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Old 07-09-2008, 03:37 PM   #1
UntoHim
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Join Date: Apr 2008
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Default Nigel Tomes - LSM's Unorthodox Satanology

THE ENEMY WITHIN—SATAN IN THE BELIEVER’S BODY—
LSM’s UNORTHODOX SATANOLOGY 1

The author has many fond memories of Bro. Witness Lee’s messages. Initially comprehension was difficult. As a foreign student in the US Midwest, American accents posed a problem for me. Bro. Lee’s accent was no exception. Nevertheless I had to admire the tenacity of a Chinese gentleman in his 70s determined to minister to Americans in their own language. At my first conference (1972 in Akron, OH) the phrase “God’s economy” was about the only term I could discern. A few years later the situation was markedly improved. Having become acclimatized to various accents, I began to enjoy the “bird’s eye view” of God’s purpose unfolded from the whole Bible. The church-life in the Midwest was vibrant and growing; Bro. Lee’s conferences in major cities were highlights. In 1975 Bro. Lee visited Chicago where I was a graduate student. That conference 2 on The Flesh & the Spirit was remarkable. Despite his age, Bro. Lee was energetic and animated. His ministry was striking. It was also controversial, dealing with Satan’s relationship with mankind generally and believers in particular. The assertion that Satan personally indwelt believers set off alarm bells within me. Nevertheless older, more-experienced brothers didn’t seem to be fazed by such striking claims. Perhaps they attributed it to Bro. Lee’s penchant for hyperbole. Maybe they were overawed, hearing a co-worker of Watchman Nee, the well-known symbol of Christian resilience who was faithful unto death in a communist prison camp. Whatever the reasons, it didn’t seem to register on other people’s radar. Anyway, objections to Bro. Lee’s teachings were met by slogans 3 like, “We don’t care for doctrines!” Other conferences and Life-study trainings followed. A steady stream of LSM books accumulated, burying that controversial topic among 400+ Witness Lee books. A reconsideration of the Recovery’s core teachings brought this topic back to the forefront. Here we re-examine the question—does Satan indwell the believer’s body? We ask--Did Bro. Witness Lee merely teach that Sin as the “virtual personification of Satan,” indwells mankind? Or did he allege (in addition) that the person, Satan himself, inhabits man’s fallen flesh? Are people (including believers) Satan-possessed? Before proceeding, we offer some preliminary points. 4

Bro. Lee’s Messages—Preacher’s Hyperbole OR the “Interpreted Word”?
Among the thousands of believers who benefited from Bro. Witness Lee’s ministry there are diverse reactions to any reevaluation of his teachings. A number question the value of this whole exercise; some consider it redundant from the start. A few of these views which I’ve encountered may be summarized.

Some gloss over Bro. Lee’s extreme statements as simply a typical preacher’s hyperbole. J. Gordon Melton expressed this attitude, saying,5 “Lee is prone to use hyperbole, over-statements to emphasize a specific point upon which he is preaching.” “He didn’t really mean that,” they seem to say, “Bro. Lee was merely trying to swing the pendulum to the other side; he was turning the cake” (Hos. 7:8). This attitude produces a double-standard. Essentially we are exhorted not to judge Bro. Lee based on his published writings. Rather we are counseled to “discern what he really meant.” Of course this becomes a highly subjective exercise—who can say what he really meant? Yet Bro. Lee critically evaluated other Christian’s views based upon what they wrote.

A related view implicitly regards Bro. Lee’s orthodoxy as axiomatic. Apparent divergences of Bro. Lee’s teaching from the faith’s orthodox tenets are minimized and eliminated. To achieve this accommodation, more conventional statements by Witness Lee are offered to counter-balance his extreme statements as if they somehow “trump” more problematic quotes. If necessary Bro. Lee’s published writings are “shoe-horned” into the mold of orthodoxy via semantic and linguistic gymnastics of Olympic proportions. However, placing Bro. Lee’s teachings in a safety zone where they cannot be challenged also produces a double standard—other Christian’s teachings are critiqued, but not Bro. Lee’s own writings.

Lastly today in LSM’s federation of churches Bro. Lee’s writings are treated as virtually infallible and inerrant, to be accepted and affirmed without question. This attitude, promoted by LSM’s “blended brothers,” is the antithesis of that emphasizing preacher’s hyperbole. According to the latter, Bro. Lee occasionally overstated his case, therefore more “radical elements” of his teaching should be discounted to arrive at the “balanced position” he really meant to achieve. In contrast, according to LSM’s “blended brothers,” Bro. Lee’s every word was the up-to-date speaking of God’s unique oracle. Nothing was an over-statement; there is no hyperbole. Hence his writings constitute the “Interpreted Word.” In LSM circles Bro. Lee’s “Interpreted Word” is venerated 6 above the Bible itself. Consequently his writings become the canon, immune from evaluation against Scripture.

Is the Canon of Scripture the Recovery’s Normative Standard?
Since Watchman Nee’s era, the Lord’s recovery has proclaimed that “the Bible is our unique standard.” This means we ascribe canonical and authoritative status to the written Word of God in Scripture, which we confess to be the norm for Christian life and teaching. If we take this stand seriously we cannot award Bro. Lee (or anyone else) a “free pass” based on either their “preacher’s license for hyperbole,” their axiomatic orthodoxy or the elevation of their “interpreted word” above Scripture. Bro. Lee’s published writings must be evaluated against the canon of Scripture.
A precedent for reevaluating Bro. Lee’s teaching exists in LSM’s own publications. LSM’s journal Affirmation & Critique (A&C) was established by Bro. Lee to expose the deficiencies of Christianity. He talked about “dropping bombs on Christianity” via this publication. LSM’s A&C routinely critiques and denounces 7 the theologies of other Christians. For example an entire issue 8—over 120 pages— condemns “the leaven of heaven.” Yet, in A&C’s pages, Witness Lee is given carte blanche, his teachings are only affirmed, never critiqued.9 This practice leaves LSM vulnerable to the charge of operating a double standard. While critiquing others, LSM and its federated churches should accept a similar evaluation of their own teachings. Here we seek to evaluate Bro. Lee’s published teachings about Satan’s indwelling against the standard of God’s Word.

Sin, the “Virtual Personification of Satan,” dwells in Man's Flesh
In 1978 the “co-workers in the Lord’s Recovery” set forth the 10 Beliefs and Practices of the local churches. This landmark document addresses the question: “Do you teach that Satan dwells in man’s body?” The co-workers’ answer, in its entirety, reads:11
“When man fell by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, sin, the nature of Satan, was injected into man's body and transmuted it into the flesh. The fall was not simply an outward transgression; it was also an inward poisoning and contamination of our very being. According to Romans 5 through 7, sin functions in our members as the virtual personification of Satan. Therefore, we may say that Satan as sin dwells in man's flesh. This does not mean, however, that Satan has no objective existence apart from man, for the Bible clearly refers to him as the spirit of the power of the air. Furthermore, the Bible reveals that fallen men are children of the Devil and that the Devil is their father (1 John 3:10; John 8:44). To be children of the Devil is to have the life and nature of Satan. In the sense of having within our flesh the life and nature of Satan we say, according to God's Word, that Satan in the form of sin dwells in man's flesh.”
This reply needs unpacking. The co-workers did not explicitly state that the person, Satan, dwells in man’s body. In fact, their reply seems to deny the assertion that Satan (the person,) inhabits people’s flesh. The term, “person” does not appear in their answer. The postulated relationship is indirect. It is “sin, the nature of Satan” which “was injected into man’s body” at the fall (Gen 3). Romans 5-7 ascribes actions to “sin,” like a person, hence sin is personified. 12 The co-workers describe “sin” 13 as the “virtual personification of Satan.” Their use of the ambiguous adjective, “virtual” gives them plenty of “wiggle room.” It could be understood as suggesting that sin in man’s flesh is not actually Satan; rather (in terms of effect) it only acts as such; it is “virtual,” not actual. 14 They affirm fallen people are “children of the devil” (their father) in that they possess “the life and nature of Satan.” Hence, the co-workers conclude that “In the sense of having…the life and nature of Satan we say…that Satan in the form of sin dwells in man's flesh.” Notice it is not Satan, the person who allegedly inhabits people. Rather, Satan’s “virtual presence” in mankind is by means of his “life and nature.” The co-workers say their assertion “Satan as sin dwells in man's flesh…does not mean…that Satan has no objective existence apart from man.” They affirm that Satan exists as a person, an existential reality in the universe. All Bible-believing Christians subscribe to this view. However, that is not the central issue. The crucial question is—does LSM teach that the person, Satan exists within mankind in general and within the believers in particular?

“The Sin that dwells in our Flesh…is Satan Incarnated”—W. Lee
Most Christian scholars and Bible-readers would probably accept the co-workers’ explanation of sin as the “virtual personification of Satan” in man's flesh. They might quibble with this description, but still consider it as orthodox. At times Bro. Lee’s own exposition approximates this position. For example he says, 15 “If the fact of indwelling sin is unveiled to us, we will see that we have…the very personification of Satan as sin, making its home in our flesh.” At other times, however Bro Lee “pushes the envelope.” He can say, 16 “In a sense, the sin that dwells in our flesh…is Satan incarnated. Satan as sin is in our flesh.” The caveat that sin is the “virtual personification of Satan” is absent from Bro. Lee’s writings. Instead, equivalence is asserted. “Sin itself is Satan himself,” who is a “living person,” he declares. His statement, in context, reads: 17
Sin itself, according to the Bible's revelation, is Satan himself. When sin came into the created man, Satan came into him...One day, Satan got into man. Sin is Satan getting into you…Sin is a living person. This living person is Satan. Satan outside of you is not sin. When Satan gets into you, that is sin. Satan in you is sin. We have to realize where Satan is in our being. He is in our flesh…because the flesh is fully possessed, taken over, by Satan as sin.”
Bro. Lee has ventured beyond the co-workers’ statement. It is no longer merely something of Satan, his “life and nature” within mankind; rather it is Satan himself who (allegedly) “gets into you.” Moreover, sin is described not as the “virtual personification of Satan;” instead, Bro. Lee declares that Satan as a “living person” is “in our being.” As a result (Bro. Lee says) we are Satan-possessed, in that “the flesh is fully possessed, taken over, by Satan as sin.” Along the same lines, he declares 18 “the sin that dwells in our flesh…is Satan incarnated.” Moreover, Satan’s personality has impacted man’s soul. The “real significance of man’s fall” (Bro. Lee says) is that 19 “through man’s fall Satan’s personality became one with man’s soul, and he [Satan] has taken into man’s body…” Hence, allegedly, man’s flesh is “fully possessed, taken over, by Satan as sin,” this sin is “Satan incarnated,” and “Satan’s personality became one with man’s soul.” Moreover, 20 “Man has been inwardly constituted with Satan and has become a satanic thing. Man has been mixed with Satan.”

“There is such a Person as Satan in this Universe…This Person…is in their Flesh”—W. Lee
Bro. Lee declares that Satan, as a person, inhabits people’s flesh. He states, unequivocally, 21 “Some people do not believe that there is such a person as Satan in this universe. They do not know that this person, whom they do not believe exists, is in their fleshSatan is in man's flesh.” Clearly, in context, “this person” refers to Satan, whom (Bro. Lee alleges) “is in their [the unbelievers’] flesh.” The statement, “Satan is in man's flesh,” is certainly striking; it has shock value. Bro. Lee appears to assert that God’s enemy, Satan, is personally present in mankind’s flesh.
Yet apologists for Bro. Lee attribute these statements to the preacher’s hyperbole. They point out that “sin” in Romans is indeed personified. Moreover, the role Bro. Lee attributes to Satan is indirect; it is “Satan as sin” who has “fully possessed” man’s flesh. Such defenders might argue that Bro. Lee’s teaching (as presented above) does not differ significantly from the characterization of sin as the “virtual personification of Satan” in man's flesh. However, Bro. Lee’s other teachings are not so easily dismissed as oratorical over-statement.

“Three things: Sin, Death and Satan…are all Together in the Flesh”—W. Lee
The co-workers carefully nuanced statement says, “Satan in the form of sin dwells in man's flesh.” Strictly speaking, this implies that Satan’s indwelling is indirect, via sin; Satan dwells in us to the extent that sin inhabits us. According to the co-workers, Satan does not indwell us independently of sin. However, Bro. Lee goes beyond this, “pushing the envelope.” Although he talks about “Satan as sin,” he also refers to Satan, sin and death as three distinct (though related) entities inhabiting man. Bro. Lee concludes, 22
Now we can see these three things: sin, death, and Satan. They are all together in the flesh. The flesh is the ‘meeting hall’ of sin, death, and Satan. They always meet here, and their meeting lasts so long that they would never have a dismissal. Many of us spend our time attending the meetings of the church in the church meeting hall. Satan also has a meeting hall. The meeting hall of Satan is our flesh. Do you like to see Satan? Just come to your flesh. Satan is here. Satan is always in the flesh with sin and death.”
Here Bro. Lee talks of three distinct entities—Satan, sin and death—all co-existing in man’s flesh. According to this statement, it is not merely Satan in the form of sin (or as death) indwelling human flesh; rather it is Satan and sin and death—all three entities—who inhabit man’s flesh. Satan’s indwelling is direct and distinct from that of sin. Based on the above exposition, what is the direct answer to the question--“Do you teach that Satan dwells in man’s body?” To me the implied answer (an honest response) is a simple affirmative—“YES!”

