Re: [asa] fall of Satan logic questions

From: John Burgeson (ASA member) <>
Date: Thu Apr 30 2009 - 12:06:47 EDT

On 4/29/09, Jim Armstrong <> wrote:. Am I the only one that
> "wrestles" with this? JimA [Friend of ASA]

I'm one who sees it as a literary story, not "literal," so I probably
don't wrestle with it as much as you seem to do.

I do wrestle, however, with other parts of scripture, which cry out to
be taken as literal history, and, if one does this, God is shown to
have attributes I find disturbing. Take, for instance, I Sam 15 (the
whole chapter). Text below. In it, God commands genocide, including
the slaughter of babies, and when Saul falls short of this, God turns
against him.

I have to assume this whole chapter is the raving of a Hebrew writer
and "inspired" only in the sense that it describes "what not to do."
This assumption does not satisfy me; I have nothing better to replace
it with.


1SA 15:1 Samuel said to Saul, "I am the one the LORD sent to anoint
you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the
LORD. 2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: `I will punish the
Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they
came up from Egypt. 3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally
destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to
death men and women, CHILDREN AND INFANTS, cattle and sheep, camels
and donkeys.' "

Aside -- I picture here a Hebrew soldier thrusting his spear through a
4 month old child.

    1SA 15:4 So Saul summoned the men and mustered them at Telaim--two
hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand men from Judah. 5 Saul
went to the city of Amalek and set an ambush in the ravine. 6 Then he
said to the Kenites, "Go away, leave the Amalekites so that I do not
destroy you along with them; for you showed kindness to all the
Israelites when they came up out of Egypt." So the Kenites moved away
from the Amalekites.

    1SA 15:7 Then Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from
Havilah to Shur, to the east of Egypt. 8 He took Agag king of the
Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the
sword. 9 But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep
and cattle, the fat calves and lambs--everything that was good. These
they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was
despised and weak they totally destroyed.

    1SA 15:10 Then the word of the LORD came to Samuel: 11 "I am
grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me
and has not carried out my instructions." Samuel was troubled, and he
cried out to the LORD all that night.

    1SA 15:12 Early in the morning Samuel got up and went to meet
Saul, but he was told, "Saul has gone to Carmel. There he has set up a
monument in his own honor and has turned and gone on down to Gilgal."

    1SA 15:13 When Samuel reached him, Saul said, "The LORD bless you!
I have carried out the LORD's instructions."

    1SA 15:14 But Samuel said, "What then is this bleating of sheep in
my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?"

    1SA 15:15 Saul answered, "The soldiers brought them from the
Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice
to the LORD your God, but we totally destroyed the rest."

    1SA 15:16 "Stop!" Samuel said to Saul. "Let me tell you what the
LORD said to me last night."
    "Tell me," Saul replied.

    1SA 15:17 Samuel said, "Although you were once small in your own
eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The LORD
anointed you king over Israel. 18 And he sent you on a mission,
saying, `Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the
Amalekites; make war on them until you have wiped them out.' 19 Why
did you not obey the LORD? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do
evil in the eyes of the LORD?"

    1SA 15:20 "But I did obey the LORD," Saul said. "I went on the
mission the LORD assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites
and brought back Agag their king. 21 The soldiers took sheep and
cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order
to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal."

    1SA 15:22 But Samuel replied:
  "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
    as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD?
  To obey is better than sacrifice,
    and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

  1SA 15:23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
    and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
  Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
    he has rejected you as king."

    1SA 15:24 Then Saul said to Samuel, "I have sinned. I violated the
LORD's command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people and
so I gave in to them. 25 Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back
with me, so that I may worship the LORD."

    1SA 15:26 But Samuel said to him, "I will not go back with you.
You have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you
as king over Israel!"

    1SA 15:27 As Samuel turned to leave, Saul caught hold of the hem
of his robe, and it tore. 28 Samuel said to him, "The LORD has torn
the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your
neighbors--to one better than you. 29 He who is the Glory of Israel
does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should
change his mind."

    1SA 15:30 Saul replied, "I have sinned. But please honor me before
the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that
I may worship the LORD your God." 31 So Samuel went back with Saul,
and Saul worshiped the LORD.

    1SA 15:32 Then Samuel said, "Bring me Agag king of the Amalekites."
    Agag came to him confidently, thinking, "Surely the bitterness of
death is past."

    1SA 15:33 But Samuel said,
  "As your sword has made women childless,
    so will your mother be childless among women."

And Samuel put Agag to death before the LORD at Gilgal.

    1SA 15:34 Then Samuel left for Ramah, but Saul went up to his home
in Gibeah of Saul. 35 Until the day Samuel died, he did not go to see
Saul again, though Samuel mourned for him. And the LORD was grieved
that he had made Saul king over Israel.

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Received on Thu Apr 30 12:07:06 2009

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