Archive for September, 2011

A DECADE AGO…

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

    It is incredibly hard to believe that ten years have already passed since the horror of September 11, 2001.   It is impossible to ever stop thinking about the surreal, absurd violence that resulted in the loss of nearly three thousand lives in the Twin Towers, in addition to over three hundred firefighters and other rescuers whose injuries resulted, either in immediate death or in terminal disease  years later, well into the present and most likely into the future as well.  Also, no one can imagine the degree of suffering, physically and emotionally, of the survivors and the families of the victims of 2001. 

      Each anniversary brings the reality ever closer to all of us.  We ask how and why such an unimaginable horror could possibly occur, and invariably we turn to God in prayer.   Perhaps we also ask as we pray, “If God is all good, from whence comes evil?’  Yes, where does evil come from?

     If you had asked me this question twenty years ago before I started to study the Bible, I would have said in my philosophical ivory tower that evil is not a person but an aspect of human nature, the opposite of good.  At that time, I probably believed that.  But, as I said, that was long before I studied the Bible and discovered that evil is not  an intangible component of human nature, but rather an actual spirit person called Satan, the Devil.      2 Timothy 2:26 shows us that the Devil is a spirit person.   It says, “And they may come back to their proper senses out from the snare of the Devil, seeing that they have been caught alive by him for the will of that one.”

        Mathhew 4:1 also shows that the Devil or Satan is a spirit person.  It says “Then Jesus was led by the spirit up into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil.”     Job 1:6 shows that Satan is as much a spirit person as the angels.  It says: “Now it came to be the day when the sons of the true God entered to take their station before Jehovah, and even Satan proceeded to enter right among them.” 

     The main question in my mind when I first started to study the Bible was how Satan, once an angel, could become the Devil or Satan, one who made himself the enemy of God.  To understand how this happened to the Devil, think of how we human beings sin.  James 1: 13-15 explains that very well.  13 “When under trial, let no one say: ‘I am being tried by God.’  For with evil things God cannot be tried nor does he himself try anyone.  14 But each one is tried by being drawn out and enticed by his own desire.  15 Then the desire, when it has become fertile, gives birth to sin; in turn, sin, when it has been accomplished, brings forth death.”

     Satan became jealous of God and the fact that He was worshiped and loved by Jesus, the angels and human beings.  He wanted human worship for himself.  Review the account of Adam and Eve and the serpent in Gensis 3: 1-7. 

    Thus, we can see that evil, unfortunately, exists in the world, not an an aspect of our personalities, but in the form of actual spirit creatures: the Devil or Satan and his fallen angels, called demons.  They exist, as shown in the Bible, and they are a strong evil force, but certainly not stronger than God and His angels, and the Archangel, being Jesus, who is also known as our King during the millenium of judgment.  All of this is in the Bible, too.   

     Look at Revelation 20: 4 and 5, which says:” 4 And I saw thrones, and there were those who sat down on them, and power of judging was given them.  Yes, I saw the souls of those executed with the ax for the witness they bore to Jesus and for speaking about God, and those who had worshiped neither the wild beast nor its image and who had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand.  And they came to life and ruled as kings with the Christ for a thousand years.  5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.  This is the first resurrection.”)

     An act of unimaginable evil was perpetrated on September 11, 2001.  Today we remember the thousands of souls who perished that day or at a later date as a result of that tragedy.  We also remember and pray for the survivors who suffered much more than the rest of us can ever truly understand.  We pray for the families of all those who suffered.  Of course, they can never forget the pain of loss, but we pray that they will continue  to endure and find through faith in God the kind of love and joy that makes life in this system of things tolerable. 

     Yes, we pray to God that we may all endure without more tragedy of this kind until the paradise on earth that God has promised us becomes a physical reality.  

            “But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, And they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.”

                                                   Psalm 37:11