Dual Indwelling—“No Longer I, but Christ” & “No Longer I, but Satan”
The Bible explicitly tells us that Christ lives in us (2 Cor. 13:5). Not only do we have His life (1 John 5:12) and nature (2 Pet. 1:4), but we also have the Person of Christ indwelling us (Gal. 2:20; Col. 1:27). Scripture states that believers have the Person of Christ, not merely His personification, indwelling them. Based on his teaching of Satan in the flesh, Bro. Lee declares that the person of Satan also indwells believers. Moreover, he draws a parallel between the indwelling of Satan and that of Christ, saying 23
“We have to realize where Satan is in our being. He is in our flesh…Paul used the phrase no longer I twice. In Galatians 2:20 he said, ‘It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.’ In Romans 7 he said, ‘It is no longer I…but sin that dwells in me.’ Sin is another person within us…This person is in my flesh. Paul said, ‘I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, nothing good dwells’ (v. 18)…because the flesh is fully possessed, taken over, by Satan as sin.”
Along the same lines he says, 24 “In Galatians 2:20 Paul said, ‘It is no longer I...but...Christ who lives in me.’ Within me, the person, there is another Person—Christ. Also within me, that is, in my flesh, there is another person. This person is sin, and sin is Satan. Sin is Satan dwelling in us…” Bro. Lee draws a parallel between Christ and Satan; both, are “persons” living within us. Admittedly here it is “Satan as sin” who is said to indwell us. Nevertheless, the emphasis is on two “persons” indwelling us. Bro. Lee says “within me, the person, there is another Person—Christ;” he continues saying, “within me, that is, in my flesh, there is another person…Satan.” Certainly these two “other persons” are ascribed different locations, nonetheless, two persons—Satan and Christ—live in us. Believers have a dual indwelling—of Christ and of Satan!

Almost a decade later, in 1984, Bro. Lee reiterated this doctrine, saying,25 “Sin who is Satan still remains in our flesh where he lives, works, and moves, even after we have been saved. The sin in our flesh is a person, just as the divine life in our spirit is a Person. This Person who is our life is Christ (Col. 3:4)…and Satan as sin is in our flesh.” Again a parallel is drawnSin and God’s life in the Christian are not merely forces, nor just personifications; each is a definite “person.” The Person of Christ is life in the believer’s spirit; the person of Satan is Sin in his/her flesh. Christ, the Person in the believer’s spirit is no problem, but what about Satan (the person) in his/her flesh? Bro. Lee asserts that the person,Satan still remains in our flesh…even after we have been saved.” The obvious question arises—is this doctrine of Satan’s personal indwelling consistent with Scripture? Moreover, is this a “healthy teaching”? It is not merely an abstract doctrine. How will this teaching influence believers who embrace it and seek to apply it? What is its potential impact on believers who lack self-esteem, have a poor self-image and who are inclined towards asceticism? What drastic measures might they contemplate to “deal with Satan in their flesh”? Isn’t this a dangerous doctrine?
Three Persons—Satan, Self & the Savior—and Man’s Three Parts
The tripartite man has been a basic tenet of the Recovery since Watchman Nee’s era. This framework is also applied to other theological issues. Bro. Lee relates the three persons—our own person (our self,) Christ and Satan—to the three parts of mankind (body, soul and spirit). He says,26
“Man has two organs: the body as an outward organ and the spirit as an inward organ. In between these two organs is our being, that is, the human soul (1 Thes. 5:23)…The body is the outward organ for us to contact the material things. Our spirit is the inward organ for us to contact God. Through the fall, the devil, Satan, came into the outward organ, the human body. But in our regeneration, the Lord Jesus came into our inward organ, our human spirit. We also need to realize that as Christians, we have three persons. The first person is yourself in your soul, your being. The second person is Satan in your flesh. And the third person is Christ in your spirit. This kind of truth has been fully missed today.”
Notice that Satan is described as a “second person” inhabiting the believer. His role is parallel to that of Christ, the “third person.” Once again Satan is not merely described as “personified;” it is not “Sin, the virtual personification of Satan.” Bro Lee talks explicitly about Satan as a person, on par with Christ, the Person. Both “persons”—Christ and Satan—allegedly indwell the Christian. Satan inhabits his/her flesh and Christ his/her spirit. But is this symmetry Scriptural? Again, applying the question—“Do you teach that Satan dwells in man’s body?”—to Bro. Lee’s writings—the implied answer (an honest response) is a simple affirmative—“YES!”

The Believer’s Being—the Battleground between God and Satan?
Bro. Lee was a skilled Bible expositor, adept at integrating different aspects of Scripture. The exposition above integrates mankind’s choice between Christ and Satan with the doctrine of the three-part man. Bro. Lee also draws a parallel between this internal struggle and Adam’s choice in the Garden of Eden. He says,27
“The Bible is thoroughly consistent. It starts with a man in front of two trees, the tree of knowledge and the tree of life (Gen. 2:9). Eventually, in Romans we see that the tree of knowledge got into man's flesh, and the tree of life got into man's spirit. The two trees are within us Christians….We need to see that these two trees are within us. We are not in front of the two trees but in between them. Outwardly, we have the tree of knowledge in our flesh. Inwardly, we have the tree of life in our spirit. Now the whole situation depends upon whether we would go to the tree of knowledge or turn to the tree of life…My burden is that we would see that Satan is in our flesh and Christ is in our spirit. We have an enemy in our flesh and a dear Savior in our spirit. What shall we do? Would we turn to our enemy and go along with him? Would we coordinate with him or come to Christ and be one with Him?”
According to Bro. Lee, Adam’s dilemma in Eden is reproduced within every believer. Adam’s choice between the Tree of life and the Tree of Knowledge is depicted as selecting either God or Satan. Bro. Lee says Adam 28 “forsook the tree of life that denoted God as life and turned to the tree of knowledge that signified Satan as the source of death.” Due to Adam’s selecting the Tree of knowledge, 29 “he received Satan into himself.” Adam’s options are now replicated in the believer’s choice between two persons—“Christ in our spirit” and “Satan in our flesh.” According to this view, each Christian is (internally) a miniature “Garden of Eden.” This presentation successfully amalgamates elements of LSM’s theology. However, in the process were extra-biblical elements introduced? In particular it assumes Satan himself entered Adam’s race through the fall and now personally indwells the believer’s body. But, does the Bible teach this? Is Satan himself located in the flesh of mankind, including believers? Is the cosmic struggle between God and Satan now being played out internally within the believer? Put differently, is every believer’s inner being the battleground for personal conflict between Christ and Satan? Are both these antagonists personally present within believers? Is this what the Bible teaches? Or does this “go beyond what is written” in Scripture (1 Cor. 4:6)?

From Personification to Person—An Unwarranted Step in LSM’s Satanology
We have presented the more radical aspects of LSM’s Satanology. Are they are consistent with Scripture? First consider mankind in general. Does the Bible support the notion that all mankind is subject to satanic possession? Does Satan himself indwell mankind’s fallen flesh? Bro. Lee’s main line of reasoning is that Sin is personified (in Romans) and therefore the person implied is Satan himself. For example he says,30
“Romans 7 tells us that sin is in our flesh, and in Romans 7 sin is personified. This chapter shows us that sin can deceive and kill people (v. 11), and that it can dwell in people and do things against their will (vv. 17, 20). It is quite alive (v. 9) and exceedingly active; so it must be the evil nature of Satan, the evil one, dwelling, acting, and working in fallen mankind. Sin in Romans 7 is a person. This person is the source of sin, the origin of sin. This Sin who is Satan still remains in our flesh where he lives, works, and moves, even after we have been saved. The sin in our flesh is a person…Satan as sin is in our flesh.”
Bible expositors agree that Sin is personified in Romans. 31 Few deduce that Sin equals the person of Satan. Bro. Nee expounded Romans several times. Yet I have not found any place where he equates “Sin” with Satan. Bro. Nee tells us ‘Sin’ 32 “refers to the sinful nature within man. The sin within man is a kind of power, a law, an inclination that continually…compels man to go down the path of sin.” Most Bible scholars understand Scripture’s personification of ‘sin’ as a literary device; they do not deduce that it implies a specific, identifiable person.
The Bible personifies wisdom (e.g. Prov. 1:20; 2:2; 7:4; 8:1). Yet Scripture does not identify wisdom with a definite person. Death and Hades are also personified (1 Cor. 15:26; Rev. 6:8; 20: 13-14). The four horsemen in Revelation 6 are identified as the gospel, war, famine and death. Personification does not necessarily imply a definite person whom we can identify. Bro Lee confirms this saying, concerning the four horsemen (Rev. 6,) 33 “The four riders are not persons but personified things.” In 1 Cor. 13 love is personified (vv. 4-7); in this case, Scripture says “God is love” (αγάπη agape, 1 John 4:8). There is a biblical basis for equating agape-love with God. Yet, even here, Bro. Lee defines agape-love as “the nature of God’s essence,” not His Person. 34 Moreover, we ought to distinguish the latter case from the present one. The fact is Scripture does not specifically identify Sin as Satan. It is an unwarranted extrapolation to transition from personified “Sin” to the person of Satan. The leap from sin personified to Satan (the person) is without scriptural justification; it goes “beyond what is written” (1 Cor. 4:6). The Bible affirms that sin dwells within fallen mankind; but it never says that Satan himself indwells all members of the human race. Scripture tells us that Satan is a created being; he is a fallen angel. As a created being he is not omnipresent like God. To teach that Satan personally indwells the whole human race—all 6 billion people—amounts to making Satan omnipresent over the whole inhabited earth! It gives Satan more credit than is his due! The four gospels show us people can be demon-possessed; they are possessed by Satan, not directly, but through his myriad of surrogates. The Lord cast out such demons by the Spirit (finger) of God, bringing God’s kingdom (Matt. 12:28; Luke 11:20). However satanic possession via demons does not describe all humanity; it applies to a minority.

The Lord condemned the Jewish religious leaders, saying, “you are of your father the devil” (John 8:44) Is this a basis for Satan’s indwelling the human race? Notice that Jesus spoke to the Jews seeking to kill Him (8:40). He was not speaking to the whole Jewish race or to mankind in general. It was those Jews contemplating His murder who Jesus called “sons of the devil,” because Satan was a murderer from the beginning (8:44). Elsewhere the “tares” are described as “sons of the evil one” (Matt. 13:38). But Scripture tells us “tares” signify false believers, not the whole human race. A minority of unbelievers feign genuine belief; only they qualify as “tares”—“sons of the evil one.” Closer to the mark is 1 John 3:10, which says “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest.” Here those who are not “children of God” are called “children of the devil.” This provides a basis to say all unbelievers are “children of the devil.” As such they have the devil’s life and nature. However, does this mean that the devil, Satan himself, personally inhabits them? I think not! There is a clear distinction between the two. Humanly we have our parents’ “life and nature,” yet we don’t have their “person” within us; our parents exist as persons separate and distinct from us, their children. The fact that unbelievers are called “children of the devil” means they have the devil’s life and nature (i.e. the sin nature). It does not necessarily imply that the Devil personally inhabits them.

Satan is only once said to have entered into a person—Judas”
Where does Scripture locate Satan? A few verses are particularly relevant. First, the Apostle John’s epistle tells the “little children, “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). The One “who is in you [the believers] is the Triune God. “He who is in the world” is Satan. Here, Satan (the person) is specifically located in the world (cosmos) in contrast to God, who indwells the believers. According to this verse, 1 John 4:4, Satan is not located in the believers or in their flesh; Satan dwells in the world (cosmos). The Apostle John did not say—“Greater is He who is in your spirit than he [Satan] who is in your flesh.” That statement of LSM’s theology is significantly different from Scripture.

