Re: [asa] fall of Satan logic questions

From: <>
Date: Thu Apr 30 2009 - 16:00:28 EDT

 OK, first we see that he is not merely a man or angel but a manifestation of God:

1.? in verse 28 he has authority to rename Jacob
2.? in verse 29 he refuses to give his own name, and his answer, "why do you ask my name?" implies that Jacob ought to be able to figure it out by now.? He is leading Jacob along to figure it out.
3.? Then in verse 30 Jacob does figure it out.? "So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, 'It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.'"?
4.? The reason the author said previously, "a man wrestled with him," instead of "the angel of the Lord wrestled with him," was because the author didn't want to spoil the surprise for us readers.? He wanted us, like Jacob, to wonder who this person was and why he was wrestling with Jacob, and then figure it out at the same time Jacob does.

Second, we know in retrospect that as God He could have destroyed Jacob at any moment:

1.? The first hint of this in the story is when He put Jacob's hip out of socket with merely a touch, so that Jacob limped his entire life thereafter.?
2.? Jacob recognized at the end (along with the reader) that this was God and therefore could have killed him at any moment:? "and yet my life was spared" he says.? Talk about an embarrassing moment!
3.? This revelation was held back to the end.? The story wasn't going to tell us at the start that this being was infinitely powerful because that would spoil the surprise of the story.

Third, God was choosing to patiently wrestle with Jacob rather than destroy him:

1.? Jacob's entire life God was being patient and "wrestling" with him rather than destroying him
2.? His powers to defeat
Jacob in real life would have destroyed Jacob; His powers to change
Jacob and save him required patience. "He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (1 Pet.3:9), "Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?"
(Rom 2:4).? Therefore, God did not use all his powers.?
3.? This was symbolized aptly by the way He physically wrestled with Jacob.? By
choosing to limit His power and thus
"fail" to pin Jacob to the ground, God created a picture of how he was being patient in wrestling throughout Jacob's life
4.? The touch that put Jacob's leg out of socket was to prove to Jacob that he could have destroyed him at any time, in order to prove that He was being exceedingly patient with him in order to save him.

So this explains why the "man" failed to overcome Jacob, and your question boils down to this:? why did the author word it like this, "when the man
saw that he could not overpower him..."?? Why would God need to "see" something instead of anticipating it, and why would God be unable to overpower him as if he wanted to but was unable???? First, I'd answer that it's a matter of literary style and not that important.? We still get the message however the author said it. Second, it fits with the parallelism to Jacob's life.? God "saw" in Jacob's life that He was unable to overpower him and win his heart despite the discipline he had brought to date (troubles with Esau and Laban).?? Third, Genesis uses similar language for God's actions with respect to the Flood:? "The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and
that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all
the time.?The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain." (Gen. 6:5-6). And with respect to Sodom:? "I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me."? Fourth, there is a literal aspect to what he said.? If God chose to limit his powers and wrestle but not destroy, then in that choice he was indeed unable to overpower Jacob.? Fifth, waiting until dawn symbolizes waiting until the last minute, just as Jacob has waited until the last minute before facing Esau.? It took the last minute of a crisis to finally break through Jacob's heart.

So with all that, I agree it's still a bit funny how the author worded it, but the author was hiding from us that this was God, and the author was making use of parallelism between Jacob's actual life and the symbolic wrestling, so in the end there is no question at all that the "man" was a manifestation of God and could have detroyed Jacob at any time.? That's the whole point of the passage, and if we miss that point then we missed everything it had to say.

God's blessings!



-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Armstrong <>
To: ASA <>
Sent: Thu, 30 Apr 2009 1:27 pm
Subject: Re: [asa] fall of Satan logic questions


OK, but you still leave unanswered what to make of a straight-forward
literary reading/meaning of "When the man saw that he could not
overpower him..."?? JimA wrote:

 If this story were
in any other binding other than the Bible then who would question the
straight-forward literary meaning of the story?? This comes --- IMO ---
from a profound disrespect of the people who authored the Bible.? We
think they were too brutish to write great literature, so even though
it is a beautiful work staring us in the face, with multiple levels of
meaning all working together in a way that could only have been
planned, many nevertheless choose to say that nobody can know what the
[brutish, uneducated] author meant.


Sorry to dump on you; this is a pet peeve of mine.? I am upset that
many non-Christians make sweeping, negative pronouncements against a
book that they have not understood.? No offense intended at all. :)


Renaming Jacob wasn't negative.? He was renamed Israel = "wrestles with
God", because that is what his entire life had been up to that point --
wrestling with God.? Added to that was God physically wrestling with
him on the night before he faced Esau, which was the big climactic
moment in which he faced the consequences of his poor life choices.?
His chickens had come home to roost.? How dramatic that in that very
moment the story says, simply and without explanation, "So Jacob
was left alone, and a man wrestled
  with him till daybreak."


  Also, Genesis does
use "man" for another appearance of God:


  18:1-2a, 33? The
appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting
at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. Abraham looked up
and saw three men standing
nearby... When the LORD had finished
speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.





