2.23.2007

He Hate Me

What should our attitude be towards the Devil? Lesley noticed that a song on one of Karis' CD's speaks of learning to hate the Devil and this made us wonder. I'm not sure what to think yet, but I lean towards no.

Here are some thoughts either way:

1. We ought to hate the Devil. (thanks to Jason for a lot of these)
a. Gen. 3:15 God says to the serpent, "... and I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers." This seems to say that God puts hatred between us and the Devil. (Thanks to Jason for this one)
b. Jn. 8:44 says there is *no* truth in him, but rather he is all lies, and we should hate lies and love the truth.
c. The Devil is *strongly* associated with sin (1 Jn. 3:8). He is the one who attempts to take us away from God, or to love other things above God Himself and is beyond reconcilliation.
d. We are at least depicted as at war with him elsewhere (Ephesians 6:11).
e. We are to resist (Jas 4:7) the Devil.

2. We ought not to hate the Devil.
a. It is hard to see God commanding us to hate any person.
b. We can hate evil, but we are called to love individuals -- even enemies and those that persecute (Mt. 5:44). This fits the Devil particularly well.
c. The Devil is not essentially evil. He was not always evil and he is not the opposite of God.
d. God is a God of love.

So, I would be interested to hear what others think. Also, how do you think Jesus' reactions to being tempted by the Devil fit in? Did he show hatred to the Devil?

9 comments:

Dave said...

Welcome back thinking man. It's been too long. You raise an interesting question and one that I personally have thought about before. I tend to lean towards the not hating the devil view point. I think we are to hate everything he stands for and nearly all of his actions but I believe Christians are called to hate sin and not people. We are to heap burning coals of kindness on our enemies heads. The Devil is described as the Great Enemy. I think that one should weep over the devil and be reminded that if one so close to the Lord could fall so can we. I welcome opposing views however and await responses.

Dan said...

Nice to see the blog back in action...and nice to chime in using my new Mac! I've become a rather convinced convert pretty quick here.

As for these devilish thoughts, I'm not totally sure where I come out, but here are a few little ideas.

(1) I'm not sure that Gen 3 is saying anything about humans hating Satan - though Satan may hate humans. The enmity mentioned there seems to imply an ongoing conflict, struggle, and war - while you might be able to imply that hatred is the fuel of that sort of historic hostility, I don't think the text is saying that.

(2) It seems that Christians should seek to have their passions mirror those of God. So if God should hate such things as murder or lies - it would seem that His people should do likewise. But while God may hate evil actions, I don't think it can be said that He hates evil people (that'd put us all in some rough shape). Personhood seems to have some intrinsic goods wrapped up in it which would seem to be void if hate were to be aimed at persons. All that to say I think the old saying 'hate the sin, love the sinner' has some merit.

(3) It seems the 'love your enemies' bit in Matthew 5 is directed towards humans - so it's a bit of an extraction to apply it to non-human enemies. But that does go to show that you can have an enemy without necessitating the presence of hatred. That could be further illustrated by the idea that those who are Christians were also once enemies of God, and yet having been pursued by His love, have been reconciled to Him. I guess that could also be applied to Christ's temptation and the current relational status b/w the Father and Satan. While God and Satan are certainly enemies, I wouldn't say that God hates Satan (though Satan may hate God).

Well that was probably way too long (and certainly there's sure a lot more to be teased out)...

jon said...

Hi Dave and Dan, thanks for the comments.

Dan, do you have reasons for thinking that 'enmity' in that contex is just referring to conflict?
From Jason, " Most translations use the word 'enmity,' which according to the American Heritage Dictionary means "deep-seated, often mutual hatred." In fact, Easton's Bible Dictionary also says that it is "deep-rooted hatred" and cites this verse itself. (Other dictionaries typically say "hatred" or "ill will.") And this isn't just a fact about the English word chosen; apparently it's also reflected in the original Hebrew word ('eybah). According to my concordance, its meaning just is "hatred." "

So it would be interesting if these facts could be explained (away?).

Also, one related thing worth considering is what it would mean to love the Devil. This is by no means clear to me either.

