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February 07, 2018


Marcus Rempel


The most helpful analysis of the nature of Satan I have come across is that of Rene Girard, who identifies Satan as the non-being behind the scapegoat mechanism, the violent non-deity humans have used to project our violence outside of ourselves, thus both a force with agency in the world, but at the same time a force whose power lies in deceiving humanity into believing that our archaic, murderous gods are real, while the Cross reveals that it is not God, but the mob that demands human sacrifice. Satan is thus "a murderer from the beginning and the father of lies" - his first lie being that he is someone real, when in fact he has no ontological reality. I was so inspired by Girard's interpretation that I wrote a book which brought his thought to bear on the stuff of the daily news and daily life. (Life at the End of Us Versus Them - FriesenPress)

And then the first book I picked up after completing my book was Randal Sullivan's "The Miracle Detective" - in which Rolling Stone journalist Randall Sullivan investigates the phenomenon of Marian appearances, ends up documenting some events that are not possible to explain inside of a natural framework, and along the way has a chilling encounter with a creature of ice-cold hostility who Sullivan understands to be the devil.

I am glad I had already sent my book to the printers. I found myself leaning into Sullivan's journalistic account of the supernatural, but I didn't know how to integrate it into Girard's approach, and still don't. Girard gives such a lucid analysis of the works of Satan, and of the unique power of the Cross to lay these works bare and defeat them. Girard helped me understand something crucial about the nature of "The Accuser." Sullivan reminded me that that something was not yet everything.

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