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Satan among the Sons of God in Job


David T

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I just saw Rob Bowman's video and series of articles (where he's been presenting the same arguments he's been making here on this board) on our Gospel Principles manual. To be fair, of the two hosts in the video, Rob is far more respectful, knowledgable, and accurate than his co-host, who seems to serve no purpose other than to state some inaccurate information (which Rob from time to time subtly corrects, and other times he lets fly), and then to feign cartoony disbelief at the "crazy unbiblical Mormon beliefs". Is he there for comic relief?

The article (and first video) also seems to go off on a strange argument using Job, in which it is said that because the satan and the other sons of God who appear present themselves as subordinate to YHWH, therefore YHWH and the satan cannot be ontologically the same type of being.

What is quite clear, however, is that Jehovah is not one of these
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Nackhadlow,

You wrote:

The article (and first video) also seems to go off on a strange argument using Job, in which it is said that because the satan and the other sons of God who appear present themselves as subordinate to YHWH, therefore YHWH and the satan cannot be ontologically the same type of being. I can't quite work myself around this argument as being in any way damaging to LDS teachings, or being very logically sound. Is there something I'm missing?

I didn't actually say that YHWH and Satan "cannot be ontologically the same type of being"; in fact, I didn't really discuss ontology at all. Of course, I do maintain that Satan is ontologically a different and inferior kind of being in comparison to YHWH, but my focus was on the status and relationship of these different beings, not on their metaphysical nature or ontology.

Let me put it this way. YHWH laid the foundations of the earth; he created all of the environmental conditions for life; he made the living things that populate the earth; and he rules over nature and all living things. YHWH is distinct from the "sons of God," who gather before him, and who shout for joy at his handiwork. YHWH is the "God" to whom the "sons of God" are related as his "sons." (Thus, the suggestion that YHWH is the "brother" of the sons of God, ruling over his younger siblings, is incorrect.) YHWH determines what Satan can and cannot do. Despite the fact that Satan wreaks havoc in Job's life, the book of Job reports with approval Job piously acknowledging YHWH's (God's) sovereignty in these things (Job 1:21-22; 2:10). When Job starts complaining and YHWH answers Job out of the whirlwind, YHWH does not shift responsibility for Job's suffering to Satan, or even mention Satan. Instead, YHWH rebukes Job for speaking as if he knew enough about creation to question what God was doing in the world (Job 38-41). YHWH's speeches presuppose that Job, like other human beings, was not present at creation and therefore was not one of those "sons of God" (especially Job 38:4, 7). YHWH refuses to give Job any glib or simple answer to the problem of undeserved suffering--in fact, he gives no "explanation" at all--but instead reveals to Job that he, YHWH, really is in charge of nature and knows what he is doing.

The total picture that we get in the book of Job is consistent with and supportive of the orthodox worldview. There is one God, YHWH, to whom all creatures, even the most wondrous heavenly beings, are subordinate. This one God is given sole credit as the creator of the world. He rules over nature and all creatures in a transcendent sovereignty, so that ultimately all that takes place in creation does so under his providential rule but not in any way morally to blame for the evil acts of creatures. Satan is merely one of those creatures, capable of choosing to cause misfortune, but having no ability to do so beyond what YHWH, his God, permits. God's creatures with the capacity for making choices are divided into two broad categories: spiritual beings (including the "sons of God" and Satan) that act within the spiritual or heavenly realm, and physical beings (humans) that act within the physical or earthly realm.

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Regarding Jehovah and Satan as brothers, Deut 32:8-9 and Psalm 82 each present YHWH as a son of God/Elyon. Job does the same with Satan. These are different historical layers, but if we take the Bible as a united whole, Satan and YHWH, at least as far as Deuteronomy 32, Psalm 82, and Job are concerned, are brothers. Rob, of course, rejects my argument concerning Deut 32:8-9 and Psalm 82, but I've responded to his concerns and the assertion still stands.

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Let me put it this way. YHWH laid the foundations of the earth; he created all of the environmental conditions for life; he made the living things that populate the earth; and he rules over nature and all living things. YHWH is distinct from the "sons of God," who gather before him, and who shout for joy at his handiwork.

Although not a perfect analogy, let us look at Chamberlain compared to Churchill. We rejoice over the accomplishments of Churchill for conducting WWII, and have little regard over the "peace in our time" disaster of Chamberlain. Churchill is distinct from Chamberlain, and we shouted for joy over what he accomplished.

YHWH is the "God" to whom the "sons of God" are related as his "sons." (Thus, the suggestion that YHWH is the "brother" of the sons of God, ruling over his younger siblings, is incorrect.)