Second, the Lord told the Church in Pergamos, “I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is.” He also used the phrase, “among you where Satan dwells.” (Rev. 2:13). Notice that Satan dwelt among the believers in Pergamos; he was not described as dwelling within them. Satan’s close proximity is ascribed by Bro. Lee to this church’s union with the world. He says, 35 “Satan’s throne is in the world, the place where he dwells and the sphere of his reign. Since the worldly church entered into union with the world, she dwells where Satan dwells.” According to Bro. Lee, the place “where Satan dwells” and the sphere of Satan’s reign is the world (cosmos, 1 John 5:19). Bible scholars agree with this. This is not a basis for Satan’s indwelling.

Third Scripture only identifies one person as indwelt by Satan; that is Judas, the betrayer. During the last supper, we are told that “Satan entered into Judas(Luke 22:3; John 13:27). J. Stafford Wright notes 36 Satan is only once said to have entered into a person, i.e. Judas.” This is a counter-example to LSM’s teaching about Satan’s indwelling. Stated rhetorically--If Satan (the person) indwells everyone’s flesh, Satan would not have needed to enter Judas; he would already be there!

Fourth the Lord referred to casting out Satan in the context of demon exorcism (Matt. 12:22-28). When Jesus cast out demons by the Spirit, the Pharisees attributed his exorcism to “Beelzebul, the ruler of demons” (i.e. Satan, v. 24). Jesus responded, “if Satan casts out Satan…how will his kingdom stand?” Here casting out demons equals casting out Satan. Watchman Nee comments on this passage,37 “wherever the Lord went, Satan was cast out…Satan could not remain where the Lord was.” Based on this case we can say that demon-possessed people are Satan-possessed. However, strictly speaking, it is not Satan himself, but his surrogates, the demons who occupy people. Moreover, the Bible records specific cases of demon possession; not everyone was demon-possessed. The whole human race does not need Satan cast out of them through demon-exorcism. Satanic possession of people through demons is exceptional; it is not the rule. Scripture does not say that Satan (the person) indwells all mankind by this means.

LSM’s expositors also appeal to Matthew 16 where Jesus addressed Peter as Satan. Jesus rebuked Peter, saying “Get behind me Satan…” (Matt. 16:23). Does this mean that Satan (the person) was incarnated within Peter? Or does it imply that Peter’s good-hearted suggestion, that Jesus avoid the cross, matched Satan’s purposes? Most Bible-expositors conclude the latter; W. Foerster says, 38The point is that Peter is playing the same role as that played by Satan at the temptation.” Even if we accept the notion that Satan was “incarnated” within Peter at that moment, it is a quantum leap to extrapolate from this to say that Satan personally indwells all mankind! Again, Satan, as a created angelic being, is limited; he is not omnipresent.

Orthodox Satanology 39
What do Christian Bible teachers say about Satan? Briefly they teach that Satan is a fallen archangel, the “god of this world (age)” (2 Cor. 4:4). Though extremely powerful, Satan (like other angels) is not omnipotent, omniscient, nor omnipresent. He cannot be everywhere at once (omnipresent). However, Satan is the “prince of the power of the air, the ruler of the spirit working in the unbelievers” (Eph. 2:2). This aggregate, impersonal spirit (the totality of evil angelic forces) operates in the “sons of disobedience.” Hence unbelievers are in Satan’s kingdom. However, God in His salvation transferred the believers out of Satan’s kingdom of darkness into God’s kingdom (Col. 1:13). Hence saved believers are no longer “sons of the devil;” they have become “children of God” (1 John 3:10). Orthodox Bible expositors do not teach that Satan (the person) indwells believers. Scripture declares explicitly that Christ dwells in the believers (Rom. 8:10; 2 Cor. 13:5; Col. 1:27); however, the Bible never says that Satan personally inhabits the believer’s body. Rather the person of Satan exists outside of us and distinct from us (believers). He is not in us (1 John 4:4,) but in the world (the cosmos) which is his sphere of influence (1 John 5:19). Also Satan (the person) does not directly tempt each of us simultaneously. He is chief of a host of demons who make Satan’s kingdom seem ubiquitous. Satan works indirectly through his demon hosts and the world system to exploit the sinful nature within us (Rom. 7:18; Gal. 5:19-21). We are tempted when fleshly lusts (from our sinful nature within us) respond to the Satanic forces and the world system outside us (James 1:14-15). The inward sin nature is dealt with by Christ’s cross and the crucifixion of the “old man” (Gal. 2:20; 6:14; Rom. 6:6). By the Lord’s empowering and God’s armour believers can withstand Satan in spiritual warfare (Eph. 6:10-18); they overcome the evil one (1 John 2:13).

Does Satan Personally Indwell Believers?
Satan still remains in our flesh…even after we have been saved”--W. Lee
The most contentious point of LSM’s Satanology is the claim that Satan (the person) indwells the believer’s body. Bro. Lee asserts that 40the sin that dwells in our flesh…is Satan incarnated.” He alleges that 41 Satan is in our flesh and Christ is in our spirit. We have an enemy in our flesh and a dear Savior in our spirit.” Moreover, he specificallyrelates this to the person of Satan, not merely to the sin nature. It is not merely “Sin as the virtual personification of Satan;” rather it is Satan, the person. Hence, Bro. Lee declares that 42 “as Christians, we have three persons.Thefirst person is yourself in your soul, your being. The second person is Satan in your flesh. And the third person is Christ in your spirit. This kind of truth has been fully missed today.” In saying, “This kind of truth has been fully missed today,” Bro. Lee implies that Christianity is deficient in neglecting this “truth” of Satan’s personal indwelling the believer’s body. Yet this doctrine was developed by extrapolating from Scripture’s personification of “sin” to the person of Satan. But the Bible’s personification does not necessarily imply that a definite person is indicated. Wisdom, the gospel, war, famine, death and Hades are all personified in the Bible, without being linked to a definite person. This unwarranted step is “going beyond what is written” (1 Cor. 4:6). Scripture says “greater is He [the Triune God] who is in you than he [Satan] who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). The Bible testifies that believers possess God’s life (1 John 5:11-12) and divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4); they also have Person of Christ indwelling them (2 Cor. 13:5; Rom. 8:10; Gal. 2:20; Col 1:27). It does not say that the person, Satan himself personally indwells them.

LSM’s Speculative Theology about the Sexual Transmission of Sin
In this context, Bro. Lee develops a speculative theory of the sexual transmission of sin. He grapples with the problem of how Jesus Christ could take on human flesh when Satan as sin indwells humanity. His solution asserts that the sinful nature is transmitted via the male line. Bro. Lee says, 43 “One day the Word became flesh. Remember that Jesus was not born of a human father, but of a human mother (Matt. 1:18). His humanity is flesh; however, His humanity is not of the male, but of the female. Our flesh is a sinful flesh because it is of the male with the female. But the flesh of Jesus is only of the female, not of the male; therefore, His flesh is not sinful. Our flesh is not only flesh but sinful flesh, but the flesh of Christ, having nothing to do with the male, is not sinful flesh.” Genetically, females possess two X-chromosomes, males both X & Y. Essentially this theory assumes “sin” is linked to the male Y-chromosome; sin is virtually a sex-linked gene. Yet the Bible never says this. Scripture says that “through one man [Adam] sin entered the world” and all people were “constituted sinners” (Rom. 5:12, 19). It doesn’t say how the sinful nature is transmitted.
LSM’s Negative View of the Believer’s Body versus the Bible
Bro. Lee’s teaching about Satan’s indwelling conveys an overwhelmingly negative view of the believer’s body. He asks, “Do you like to see Satan? Just come to your flesh. Satan is here. Satan is always in the flesh with sin and death.” He also says, “We have to realize where Satan is in our being. He is in our flesh…because the flesh is fully possessed, taken over, by Satan as sin.” According to this doctrine, the believer’s body is Satan-possessed, “fully possessed, taken over, by Satan as sin.” It would not be surprising if embracing this doctrine led some believers to despise and denigrate their bodies. Yet, the Bible presents another, positive attitude towards our physical bodies. Scripture describes the believer’s body as a “temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 6:19) and as “members of Christ” (1 Cor. 6:15). The Apostle Paul told the Corinthians your “body is a temple of the Holy Spirit withinyou, whom you have from God” (1 Cor. 6:19). In terms of LSM’s Satanology, this raises the question—would God allow Satan to personally inhabit His temple--the believer’s body? Wouldn’t God first cast Satan out before taking up residence there Himself? Watchman Nee says, 44 “Wherever the Lord went, Satan was cast out…Satan could not remain where the Lord was.” Moreover, if the believers’ physical bodies are “members of Christ,” (1 Cor. 6:15) how could they be “fully possessed, taken over, by Satan”? Wouldn’t that make them “members of Satan,” rather than of Christ? Yet the Bible never says this! In fact Romans 8:11 speaks of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, giving life to our mortal bodies. Hence, Bro. Nee says, 45 “even though the body is not yet redeemed, it no longer has to be a frustration to God’s will.” The Bible indicates that the Lord values our physical bodies; He will resurrect and transfigure them, conforming them to His glorious body (1 Cor. 15: 51-54; Phil. 3:21).

Conclusion
Bro. Witness Lee taught that the sin nature which entered humanity due to Adam’s fall is Satan’s own nature and life. He expressed this concept in a striking way, saying 46 “the sin that dwells in our flesh…is Satan incarnated.” “Sin itself…is Satan himself. When sin came into the created man, Satan came into him...Satan is in our being…the flesh is fully possessed, taken over, by Satan as sin.” 47 These words have shock value. They also raise serious issues. But some view this as preacher’s hyperbole, explaining that Bro. Lee merely expounded upon “sin as the virtual personification of Satan.”

However, Bro. Lee made more radical statements. He declared that the triumvirate of sin, death and Satan exists inside mankind. “These three things: sin, death, and Satan. They are all together in the flesh,” 48 Bro. Lee proclaimed, continuing, 49 “Do you like to see Satan? Just come to your flesh. Satan is here. Satan is always in the flesh with sin and death.”Significantly this alleges that both Satan and sin and death inhabit mankind. It is not merely Satan personified as sin; both Satan and sin inhabit man, according to Bro. Lee.

Moreover, Bro. Lee taught that Satan (the person) indwells the believer’s body. He referred to three “persons” within the believer’s three parts. Bro. Lee claimed that 50 “as Christians, we have three persons. The first person is yourself in your soul, your being. The second person is Satan in your flesh. And the third person is Christ in your spirit.” Here there is a twofold indwelling--the Person of Christ and the person of Satan both inhabit believers. Here is an unequivocal statement by Bro. Lee that Satan (the person) indwells the believer’s body. He claims Paul’s famous declaration—“No longer I but Christ” (Gal. 2:20) is matched by “No longer I but sin” (Rom, 7:17) referring to Satan himself in man’s flesh. Many Bible-scholars and Bible-believing Christians reject Bro. Lee’s doctrine—that the person, Satan himself inhabits the Christian’s physical body! According to my knowledge, Bro. Lee never repudiated these controversial statements. At times he made more conventional, orthodox declarations. But these neither “trump” nor counter-balance his more radical claims. Since they were never repudiated, these extreme statements remain part of LSM’s unorthodox Satanology.

The major elements of Bro. Lee’s Satanology outlined above were presented at his 1975 Chicago conference and subsequently published by LSM as the book, The Flesh & the Spirit. A few years after this conference the “co-workers in the Lord’s Recovery” published The Beliefs and Practices of the local churches.That landmark booklet addressed the question, “Do you teach that Satan dwells in man’s body?” The co-workers answered, 51 “sin functions in our members as the virtual personification of Satan. Therefore, we may say that Satan as sin dwells in man's flesh.” Given the controversial elements of Bro. Lee’s Satanology outlined above, this response was less than forthright. The straight-forward answer is “YES! Bro. Lee taught that Satan himself dwells in the believer’s body.” Here the co-workers are vulnerable to the charge of being two-faced, having one answer for internal consumption within the Recovery and another for external use when answering “outsiders.” The question this issue raises for LSM’s “blended brothers” is--do they agree with the 1978 co-workers’ carefully nuanced statement that sin is the “virtual personification of Satan”? Or do they whole-heartedly endorse Brother Lee’s more radical statements contained in his LSM-published writings?

