Editor's Note: Clarion thanks Michael Hardin for freely sharing this 20-episode series (excerpted from What the Facebook? vol. 1) on The Satan. CLICK HERE for the full pdf or kindle document.
(20) The End of the satan
This will be my last series of posts on the satan. I hope they have been helpful. I had one goal in mind when I began: to argue that the devil as it has been portrayed in the common Christian consciousness was not an accurate depiction of evil. I did this by showing that the depersonalization of the devil (or the anthropologizing of the devil) was necessary in order for us to really get at what evil is and how Jesus overcame it in his life, death and resurrection.
Evil is violence in all its forms. These forms include (but are not limited to) abuse, torture, slavery, racism, discrimination, economic deprivation, apathy, self-justification, self-defense, addiction, self-hatred/loathing, judgmentalism, exclusivism, war, and the list could go on and on. We manifest the satanic every time we point a finger at someone and blame them for our woes. We are satanic every time we seek to convince another that they should admit their complicity. We are evil when we think that those who are different than us are under God’s wrath, while we are blessed.
You see, we are the satan. Our social hatred can become internalized in our victims and they may resort to extreme behaviors: cutting, addiction, suicide. They may even manifest the horrors of the human collective unconscious as evidenced in many areas of the world where the “demonic” speaks in strange voices or tongues or exhibits unusual behavior. The closer a culture is to archaic religion, the more such manifestations can appear; the more “civilized” a culture is, the more “civilized evil will appear (this is what Hannah Arendt refers to as “the banality of evil”). Our human history is a veritable slog through the wasteland of our victims. We humans created this; we started this when we turned to violence as our solution to the problem of violence. Our whole human history is a history of violence, it is a history of our sins against one another.
Ultimately we would even gang up and kill God. And that was our undoing. How so? Because God, instead of becoming a victim who collaborated with us by admitting complicity and guilt, stood silent as a sheep before shearers. Because God, instead of becoming a retributive victim, like Abel, spoke a better word, a word of forgiveness. Because God would not even count this one great universal heinous act against us, instead saying “No one takes my life from me, I offer it of my own choice.” Our killing of God in Christ, from God’s perspective, is no crime, nor sin, but is instead God’s free choice to be the act that brings life by bringing forgiveness, by exposing the sham of our religious mechanism to take life, by nailing all accusatory instruments to the cross. In the death of God in Jesus, the old Adam, the old Cain, the old Joshua, the old Samuel, the old David, the old Deborah, the old Miriam, the old Bill, the old Jane, the old Michael, the old Lisa, they all die. They all are laid to rest. The satan died when we died with Jesus.
It is true that there is still evil in this world. We do not yet live in God’s glorious kingdom, we live between the times. But IT IS FINISHED! The satan is crushed beyond repair. The satanic capacity to deceive is forever exposed and rendered powerless. The satanic capacity to use victims to rebuild families, communities, nations and civilizations is doomed and broken forever, sabotaged by the blood of the forgiving victim Jesus Christ. It is Jesus voice that echoes down the ages since. It is the life of Jesus, raised from the dead, seated at the right hand of our Abba, poured out on all by the Spirit which empowers peoples everywhere to live for one another. It is the life of Jesus which welcomes the stranger, feeds the hungry, offers hospitality to the immigrant, weeps with the victims of war and violence, cares for the sick and heals them. It is the life of Jesus in us, through us and sometimes in spite of us, that courses through human history. He is our hope. He is transforming us, each and every one. He has defeated the devil, that old serpent. The satan has been utterly rendered back to nothingness on the cross. The judgment of the prince of this world is complete. Violence, marginalization, ostracism, shunning or discrimination will never, ever be a solution after the death of Jesus. He has forever exposed them as lies. He has brought the truth of inclusion, of acceptance, of healing, of reconciliation and of peace. He is our hope, he is our life, he is our glory. Jesus has won the cosmic Super Bowl!
He has ascended on high and been given the Unpronounceable Name. We never need live in fear of anything or anyone again.
Jesus is Victor! Amen.