Thank you for expressing your personal opinion on the subject.

Heb 1: 1-2 tells us that the Father hath "appointed [Christ] heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds" I assume you are familiar with the concept of power of attorney. If my father gives my power of attorney over his estate, an I have the authority to act in all things in his behalf, even above my brothers and sisters.

That power does not come from myself but from the father. The scriptures tells us about the Council in Heaven where the Father selected Christ above all His other children to carry out His plan.

Finally, the prophets and Christ taught that we are joint heirs with Christ, where we can be one with the Father in the same way that Christ and the Father are one.

The power that Christ exercises over the earth and the universe is from the authority given to Him from the Father.

I understand that you disagree with these teachings, as you reject the revelations from the modern prophets. Your understanding of this doctrine is based on the teachings and wisdom of man.

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Nackhadlow,

You wrote:

I didn't actually say that YHWH and Satan "cannot be ontologically the same type of being"; in fact, I didn't really discuss ontology at all. Of course, I do maintain that Satan is ontologically a different and inferior kind of being in comparison to YHWH, but my focus was on the status and relationship of these different beings, not on their metaphysical nature or ontology.

Let me put it this way. YHWH laid the foundations of the earth; he created all of the environmental conditions for life; he made the living things that populate the earth; and he rules over nature and all living things. YHWH is distinct from the "sons of God," who gather before him, and who shout for joy at his handiwork. YHWH is the "God" to whom the "sons of God" are related as his "sons." (Thus, the suggestion that YHWH is the "brother" of the sons of God, ruling over his younger siblings, is incorrect.) YHWH determines what Satan can and cannot do. Despite the fact that Satan wreaks havoc in Job's life, the book of Job reports with approval Job piously acknowledging YHWH's (God's) sovereignty in these things (Job 1:21-22; 2:10). When Job starts complaining and YHWH answers Job out of the whirlwind, YHWH does not shift responsibility for Job's suffering to Satan, or even mention Satan. Instead, YHWH rebukes Job for speaking as if he knew enough about creation to question what God was doing in the world (Job 38-41). YHWH's speeches presuppose that Job, like other human beings, was not present at creation and therefore was not one of those "sons of God" (especially Job 38:4, 7). YHWH refuses to give Job any glib or simple answer to the problem of undeserved suffering--in fact, he gives no "explanation" at all--but instead reveals to Job that he, YHWH, really is in charge of nature and knows what he is doing.

The total picture that we get in the book of Job is consistent with and supportive of the orthodox worldview. There is one God, YHWH, to whom all creatures, even the most wondrous heavenly beings, are subordinate. This one God is given sole credit as the creator of the world. He rules over nature and all creatures in a transcendent sovereignty, so that ultimately all that takes place in creation does so under his providential rule but not in any way morally to blame for the evil acts of creatures. Satan is merely one of those creatures, capable of choosing to cause misfortune, but having no ability to do so beyond what YHWH, his God, permits. God's creatures with the capacity for making choices are divided into two broad categories: spiritual beings (including the "sons of God" and Satan) that act within the spiritual or heavenly realm, and physical beings (humans) that act within the physical or earthly realm.

I can see two ways of getting to your conclusion and I'm not sure which one you advocate. I'm just arbitrarily going to frame this in terms of Satan's relationship to YHWH. You might be saying this:

1A: Satan is subordinate to YHWH. ("Satan is completely under the control of Jehovah", and "YHWH determines what Satan can and cannot do")

2A: If person A is subordinate to person B, then person A cannot be person B's sibling.

CA: Satan cannot be YHWH's sibling.

Or, perhaps you're saying this:

1B: Satan was created by YHWH.

2B: If person A was created by person B, then person A is not person B's sibling.

CB: Satan is not YHWH's sibling.

2A just seems obviously false, and thus, while valid, the first argument appears to be unsound. 2B, however, seems plausible, if not just outright true, and if Satan was indeed created by YHWH, then it seems to follow that he's not YHWH's sibling. Of course, the second argument is a fine piece of reasoning to justify why a believer of CB believes CB, but it's not going to be very convincing to Mormons since they ought to just reject 1B.

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Brade,

Your analysis assumes that I am presenting a simple syllogistic argument, which is not the case. My interpretation is based on an inductive study of the entire book of Job, drawing together all that it says into a coherent picture.

I can see two ways of getting to your conclusion and I'm not sure which one you advocate. I'm just arbitrarily going to frame this in terms of Satan's relationship to YHWH. You might be saying this:

1A: Satan is subordinate to YHWH. ("Satan is completely under the control of Jehovah", and "YHWH determines what Satan can and cannot do")

2A: If person A is subordinate to person B, then person A cannot be person B's sibling.

