Where did we come from?
This is probably a fair, perfunctory question before the next one:
Where are we going?
A projectile’s trajectory is, in a fair amount, determined by its origins at the very start.
We are, to some measure, a function of where we began….
Luckily, just to some measure…
First of all, let’s set the record straight.
That poor serpent in the Garden isn’t Lucifer.
At least, he doesn’t have to be.
There’s absolutely nothing in the Bible to justify that.
No, he’s a poor snake, trying to raise his kids:
Just listen to God:
So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. -NIV
So where does Satan figure in the Old Testament, if not the tale of temptation in the Garden?
The answer is: not for a while.
And when he does he show up, he’s there to play dice with the Ruler of the Cosmos….
Yod He Vau He, God of the Old Testament, loves to be loved.
In the end, that’s kind of his entire deal:
Love Me or Else.
Which gave Satan an easy entry point:
How much torture would it take to break one of your servants?
What would it take to re-program one of your followers?
Now, these are the same questions that counter-intelligence operatives are asking several thousand years later – at what point does a person’s loyalty snap…
And can a new person be inserted into the shell of a broken human?
Job was Test Subject #1.
How does God Respond?
Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
Have the gates of death been shown to you?
Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness?
Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all this.
What is the way to the abode of light?
And where does darkness reside?
Can you take them to their places?
Do you know the paths to their dwellings?
Surely you know, for you were already born!
You have lived so many years!
Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades?
Can you loosen Orion’s belt?
Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons
or lead out the Bear with its cubs?
Do you know the laws of the heavens?
Who gives the ibis wisdom
or gives the rooster understanding?
Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?
Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens
These passages are fascinating for everything they tell us about the religious and philosophical mood of the era it was written in.
We have Womb and Tomb; we have Astrological Markers (the Pleiades, Orion’s belt and the Bear with its cubs (presumably the Big Dipper and friends) – and then, in a clear nod to Egypt, a mention of the Ibis’s wisdom – which couldn’t shout Thoth louder.
Yes, good old-fashioned Thoth, God of Wisdom.
So, back to Satan…
He really isn’t part of Old Testament Literature, outside of his role as “adversary”.
He’s merely Satan, Attorney at Law.
He’s certainly not the serpent; at worst, he’s the angel who teases God into torturing Job, which God willingly goes along with.
Which doesn’t make him quite the Devil we make him out to be.
I wouldn’t push his limits…
Outside of actually reading the Biblical Book of Job, certainly one external source is C.G. Jung’s Answer to Job. He considered this one of his more important works, one in which he directly confronts the fourth face of God, which isn’t pleasant at all.
Call it the unpleasant face of God.
At any rate, that’s a place to start; until next time…