As 1 John 4 says, there is no fear in love. Hence, any theology or interpretation of the scriptures that has fear involved is not the truly good news.
I have learnt that the subject on Satan is meant to help people be free from fear and bondage.
According to Andre Rabe, the concept of Satan taught in popular Christian teachings today is non-existent in early Hebrew thinking and theology.
He traced the development of the idea of Satan in the old testament, where there are examples of how the theology changed over time, such as when the writer of 2 Samuel ascribed the temptation and destruction events to God while the writer of 1 Chronicle ascribed the same temptation and destruction events to Satan or a messenger.
Satan was also seen as an employee of God instead of an enemy.
Andre added that there is another perspective or train of thought which runs throughout the scriptures to explain demonic manifestations that we see today, which is about the human condition in which one desires to project or transform the guilt in oneself into the guilt of another.
This perspective doesn’t perceive evil as a personified character but as principalities and powers, which finds real existence within the thought structures of individuals and societal powers such as the government.
I have learnt that the desire for scapegoating is so unconscious that those who crucified Jesus knew not what they were doing, and their very act is their undoing.
And unlike the other gospel writers, John didn’t describe Satan as a character who tempted Jesus but rather people such as the Jews who were fed after seeing the miracle of loaves and fishes multiplied, and Jesus refused to submit to the temptation of power grabbing and retreated to spend time in the presence of God.
Andre shared the verse James 1:14 “but each one is tempted when he is drawn by his own desires and enticed”, which explains how all the wars and conflicts in the world are caused by twisting of desires.
He also described how Paul wrote in Romans 7 on dealing with the conflicts within himself rather than trying to scapegoat someone else.
Andre added that maybe the nature of evil is transformed in the process of exposing it, so the closer we move to the cross, the more evil is exposed for what it really is, which is the cycle in which we reflect one another’s desires, and when we continue to reflect one another’s confusion, we become drawn to either part of the crowd or part of the scapegoat, as shown in the way Jesus’s disciples forsook him at the cross.
I learnt that the people who crucified Jesus are part of a cycle that blinded them, and Jesus exposes on the cross that God isn’t their/our problem because even in the act of murdering Jesus, God forgives them.
Andre added that we become what we behold, and those who don’t behold the love of God can become extremely violent and do what is unthinkable, as shown in the event of the cross, which exposes the very nature of evil.
It shows that every act of evil in the world has been committed by people whose minds and desires have been twisted.
Hence, this subject is important for setting people free from irrational fear, and for us all to take responsibility for the feelings that we have.