Nigel Tomes,
Toronto, Canada.
June, 2008

NOTES: 1.We use “LSM” as a short form to describe the writings of Brother Witness Lee and the “blended brothers” who presume to be his successors. Hence LSM’s Satanology refers to the published teachings of Bro. Witness Lee and the “blended brothers” related to Satan, his person & work etc, contained in the publications of Living Stream Ministry (LSM). Living Stream Ministry (LSM) is the publication work (originally called The Stream publishers) established by W. Lee to publish his writings and which publishes related materials, for example, The Ministry magazine and Affirmation & Critique. As is customary, the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone. They are not necessarily the views of any other elders, workers, brothers, sisters, church or churches with which he is associated. 2.Bro. Witness Lee’s conference in Chicago, IL took place from May 30 through June 1, 1975. The edited messages were published under the title, The Flesh and the Spirit, by Living Stream Ministry (LSM) in February, 1994. Page references are to this edition. There is no statement to the effect that, “These messages have not been reviewed by the speaker.” Hence, we presume that the published messages have been reviewed and approved for publication by the speaker, Bro. Witness Lee. Quotations used in this article fall within the “fair use provisions” of copyright legislation. 3.Slogans like “We don’t care for doctrines” appear frequently in songs written during the late 1960s and 1970s. For example, “We don’t care for the doctrines, we don’t care for the forms; we don’t care for opinions, regulations or norms. We don’t care for the doctrines which will kill us dead, Hallelujah we are free in our spirit instead!” Another example is--“No doctrines or forms that you have to learn to come and meet with us, just enjoy the Lord Jesus” Lyrics like these were published in various Song supplements. They are frequent enough not to require other documentary verification. “Get out of your mind, get your spirit in gear” (also lyrics from a song) expresses another popular concept in the 1970s church-life. 4.Readers who wish to go directly to the main topic of this piece can skip the next two sections and go directly to the section entitled: Sin, the “Virtual Personification of Satan,” dwells in Man's Flesh 5.J. Gordon Melton, An Open Letter Concerning the Local Church, Witness Lee…, (1985) p. 10 The Institute for the Study of American Religion, Santa Barbara, CA. 1985 6.An example of equating Witness Lee’s teaching to the Bible is provided by one “blended brother” who proclaims, “Many times [Brother Lee] would remind us to say, ‘The Bible says,’ not ‘Brother Lee says,’ even though what he spoke was simply what the Bible speaks.” [EM, The Ministry, Vol. 9, No. 6, (June 2005) p. 179, emphasis added] The statement—“what he [Witness Lee] spoke was simply what the Bible speaks”—makes Bro. W. Lee’s teaching equivalent to the Bible. This concept is being conveyed from LSM’s podium. However, no Bible expositor “simply speaks what the Bible speaks.” It is the expositor’s understanding & interpretation. One example of the “blended brothers” use of the phrase “the interpreted word” is: “we must recommend the use of the Life-studies and the Recovery version. We need to spend time to dig into the interpreted word of God…” [Minoru Chen, The Ministry, vol. 9, No. 3, (March 2005) p. 55 emphasis added] In this context the role of the Life-studies and footnotes is emphasized; “We all need to be helped through the Life-studies and Recovery version with the footnotes to see the intrinsic significance of the word of the Bible. The collection of footnotes in the Recovery version is a precious gem. The practical way to be educated and thus to be reconstituted with the truth is with the tools of the Life-studies and Recovery version with the footnotes.” [Minoru Chen, The Ministry, vol. 9, No. 3, (March 2005) p. 53] Consider also the following statements by LSM-President, Benson Phillips: “Today we have the Bible in our hands, but not many believers understand the Bible. It is closed to them. However, in the Lord’s recovery, we have the Bible that has been properly translated. The recovery version is probably the best translation available. We also have the ministry of the age. Through the ministry of the age, the Lord has continued to further unveil His word. The ministers of the age have interpreted and given the sense that is in the Word. Today we not only have the Bible; we also have the ministry that interprets the Word of God and gives the sense of the Word.” [Benson Phillips, The Ministry, vol. 9, No. 3 (March 2005) p. 117] Benson Phillips continues by making some striking exclusive claims: “In Nehemiah’s time they had the Word, and they had the interpretation. They were given the sense of the Word, entering into its intrinsic significance. Today we have the same. This takes place only in the Lord’s recovery. Everything in the publications circulated among Christians today is old. However, in our publications everything is new. The Word is opened; every page opens up the Word along with its intrinsic significance. Only here can it be said that there is such a deep and real opening of the Word.” [Benson Phillips, The Ministry, vol. 9, No. 3 (March 2005) pp. 117-8, emphasis added] We note also the exclusive claims, “only in the Lord’s recovery”, “only here” etc. 7.The list of Christian authors, scholars and Church-leaders whose works have been reviewed and denounced in LSM’s Affirmation & Critique includes: Warren Wiersbe, John MacArthur, R. C. Sproul, Bill Hybels, Philip Yancey, Charles Swindoll, Charles Colson, Bruce Wilkinson, Rick Warren & Gordon Fee. The antagonistic attitude of LSM’s “blended brothers” towards the writings of Christians “outside the Recovery” is exemplified by the following quotes: “The books in Christianity are full of superstition, superficiality, and lukewarm theology, not to mention error in many cases. We are not part of organized Christianity.” [MC, The Ministry, Vol. 9 No. 3, March 2005, p. 36] “Everything in the publications circulated among Christians today is old. However, in our publications everything is new.” [BP, The Ministry, Vol. 9 No. 3, March 2005, p. 118] As a specific example, consider the following denunciation of Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose-driven Life: “…The Purpose-driven Life was written by an ingenious church-growth pastor. …according to what the Lord has shown us, what these books present is merely methodology and philosophy. This is not what we need.” [MC., The Ministry, vol. 8, no. 7, (July/Aug. 2004,) p. 92, emphasis added] 8.The Ultimate Consummation of God's Economy: Heaven or the New Jerusalem?” Affirmation & Critique, Vol. V, No. 2, April, 2000 (entire issue) 9.The asymmetry between the standards applied to other Christian authors by LSM’s Affirmation & Critique and their “kid-glove” handling of the teachings expounded in Bro. W. Lee’s book, Incarnation, Inclusion & Intensification exemplifies this statement. If LSM’s Affirmation & Critique subjected the writings of Bro. W. Lee to the same standards of evaluation which they apply to other Christian authors wouldn’t they critically examine the Scriptural basis for the “three stages” and “three becomings” in Incarnation, Inclusion & Intensification? Wouldn’t they address the speculative nature of the chronology it proposes? Instead they adroitly avoid these issues, giving W. Lee “a free pass,” a carte blanche affirmation. 10.Beliefs and Practices of the local churches, by “the Co-workers in the Lord's Recovery” © 1978 Living Stream Ministry 11.Question 10, “Do you teach that Satan dwells in man’s body?” in The Beliefs and Practices of the local churches, Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim, CA, 1978, p. 18 12.Bro. W. Lee is not alone in asserting that that “Sin” in Romans is personified. For example, W. Gunter says, “Sin is almost a personal power which acts in and through man (refs.)” [W. Gunter in Colin Brown (ed.), Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Vol. 3, p. 581]. James D. G. Dunn points out “the striking personification of ‘sin’ in Romans.” [James D. G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle, p. 111]. Dunn also says, “In Rom. 5:12-8:3…’sin’ appears repeatedly as a personified power.” [James D. G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle, pp. 111-2]. 13.The distinction between “sins” (plural, i.e. trespasses, mistakes, wrong-doing) and “sin” (the fallen nature, power etc) (e.g. in Romans) has been clear since Watchman Nee’s time. See for example, Chapter 1, “Sin, Sins and the Sinner” in The Gospel of God (1) Watchman Nee, Collected Works, vol. 28. We take this distinction as clearly understood. 14.The American heritage Dictionary offers three definitions of “virtual” (adj.): “[1] Existing or resulting in essence or effect though not in actual fact, form, or name: the virtual extinction of the buffalo. [2] Existing in the mind, especially as a product of the imagination. Used in literary criticism of a text. [3] Computer Science Created, simulated, or carried on by means of a computer or computer network: virtual conversations in a chatroom.” Dictionary.com offers the following note on the latter use: “When virtual was first introduced in the computational sense, it applied to things simulated by the computer, like virtual memory—that is, memory that is not actually built into the processor. Over time, though, the adjective has been applied to things that really exist and are created or carried on by means of computers. Virtual conversations are conversations that take place over computer networks, and virtual communities are genuine social groups that assemble around the use of e-mail, web-pages, and other networked resources.” According to Dictionary.com possible meanings of “virtual” (adjective) include “being such in power, force, or effect, though not actually or expressly such.” Today the adjective “virtual” is employed in contexts like virtual reality (a computer-generated simulation; it is not the reality) or a “virtual pet” (a digital gadget which needs to be “fed” vs. an actual pet, a dog, cat etc.) Yet, as pointed out above “the adjective has been applied to things that really exist and are created or carried on by means of computers. Virtual conversations are conversations that take place over computer networks…” Hence, whether the adjective “virtual” implies that the reality exists and is involved is ambiguous. 15.Witness Lee, Life-study of Romans, Message #39, p. 455 16.W. Lee, Life-study of Romans, Message #39, p. 455 17.Witness Lee, The Flesh & the Spirit, Chp.1, p. 10, emphasis added 18.W. Lee, Life-study of Romans, Message #39, p. 455 19.W. Lee, Basic Lessons on Life, Lesson Five, p. 39. The title of Lesson Five is “The Real Significance of Man’s Fall.” The “focus” of the lesson is described (immediately after the Outline) for the benefit of leaders-teachers, as “Focus: Through man’s fall Satan’s personality became one with man’s soul, and he was taken into man’s body to be sin working as evil in man’s fleshly members.” (emphasis added) 20.W. Lee, The Kingdom, pp. 65-6 21.Witness Lee, The Flesh & the Spirit, Chp.1, pp. 10-11, emphasis added 22.Witness Lee, The Flesh & the Spirit, p. 12, emphasis added 23.Witness Lee, The Flesh & the Spirit, Chp.1, p. 10, emphasis added 24.W. Lee, The Flesh & the Spirit, Chp.2, p. 18 emphasis added 25.Witness Lee, God’s New Testament Economy, p. 43 26.W. Lee, The Flesh & the Spirit, Chp.2, p. 24 emphasis added 27.W. Lee, The Flesh & the Spirit, Chp.2, pp. 24-25, emphasis added. Other Bible-expositors recognize the allusion to Genesis 3 in Paul’s discussion of sin in Romans; yet they don’t draw the conclusion that ‘sin’ is Satan himself. James D. Dunn points out that, “In [Romans] 7:8-11 sin is likened to a living being (the serpent of Genesis 3) or a cunning enemy which seizes the opportunity…” [James D. G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle, p. 112]. 28.W. Lee, Life-study of Romans, Message #10, p. 115 29.W. Lee, Economy of God, p. 107 30.W. Lee, God’s New Testament Economy, p. 43, emphasis added 31.For example, W. Gunter says, “Sin is almost a personal power which acts in and through man (refs.)” [W. Gunter in Colin Brown (ed.), Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Vol. 3, p. 581]. James D. G. Dunn points out “the striking personification of ‘sin’ in Romans.” [James D. G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle, p. 111]. Dunn also says, “In Rom. 5:12-8:3…’sin’ appears repeatedly as a personified power.” [James D. G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle, pp. 111-2]. Other Bible-expositors recognize the allusion to Genesis 3 in Paul’s discussion of sin in Romans; yet they don’t draw the conclusion that ‘sin’ is Satan himself. James D. Dunn points out that, “In [Romans] 7:8-11 sin is likened to a living being (the serpent of Genesis 3) or a cunning enemy which seizes the opportunity…” [James D. G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle, p. 112]. 32.Watchman Nee, Collected Works, Vol. 43, p. 551 33.W. Lee, Revelation 6:2 note 2, RcV. emphasis added 34.In his Conclusion of the New Testament (vol. 1) Bro. Lee presents 29 points “in plain words” related to “God—His Person,” and 10 points “in parables & signs.” [W. Lee, Conclusion of the New Testament (vol. 1) messages 1 – 6] None of these include God is Love. That point (along with God is Life and God is Spirit) is included under “the nature of God.” [e.g. see Conclusion of the New Testament (vol. 1) p. 67]Hence “God is Love” is classified by W. Lee as an attribute of God’s nature, not an aspect of His Person. 35.W. Lee, Revelation 2:13 RcV. note 1. 36.Colin Brown (ed.), Dictionary of New Testament Theology, vol. 3, p. 473 The relevant Scripture references are John 13:27 “And at that moment, after the morsel, Satan entered into him [Judas]. Jesus therefore said to him, ‘What you do, do quickly’.” John 6:70-71 “…Was it not I who chose you, the twelve? Yet one of you is a devil. Now he spoke of Judas…” Luke 22:3 “And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot and was of the number of the twelve” 37.Watchman Nee, Collected Works, vol. 50, p. 736 38.Geoffrey Bromiley (ed), Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, p. 1008 39.This section is based (in part) on Xenos Christian Fellowship, Christian Ministry Unit 1, Week 5: Satanology pt.2 http://www.xenos.org/classes/christi...entoutline.pdf Christian Principles Unit 4, Satanology: Origin and Covert Tactics http://www.xenos.org/classes/princip...u4_satan_1.htm 40.W. Lee, Life-study of Romans, Message #39, p. 455 41.W. Lee, The Flesh & the Spirit, Chp.2, pp. 24-25 42.W. Lee, The Flesh & the Spirit, Chp.2, p. 24 emphasis added 43.W. Lee, God’s New Testament Economy, pp. 44-5. In this age where human cloning is feasible, LSM’s speculative theology implies that daughters cloned directly from their mothers would be sinless (having no sin nature) since, like Jesus, their flesh would be “only of the female, not of the male; therefore, [their flesh would be] not sinful.” 44.Watchman Nee, Collected Works, vol. 50, p. 736 45.Watchman Nee, Collected Works, Vol. 38, p. 542 46.W. Lee, Life-study of Romans, Message #39, p. 455 47.Witness Lee, The Flesh & the Spirit, Chp.1, p. 10, emphasis added 48.Witness Lee, The Flesh & the Spirit, p. 12, emphasis added 49.Witness Lee, The Flesh & the Spirit, p. 12, emphasis added 50.W. Lee, The Flesh & the Spirit, Chp.2, p. 24 emphasis added 51.Question 10, “Do you teach that Satan dwells in man’s body?” in The Beliefs and Practices of the local churches, Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim, CA, 1978, p. 18
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Old 07-10-2008, 02:47 AM   #2
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It is a very interesting article. I remember we discussed this matter in detail at the Bereans forum. I would like to mention here some of the conclusions I made when considered this topic.

