Theology and Peace: Part 2, Satan Versus the Holy Spirit

Before the Theology and Peace conference got started on Monday afternoon there was a morning session devoted to giving an introduction to the thought and work of René Girard for those new to the conference.

As a part of this session Lisa Hadler made a contrast that I found really interesting. Specifically, she made a contrast between Satan and the Holy Spirit.

As we know, the word Satan means "accuser." We see this function of the Satan in the book of Job but we also see it other places like Zechariah 3:
Zechariah 3.1-5
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”

Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. 4 The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.”

Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.”

Then I said, “Put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood by. 
 We also see this accusation at work in the New Testament:
Revelation 12.9-10
The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:

“Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down..."
So Satan is the voice of accusation. What about the Holy Spirit? According to Jesus the Holy Spirit is the exact opposite of Satan. Where the Satan is a voice of accusation the Holy Spirit is a voice of advocacy. Where the Satan is a prosecuting attorney the Holy Spirit is a defense attorney.
John 14.16-17a, 26; 15.26; 16.7
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth.

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father —the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.

But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
The Holy Spirit displaces the voice of the Satan in the world. The voice and spirit of Jesus in the world is the voice of this Advocate--the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth.

What struck me in Lisa's description of all this is how she framed the contrast--Satan versus the Holy Spirit, accusation versus advocacy--as a choice we make every second of every day. In every interaction I can be the voice of Jesus in the world--the voice of the Holy Spirit, the voice of advocacy--or I can be the voice of Satan in the world, the voice of accusation. One voice leads toward peace, the other voice leads toward violence.

That's the choice in my life. Accusation or advocacy?

Will I be the voice of the Spirit in the world or the voice of the Satan?

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10 thoughts on “Theology and Peace: Part 2, Satan Versus the Holy Spirit”

  1. Richard,

    Joining in the Satanic blaming and shaming and casting out game seems to be our only protection, our only mechanism of securing peace.  But the Spirit shows us a "better way"--the Way of loving and blessing!


  2. I love it. I've often said that the ONLY power that Satan has is to lie. Our only choice is do we believe the lie or do we believe what God says about us. I find it interesting that in most if not all Pauline epistles that we are told who we are before we are told what to do. One author, and I forget his name said that we eat from one of two trees, the "do to be" tree or the "be to do" tree. Satan's biggest lie, his greatest accusation is that we must do in order to become. The Holy Spirit say " you are, now go and do."  Thanks Dr. Beck for this wonderful confirmation that Holy Spirit leads us to all truth.

  3. That reminds me of my second favourite philosophical joke (with thanks to Kurt Vonnegut)..."To do is to be" - Socrates"To be is to do" - Satre"Do be, do be, do" - Sinatra

  4.  The people demand to know your first favorite philosophical joke. 

    The People

  5. I thought you'd never ask.

    Descartes, right, walks into this cafe.  The waitress comes up to him and asks, "Cuppa coffee, Rene?"
    Pausing briefly to consider,  Descartes replies, "I think not," - and disappears.

    The only person I've ever met that's laughed at that is me - what is this telling me?

    Perhaps you can do better...?

  6.  HAHA!  I just read Descartes Meditations a few months ago so it has relevance.

    I don't think I can top yours but this has always been my favorite philosophy comic:

  7. Very good - who's the creator?

    Was reminded of another one at a party last night:

    This Buddhist monk walks up to a hamburger stall.  "Can you make me one with everything?" he asks.

    He hands the stallholder a tenner and takes his burger.

    "What about the change?" the monk asks in consternation.

    "Ah, that must come from within," replies the man.

  8. Truthfully, I almost posted the Buddhist monk joke!  Great minds (nerd minds?) think alike. 

    I'm not sure who created the comic.   I saw it on Facebook awhile back and saved it to my computer. 

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