Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Is Satan the "God of This World"?

I love to discuss theology and I have enjoyed reading and sometimes commenting on the new and improved TeamPyro. Recently there was a post on the private blog of one of the "Team" discussing dispensationalism and reformed theology. Are the two completely incompatible? I will let you be the judge. Sometimes it seems we think in terms of same words different meanings, but not always. I am still up in the air about it, but his post was thoughtworthy. “In essentials unity, in non-essentials freedom, in all things love.” I appreciate this quote a lot and believe more can be accomplished this way than not - we just have to agree on what is essential! :+)


I have a friendly difference of opinion on the end times portion of dispensational theology, but that is OK. I don't expect everyone to arrive at my viewpoint at the same time. (BIG Grin of sarcasm here, OK?!) :+)


Anyway, where does Satan fit into it? Is he worth a mention at all considering the God of heaven Who has all things well under His control? Yes, I think he is, but not in the same way that others might see it. I believe he is no longer the power he once was and that while he still has some power, he does not lie underneath all the trouble or strife that happens to a Christian. I have heard of well-meaning people say that it was Satan's will to thwart their carpet installation or that Satan was behind the trouble with their car. Do we really think that Satan cares at all about our carpet or our car? Will that move the world to corruption? He is not omnipotent and cannot be in all places at once. He is NOTHING like God. Now, did Satan have a hand in the really awful people in our world's history, like Hitler, etc? Oh, I would imagine he did have a hand in such horrors. That sounds right up his alley, doesn't it. But our carpet? I doubt it.


Where does he fit into today then? Well, I think this article does a great job of discussing it. I hope you find it as interesting and worth reading as I did.






spunkyhomeschool said...

Too much deep thinking for my mush brain today. I will have to come back to this when my head is out of the kleenex box.

Ah chooo

homeskoolmom said...

Thank you for linking with the Pyro blog-- very interesting and one I will be readling often.

God bless,


Phil Walker said...

Hi Kate,

I just dug up your comment at my blog (sorry, am still getting comment moderation sorted, and my blog isn't exactly the best-maintained!) Disclaimer: this is all "as far as I can tell". I don't know any dispensationalists "in the flesh", as it were, but I have read enough dispy material to know where the distinctions lie — in theory.

One of the key distinctions (but surely not the only such) between a dispensation and a covenant is in the necessity of a mediator for the covenant. You just don't get unmediated covenants between man and God — and I'm giving no prizes for guessing who the mediator always is! Paul makes this point in Galatians 3, in relation to the law. Hebrews develops it in relation to covenants more generally. All of God's covenants have been mediated, from Eden to the Cross. And the Biblical pattern is that they've all been mediated by the same person.

So this leads on, naturally, to a view of Jesus which sees him as the goal and focus of history, because God's covenant is the way he achieves his glory in history. Thus, Jesus isn't just a character in history, but rather, history is his story. There's a lot tied up in all of this, but the basic point is that covenants give Jesus his proper role; dispensations don't. As I asked Dan (sadly, never got an answer): is the glory of God intimately and inextricably bound up in the person of Christ in all ages?

Again an "as far as I can tell": dispensationalists simply can't answer "yes" to that, because there remain promises for Jews outside Messiah, and because before Messiah, there was precious little seen of him — a few promises here and there, but not very much. Jesus wasn't just concealed in the Old Testament, he simply wasn't there. This whole theory-of-history is where I think dispensationalism is weakest and covenant theology is strongest.

Hope that helps give an idea of the direction of my thinking on this. Do leave a comment at my blog if you'd like further explanation: I promise I'll reply more quickly this time!