Monday, September 28, 2009

understanding Satan, another point re: angels

I hope the previous blog post was helpful. This morning it occurred to me that you might still find it difficult to understand how ex-lead angel, fallen angel Satan can lack comprehension of God's All Knowingness. After all, would not an angel know better than anyone? That is exactly my point: no, they do not. None of the angels comprehend God's All Knowingness since it is totally impossible to comprehend, by either angels or human beings! But here is the difference. The angels in heaven believe. They have total faith in God, which overcomes their inability, as created beings, to totally understand God's All Knowingness. Only God himself understands his All Knowingness.

You see, some "New Age" thinking has crept into the thinking of both believers and non-believers that once one achieves heaven, or nirvana, or "is one with the universe" that suddenly one "understands everything." You most certainly do not. No one has ever believed that until these modern technical times, where humans have started thinking of themselves as having the ability to "be anything you want to become" and to "achieve anything." Older humans were a lot more humble and realistic. They realized that going to heaven meant being constantly at peace in God's presence in paradise, NOT becoming God given "experts." So no, the fallen angels, the multitude that is unimaginable that are in heaven with God, and humans who achieve paradise through salvation do not at all understand God's All Knowingness. The difference is that the multitude of angels who serve God have total faith that he is the All Knowing, and humans who achieve heaven also have as their reward total faith and ability to believe with no question that God is indeed who he is, but the fallen angels recognize God, but lack faith that God is all that he really is. To use a modern term, fallen angels (and living humans) have a "mental block," an inability to comprehend God's All Knowingness.

Humans have that mental block as a condition of their being alive in a finite world within finite bodies that are limited (no matter how intelligent or "spiritual") by the neurons of the brain and the reality of the body. So humans are incapable of truly comprehending God's All Knowingness because they are in bodies and minds that can't grasp it. They can, however, develop marvelous and tremendous faith, in that way emulating the angels in heaven who believe because of course they are there and can see God all the time. It is important to cultivate faith because faith overcomes natural blindness. That is precisely the problem with Satan and those who follow him. Lacking faith that God is totally who he truly is, they have mental blocks and blind spots to understanding God's true nature and All Knowingness, even though Satan can and does, as we see in scripture, continue to be able to speak to God face to face when God allows it. Satan can look at God and obviously believe in his powers and obviously attest that God most certainly exists and is the creator of all (since Satan like the other angels saw it all), but Satan and the fallen angels are flawed not by being "born evil," but because they would not serve.... and service, in heaven, means having perfect faith!

Generations of humans have been saved and reach heaven based on faith, not on their ability to perform "good deeds." Without getting into that whole argument (that is based on misunderstanding plus a weakness of faith in God, ironically), the faith versus works artificial argument among some denominations is a similar lack of faith problem in God's All Knowingness. How is it that the poorest of the poor, those who are unable to do any "good deeds" such as "works," but have unshaken faith go to heaven (see the Beatitudes for the scriptural references) while at the same time, rich people with faith risk going to hell if they do not accomplish the very specific works that God expects them to do, rather than works of their own choosing (see Luke 16)? It all comes down to faith in God's All Knowingness. God knows the true state of each person's heart, soul, thoughts and purity of intentions. This is why a poor person unable to do any works but filled with faith will go to heaven, while a rich person who believes in God but thinks that he or she can pawn off certain works "good deeds" or "social work" with the intention that those are earned tokens toward heaven certainly risks hell instead. God knows before one even has the thought just how dumb a person thinks that God is.

So Satan must be understood in exactly that light-of being unable to understand, as we see in scripture, God's All Knowingness-to serve as the correct negative role model for human beings who wish to be saved. When you read the beginning of the Book of Job, if you understand what I have just pointed out to you in these two posts, now the scales will fall from your eyes and you will really "get" the Book of Job properly. Why did Job suffer so much? Because Satan, like humans, cannot understand God's All Knowingness, and constantly challenge, marginalize and test it, while the faithful, such as Job, do not lack understanding that God is All Knowing.

For more scriptural reassurance on what I am saying, read the sections where the mother of James and John asks Jesus that they sit at his right and left hand when Jesus comes into the Kingdom (which she of course misunderstands the nature of). But think about what the court favorites who sit around the king indicate. These are people who are near to the king, but not the king. These are people who are rewarded by the king, but do not as a result receive or have the power or the knowledge of the king. Everyone in Biblical times understood full well that even the people who achieve heaven do not receive "secrets" or gain God's knowledge, etc... they hoped for being in his constant presence.

