Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Where Does Satan Live?

I want to teach you about a phenomenon that happens inside of religion, and happens in the Christian faith all too much. It's called syncratism and it has snuck in and done some horrible things. It's when something from inside a culture gets brought into the faith and the two merge to become one. This is what happened when the Israelites made the Golden Calf, they merged faith in God with false idols and said that this (golden calf) is Yahweh. They made mistakes through Isreal's history of bringing idols and false worship into the Temple.

We see this around the world, for example in Haiti, voodoo is commonly practiced along side of Christianity. Christian faith is mixed with pagan faith and it's a corruption.  There are lots of very real illustrations, in the American church we have done it a little more subtly. We haven't brought it golden cows or witch doctors, but some of our knowledge and teachings are very flawed. What I want to focus on is a teaching that makes me crazy, and people say it all the time. They talk about Satan being in hell.

Movies, books, tv shows and all sorts of things in popular culture depict Satan as the ruler of hell, residing in hell, chilling with other demons in hell. The culture depicts hell as the abode for Satan and his demons and they are really quite happy there. In a book called 23 Minutes in Hell, the author talks about being tortured by large demons while in hell. To all those tv shows, books, movies and stories, I say STOP IT.

The idea that Satan lives in hell comes from paganism. The ruler of the underworld was Hades/Pluto. He lived in the underworld, he ruled the underworld. The idea that God was in Heaven, the Devil is in hell comes from pagan culture. In many pagan religions, the evil force lives in the underworld. This is not the case with Biblical Christianity. Hell is not the throne room of the devil.

Hell is a place that God has control of, God created it and prepared it for Satan to spend eternity in torment. Satan and his demons will be cast into the lake of fire with those who are found to be apart from Christ. Hell is the place that will torment Satan, it's not his luxury palace. Satan is not in hell right now, he's on the earth. Demons are on the earth, but hell is their final judgement. The idea of Satan ruling hell would be like building a prison and letting the worst criminal be in control. That's not what a prison is, not what it's for.

The heart of the issue is what we think about God vs Satan. We see this in movies, this idea of balance and the light and dark, good and evil. In most pagan religions, there is a balance and the scales can tip one way or the other. It makes for good movie plots that way. This is not the truth. The truth is, God is all powerful and in control. Satan roams the earth, completely with the permission of God. When time ends, God will then cast Satan out and he will be in the lake of fire forever. Satan doesn't get to rule hell, he doesn't get to torment the lost. He will be in the same position, he will be judged by a Holy God.

It's time we see Satan for who he really is. He is not torturing the lost, he is on earth waging war with believers. He is attempting to devour you and I. His ultimate goal is not to send you to hell, but for him to avoid hell. If God forgives a single sinner apart from Christ, then God must forgive all sinners apart from Christ. If God does this, then Satan will go unpunished for God's justice is perfect. God will send those who are covered in the blood of Christ to heaven and those apart from Christ will suffer eternity in hell with the devil and his demons.

That's it. No balance, to scales of good balancing evil. There is no gate to hell that opens and lets the demons come free. I would go as far to say that hell in itself is not evil. It is the place where evil is tormented, just like a prison is a crime, it's just a place to send criminals. No demons torturing people, no throne room of the devil. God created hell for eternal punishment. Trust me, you don't want to go there and neither does Satan.

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