CA: Satan cannot be YHWH's sibling.

Or, perhaps you're saying this:

1B: Satan was created by YHWH.

2B: If person A was created by person B, then person A is not person B's sibling.

CB: Satan is not YHWH's sibling.

2A just seems obviously false, and thus, while valid, the first argument appears to be unsound. 2B, however, seems plausible, if not just outright true, and if Satan was indeed created by YHWH, then it seems to follow that he's not YHWH's sibling. Of course, the second argument is a fine piece of reasoning to justify why a believer of CB believes CB, but it's not going to be very convincing to Mormons since they ought to just reject 1B.

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Charles,

Likewise, thank you for sharing your personal opinion on the subject.

What is obviously missing from Job, of course, is any indication that there is a God superior to YHWH. Such an idea must be imported into the text from outside. As the book stands, YHWH is God, not one of the sons of God invested with power of attorney while God and his wife are apparently on an extended holiday somewhere.

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Dan,

You wrote:

Regarding Jehovah and Satan as brothers, Deut 32:8-9 and Psalm 82 each present YHWH as a son of God/Elyon. Job does the same with Satan. These are different historical layers, but if we take the Bible as a united whole, Satan and YHWH, at least as far as Deuteronomy 32, Psalm 82, and Job are concerned, are brothers. Rob, of course, rejects my argument concerning Deut 32:8-9 and Psalm 82, but I've responded to his concerns and the assertion still stands.

"If we take the Bible as a united whole"?

ROTFLOL!!

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I'm perfectly comfortable with the idea that the LDS teaching that Jesus is the pre-mortal Jehovah is incongruent with the some OT descriptions of Jehovah as the leader of the divine council. No big deal.

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Sargon,

Just to avoid any possible misunderstanding: I affirm that Jesus is Jehovah. I simply disagree that Jehovah/Jesus was a different deity than Elohim, or that he was one of the group of beings called "the sons of God."

I'm perfectly comfortable with the idea that the LDS teaching that Jesus is the pre-mortal Jehovah is incongruent with the some OT descriptions of Jehovah as the leader of the divine council. No big deal.

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Dan,

You wrote:

"If we take the Bible as a united whole"?

ROTFLOL!!

If you now agree that the Bible is not univocal then great, I can scratch that argument. I have more. If you still assert that the Bible is univocal, then this is what the Bible teaches. It's up to you which route you'd like to take.

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EbedSOL.png

Let me put it this way. YHWH laid the foundations of the earth; he created all of the environmental conditions for life; he made the living things that populate the earth; and he rules over nature and all living things. YHWH is distinct from the "sons of God," who gather before him, and who shout for joy at his handiwork. YHWH is the "God" to whom the "sons of God" are related as his "sons." (Thus, the suggestion that YHWH is the "brother" of the sons of God, ruling over his younger siblings, is incorrect.)

It seems to me that the linchpin to your argument is your statement that

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Nackhadlow,

You wrote:

I didn't actually say that YHWH and Satan "cannot be ontologically the same type of being"; in fact, I didn't really discuss ontology at all. Of course, I do maintain that Satan is ontologically a different and inferior kind of being in comparison to YHWH, but my focus was on the status and relationship of these different beings, not on their metaphysical nature or ontology.

Let me put it this way. YHWH laid the foundations of the earth; he created all of the environmental conditions for life; he made the living things that populate the earth; and he rules over nature and all living things. YHWH is distinct from the "sons of God," who gather before him, and who shout for joy at his handiwork. YHWH is the "God" to whom the "sons of God" are related as his "sons." (Thus, the suggestion that YHWH is the "brother" of the sons of God, ruling over his younger siblings, is incorrect.) YHWH determines what Satan can and cannot do. Despite the fact that Satan wreaks havoc in Job's life, the book of Job reports with approval Job piously acknowledging YHWH's (God's) sovereignty in these things (Job 1:21-22; 2:10). When Job starts complaining and YHWH answers Job out of the whirlwind, YHWH does not shift responsibility for Job's suffering to Satan, or even mention Satan. Instead, YHWH rebukes Job for speaking as if he knew enough about creation to question what God was doing in the world (Job 38-41). YHWH's speeches presuppose that Job, like other human beings, was not present at creation and therefore was not one of those "sons of God" (especially Job 38:4, 7). YHWH refuses to give Job any glib or simple answer to the problem of undeserved suffering--in fact, he gives no "explanation" at all--but instead reveals to Job that he, YHWH, really is in charge of nature and knows what he is doing.

