Editor's Note: Clarion is posting Michael Hardin's 20-episode series (excerpted from What the Facebook? vol. 1) on The Satan as a weekly release, each Thursday. CLICK HERE for the full pdf or kindle document.
(8) The satan as The Accuser
Scholars have long noted that the Book of Job has two distinct parts. There are the Dialogues (chs. 3-37) and the Prologue and Epilogue (chs 1-2, 38-42). The latter stand apart from the original dialogues and were added later. They have a different vocabulary, style and content. If you read just the Dialogues as though the Prologue didn’t exist, you would find a character (Job) who had once been highly esteemed in the community as its leader or king, now having been hurled down to the bottom. Job’s laments are all about his change of fortune from one valorized to one demonized. His so-called friends seek to get him to admit that he must have done something wrong, which he won’t right do, since he has examined his life and can find no good reason for his sudden catastrophic social free-fall. The friends argue that ‘God’ must be against Job and he should just admit his guilt. The friends are not friends but accusers.
In the Prologue, the Satan has the same function as the friends. The Satan is apparently an angelic being who has the job of being God’s fault-finder. Amazingly this heavenly Judge, Jury and Executioner can find no fault in Job and so insists on a test to make Job guilty: take away all he has and he will curse God. The Satan, as one of the ‘sons of God’ can only point a finger; that is his function. This is the oldest purpose of the satan, to accuse.
If Rene Girard is correct in his reading of Job (Job: The Victim of His People), what we have in Job is a story about a human scapegoat about to be sacrificed because the community is in a crisis and will seek to bring about its resolution by casting Job as a scapegoat. He will be the figure upon whom they can collectively cast their hostility and thus rid themselves of all the evil and malice that afflicts them and so return the community to normal functioning. However, they need Job to agree with their valuation of him and he just won’t do it. Job’s refusal to bend his knee to their ‘ungodly’ demands to be guilty of a crime he did not commit casts him in the role of the innocent victim.
What makes the story of Job so profound is the protestation of his innocence. Unlike other victims of mythology, Job refuses to buy into falsely attributed guilt. Victims of myth, like Oedipus (or Aachen in Joshua 7) are always guilty. The way the story is told is that victims get what they deserved and by pressure from the community they too acknowledge that the crime for which they have been accused is true and the punishment deserved. We humans know this pattern too well and here we are over two thousand years later using similar techniques in police interrogation rooms and prisons like Guantanamo Bay, and sadly, in our homes.
Job is a story that challenges this satanic way of accusation. Job is the opposite of mythological victims. Victims of myth believe they are guilty. They have been told they are guilty for so long and so loud that they accept the false accusation as truth. If you don’t think this is possible then just think of victims of spousal abuse or child abuse. These victims often blame themselves for the breakdown of family relationships in which they had no fault!
The satan is the accusatory principle. Every time we point a finger to blame someone else for our woes, we play the part of the satan. There is more to the satanic principle than this (there is also deception and death which we will look at later this week), but it all begins here. Groups, families, nations and organizations which need to blame someone else for their troubles are not Jesus like, they are satanic. I am bemused when people call America a Christian nation, for it is the number one example of a nation that blames others for its problems, whether Native American, slaves and eventually African Americans, women suffragettes, rock and roll, the hippies, gays, immigrants and now people of other faiths. We are not a Christian nation. Our American history is a satanic national history, we have gone from scapegoating one group to another all in the name of The American Dream. Our Dream has been their Nightmare. But we are not the only people to do so, just look at your own history. Jesus doesn’t point fingers, he offers a healing hand, and therein lays all the difference between Jesus and the satan.