About a week ago, we had a conversation about the sin and fall of Satan. In the comments, Richard Johnson asked:
Is it heretical to believe that Satan (as a person/being/character/persona) never existed?
I'm inclined to say no, as belief in Satan was never a creedal article for the ancient Church. But I find it pretty bizarre that anyone would deny the existence of Satan. Dan Trabue wrote in response:
Not necessarily. One could assume that God's Holy Word was written in a style that used devices such as "Satan" to get a point across. Such a person could still think that God is God, that Jesus is God's Son and that we are saved by God's grace. One would still find God's Truth in any of the few places where Satan does appear without embracing Satan as an entity.
Again, can't one take that as a spiritually-themed allusion?
When we fight city hall (as we have done sometimes at our church), we have talked about the Spiritual battle we do in our work for Justice. We have had sometimes had to stand against principalities and powers.
That doesn't mean that we think that City Hall is run by Satan or satanists, but rather that we're working against oppressive systems and unjust structures.
I'm not necessarily saying I don't believe in Satan, just that I'm indifferent towards the notion of demons and much more concerned about my brother and sister humans (and myself) who are prone to sin and err. It's not a rejection of biblical teaching, just a different way of interpreting it than many have and do.
Dan would have a point if Satan were only described allegorially or parabolically. But Matthew 4:1-11 describes him as a personal being with the ability to speak. This is not an impersonal force or abstract concept -- this is an intelligent, communicative entity. Why would anyone deny his existence when it is so clearly stated in Scripture?