Date: 20-Jul-04 14:27
>>When the Old Testament was first written, Elohim/Yahweh was both good and evil. Satan didnt exist (and it was the Christians at a later point that pointed the snake to be another a form of Satan).......the concept of duality...both God and Mastema (evil) didnt come forth until Cyrus the Great of Persia freed the Israelites from Babylonian rule in 538 B.C. (I believe that is the correct date) and brought forth the first TRUE monotheistic dualistic religion to the world, called Zoroastrianism...influencing the Israelites big time.<<
Excellent point, Petros. Latter-day Christians underestimate (to their peril, IMHO) the influences of Zoroastrianism got of the Babylonish captivity. In my immediate family, we spend little if any time worrying about what Satan is up to. We subscribe more to the saying which recommends that we "fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (Mt 10:28)
>>There are huge pieces of evidence of this found especially in both the Book of Exodus and Deuteronomy, where God controlled individuals to be evil, so he could have a reason to harm them. In Exodus "he made Pharoah stubborn" and so on.<<
I'd be interested in considering some of these evidences as you see them, Petros, whether here on the GHMB or via private correspondence. I am not necessarily sold on the idea, however, that the "hardening" of Pharaoh's heart was an evil -- only the prerogative of a sovereign God (something Pharaoh ought to have understood all too well).
>>Originally Satan (Mastema) was called "ha-satan" and was a loyal servant, a spy to God and he would test the faith of individuals to see how much they believed and worshipped God. So to say that the snake was Satan (when he is only mentioned 4 times in the Old Testament) would not be a correct thing to do. Please don't take this as an insult or as an attack. It is just something to think about.<<
Indeed. I would add, however, in that God already knows the hearts of men . . .
"Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men:) that they may fear thee all the days that they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers." (1Kin 8:39-40)
. . . the testings -- the temptations -- are only for the edification of the individual, and not at all for God.