And thus you can see that indeed happens for some as you read the Book of Revelation. John sees that a number of (unidentified) elders surround the throne of God, casting their crowns in front of him and worshipping him. If these are the few humans, the prophets and elders, who achieved such proximity to God, and they are still in the form of humans in their spiritual glorified bodies who glorify God all day, you have to understand that there is still that distinction between God and everyone else, both angels and saved humans. No one is "absorbed" into God's All Knowingness. That is a fake technology industrialized and now New Age affectation and false belief that has no bearing on reality since obvious physics of God and his created creatures belie that if you give it any thought, and the scriptures illustrate actual scenes and events that show such thinking is totally false. The difference is that in heaven, both angels and saved humans have perfect faith and know that God is All Knowing: a belief that the faithful have while on earth but have rewarded in the knowing when in heaven.

That lack, by the way, is one way to characterize humans who go to hell. No one who really, really, REALLY believes that God is All Knowing is stupid enough to do the things that they do, and think the things that they think, that ends them up in hell for eternity of suffering and punishment. Every chronic sinner (both of sins of commission and omission), does not, despite what they may say, believe that God is All Knowing. Again, a great way to improve one's chances of salvation is to have faith in God, but the God as God really is... because when you believe all there is to believe about him exactly as he has constantly presented himself to generations of the faithful and the chastised unfaithful, you in turn will have cascading changes in behavior and mindset that improve greatly your chances of becoming worthy.

Here's a mental image for you. Suppose that someone in hell was taken out of hell by God, put back in their body on earth, and "given another chance." What would happen? Your knee jerk reaction is to say, "Well, of course that person learned his or her lesson and that he or she will lead a wonderful life that is corrected from all bad ways." Wrong! The person who goes to hell, and then in theory gets a second chance at life, thinks to his or her self, "Ha! I knew the religions were wrong and that hell is permanent. See? I'm back." A person who goes to hell is permanently flawed, like Satan, in their lack of faith, so that even if God gave them mercy and through a miracle took them out of hell and gave them a second chance at life, the person would view that as another cornerstone to their lack of faith rather than increasing their faith. They figure if God "breaks his own rules," then the rules are bogus in the first place. That is why no one ever leaves hell, not even to give a message of warning to those who are in danger of hell themselves on earth (Luke 16). God in his All Knowingness knows that those who merit hell are incapable of increasing anyone's faith, no matter what mercy God bestows on them, since they have warped their soul into being incapable of having humility of faith, say nothing of conveying it to others still alive. How can you feel comfortable inferring this? Notice how even in hell the rich man expects the poor man, Lazarus, who is being comforted by Abraham himself in heaven, to be the one to bring him some water in hell. The man in hell is too darned arrogant and stupid to do something like pray to God for relief, even as heaven is opened up to him in this one time event! Luke 16 is a constant gold mine of understanding God's reality, faith, and the pernicious problem of lack of faith.

So yes, the angels observe and serve God all the time in heaven, and have perfection of faith, but this does not mean that they are now "extensions" of God, that they share in his All Knowingness, which is not possible. They do, however, have perfection of faith in God, as do all humans who are saved and gain eternity in heaven. This is one reason, by the way, for my Muslim friends, that in the Qur'an you read that God ordered the angels to worship Adam right after God created Adam. The angels are not worshipping Adam per se as the flawed vessel that all humans are by nature (even though Adam had not yet sinned) but the angels are paying obeisance to God's All Knowingness in his wisdom to create goodness. So the angels are not lifting Adam up, but they are acknowledging that they are to continue to have faith in, believe and honor the works of God.

Those who are saved have as their hallmarks either the simple faith in God of the good hearted and naturally humble, or faith in God that they have had to constantly work at, like a garden that is always threatened with weeds, so they look to the saints, and the read the scriptures, and they work, really work, at increasing their faith, not their works. Good works and what God expects of everyone in charity is a natural fruit of faith: it does not have to be artificially planned and managed like on a spreadsheet or a shopping list that has check off marks. If one works only on fear of God and increased faith, one will naturally heed God's expectations for their works as a result.

I hope you have found this helpful!