1. There is no such thing as "sinful nature" or "sinful substance". Sin is not a substance, but a defection of will (according to Augustine). When Lucifer fell, he did not have any sinful nature or substance enter him. Sin is not a matter of substance, but of volition. When Satan seduced man, he did not inject into him substance - he effected his volition. Therefore, the fall did not added some other substance to human nature, but deformed human nature. We can compare the fall with the untuned piano. Piano originally was tuned to produce good music. But then it was untuned. It does not mean that some kind of nature entered it - it was simply disharmonized. Man was created a harmonious being. But fall disharmonized him.

2. The flesh in the Bible is ususally defined as a pattern of living, and not as some kind of substance. This pattern of living is shaped by the desires of our heart and body that are independent of and contrary to God.

3. Charles Fynney said that the fall of man was moral. He said that should it have been physical, man would not be subject to be judged by the law of God. If we sin against our will being compelled by some kind of nature, we are not to be judged. Only voluntary actions are judged.

I think that these points are enough to start good discussion.
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Old 07-10-2008, 04:57 AM   #3
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Is this article available as a pdf for download?
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Old 07-10-2008, 08:30 AM   #4
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Hi guys!

Witness Lee loved symmetry. He couldn't resist it, and so manufactured it even when it wasn't there. God became man so..... man must be becoming God! Yes! Yes! It must be so!

The symmetry of God's nature is in us so Satan's nature must be in us too is the same kind of error.

Man's own nature became corrupted when he disobeyed (as KSA said, made an act of sinful volition.) Who needs Satan's nature? Our own is corrupted enough! If our fall caused Satan's nature to get "injected," then whose nature was injected into Satan when he fell?

This whole doctrine is one of Lee's most flagrant blunders and to me suggests a need on his part to impose his particular mindset--the love of symmetry--onto the Bible.
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Old 07-10-2008, 01:43 PM   #5
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What do the rest of the GLA leaders think of Tomes publicly taking on Lee in doctrinal matters? A while back my impression was that in general the GLA still embraced Lee doctrinally but questioned some of his practices. Now it appears that at least Tomes and I assume others are challenging some of Lee's teachings as while.
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Old 07-10-2008, 09:47 PM   #6
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djohnson: Good question. From my perspective as a member, in the Great Lakes Local Churches the legacy of Witness Lee's teachings is still a very sensitive issue. However, there has been movement away from treating Lee as an infallible interpreter of the Bible. It says a lot that a brother seen as leader amongst these churches, like Nigel, would go public with direct criticisms of Lee's teachings. On a more local level, many churches and leaders seem to be unsure of any radical departure from Lee's ministry, and a sort of uneasy truce prevails.

It's also interesting that Nigel's writings have become more a sparring match with the teachings of Lee than the policies of the Blending Brothers. He's done with the BB's; the split has happened. His aim now seems to be to go back to the source of the problems and try to deal with the roots of the exclusiveness and doctrinal extremism that has afflicted our group.
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Old 07-10-2008, 09:53 PM   #7
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I think what Tomes is doing is a good development. Apparently Lee and his ministry had become a proverbial untouchable sacred cow and now Nigel is ending this myth. Hopefully a healthy balanced view of Lee and his work will ensure.
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Old 07-11-2008, 03:51 AM   #8
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It's also interesting that Nigel's writings have become more a sparring match with the teachings of Lee than the policies of the Blending Brothers. He's done with the BB's; the split has happened. His aim now seems to be to go back to the source of the problems and try to deal with the roots of the exclusiveness and doctrinal extremism that has afflicted our group.
Old Rasputin, this is true. It seems Nigel's views are still "too hot" even for most GLA leaders, and the once lively CB site has become a museum of artifacts. The articles about the BB's were an "easy sell" ... TC had been "priming" the audience for years. Much more difficult will be critiquing the similarities of Cleveland and Anaheim, along with "going back to the source." This is why the BB's have declared Nigel "public enemy #1," robbing TC of that coveted position.

I am waiting for a scholarly review of the concept of "deputy authority." This bad concept alone, carried out in practice, has done more to destroy the LC's than any other, and create one of the nastiest of denominations.
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Old 07-11-2008, 04:09 PM   #9
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Default The Demythologization of Lee

Apparently Tomes years as a university scholar is serving him well now i.e. research, critique, rebuttal, being published, intellectual ferment, etc is OK. The status quo needs to be challenged. He might upset the proverbial apple cart but the very act of him daring to question some of Lee's teaching and practice is healthy for him and others. It is the demythologization of Lee.
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Old 07-11-2008, 06:08 PM   #10
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I am waiting for a scholarly review of the concept of "deputy authority." This bad concept alone, carried out in practice, has done more to destroy the LC's than any other, and create one of the nastiest of denominations.
Touche! This is the bad concept that helped keep me toeing the party line longer than otherwise would have been the case. Happily, I am a natural born contrarian, so even deputy authority couldn't hold me down.

The next year or so will be very interesting as far as the Midwest goes. Sooner or later the uneasy truce regarding the shared heritage of Lee and the LCs will be broken, and with it may go the fellowship of churches we refer to as the GLA.
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Old 07-16-2008, 09:55 AM   #11
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Default Lee equals Satan

Nigel Tomes:
>> Nigel Tomes - LSM's Unorthodox Satanology <<



That's quite an exegesis of Lee's Satanology. I'm proud to be in brother Nigel's company (he is out here? Right?). It’s such an impressive piece, in fact, I think I'll designate Nigel as one of the few scholars of Nee and Lee -- maybe the only one -- on the earth. Don't know how much it pays. I wouldn't quit my day job. But it's certainly a labor of love, and much appreciated.

I don’t think all you guys get it yet. Ya certainly got me wondering. [How much of the Lee sheep pen is still within you?] Lee was just a flesh and blood man. Sure he knew his Bible, but he was a man nonetheless. Lee was made more than that by his followers. WE did it. Then Lee fell for it too, because he saw all of us lifting him up.

So Lee places Satan in our flesh – a human error. So what! Who gives a damn what Lee says? If Satan is in human flesh then Jesus also had Satan in his human flesh. Lee was pushing up against Gnosticism here. What’s new? Docetism is nothing new. If Satan is in human flesh then Jesus had to be only divine ; not with a physical body, but a spiritual body only, that could shape-shift into human form. That’s docetism – a very early Christian belief.

Also, let’s pretend for a moment that the Docetists had it right, that Jesus wasn’t human flesh, but was all divine. That would mean that Lee could have it right.

But then, why didn’t Jesus cast Satan out of everyone he met, even his parents and disciples? If not, and Satan dwells in human flesh, then Jesus let him be a tag-along everywhere he went, and in whoever he related with. And if Jesus was human flesh, then he couldn’t ever get away from Satan, or worse, Jesus was possessed of Satan.

How many out here bought into Lee’s Satan doctrine? How many still buy into Lee? If you buy into Lee are you not buying into the flesh, and therefore, according to Lee, buying into Satan.

Lee said it. I believe it. That does it. All that follow Lee are following the flesh, and according to Lee the flesh is Satan’s dwelling place, so all followers of Lee are following Satan.

Stop it!

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Old 07-19-2008, 07:14 AM   #12
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Hi Harold,

Just a suggestion, if your going to help us "get it," please slow down the spin you are putting on Lee's flawed teaching.

The teaching may be flawed, but the conclusions you are coming to are so far off in left field that your point has lost its relevance; take a breath, slow down and redefine your point!

Thanks,

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Old 07-19-2008, 09:53 AM   #13
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Just a suggestion, if your going to help us "get it," please slow down the spin you are putting on Lee's flawed teaching.
The teaching may be flawed, but the conclusions you are coming to are so far off in left field that your point has lost its relevance; take a breath, slow down and redefine your point!
Thanks,
Shawn


Okay Shawn, I'll slow down. We have made more of both Nee and Lee than we ought. Yes, Nee and Lee are/were good brothers in the Lord, but my gosh, should we devote ourselves to them? Why, when devoting to Christ is some much better.

Paul said that saying, "I'm of Paul, I'm of Apollos," is carnal. Are we not then, by following Nee and Lee, being carnal?

If Paul is right, and we add Lee's teaching on Satan -- that Satan dwells in the flesh -- are we not following the flesh -- as Paul states, "being carnal" -- and therefore, according to Lee's teaching, are we not following Satan when we follow Lee.

I'm just taking Lee's teaching to it's logical conclusion, to reveal how completely ridiculous Lee's teaching is. But I like Lee's teaching on Satan. Not because it's right, but because it undoes Lee...and because Lee, thru his teaching on Satan, tells us not to follow him.

To be blunt, the BB's are flesh followers ; they are being carnal. That's no surprise. What's surprising is that people are still following Lee. When Lee failed to deal with his sons carnal ways, Lee revealed that his fruits were actually carnal fruits. So what could he possibly produce but the BB's, that have carried on the carnal tradition established by Lee.

The local church has become no different than all the other sects that were wrong, yet continued on. Take the Millerites as an example. Back in the early 1800's, William Miller predicted the exact date that Jesus would return. He was wrong, made an adjustment, and predicted an exact date again. He was wrong again.

By Old Testament standards he should have been stoned to death, as a false prophet. But that didn't happen. Also, anyone with any sense should have stopped following Miller. But they didn't. We still have the Seventh-day Adventist Church with us today.

Those still following Lee are no different than the Seventh-day Adventists. It's the same thing.

But then, when did following someone depend upon them being right? With the public revelation of all the pedophile priests in the RCC church, you'd think that people would be leaving the RCC in droves. But they didn't and don't leave.

Religion, it seems more often than not, produces a kind of "Stockholm syndrome" in followers, and followers come to love their leader whether he's right or wrong, and continue to follow long after it's been revealed that their leader is totally wrong (like Miller). Like it or not, that is what we have with Lee followers today. They may as well be Millerites. But we have the Seventh-day Adventists with us, so I guess we'll have the Leeites too. What's new? Most Christians are so hung up on the flesh, and following flesh, we may as well call them what they are : fle****es.

Did I slow down enough fer ya, Shawn? And where did you get that I'm trying to be relevant? Do you think I'm trying to develop followers of me, or something? Follow Christ, and only Christ, and stop following flesh, including mine and Lee's. In fact, don't listen to a word I have to say. Have ears to hear, but not my voice...nor Lee's. The shepherd's voice is calling. Can't you hear it? If not, then follow a man, as that's as far as you are going to get without ears to hear.

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Old 07-22-2008, 02:15 PM   #14
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Paul said that saying, "I'm of Paul, I'm of Apollos," is carnal. Are we not then, by following Nee and Lee, being carnal?
No, at least not necessarily. A man can be followed carnally to be sure. As an ex-LCer I know that the zeal we can develop for Christian leaders like Witness Lee can be godless and fleshly. The fruits of this are sectarianism and bitter, spiteful acts like suing small churches for meeting halls that cost less than the lawsuits.

Still, Paul certainly thought we should imitate him and other worthy Christian leaders. It is good to follow others in our pursuit of Christ.

Quote:
If Paul is right, and we add Lee's teaching on Satan -- that Satan dwells in the flesh -- are we not following the flesh -- as Paul states, "being carnal" -- and therefore, according to Lee's teaching, are we not following Satan when we follow Lee.
First, I don't agree with the assumption that Paul thought following a man was inherently fleshly. I think he was warning the disciples not to form loyalties and parties around their preference of minister. You are interpreting his statement very broadly.