The total picture that we get in the book of Job is consistent with and supportive of the orthodox worldview. There is one God, YHWH, to whom all creatures, even the most wondrous heavenly beings, are subordinate. This one God is given sole credit as the creator of the world. He rules over nature and all creatures in a transcendent sovereignty, so that ultimately all that takes place in creation does so under his providential rule but not in any way morally to blame for the evil acts of creatures. Satan is merely one of those creatures, capable of choosing to cause misfortune, but having no ability to do so beyond what YHWH, his God, permits. God's creatures with the capacity for making choices are divided into two broad categories: spiritual beings (including the "sons of God" and Satan) that act within the spiritual or heavenly realm, and physical beings (humans) that act within the physical or earthly realm.

What do you think of the Mormon argument that El or Elyon is NOT YHWH, but a separate (and greater) deity? Frankly, I find it completely unsupported by any biblical texts, and one must really stretch others to impose that view. Thanks.

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Sargon,

Just to avoid any possible misunderstanding: I affirm that Jesus is Jehovah. I simply disagree that Jehovah/Jesus was a different deity than Elohim, or that he was one of the group of beings called "the sons of God."

Does that mean you believe Jesus was not the Son of God?

I am getting confused here . . .

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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What do you think of the Mormon argument that El or Elyon is NOT YHWH, but a separate (and greater) deity? Frankly, I find it completely unsupported by any biblical texts, and one must really stretch others to impose that view. Thanks.

Please see here. Nothing is stretched an inch, I just make sure not to impose dogmas on my exegesis.

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Charles,

Likewise, thank you for sharing your personal opinion on the subject.

What is obviously missing from Job, of course, is any indication that there is a God superior to YHWH.

We import that concept from the New Testament, as I quoted in my post.

You might find several statements from Jesus where he specifically states that he is under the authority of the Father -- the teachings are not from Christ but from the Father, he is following the will of the Father rather than his own, the Father has knowledge that the Son does not have (the time of the Second Coming), the Father gave him the assignment to create all things, etc.

May I suggest that you carefully re-read that "outside source" -- the New Testament. There are dozens of statements from Christ regarding the superiority of the Father, and that the Father sent the Son, and has authority over Christ. That they are "one" in the same way that the disciples can become perfect in one, one with the Father and the Son, but under the authority of the Father.

The historical Christian church lost its way with the Council of Nicea, and moved away from the clear teachings of Christ and his apostles. The church replaced the foundation of the church, the apostles and prophets, with scholars and theologians.

The historic Christian church is teaching from those "outside sources".

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Does that mean you believe Jesus was not the Son of God?

I am getting confused here . . .

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

I'm likewise confuse, consig. Moreover, I worry about using the Sh'ma as a prooftext for the trinity, since the use of echad in the phrase, "Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad" is problematic when you consider that haAdam and his wife were commanded to be one [echad]. If G-d is one [echad] with Himself and still solitary, how can haAdamand his wife be one [echad] when they are plainly not solitary?

Something strange is going on here, and modern scholars [as well as Mormons] are united in the concept that Second Temple radical monotheism, to which Calvinism is heir, is wholly inconsistent with Scripture. There is a G-d, Who is the Father the Master refers to: there is likewise a G-d, Who is His Only Begotten.

And the Master didn't just appear in a puff of smoke on Christmas eve in the stable. He was around before then.

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Let me put it this way. YHWH laid the foundations of the earth; he created all of the environmental conditions for life; he made the living things that populate the earth; and he rules over nature and all living things.

Agreed!

YHWH is distinct from the "sons of God," who gather before him, and who shout for joy at his handiwork.

Not sure what you mean by

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Brade,

Your analysis assumes that I am presenting a simple syllogistic argument, which is not the case. My interpretation is based on an inductive study of the entire book of Job, drawing together all that it says into a coherent picture.

I think that is taking too narrow a look at it. I think that you need to take your "induction" a bit further than that, as far as the New Testament, and indeed the rest of the Bible.

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Charles,

Likewise, thank you for sharing your personal opinion on the subject.

What is obviously missing from Job, of course, is any indication that there is a God superior to YHWH. Such an idea must be imported into the text from outside.

Not exactly---unless you call the rest of the Bible "outside"!

As the book stands, YHWH is God, not one of the sons of God invested with power of attorney while God and his wife are apparently on an extended holiday somewhere.

Except that the New Testament portrays Jehovah (Jesus) as the Son of God Who is subordinate to the Father! :P

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