" the Prince of Darkness doesn't come off as a long-standing, pensioned employee of Our Lord.

Somehow I think this rehabilitation-of-Satan thing just isn't going to catch on.


1 comment:

  1. I blame two things for this...well, three:

    1. The Da Vinci Code
    2. The "Gospel" of Judas
    3. Satan.