On our ecclesial contact form Anthony Buzzard wrote:
Can you please explain how the Devil can be internal when in Matthew 4 he is said to approach Jesus from the outside? How can the tempter there mean a temptation from within when he is expressly said to come from the outside? Thanks for your answer.
It seems this questioning person has, like several others, a misunderstanding of our understanding or sight on satan, devil, seduction or temptation.
The Satan is according us and the Bible not a figure from a place underneath the earth where people are terrorised or tortured for ever (in hell).
Jesus called at a certain point the apostle Peter "Satan". Peter is a living being and as such the other satans are also real existing beings. Any adversary, but in particular the adversary of God is called a Satan.
When we are confronted with a satan we are confronted by a figure outside us. For us Christadelphians, it is not like for Catholics and Muslims that a good angel would be seating at our right shoulder and a bad angel on our left shoulder. The temptations come from outside, brought to us by circumstance outside us and by people outside us. But how we react onto the temptation is something which comes from inside us. It is our own will which shall either go in or go against the temptation which comes over us. It is our own decision which shall allow the evil to go deeper into us or to weapon us against the evil around us.
The Satan can be any adversary of God, being a woman or a man. But we, too, can be a satan or adversary of God. That is stated by our attitude against God. The stipulation of our attitude to God is determinating if we can be a lover and follower of god, but at the same time it also can determine that we are going against God's Laws. When we allow our thoughts go astray and away from God it is possible that temptation can come from within when we follow our wrong thoughts. That is what is meant by "coming from within".
Do you not think that we ourselves can have different thoughts and have to choose from those thoughts which ones to follow? The right half from the brain, which designates our emotions, whilst left activates the action we undertake, and it is the relation or the strength of the bridge between those two. When you want to come closer to someone it is the right half of the brain which can put on the brakes. Emotion and behaviour have to be balanced. The behaviour is greatly designated by the function of our brain and as such is it something from within us. When the Bible speaks about demons in people it is the disease or the impossibility of the human being to control oneself. In ancient times it was a way to describe ill or mentally sick people.
Those demons and devils naturally can be people around us, and as such are being outside us and have nothing to do with something inside us, except that we shall have to react to them when we are meeting them. That interaction shall demand reactions from us, and those reactions shall be triggered by the brain function in us; It shall be us ourselves who shall have to make decisions and choices how to react.
There was a lovely harmony in the Garden of Eden. Man was free to walk around and live nicely. He also was free to think and to make choices. There it went wrong. The woman let her mind wander and got tempted by her thoughts, willing to know more.
We have seen that the yielding to the tempter or man’s mind doubting God‘s honesty is treated allegorically in the Edenic covenant as the serpent in the flesh. First man was full of life but now death had come to him. Temptation had taken over and evil had entered his mind. This evil is the “devil” or diabolos of the New Testament, which term is defined as “that which has the power of death” (Hebrews 2:14), elsewhere described as “the law of sin and death”, “sin that dwelleth in me”, “sin in the flesh” (Romans 7:20; Romans 8:2-3).
Please find also to read:
- A Book to trust #27 Also words from ordinary and foolish men
- The figure of Adam
- The 1st Adam in the Hebrew Scriptures #4 The Fall
- The 1st Adam in the Hebrew Scriptures #5 Temptation, assault and curse
- The figure of Eve
- The Existence of Evil
- Forbidden Fruit in the Midst of the Garden 1
- Forbidden Fruit in the Midst of the Garden 2
- Epicurus’ Problem of Evil
- First mention of a solution against death 1 To divine, serpent, opposition, satan and adversary
- First mention of a solution against death 2 Harm or no harm and naked truth
- First mention of a solution against death 3 Tempter Satan and man’s problems
- First mention of a solution against death 5 Evil its law of death
- A solution for a damaged relationship 2 Sinful nature
- Messianic prophesies 1 Adversary – Root of the first prophecy
- Messianic prophesies 2 Adversary – Root of the first prophecy
- Has the devil got you?
- Fallen Angels
- Satan or the Devil
- Devil, Satan, Demons, Evil Spirits and Hell
- Hell - Sheol or the Grave
- Hell fire
- Human Nature, Sin, and Responsibility to Judgment
- Messenger of Satan
- New publications: Resisting the Devil
- Lord in place of the divine name
- Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences
- Philosophy hand in hand with spirituality
- People Seeking for God 2 Human interpretations
- Marriage of Jesus 8 Wife of Yahweh
- Autumn traditions for 2014 – 2 Summersend and mansend
- Autumn traditions for 2014 – 3 Black Mass, Horror spectacles and pure puritans
- Autumn traditions for 2014 – 4 Blasphemy and ridiculing faith in God
- Joseph Priestley To the Point
- Those willing to tarnish
- Literalist and non-literalist views
- 1st thought for today “The world may be wicked” (January 16)
- Christians at War? Christians using violence?
- To will being present in us but to do it not always evident
- Words Have Meaning: Devil, Diábolos, Slanderers, and False Accusers
- It continues to be a never ending, exhausting battle for survival.
- Reactions against those of the other sex
- The false prophets in the present world
- A New Year and a New Person
- Easter: Origins in a pagan Christ