Second, do you think Lee was correct and that Satan dwells in the flesh? I couldn't tell whether you were employing sarcasm here or not, but Lee didn't seem to apply the teaching of Satan in the flesh in the way you did.
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Old 07-22-2008, 08:12 PM   #15
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Okay Shawn, I'll slow down. We have made more of both Nee and Lee than we ought. Yes, Nee and Lee are/were good brothers in the Lord, but my gosh, should we devote ourselves to them? Why, when devoting to Christ is some much better.....
Thank you brother for humoring me, in doing so you redefined your thoughts that its not Lee's teachings so much (most of his teaching is Christ centered; the majority of problems come with how he arrives at these conclusions) as ones who give Lee the preeminence; this is where the flesh comes in and does so much damage.

No doubt that some of his teachings are just wrong, but when you draw conclusions that his teachings lead to worship of Satan, you quickly lose credibility.

Finally, you seem to lump all of the local church as blind, flesh loving followers of brother Lee, when nothing could be farther from the truth. Some of us "Leeites," are learning to receive all ministries and in doing so, are learning of the faults of Lee's teachings so that we may have a more accurate understanding of the word of God.

I do not receive your anger and can write to you in the love God has given us for all our brothers and sisters; I only bring this up to help you to admonish in truth and love; in so doing you will gain those whom you are trying to reach in the truth and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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Old 07-27-2008, 11:53 AM   #16
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Shawn says:
Thank you brother for humoring me,..


And thank you for humoring me as well. It's the Christian thing to do.

Shawn continues:
in doing so you redefined your thoughts that its not Lee's teachings so much...


No, I was speaking of Lee's teaching. The one Nigel exegeted concerning Lee's claim that Satan dwells in the flesh.

Shawn continues:
(most of his teaching is Christ centered; the majority of problems come with how he arrives at these conclusions)


Brother Shawn, this is where you perchance go astray. Or perhaps you are of the Lee "old school," or maybe you've been listening to past Lee conferences from the 1970s.

Lee use to be Christ centered, or at least taught it. I attended conferences where he stated "It's not me, it's Christ I'm speaking about." "Not I, but Christ," he would quote Paul.

Yep, Lee gave lip service to "Christ centered." I heard it.

Then, eventually Lee went south, so to speak. He grabbed onto God's identity, and began to say "I am." Remember, God told Moses to tell the people that "I am that I am has sent you."

Lee said: "I'm am the oracle of God."
Lee said: "I'm am the authority of God on earth."
Lee said: "I'm am the apostle on the earth today."

I submit that Lee knew full that he was wrong whenever he said "I'm am." It went directly opposed to his former "Christ centered" teachings, and so Lee had a convicted conscience when saying "I am."

So when he taught that Satan dwelt within human flesh it was his guilty conscience that guided his teaching. By so teaching Lee was sending a subliminal message to his followers.

In summary, when Lee taught that Satan dwelt in the flesh, what he was really saying was, a subliminal message that: Satan dwells in the flesh ; I'm flesh ; don't follow the flesh, don't follow Satan, and don't follow me.

This was his guilty conscience speaking from his subconscious. He knew well that when he made "I am" statements he was going wrong. It was against his own "Christ centered" teachings.

So God became a "lying spirit in Lee's mouth" (I Kings 22:22).

God's smart, to say the least, he put those crazy words of Lee that, "Satan dwelt in human flesh," into his mouth for a reason. God spoke thru Lee's subconscious, and was sending a message. He was speaking to all the saints, to all the followers of Lee, and was saying, "He that hath ears let him hear. Satan dwells in human flesh, Lee is human flesh, so don't follow Satan in Lee."

God was bringing Lee down. Lee stepped beyond being just a human saved by grace, and sought to be God, by taking God's label, "I am that I am." Lee stated not, "Not I but Christ," but, "I am."

It's obvious in scripture that Satan doesn't well in the flesh. Just read the book of Job to learn that.

But if I was going to try and locate Satan within humans, I'd say that location would more likely be the human ego. Ego is necessary, but unbridled ego is a demon so obvious that anyone can see it.

Ego is shaped by how others see us. And that is what happen to Lee. We all lifted him up on a pedestal, and it shaped his ego. Our belief in him gave him an unusual sense of power ; more power that humans should have -- Nicolaitan power, the kind of power that Jesus says in Revelation He hates.

So God was speaking out thru Lee as a lying Spirit to all of us. And Lee's teaching that Satan dwelt in the flesh was a message to all that "had ears to hear." God wanted everyone to stop lifting Lee up, and to stop following Lee. So God used an erroeous doctrine, that Satan dwelt in the Flesh, to send that message to all of us.

Brother Shawn do you have "ears to hear."

Harold
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Old 07-27-2008, 01:56 PM   #17
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Hi Shawn,
Did you visit Mansfield a few times?
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Old 07-28-2008, 04:33 PM   #18
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For example he says,15 “If the fact of indwelling sin is unveiled to us, we will see that we have…the very personification of Satan as sin, making its home in our flesh.” At other times, however Bro Lee “pushes the envelope.” He can say,16 “In a sense, the sin that dwells in our flesh…is Satan incarnated. Satan as sin is in our flesh.” The caveat that sin is the “virtual personification of Satan” is absent from Bro. Lee’s writings. Instead, equivalence is asserted. “Sin itself is Satan himself,” who is a “living person,” he declares. His statement, in context, reads:17

can anyone show in the scripture where it says satan is a living person... nooooooooo.. because he is an angel not a human being... this is all a lie..
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Old 08-02-2008, 01:18 AM   #19
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1. There is no such thing as "sinful nature" or "sinful substance". Sin is not a substance, but a defection of will (according to Augustine). When Lucifer fell, he did not have any sinful nature or substance enter him. Sin is not a matter of substance, but of volition. When Satan seduced man, he did not inject into him substance - he effected his volition. Therefore, the fall did not added some other substance to human nature, but deformed human nature. We can compare the fall with the untuned piano. Piano originally was tuned to produce good music. But then it was untuned. It does not mean that some kind of nature entered it - it was simply disharmonized. Man was created a harmonious being. But fall disharmonized him.
Yet the Word of God is replete of the phrase "sinful nature". Why is that?

You must have forgotten when God created man, man has the life of man, a sinless man at that time. Only after man disobeyed God by eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, thereby man received the consequence of his disobedience which is death, deadened in the spirit.

You cannot compare "man" with a "piano". Before man's fall there was no hint of any element of Satan in him. Man's eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is receiving "something" outside of man as represented by the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. What man partook at that time was the death of Satan, and we can venture in saying death (signifies Satan) was injected in man.

Upon the disobedience of man, the life of man was transmuted into the life of Satan. Instead of the life of God as illustrated by the Tree of Life that man must have possessed, in this man's fall the life of Satan was manifested.

Praise the Lord! Because God loves us, He gave His Son Jesus to us and with our faith in Him we have received the life of God into our spirit, born of God, born of the Spirit. The life of God as represented by the Tree of Life ("I am the true vine!") is no other than the "life-giving Spirit" who is the LAST ADAM, the Lord Jesus Christ, which is working in us daily to saturate and transform our soul-life in His likeness.
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Old 08-02-2008, 01:40 AM   #20
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2. The flesh in the Bible is ususally defined as a pattern of living, and not as some kind of substance. This pattern of living is shaped by the desires of our heart and body that are independent of and contrary to God.
The flesh in the Bible is more than "a pattern of living"! The flesh is "chiefly in reference to an unregenerated person." It is well-described by Brother Watchman Nee in "The Spiritual Man".
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Old 08-02-2008, 02:12 AM   #21
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For example he says,15 “If the fact of indwelling sin is unveiled to us, we will see that we have…the very personification of Satan as sin, making its home in our flesh.” At other times, however Bro Lee “pushes the envelope.” He can say,16 “In a sense, the sin that dwells in our flesh…is Satan incarnated. Satan as sin is in our flesh.” The caveat that sin is the “virtual personification of Satan” is absent from Bro. Lee’s writings. Instead, equivalence is asserted. “Sin itself is Satan himself,” who is a “living person,” he declares. His statement, in context, reads:17

can anyone show in the scripture where it says satan is a living person... nooooooooo.. because he is an angel not a human being... this is all a lie..
Perhaps you would agree with me that in the Bible that angels has manifested as man. Even the Lord Jesus became flesh, a man, a human being. The Holy Trinity is composed of the Person of God the Father, the Person of God the Son, and the Person of God the Holy Spirit.

It seems that "The Spiritual Man" of Brother Watchman Nee had been neglected by a lot of posters in this Forum which gives a very clear and enlightening wisdom about this subject.
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Old 08-02-2008, 10:03 PM   #22
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Yet the Word of God is replete of the phrase "sinful nature". Why is that?
Give me at least one instance, please.
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Old 08-02-2008, 10:23 PM   #23
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Give me at least one instance, please.
This must be a reference to the NIV translation:

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Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for 'sinful nature' in the NIV". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2008. 2 Aug 2008.
http:// cf.blueletterbible.org/search/translationResults.cfm?Criteria=sinful+nature&t=NIV
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Old 08-02-2008, 10:42 PM   #24
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Perhaps you would agree with me that in the Bible that angels has manifested as man. Even the Lord Jesus became flesh, a man, a human being. The Holy Trinity is composed of the Person of God the Father, the Person of God the Son, and the Person of God the Holy Spirit.
AMEN..
It seems that "The Spiritual Man" of Brother Watchman Nee had been neglected by a lot of posters in this Forum which gives a very clear and enlightening wisdom about this subject.

yes brother that is the whole point .. the Lord Jesus became flesh.. he is a human being..

John 1:14
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

God's Word first .. i dont think i will be referring ever again to nee or lee's writings or teachings..
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Old 08-02-2008, 10:44 PM   #25
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YP0534, herein lies the key: it is NIV. In NIV "sinful nature" is not a literal translation. Behind this "translation" there is a biased theological view. RecV, for example, does not contain this phrase, as well as Darby, NASV, KJV, NKJV and other literal translations. We need Stewart here with her view of "apostate translations".

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Old 08-02-2008, 11:11 PM   #26
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YP0534, herein lies the key: it is NIV. In NIV "sinful nature" is not a literal translation. Behind this "translation" there is a biased theological view. RecV, for example, does not contain this phrase, as well as Darby, NASV, KJV, NKJV and other literal translations. We need Stewart here with her view of "apostate translations".

i was just going to say.. the kjv :

3For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

4That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

5For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

just a few of the examples that were posted by YP0534
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Old 08-02-2008, 11:24 PM   #27
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I do not see "sinful nature" in the verses you quoted.
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Old 08-02-2008, 11:30 PM   #28
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This topic was extensively covered at the other forum. My argement there was that sin is not some kind of substance that was added to our nature. There is no "sinful nature" as all nature (substance) was created by God, and God is not a creator if sin. Sin is a perversion of our own nature - deviation from God's intent. When Lucifer fell, he was not spoiled by some other nature injected into him - iniquity was found in him. His fall was the perversion of his own nature. Likewise, our fall was caused by our choice - it was the perversion of our nature, not injection of some other substance.
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Old 08-02-2008, 11:43 PM   #29
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YP0534, herein lies the key: it is NIV. In NIV "sinful nature" is not a literal translation. Behind this "translation" there is a biased theological view. RecV, for example, does not contain this phrase, as well as Darby, NASV, KJV, NKJV and other literal translations. We need Stewart here with her view of "apostate translations".
Yup.

Only, please, KJV-only is no cure for the ills of NIV!
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Old 08-03-2008, 11:55 AM   #30
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This topic was extensively covered at the other forum. My argement there was that sin is not some kind of substance that was added to our nature. There is no "sinful nature" as all nature (substance) was created by God, and God is not a creator if sin. Sin is a perversion of our own nature - deviation from God's intent. When Lucifer fell, he was not spoiled by some other nature injected into him - iniquity was found in him. His fall was the perversion of his own nature. Likewise, our fall was caused by our choice - it was the perversion of our nature, not injection of some other substance.
So, KSA, are you saying you don't believe every human is born fallen? Explain your stance here on total depravity, original sin, etc.


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Old 08-03-2008, 12:04 PM   #31
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So, KSA, are you saying you don't believe every human is born fallen? Explain your stance here on total depravity, original sin, etc.


SC
No, I am not saying this. Every human is born with inborn perversion of human nature. Sin is a defect in human nature, not some kind of satanic foreign nature.
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Old 08-03-2008, 02:13 PM   #32
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No, I am not saying this. Every human is born with inborn perversion of human nature. Sin is a defect in human nature, not some kind of satanic foreign nature.
AMEN..
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Old 08-03-2008, 03:18 PM   #33
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So, KSA, are you saying you don't believe every human is born fallen? Explain your stance here on total depravity, original sin, etc.

