I must honestly admit that when it comes to the philosophical side of Christianity, I sometimes have trouble contemplating and fitting it into my Christian context.
This being said, I did find chapter 38, “The Devil and All His Works”, intriguing. Raeper and Edwards explore the way that modern culture views Satan. The authors state that, “In the present Western philosophical climate, a person who believes in the existence of the devil is intellectually suspect.” I have found this to be an accurate assessment of what the world believes about the Christian faith. Humans seem to have the mindset that we have the intellectual capacity to prove and understand all of the mysteries of the universe. To believe in something that you cannot identify by science or with your 5 senses is unacceptable. This is just one of many lies Satan has propagated into our modern culture.
The authors also explore how Satan is identified differently between the Jewish and Christian faiths. In the Jewish religion, Satan is portrayed as an accuser or adversary of God people. In the Book of Job, we see Satan standing before God arguing that the only reason Job is serving God is due to the fact that Job is protected from adversity. Satan argues, but isn’t an opponent. The exchange continues between God and Satan, and we see a pattern where the Devil accuses God and His chosen people. I think of this in the context of a slick lawyer going to God’s court and arguing for a guilty verdict. In addition, Satan is a tempter, or one who corrupts. So, he is also a participant and influencer. Duality is at play between good vs. evil.
In the Christian faith, Raeper and Edwards illustrate that Satan is also seen as a one of God’s created beings. He is fallen, and can be compared to man when he rebels against God and tries to usurp God’s authority and power. However, Satan is also portrayed as a being with power and dominion over evil. So, he moves from being a lawyer to being a villain with super powers. He has chosen to be the bad guy instead of the good guy who submits to God. “Instead of accepting the humility of a created being, he (Satan) insisted on equal powers with God. There was war in heaven between the devil and his followers and God.” Satan moved from being an accuser of God and his followers, to taking direct action against Him. This Christian philosophical comprehension contradicts ancient belief of dualism.
Throughout my theological studies, I have come to believe that Judaism and Christianity are both correct in their understanding of Satan within their respective context. In today’s culture we should consider both views, but it is my opinion that we should not look at these views as being on a timeline in a certain sequence of events in time. We look for concrete answers to explain who Satan is, and if we can’t explain we assume maybe he just doesn’t exist. Then, when bad things happen, we explain this as divine punishment. People say things like “why is God doing this to me”?
It is difficult for most people to wrap their minds around the complexity of good vs. evil and to reason why bad things happen. This book provides an overview of the various philosophical views that have shaped the way that our modern society views evil and bad in the world. The reality is that we don’t know the answers to these difficult questions. We can find holes in every one of the top theories. Sometimes I think that we spend so much time trying to explain things to people, when efforts could be better spent helping them to understand that it is perfectly acceptable that we live in the mystery. Man will never fully understand the mysteries of the universe until God chooses to reveal them to us. If we spent as much time pursuing our relationship with Christ, as we do trying to use human intellect to understand Him, our experience may provide more answers to our questions.
 William Raeper and Linda Edwards, A Brief Guide to Ideas (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1997), 283.
 Ibid, 283.
 Ibid, 284.