Contributed by Kristen Watts
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. John 8:44
I have heard this verse paraphrased many times as, “Satan (or the devil or evil) is a liar and the father of the lie.”
What could this possibly mean? This means various things to various people, but to me it means that evil is the lie that says it exists. It insists that it is something when in fact it is a lie. It insists it has power, but how can it have power if God (Good, Love, Truth) is, indeed, all-powerful. If God (Good) is all-powerful, then nothing opposite of God could have any power. That is what I believe. What seems to be the power of evil (meaning anything less than God which is all-powerful, eternal, unlimited, Peace, perfection, Love, Good etc) is the lie that we must overcome to know the Truth (which is God, meaning all-powerful, eternal, unlimited, Peace, perfection, Love, Good etc).
How can we put this in context in our lives? It is nice and a comforting thought indeed, but we all see evil (meaning sin, sickness, death, pain, destruction, loss, limitation etc) in our lives and the lives of others. How can we come to the silly-sounding hypothesis that it doesn’t exist?
Many people don’t realize that there are two separate stories of creation told in the Bible. Nor do they consider that they might have different meanings. I will do my best to explain what I think they mean.
If you read the first chapter of Genesis very carefully you will notice that everything that was created sounded Good. There is no perspective of evil in the first chapter of Genesis. I believe that this is the True account of creation by the one true God. The one True absolute God created a creation in which nothing was the opposite of God. If you read through it carefully, you can notice what is NOT there. There is no mention of any evil (meaning sin, sickness, death, pain, destruction, loss, limitation etc). There is only a beautiful, perfect unfoldment of each good idea with no conflict or turmoil or pain or shame or anything that is fundamentally different from God.
I believe that this version of creation given in the first chapter of Genesis was also a metaphor meant to explain higher, spiritual concepts and not just creation of physical things. Like many metaphors in the Bible (parables, for example) they use common terms we can all relate to but the meaning works on many levels… from the basic, physical concept, to the deeper, spiritual meaning.
After this first version of creation is told, we are informed that God (which I believe is the one True God) saw that it was VERY good and we are also told that God’s creation was finished and ended.
|Gen1:31||And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, [it was] very good.|
|Gen 2:1||¶||Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.|
|Gen 2:2||And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made;|
Notice what was not created at this point. The one True God had created all Good, peaceful, harmonious existence. Man was already created, but there was no concept of evil or anything that evil entails. Death had not been created, sickness had not been created, conflict had not been created, shame, anger, deceit… Nothing opposite of God had been created. And creation was finished. Done. Complete. And it was all VERY good.
The second version of Genesis, to me, does not indicate a literal story, but a metaphor. There are many reasons why I believe this, but some of the more obvious things that spell this out to me are :
Snakes don’t talk
Trees don’t give magical powers
Why would God need physical materials to build a man?
Why would God use dirt, earth, clay etc. to create human bodies?
The first chapter of Genesis says man was created in God’s image, but God is spiritual so would God not have created SPIRITUAL man? Wouldn’t the man God created be spiritual to be the likeness of God?
How could the one True God (all-good without the potential for evil) create something that could do evil?
In the first account of creation, “God” is translated from ‘Elohim’ Which is most commonly translated in the King James Version as “God” but also translated as some other words (according to Strong’s)
God 2346, god 244, judge 5, GOD 1, goddess 2, great 2, mighty 2, angels1, exceeding 1, God-ward + 04136 1, godly 1
In the second chapter of Genesis, the term for God is a completely different word that is translated as “the Lord” God, which indicates to me that whoever the author was talking about in the first chapter, is different than whatever he was talking about in the second chapter. They seem like two different entities, one creating perfectly, one creating the opposite of what I believe the one True God to be. The first version of creation, God created all good with no evil. In the second chapter, the Lord God created a fallible, finite, physical, mortal human who was capable of sin, sickness, death, lying, shame, anger, pain, turmoil, destruction.
But, wait! All of those descriptions are the OPPOSITE of the descriptions of what we have already said the one True God is! We described the one True God in the first chapter of Genesis as infinite, in fallible, spiritual, immortal, incapable of sin, sickness, death or any other concept which is less than perfect Good.
Why would a God who is infinite Good, Love, and Truth create fallible, finite, physical, mortal human who was capable of sin, sickness, death, lying, shame, anger, pain, turmoil, destruction etc? Is such a thing even possible? Could infinite good create evil or any creation that was capable of creating evil? Could infinite life create death or any creation capable of death? Could perfect Truth create a lie or any creation that was capable of a lie? Could the God of all perfect creation create destruction or any creation that is capable of destruction? You can follow this train of logic through the accounts of creation and see that the two accounts are indeed opposites, not meant to tell the same story over again in a different way, but instead metaphors meant to describe two different, opposite ideas.