SC
:justlurking:

Looks like we're just getting to the good part.

Quick reference links:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_depravity
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Original_sin
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Old 08-04-2008, 02:24 AM   #34
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Give me at least one instance, please.
I have listed a lot that includes the phrase "sinful nature" but was deleted.
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Old 08-04-2008, 06:07 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Paul Miletus View Post
I have listed a lot that includes the phrase "sinful nature" but was deleted
Paul, what you did was simply cut-n-paste a whole boatload of verses taken out of the NIV version (the only one that uses "sinful nature" instead of flesh), and you did this with little comment about the text itself. Simply posting a bunch of verses or a long quote of Lee or Nee is NOT dialog...it is not discussion...it is simply using valuable time and bandwidth to promote a man's personal ministry or maybe a particular translation.

Here are a couple of the dozen or so verses you cut-n-pasted:
Rom 7:5
For when we were controlled by the sinful nature,* the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death.

Rom 7:18
I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.* For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

KSA posted this reasonable response/contention
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No, I am not saying this. Every human is born with inborn perversion of human nature. Sin is a defect in human nature, not some kind of satanic foreign nature.
Your response was to simply post a whole boatload of verses that all apparently back up a point we already agree upon...to wit: that we as humans have a sinful nature. Nobody is disputing this. The point at hand is whether or not Satan himself actually dwells in us. This is what Lee said, or at least strongly implied. And no, we do NOT want to hear more of Lee's explanation and interpretation regarding this...What does the BIBLE say? What do YOU say? What have Christian teachers been saying about this matter for about 2000 years? Let's compare and contrast.
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Old 08-04-2008, 11:21 PM   #36
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My apologies...

What you have quoted from KSA was not the one I responded to show the phrase "sinful nature" was all over the New Testament scriptures. In fact, what you have quoted was KSA's response to Speaker's comment. I was responding to KSA's earlier post where he said that the phrase "sinful nature" was not biblical nor can be found in any scriptures. To list the appropriate scriptures are proofs that KSA's denial of the scripturality of the phrase "sinful nature" was highlighted. (I was looking for that post of KSA but it seems it vanished from this thread. Please correct me if I am wrong.)

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Old 08-06-2008, 12:26 AM   #37
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Paul, as I understand, you quoted from NIV, see my earlier comment regarding this translation.
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Old 08-06-2008, 02:02 AM   #38
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Paul, as I understand, you quoted from NIV, see my earlier comment regarding this translation.
Thanks KSA. Perhaps, Steward will come now this time...
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Old 08-06-2008, 05:09 AM   #39
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Thanks KSA. Perhaps, Steward will come now this time...
So do you agree there is now "sinful nature" in the Bible?
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Old 08-08-2008, 02:28 PM   #40
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No, I am not saying this. Every human is born with inborn perversion of human nature. Sin is a defect in human nature, not some kind of satanic foreign nature.

KSA

Do you feel inclined to add more to this in answer to Speaker's question re your thought on original sin, total depravity, etc?

As YPO stated, I felt like we were just getting to the good part !!

I do not disagree with your statement above but I am not sure it is the whole story. It seems to me that mankind is more than merely "broken", and there remains a source to be identified. That source, to me, must indeed be something foreign to that which was created by God, and is labeled "good".

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Grace to you.

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Old 08-08-2008, 06:03 PM   #41
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KSA

Do you feel inclined to add more to this in answer to Speaker's question re your thought on original sin, total depravity, etc?

As YPO stated, I felt like we were just getting to the good part !!

I do not disagree with your statement above but I am not sure it is the whole story. It seems to me that mankind is more than merely "broken", and there remains a source to be identified. That source, to me, must indeed be something foreign to that which was created by God, and is labeled "good".
Arizona,

Your implication is that something negative did get into us at the fall, correct? So if not Satan's nature, what was that? Am I reading you right?

This "something" would have to be transmittable via generation, that is, through birth. So it must be something physical. So what was this something? That is a thought worthy of pursuit, I believe. If not Satan's nature, as NT indicates, what is it?

Or was Lee right about Satan's injection into the human flesh?

SC
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Old 08-08-2008, 11:12 PM   #42
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KSA

Do you feel inclined to add more to this in answer to Speaker's question re your thought on original sin, total depravity, etc?

As YPO stated, I felt like we were just getting to the good part !!

I do not disagree with your statement above but I am not sure it is the whole story. It seems to me that mankind is more than merely "broken", and there remains a source to be identified. That source, to me, must indeed be something foreign to that which was created by God, and is labeled "good".

Thanx
Grace to you.

Arizona
Original sin and total depravity are very big topics. Is there anything specific you'd like to discuss. In brief, the original sin is the sin that entered the world by Adam. This sin distorted human nature, and now by birth we inherit the inclination to sin. However, sin is not some other nature that was added to human nature. Had it been so, we would have ceased to be human. For example, when you add donkey's nature to a horse, the horse ceases to be a horse and becomes a mule. Augustin defined fall as a perversion of human will. Church fathers denied that sin has its own ontological existence. For instance, darkness is not a substance, it is an absence of light. Likewise, sin is not a substance, it's an absence of good. At the other forum I gave an example with a piano. Sin untuned the piano, but not added any additional substance to it.

As for total depravity, in theology it does not mean that man is not capable of doing good. It means that man cannot save himself. In Calvinism it means that man on his own is not able to will to come to God (no free will here). Only when Holy Spirit regenerates person, he/she can will to come to God. Arminius differed from Calvinism here. He taught that man has a free will, and therefore can choose God. Charles Finney held the same teaching - therefore, he thought that people can be persuaded to receive the Lord. He limited the work of the Holy Spirit to keeping our preaching in person's mind. Wesley believed in Calvinistic total depravity, but taught that each person is given a common grace that makes it possible for a person to make a choice whether to receive the Lord or reject Him.

My position is somewhere in the middle. I believe that a person cannot come to God without the work of the Holy Spirit who convicts him of sin, righteousness and judgment. But it does not nullify free will. It is one of paradoxes of Christian life.

Well, I do not know if I shared what you wanted to hear. But original sin and total depravity do not lead us to believe that sin is a kind of nature that was added to us. In fact, if sin is another nature, you cannot be hold responsible for your sins. Sin is an act of our own nature, therefore we are held accountable.
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Old 08-09-2008, 02:58 AM   #43
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Nigel Tomes: “Do you teach that Satan dwells in man’s body?” To me the implied answer (an honest response) is a simple affirmative—“YES!”

local church: “When man fell by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, sin, the nature of Satan, was injected into man's body and transmuted it into the flesh. The fall was not simply an outward transgression; it was also an inward poisoning and contamination of our very being.

Brother Witness Lee: My burden is that we would see that Satan is in our flesh and Christ is in our spirit. We have an enemy in our flesh and a dear Savior in our spirit.


It can be noticed that Nigel Tomes stressed in his writings that “Satan dwells in man’s body.” However, if you will consider the local church’s Beliefs and Teachings, it was said that “the nature of Satan was injected into man’s body and transmuted it into the flesh.” Likewise, Brother Witness Lee taught that “Satan is in our flesh.”

Between the statements of the local church Beliefs and Teaching and Brother Witness Lee, both of them had indicated the word “flesh”; whereas, Nigel Tomes had indicated the word “body”.

Is there any difference between the words “flesh” and “body”? I believe there is a vast difference between these two words as Brother Witness Lee used it.

Brother Witness Lee was very careful in distinguishing between the “flesh” and the “body” since he knew exactly the difference between the "body" and the "flesh". God created man from the dust (body) and breathed in his nostril the breath of life (spirit) making man a living soul (soul). However, upon man’s fall the body was transmuted into FLESH; the soul into SELF; and the spirit was deadened. Therefore, according to Brother Witness Lee's teaching, the "body" refers to the body of man before his fall; the "flesh" refers to the "corrupted" body of man after his fall. This concept is very clear in Brother Witness Lee's writings:

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Man's Body Being Transmuted into Flesh

God created man with a pure body, but something of Satan was received into man's body and man's body changed in nature. It was transmuted into the flesh. In other words, it was corrupted. Man's body, by being corrupted in man's fall, became flesh, full of lust. In Romans 7:18a Paul said, "For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, nothing good dwells." The flesh is the corrupted body.

Satan Becoming Sin within Man

Through man's eating the tree of knowledge, Satan entered into man and became the very sin within man. To see this point we need to read Romans 7:14b, 17, and 20. In verse 20 Paul said, "But if what I do not will, this I do, it is no longer I that work it out but sin that dwells in me." Romans 7, especially in verses 8, 11, 17, and 20, indicates that sin is a person, the embodiment of Satan, and is living and acting within us. Sin is a personification of Satan. Actually speaking, the sin within us is Satan. At least we can say that the sinful nature within man is the nature of Satan. The sin within man refers to his inward sinful nature. This inward sin is just Satan himself indwelling our corrupted body, that is, our flesh.
I believe the above observation must be considered first if Nigel Tomes is talking the same thing as Brother Witness Lee in his teachings. In my opinion, Nigel Tomes is totally apart from what Brother Witness Lee was teaching. It seems that Nigel Tomes writing was comparing between an apple and an orange, rather than apple-to-apple or orange-to-orange. I believe there is total confusion in this respect.
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Old 08-09-2008, 05:35 AM   #44
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Arizona,

Your implication is that something negative did get into us at the fall, correct? So if not Satan's nature, what was that? Am I reading you right?

This "something" would have to be transmittable via generation, that is, through birth. So it must be something physical. So what was this something? That is a thought worthy of pursuit, I believe. If not Satan's nature, as NT indicates, what is it?

Or was Lee right about Satan's injection into the human flesh?

SC
God created the ToKoGaE in the midst of the garden, and forbade Adam to eat of it. The talking serpent (probably Lucifer) seduced Eve to eat of it.

The "big stretch" comes from the thought that once Eve ate of the fruit of ToKoGaE, then the seducer serpent somehow got into her. But the Bible doesn't say that, exactly. It is the fruit of the ToKoGaE that got into Eve, and then Adam, and reproduces sin in all mankind.
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Old 08-09-2008, 05:42 AM   #45
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Their disobedience to God was their sin. They did not ingest a banana and that = sin was injected into them because somehow sin lived in the cells of the banana.
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Old 08-09-2008, 06:29 AM   #46
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This sin distorted human nature, and now by birth we inherit the inclination to sin. However, sin is not some other nature that was added to human nature.
KSA,

So if it's just the "inclination" to sin that we inherit, is that a physical inheritance? Is it encoded in my DNA somewhere? If so, are we to understand the Garden tale as pure allegory, that is, as not having literally happened at all?


SC
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Old 08-09-2008, 12:02 PM   #47
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KSA,

So if it's just the "inclination" to sin that we inherit, is that a physical inheritance? Is it encoded in my DNA somewhere? If so, are we to understand the Garden tale as pure allegory, that is, as not having literally happened at all?


SC
I do not know about DNA, the Bible does not talk about DNA. And, of course, we inherit much more than inclination.

I do not understand your question about Garden tale being an allegory, what's the connection? Garden tale was a real thing.

My bottom line was that at the fall no foreign nature was added to man. The fall was the corruption of human nature. It affected whole human being - spirit, soul and body. It was spiritual, soulish and physical.
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Old 08-09-2008, 10:11 PM   #48
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My bottom line was that at the fall no foreign nature was added to man. The fall was the corruption of human nature. It affected whole human being - spirit, soul and body. It was spiritual, soulish and physical.
The newly cooked food is fresh but when exposed to air for some time the food gets spoiled. If I can remember it correctly there are some germs or bacteria that are added in the food and this is the reason the food is no longer fresh but spoiled.

