[b-hebrew] Satan

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Wed Sep 6 09:55:19 EDT 2006


Hello Harold,

As you understand, I do not accept NT interpretation of the Tanakh. I also 
don't neccesarily accept Talmudic interpratation as binding, although it is 
relevant for understanding the developement of Jewish tradition.

We must remember, that God is not human. What does "hate" mean to God? Does 
God truly have emotions, or does scripture use human emotions in the same 
way as it uses other human characteristics, such as God's hand, arm, face, 
backside etc. , as imperfect metaphors that help US comprehend a small point 
of God's characteristics. So your question of "Why should God create 
something He hates?" is simply irrelevant - because it's part of His plan, 
of which we can only see a small part.

> HH: They are not wicked when created.

What about Gen. 8:21: "For man's yetser-lev is evil from his youth"?
I understand "yetser-lev" as "inclination of the heart".

> HH: There are complex reasons why storms occur, but it is not God's job
> to stop storms from occurring.

Why not? He created the laws of nature - he could have created them 
differently.

Yigal Levin

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Harold Holmyard" <hholmyard at ont.com>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Wednesday, September 06, 2006 1:04 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Satan


> Dear Yigal,
>
>>Nowhere in the verses below is a statement that God does not create things
>>He "hates".
>>
>
> HH: There is no need to say that. Why should God create something He 
> hates?
>
>> Are you saying that wicked people, whom God "hates", are not
>>God's creatures?
>>
>
> HH: God does not create people as wicked. They are wicked because of
> choices they make.
>
>
>> I would certainly not expect this attitude from a
>>Christian, but "even" from a Jewish perspective: God created everything 
>>and
>>every one.
>>
>
> HH: They are not wicked when created.
>
>> He gave humans free choice between "good", which means obeying
>>God, and "evil", which means disobeying. This is something that only 
>>humans
>>are capable of. God advises us to chose the former - but if we chose the
>>latter, we carry the responsibility.
>>
>>
>
> HH: Right, so you do understand.
>
>>"Good" and "evil" are not absolutes. Let's take natural disasters: 
>>hundreds
>>of thousands killed by a tsunami. Was this NOT an act of God?
>>
>
> HH: We should distinguish between physical and moral evil. The weather
> patterns produce storms. Even if supernatural forces are behind them,
> they are still physical phenomena. They are not morally evil in 
> themselves.
>
>> Or at least,
>>could God have not chosen to avert it?
>>
>
> HH: There are complex reasons why storms occur, but it is not God's job
> to stop storms from occurring. In fact, we understand that many negative
> elements in life are a consequence of human sin (Genesis 3).
>
>> From our perspective - a horror,
>>certainly not "good". From God's perspective - well, we work for Him, he
>>does not OWE us explanations. But, unless we resort to belief in an
>>independent Satan, there is no "evil" at work.
>>
>>
>
> HH: Job does show that storms may be connected with the work of Satan.
>
>>So the only true evil is that which is in the human soul. We all have 
>>some -
>>it is our choice do fight it or not. If there is a "satan", then it is a
>>metaphor for the yetser ha-ra that GOD CREATED in each of us.
>>
>>
>
> HH: The Bible reveals that there are also fallen angels, just as human
> beings are fallen. The New Testament is clear about this. However, it
> remains true that we do not sin if we refuse to succumb to enticement
> that Satan may present. Genesis 3 shows that enticement can come from
> without.  It may be the norm for Judaism to write off the serpent as a
> projection of an inner evil impulse, but the serpent is clearly outside
> the human beings, and the New Testament clarifies that it was Satan.
>
> Yours,
> Harold Holmyard
>
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