-----Original Message-----

From: Jim Armstrong <>


Sent: Wed, 29 Apr 2009 6:48 pm

Subject: Re: [asa] fall of Satan logic questions


Perhaps a fairly traditional explanation, but there's an awful
lot of amplification here. And "by no means demonstrated any power over
the 'angel'" sorta ignores, "When the man saw that he could not
overpower him...". Of course, the language here is "a man", if that
provides a momentary refuge. It's not clear to me that the renaming was
a negative thing. Overall, it's a bit of a strange story, probably
largely because we don't possess the context of the day of its telling
or writing.? But if you're satisfied, that's OK.? I'm not trying to
change anyone's mind.

Oh, and I remembered too late that it was a hyperextension, not a
break. JimA wrote:



 Well, the angel
wrestled with Jacob may have been a pre-incarnational appearance of
Christ.? Jacob by no
means demonstrated any power over the "angel" by wrestling with him.?
He could have broken
Jacob's neck at any moment had he wanted to.? He proved as much by
merely touching Jacob's hip to put it out of socket when the climactic
moment finally arrived, when Jacob was finally ready for it.? The angel
had condescend to a whole night of wrestling so that Jacob would be
wrestling with himself and thus discover who he was, that he was a
"heal-snatcher" (as his name means), a person who had defrauded Esau
and others and didn't fully trust God. Jacob had been wrestling his
whole life with God.? By coming down to physically wrestle with Jacob
the "angel" was creating a concrete symbol of Jacob's life to help h!
im see it.? At dawn he asked Jacob his name, "heal snatcher" and
finally Jacob understood.? The "angel" then pronounced that Jacob has
wrestled with God and man "and prevailed," which was a supreme irony
because he prevailed only by being defeated, by being humbled at the
knowledge of what he had been, and by being renamed.? He was then given
the limp, the "angel" requiring no effort more than a touch, which was
to be the lifelong reminder of his "defeat" so that he would no longer
be a heal-snatcher, but somebody who profoundly trusted 'God.


This story tells us a lot about God's condescension to wrestle with
sinful man and redeem us from ourselves, but it doesn't indicate
anything about the limitations of angels.






-----Original Message-----

From: Jim Armstrong <>


Sent: Wed, 29 Apr 2009 5:13 pm

Subject: Re: [asa] fall of Satan logic questions


one example of a place where I don't think we think too
carefully, perhaps because it gets hard real quick. God is omnipotent.
There is some sort of conflict with an angel, which should be a rout if
God is omnipotent. Yet an angel wrestles with human Jacob and manages
to only break a leg. Something seems inconsistent here, so the stories
(and our understanding) would appear to be insufficient somewhere as
well. Am I the only one that "wrestles" with this? ? JimA [Friend of


 Angels can be
"bound", so I have in my head an image more like wrestling than






-----Original Message-----

From: Dehler, Bernie <>

Cc: ASA <>

Sent: Wed, 29 Apr 2009 3:47 pm

Subject: RE: [asa] fall of Satan logic questions (was:
ID/Miracles/Design (Behe vs. Behe))



I was telling my kid (2nd grader) the other day about a war in heaven with good

vs. bad angels. Good angels kicked-out the bad ones. The bad ones, led by

Satan, wanted to take over.

He had a good question I never thought about- can angels die?

Theology says no- that's why hell was made for them. Forever tormented.

But here we have a case of war with no death? What are they doing- just shoving

each other around? Do they have weapons, but these weapons can't kill another?

What's a war without death? Are they cutting off limbs? If Angels don't have

limbs (because they are spiritual and not material), are they just being hurt in

some way, but not completely dying?

What does this have to do with ASA? It is a matter of trying to apply logic to

faith... does the Christian faith make sense about angel warfare and the fall of

Satan, using modern day logic?

He asks a lot of interesting questions that somehow adults gloss over (including

myself). Maybe we jump too fast to the standard line "I don't know, but one day

we'll find out in heaven." Is that line a short-circuit for logic and truthful



-----Original Message-----

From: Alexanian, Moorad []

Sent: Wednesday, April 29, 2009 12:36 PM

To: Dehler, Bernie


Subject: RE: [asa] ID/Miracles/Design (Behe vs. Behe)

Let us not forget the fall of Satan before that of man.


-----Original Message-----

From: [] On Behalf

Of Dehler, Bernie

Sent: Wednesday, April 29, 2009 3:32 PM


Subject: RE: [asa] ID/Miracles/Design (Behe vs. Behe)

Dick said:

"If good, functioning, workable "designs" are due to God's handiwork, then

 who or what is responsible for the flaws, defects and failures? Give

 God all the responsibilty or none of it."

Haminists (followers of Ken Ham and his interpretation) say that God made it all

good- but man's sin wrecked it. Before the fall, there were no mosquitos, or

they probably didn't drink blood back when they were first made, just like the

first lions, bears, etc. didn't eat other animals either (no animal death before

the fall, and all people were vegetarians until after the flood). So God gets

credit for good; man's sin is the reason for bad (or corruption of the good



To unsubscribe, send a message to with

"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.




Can't afford a new spring wardrobe?
shopping in your closet instead!



To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.



Can't afford a new spring wardrobe? Go
shopping in your closet instead!



To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.



Can't afford a new spring wardrobe? Go
shopping in your closet instead!

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.


To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Thu Apr 30 18:18:44 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Thu Apr 30 2009 - 18:18:44 EDT