Heather said...

okay, this is just off the top of my head...
I haven't spent a ton of time on this, but my first thought is that these are some strong themes for such a sweet little thing...

second thought: Romans 12:9
"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil. Cling to what is good."

and final (for now at least): if we're putting our life & energy into sincere Love, we probably won't need to expend a ton on the hating part. I'm not one who does a lot of devil stomping myself. At least in the literal sense... on the other hand, if the loving & clinging part is the equivalent, I'm okay with that too.

jon said...

Hi Heather,
For a while I thought that I was the "sweet little thing", but then it dawned on my that you were probably referring to Karis :-)

I guess where I am at now is that we ought to love the Devil as we ought to love those with whom we might be in "toxic" relationships with (ie. relationships of abuse). We can love and forgive the offender while at the same time recognizing that we cannot have a relationship with them.

jon said...

I'll add some more thoughts that relate to Dan's point about the "loving you enemies" applying to humans alone:

First, I grant that the love your enemies talk applies primarily to other humans, but if it is to not be extended to other beings it seems as though there must be some relevant reason. What could it be?
1. Humans have a physical body/DNA : what could this have to do with anything?
2. Humans have the opportunity to be reconcilled : it is hard for me to think that it is impossible for the Devil and other evil spirits to be reconcilled to God.
3. It also can't be just that the Devil won't be reconcilled since there are many humans that won't be reconcilled as well yet I think we should still love them.

Anything that deals with reconcilliation as a reason for love seems problematic -- its conditional love. I think it is clear that the kind of love we should seek is unconditional. In light of that it seems that it ought to apply to the Devil.

Dan said...

I did little good ol' word study on our hebrew word ('eyab) or as it appears in Gen 3 ('eybah) - and I can't find any instances where it means 'hate' or 'hatred' - although again, you could aruge that the connotations are there (certainly they are in 2 Sam 22:18). BDB says the word means 'to be hostile to' (see Ex 15:6) or to 'treat as an enemy' (see Ex 23:22). It says the word often denotes a personal foe or public national enemy, that it can be used for enemies of God.

As for usage in Gen 3 it says 'enmity, personal hostitlity, b/w men, b/w serpent and woman, b/w peoples (Ex 25:15, 35:5, Num 35:21-22).

So I think that's fairly compelling that the Gen 3 wouldn't be sufficient evidence in and of itslef for encouraging Christians to hate the Devil.

All in all, I think it might be helpful to affirm that there is no space in the universe (and by application, no person) which is void or empty of God's love. And so if God applies love in all circustances to all creatures, it would seem that His people should seek to do the same (that's why we should all be good little earth keepers). Still, just what that looks like might be a bit more tricky to figure out.

Gramee said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, THINKING MAN! :o)

A few other tho'ts...

"Hate" is a very strong word for little ears to hear, in any context. Therefore, for the sake
of Karis at this young age, it may be wise to omit this particular
musical rendition!

Secondly, when God created Lucipher, he was next in rank to God Himself, and exceedingly beautiful. However, he was of the
angelic realm, not the human one.

Are we instructed in Scripture how to respond emotionally to
those of that realm? It seems to me that we are to be aware of their 'position' and attentive to their 'purpose' - since all of these beings were created for God's purposes.

But whether we 'love' or 'hate' the devil, his destiny will not
change; as hell was created for him for all eternity. With mankind, our emotional responses to one another may effect one's
destiny...thus, God's call to
"love one another" (referring to
those in our realm of existence).

If we love the devil (not his works), nothing about him will change. It's not like we can pray
him into a salvation experience, cause angels don't qualify for salvation. If we hate the devil
(as well as his works), he and his
future is still not changed.

So with all that being said, and realizing my feeling towards him will not affect his destiny,
I don't think I would want to be known as one who loves the devil!


Just some tho'ts from a non- philosopher!

Ray said...

IPeter 5:8,9a "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.Resist him standing firm in the faith." Could it be the our attitude to the devil should be similar to the response we might have to a lion that was about to attack us? We probably would not hate or love the lion. We would be very conscious of the treat the lion presented and we would use whatever weapons were at our disposal to defeat the lion.I think that our response to the devil should be primarily a volitional one. We see the danger he poses and we choose to resist him. It seems to me that we do not need to love or hate him. We realize his power but are grateful for the weapons that are available to us to defeat him.