[b-hebrew] Satan

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Tue Sep 5 18:41:44 EDT 2006

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Peter Kirk" <peter at qaya.org>
> Not in Job 1:8-12 and 2:3-6, if Satan is an angel. for Satan is shown as
> taking the initiative in proposing a course of action, although he
> requires God's permission to carry it out. Similarly with the snake in
> Genesis 3:1-5, where God's permission may be implicit. These are the
> action of a being with free will making his own decisions. Anyway,
> anything else makes God the author of evil.


First of all, there is no "Satan", as an individual being, in the Tanakh. 
"Ha-satan" means "the adversary", and I'm not even sure if the same being is 
meant in all cases. Note 1 Kings 11:14 and 23, in which God sends a "satan" 
against Solomon - in both cases mere humans!

Second, in Jewish tradition, the snake of Gen. 3 has nothing at all to do 
with Satan. He's just a jealous, clever, talking snake. At most, he 
represents our own human "yetser ha-ra", our "evil inclination", which is 
ours to overcome.

God, as Creator of all, is also the creator of evil. If there were no evil, 
there would be no free choise and no reward for overcoming evil. The idea of 
there being a powerful, almost god-like, evil being that carries on a cosmic 
struggle against God is a pagan one, which found its way into some parts of 
post-biblical Judaism and from there into Christianity.

Yigal Levin

The concept of 

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