Who’s Your Daddy?

Here’s a cogent Facebook response we received to an article on the stories in Genesis:

Your article is from satan who want 2 portray our God Jehovah’s illogical & unloving .in your intire article u didn’t mention tha role played by satan( serpent) in this story is bcause that role is insignificant ? Or is becse is your father u are trying 2 hide his fauts?! The tree of good and bad must remind da first couple that only Jehovah as a creater must decide what is a good and bad 4 them unfortunately satan ried 2 them convincing them that they would be better in deciding by themselves whot is good and bad in fact they wanted 2 be like Jehovah ;as promised Jehovah sentenced them 2 death and in extension all their descendants
–Jonny Claudio [sic]

The reason that we didn’t mention Satan is that the account in the Bible doesn’t mention Satan either. Jonny should try actually reading Genesis sometime: Satan doesn’t appear anywhere in that book. In fact, you can go on and read the next book in the Bible (Exodus) and you won’t find the little devil there either.

For all the press he gets, you may be surprised to learn that Satan only appears in three of the thirty-nine books of the Hebrew Scriptures.

  1. First Chronicles 21:1 “Then Satan* stood up against Israel and incited David to number Israel.”
    • Footnote: Or possibly, a “resister.”
  2. The book of Job casts Satan as one of the main characters in its story.
  3. Zechariah 3:1-2: “And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of Jehovah, and Satan was standing at his right hand to resist him. Then the angel of Jehovah said to Satan: “May Jehovah rebuke you, O Satan, yes, may Jehovah, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you!
    Is not this one a burning log snatched out of the fire?”

That’s all, folks.

That’s quite a contrast to the plethora of references to Satan in Watchtower publications.

In all other places the Hebrew word for Satan is translated as adversary, opposer, etc. The following are all from the NWT (2013 ed.) except where noted. The Hebrew word for Satan has been italicized by me:

  • Psalm 109:6 “Appoint a wicked man over him; May a resister* stand at his right hand.”
    • (footnote reads: “or an accuser”)
    • “let Satan stand at his right hand” (KJV)
  • Numbers 22:22 “But God’s anger blazed because he was going, and Jehovah’s angel stationed himself in the road to resist him.”
    • “And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him.” (KJV)
  • Numbers 22:32Then Jehovah’s angel said to him: “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? Look! I myself came out to offer resistance, because your way is in defiance of my will.”
  • 1 Samuel 29:4 The Philistines say: “lest he [David] be an adversary against us”
  • 2 Samuel 19:22 David says: “[you sons of Zeruaiah] should this day be adversaries (plural) unto me?”
  • 1 Kings 5:4 Solomon writes to Hiram: “there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent.”
  • 1 Kings 11:14 “And the LORD stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite[12]
  • 1 Kings 11:23 “And God stirred him up an adversary, Rezon the son of Eliadah
  • 25 “And he [Rezon] was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon”

But Wasn’t the Serpent in the Garden of Eden none other than Satan?

Just like the doctrine of the Trinity, this is something that does not come from the Bible directly, but was “inferred” over time by the early “church fathers.”

Satan is traditionally identified as the serpent who tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit; thus, Satan has often been depicted as a serpent. Justin Martyr, who was born around 100 C.E., was the first to postulate this association. According to Kelly, Justin makes this association “casually”, without giving an explanation for his reasoning.

In Chapters 45 and 79 of Dialogue with Trypho, Justin identifies Satan and the Serpent, asserting that he tempted humankind for “an unspecified sinful reason” and was cursed as a result. However, after Justin, the idea was promulgated by his student Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch, and somewhat later by Tertullian.

From the fourth century Lucifer is sometimes used in Christian theology to refer to Satan, as a result of identifying the fallen “son of the dawn” of Isaiah 14:12 with the “accuser” of other passages in the Old Testament.

It’s odd that the Watchtower rejects the Trinity on the basis of its being extra-biblical, but accepts the idea that the serpent was Satan on the very same basis.

Is Satan Even an Individual?

It seems the answer to the above question is No, at least for the writers of the Hebrew Scriptures. They would’ve agreed with Christadelphians of today: “Satan” was just a term used for anyone acting as an adversary. That’s why the word was applied to all the people mentioned above. It also explains why Jesus called Peter Satan when he opposed him:

But turning his back, he said to Peter: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, because you think, not God’s thoughts, but those of men.”
Mt 16:23

It’s not that Jesus mistook Peter for an evil spirit named Satan, or that he meant “hey, you are acting like that individual known as Satan,” Rather, he simply meant: “you are opposing my plan.”

This means that the entire basis of Jehovah’s Witness belief has crumbled to dust before our eyes. There is no “bet” being waged between a god named Jehovah an an evil spirit named Satan with us as pawns in their game of wits.

There is no Satan to be vanquished by a son of a god or thrown into an abyss for a thousand years. Though this sounds like a plot out of some sort of third-rate mythology/sci-fi novel, it is what Jehovah’s Witnesses have been duped into believing by the Watchtower. It is why someone like Jonny can write, in all seriousness, that our article is “from Satan” and that we’re trying to “hide his faults” because he is our father! Pinch me, please; am I still in the twenty-first century?

3 thoughts on “Who’s Your Daddy?”

  1. To Charita Bonds:
    If the logic makes no sense to you, Charita, it isn’t necessarily the fault of the logic.

    Maybe, just maybe, the Watchtower has YOU fooled.

    Either way, I’d love to discuss it. As Pastasauceror previously requested: Please let us know what didn’t make sense to you.

    Thanks!

Comments are closed.