The “Lord God” was also the opposite of the one, True God in the first chapter of Genesis. The “Lord God” was not only capable of creating something that was the opposite of the one True God, but the “Lord God” was also capable of setting man up for a fall… tempting man into evil… then cursing and damning his own creation.
For these types of reasons, I read the second chapter of Genesis, not as a literal account, but as a metaphor trying to tell us a deeper, spiritual meaning, so I will attempt to explain what I think that meaning is something like this:
The people described are not meant to be two literal humans, but this story is used to describe MORTAL man, not the perfect, spiritual man that the one True God created as described in the first chapter of Genesis. The “Lord God” in the second chapter of Genesis is describing MORTAL man’s IDEA of God, and not the one, True perfect God.
In this second account of creation, mortal man was told to eat (partake) freely of the tree of the tree of life (the tree of life means the perfect, beautiful, spiritual creation in the first chapter of Genesis by the one True God where there was no opposite of Good nor Truth nor Love nor Life etc). This describes us today as well. We should all “eat freely of the tree of life” (the peaceful, harmonious perfection that we experience only as we let go of mortal ideas and dwell in the understanding of the Spirit. Love without any opposite, Good without any opposite, Truth without any opposite, etc. We should partake freely of the creation that was created in the first chapter of Genesis).
This mortal idea of man was told not to eat of (partake of) the (IDEA of) the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (which is the idea that good (God) has an opposite which also has power and can also create. For the day that they partook of that (false) idea, they would perceive such things as mortality, death and other concepts that are the opposite of the tree of life, the one True God in the first chapter of Genesis and that one, true spiritual, perfect, all-harmonious creation.
Satan is a liar and the father of it means to me that evil is not a power. It is the lie that claims to be real, but only seems to have power if we bow to it, believe in it, react to it, attribute power to it, treat it as something… when it would otherwise be the nothing.. and is nothing and is not anything that the one True God (the ONLY creator) would create. Evil is the lie that claims there is another creator besides the One True God. Evil is the lie that claims there is power outside of God to create things that are the opposite of what God would create and what God is (which is Good, Truth, Love and all of the other descriptors of God uses previously to this in this article).
Because the one True God is the ONLY God and the ONLY creator, and God is all Good, God is Truth, God is Love etc than could the One True God create the opposite of what God is? No, I believe not. Therefore I believe that evil has no legitimate, creator, source or substance. It is an empty lie that seems to have power if it is believed.
The mortal idea of man and mortal man’s idea of God is the point of view that much of the Old Testament is written from. Mortal man assumed that their mortal idea of God was what God was and they incorporated this idea of God into much of their writings. I do not think that the one True God in the first chapter of Genesis could destroy God’s own beloved creation that was all good.
Mortal man’s idea of god was the very highest idea of God that they had at the time, so they wrote from that viewpoint, but their idea of God was of a very powerful HUMAN ruler who acted and reacted like a human would. This is obviously not the idea of good without any opposite described in the first chapter of Genesis.
From the history that the Bible gives us, we can discern that some writers had a clearer understanding of the one True God in the first chapter of Genesis and how the creation that THAT God created was the likeness of Good.
Many were reaching and trying to understand but had many mortal concepts mixed in with their concept of eternal Good.
Of course they were inspired by God. Even the ones with a very mortal concept of God. They wrote in terms of their highest understanding which was probably the highest understanding that anyone had thought up until that time.
But many things they had to say fall under the category of human mind, at least that is the way I understand what they had to say.
(I don’t believe that the one True, spiritual, God who created all and only perfection proclaimed eating catfish a sin as stated in Leviticus 11:9-12
But anything in the seas or the rivers that has not fins and scales, of the swarming creatures in the waters and of the living creatures that are in the waters, is detestable to you. You shall regard them as detestable; you shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall detest their carcasses. Everything in the waters that has not fins and scales is detestable to you. Leviticus 11:9-12.
And because I believe that God is literally unchanging, I believe if that was God’s law then it would still be God’s law today and eternally. You can begin to discern what is God by discerning what is unchanging and eternal.)
We can see this teaching of dualism throughout the Bible and read many things into the meaning of the words, but the meaning is always the same: separate what we think we are from the eternal, spiritual man created by the one True God in the first chapter of Genesis.
The wheat and the chaff
The fountain that can not give both sweet and bitter water
If thine eye be single
There are many references to dualism and how to separate them.