Man's whole being (body, soul, and spirit) was corrupted because of their sin of disobedience which was fully illustrated by eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil which signifies death or Satan. Man's act of disobedience manifested upon eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. Again, this is fully illustrated in the Epistles of James --

Quote:
James 1:13-15
13 When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
Should man has eaten the fruit from the Tree of Life that would be a glorious story! Before man's fall, the uncreated life of God which is signified by the Tree of Life was outside of man. Likewise, before man's fall, "death" or "Satan" which is signified by the Tree of Knowledge was outside of man. However, after the fall of man, "death" has affected the human being. His body was transmuted into flesh; his soul was transmuted into self; and his spirit was deadened.
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Old 08-09-2008, 10:42 PM   #49
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LSM’s Negative View of the Believer’s Body versus the Bible
Bro. Lee’s teaching about Satan’s indwelling conveys an overwhelmingly negative view of the believer’s body. He asks, “Do you like to see Satan? Just come to your flesh. Satan is here. Satan is always in the flesh with sin and death.” He also says, “We have to realize where Satan is in our being. He is in our flesh…because the flesh is fully possessed, taken over, by Satan as sin.” According to this doctrine, the believer’s body is Satan-possessed, “fully possessed, taken over, by Satan as sin.” It would not be surprising if embracing this doctrine led some believers to despise and denigrate their bodies. Yet, the Bible presents another, positive attitude towards our physical bodies. Scripture describes the believer’s body as a “temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 6:19) and as “members of Christ” (1 Cor. 6:15). The Apostle Paul told the Corinthians your “body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God” (1 Cor. 6:19). In terms of LSM’s Satanology, this raises the question—would God allow Satan to personally inhabit His temple--the believer’s body? Wouldn’t God first cast Satan out before taking up residence there Himself? Watchman Nee says, 44 “Wherever the Lord went, Satan was cast out…Satan could not remain where the Lord was.” Moreover, if the believers’ physical bodies are “members of Christ,” (1 Cor. 6:15) how could they be “fully possessed, taken over, by Satan”? Wouldn’t that make them “members of Satan,” rather than of Christ? Yet the Bible never says this! In fact Romans 8:11 speaks of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, giving life to our mortal bodies. Hence, Bro. Nee says, 45 “even though the body is not yet redeemed, it no longer has to be a frustration to God’s will.” The Bible indicates that the Lord values our physical bodies; He will resurrect and transfigure them, conforming them to His glorious body (1 Cor. 15: 51-54; Phil. 3:21).
Quote:
Romans 7:14-20
14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Nigel Tomes cited that "the believer’s body as a “temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 6:19) and as “members of Christ” (1 Cor. 6:15)" and was contending whether God would "allow Satan to personally inhabit His temple--the believer’s body?"

However, it is so striking to note that the writer of 1 Cor 6:19 and 1 Cor 6:15 was the apostle Paul who also wrote "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing" (Romans 7:18a).

Again, Nigel Tomes misunderstood the vast difference between the terms "body" and "flesh". In his writing, he is mixing apple with orange; and orange with apple. The apostle Paul was very careful to distinguish the "flesh" where "death" or "sin" dwells which signifies Satan. Also, the apostle Paul openly declared that the "body" of the believer is a temple of the Holy Spirit and member of the Body of Christ knowing exactly that this "body" is a product of the believer's regenerated spirit and transformed soul. Brother Witness Lee teaching is totally in line with what the apostle Paul has seen regarding the vast difference between the "flesh" and the "body". But it seems that Nigel Tomes has neglected this portion of the Word of God.
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Old 08-10-2008, 12:08 AM   #50
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PaulM why does the knowledge of good and evil = Satan?
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Old 08-10-2008, 01:24 AM   #51
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PaulM why does the knowledge of good and evil = Satan?
Death is of Satan and the tree of knowledge of good and evil signifies death. Brother Witness Lee's explanation is very clear:

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In Hebrew, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is composed of three words: knowledge, good, and evil. Life is simply life; it is unique. But God cannot say that evil is good, or that good is evil. Other than knowledge, good, and evil, there is still another thing, which is death. Good and evil bring in death. Today, in order to gain God, we have to be pure. The meaning of being pure is to have one thing only. What we take into us is life, and what is lived out of us is the image. If it is life for us all the way from the beginning to the end and we have nothing besides life, we are being pure. When man joins himself to the knowledge of good and evil, he falls into death, and he becomes complicated. The tree of knowledge can be called the tree of good, and it can also be called the tree of evil. Humanly speaking, the tree of good and the tree of knowledge sound very nice, and the tree of evil and the tree of death sound very bad. But in the whole universe, nothing other than life is according to God's will. Everything outside of life is in the realm of knowledge, good, evil, and death. Today, man thinks that good is life, and evil is death. When man touches evil, he touches death. But when he touches good, does he not touch death also? When he touches knowledge, does he not touch death also? I have to shout loudly that the result of good and knowledge is also death.
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What is life? John 1:4 says that in Him is life. First John says that he who has the Son has life (5:12). Whenever we come into contact with God, we have life. Life is versus death, in the same way that God is versus the devil. In the whole Bible, there are only these three things: God, the devil, and man. These three things stand as three separate entities. When man contacts God, there is life. When man contacts the devil, there is death. Everything with God is real, and nothing is false. Everything with Satan is unreal; he pretends to be good, and he pretends to give knowledge. A man may be touching something that he considers good, but within that something is death.
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What did man touch in the garden of Eden? He touched the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The result was that he received Satan into his being, and he became fallen. Satan is the evil one, the one who holds the power of death. The meaning of the fall is that Satan entered into man. The meaning of salvation is that Satan is driven out and God has entered in. Ephesians 2 says that within the unbelievers there is the operation of the evil spirits. Christ said once that we were of our father, and our father was Satan. This is why some people say that those who gamble are "gambling-demons," and those who take opium are "opium-demons." When a man sins many times, eventually the devil is lived out of that man. When you go into the casino, the people you see do not look like human beings; everyone looks like a devil. Before a man is saved, it is the devil that is living in him. Such ones may be honest on the outside, but they are deceitful on the inside. Who is inside of them? It is the devil who is inside of them. Many times, a person cannot control himself. This is because Satan is living within him. Man has been mingled with the devil.

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Old 08-10-2008, 03:07 AM   #52
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It can be noticed that Nigel Tomes stressed in his writings that “Satan dwells in man’s body.” However, if you will consider the local church’s Beliefs and Teachings, it was said that “the nature of Satan was injected into man’s body and transmuted it into the flesh.” Likewise, Brother Witness Lee taught that “Satan is in our flesh.”

Between the statements of the local church Beliefs and Teaching and Brother Witness Lee, both of them had indicated the word “flesh”; whereas, Nigel Tomes had indicated the word “body”.

Is there any difference between the words “flesh” and “body”? I believe there is a vast difference between these two words as Brother Witness Lee used it.

Brother Witness Lee was very careful in distinguishing between the “flesh” and the “body” since he knew exactly the difference between the "body" and the "flesh". God created man from the dust (body) and breathed in his nostril the breath of life (spirit) making man a living soul (soul). However, upon man’s fall the body was transmuted into FLESH; the soul into SELF; and the spirit was deadened. Therefore, according to Brother Witness Lee's teaching, the "body" refers to the body of man before his fall; the "flesh" refers to the "corrupted" body of man after his fall. This concept is very clear in Brother Witness Lee's writings:
Brother Paul,

I do not find your quotes and understanding of brother Lee's ministry entirely accurate or complete.

Witness Lee did in fact claim "Satan dwells in man's body"
For example consider the following quote:
Quote:
“Man has two organs: the body as an outward organ and the spirit as an inward organ. In between these two organs is our being, that is, the human soul (1 Thes. 5:23)…The body is the outward organ for us to contact the material things. Our spirit is the inward organ for us to contact God. Through the fall, the devil, Satan, came into the outward organ, the human body. But in our regeneration, the Lord Jesus came into our inward organ, our human spirit. We also need to realize that as Christians, we have three persons. The first person is yourself in your soul, your being. The second person is Satan in your flesh. And the third person is Christ in your spirit. This kind of truth has been fully missed today.” W. Lee, The Flesh & the Spirit, Chp.2, p. 24 emphasis added
Note this statement by Witness Lee which contradicts that which you claim and that which you quoted.

"Through the fall, the devil, Satan, came into the outward organ, the human body"

If you must inject this forum with the incessant quotes of brothers Nee and Lee rather than your considerations based on their ministry (and more importantly the Bible), please try to do so in an accurate and complete way.

Thank you.
Steve

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Old 08-10-2008, 05:14 AM   #53
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AndPeter, you have missed to emphasize the following in your quotation:

Quote:
The first person is yourself in your soul, your being. The second person is Satan in your flesh. And the third person is Christ in your spirit. This kind of truth has been fully missed today.
What you have quoted:

Quote:
Through the fall, the devil, Satan, came into the outward organ, the human body.
Brother Witness Lee was narrating about the "human body" before man's fall. However, if you will continue reading your own quotation from Brother Witness Lee, he was very consistent in his writing that after man's fall, he no longer called the human body as "body" but as "flesh".

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Old 08-10-2008, 08:04 AM   #54
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The newly cooked food is fresh but when exposed to air for some time the food gets spoiled. If I can remember it correctly there are some germs or bacteria that are added in the food and this is the reason the food is no longer fresh but spoiled.

Man's whole being (body, soul, and spirit) was corrupted because of their sin of disobedience which was fully illustrated by eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil which signifies death or Satan.
Dear Paul, we can play with different metaphors, but metaphors are useful only when they are based on the Word. Now let's see at the biblical picture of the fall. You know the law of the first occurrence that establishes a principle. The first one to fall was Lucifer. Now can you tell me what kind of bacteria did he catch? Or who injected sinful nature into him? What does the Word say about his fall? "You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you... you became filled with violence within, and you sinned... Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty... You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor...(Ez. 28:15-17). Satan fell because iniquity was found in him, it did not come from outside. It was not injected into him. No sinful nature was added to him. He corrupted his own nature.

The same happened to man. God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes (Eccl. 7:29). The verse from James that you cited confirms my point. James 1:13-15: When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Satan can entice us. He can tempt us with something that appeals to our desires, but there is not foreign nature that makes us sin. So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable... (Gen. 3:6). What cause the fall of Eve was her own desire! It was stirred up by Satan, but it was her own desire.

Another thing: you say that when man ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, satanic nature entered man. But notice: Eve sinned before the fruit actually got into her. She looked at the fruit, desired it and and stretched her hand to get the fruit - it was already an act of sinning - desire was conceived and gave birth to sin - and it was before she actually ate the fruit.

Now you have to prove that the tree of knowledge is Satan. I have two reasons to doubt it: 1) If the tree of knowledge was Satan, then there were two Satans in the Garden - serpent and tree; 2) tree of knowledge was planted by God (Gen. 2:9).

And, Paul, if you wish to reply to my post, please do it with the Bible and point by point. God bless you!
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Old 08-10-2008, 11:31 AM   #55
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Well stated, KSA. I agree 100%. The part about Eve sinning before she ate the fruit is a very strong point. And you are right, we can play with metaphors all day long and it means little. Lee's satanology is totally based on a metaphor, on the word "dwell," when Paul said that nothing good dwells in his flesh, implying something personified. That's pretty weak gruel, to use another metaphor.

And again, as Ohio said, Lee is probably, with his accounting mind, trying to "balance" the account. God lives in us, so Satan must also. Pleasingly symmetrical, but the Bible does not tell us to find symmetry wherever we can.
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Old 08-10-2008, 12:37 PM   #56
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KSA -

Thank you for the further discussion. Forgive me if this post seems to take us further afield from the original topic but it is leading me to some deeper, maybe more philosophical, questions that I have been wrestling with because of some things I am hearing in fellowship with other believers.

The first is the question of the origination, or originator, of evil itself. Some say that ultimately God Himself must be the creator of evil because Satan is a created being. And, was he created having a free will. If I am understanding you correctly Satan is himself the creator of evil and man followed him after temptation by himself (man) reproducing in himself that which Satan had previously created, and thus producing the sin in human nature, not by taking Satan into his (man) being but by reproduction, which was possible because of man's God-given free will. (sorry for that long sentence).

All of this, to me, leads to the question of ultimate responsibility for sin. If man created his own condition then he is obviously responsible for the consequences. If "the devil made me do it!!", then that is something different. And if God did it, then that is really something different.

The NT tells us the Lord Jesus saying that Satan "had nothing in me" which seems to say that the temptation from outside, with Satan as the source, had no corresponding sin in Christ that would respond to it. No doubt we can all agree that our own personal experience matches this understanding, with the opposite results.

I am tending to agree with your thoughts on this subject but striving for further clarification on my own part. I hope you would continue.

Grace.

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Old 08-10-2008, 01:44 PM   #57
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Dear Arizona, thank you so much for your good questions. You asked about the origin of evil. How was it possible for a creature created by God to find sin in itself? I gave a lot of thought to this matter, and I believe that I have some light from the Lord regarding this. I will share it with you, and let's see if it satisfies you.

I have come to conclusion that sin was possible because God's creation was not perfect. Only God is absolutely perfect. Everything that is not God does not have absolute perfectness. There are some verses that show us this: He charges His angels with error (Job 4:18), and the heavens are not pure in His sight (Job. 15:15). God's creation was good, but not perfect, and in this imperfection the possibility of sin was hidden. This is how Satan fell. And this is imperfectness Satan appealed to in man, when tempting him.

God is not a creator of evil as His creation is good. But because the creation is not perfect, sin is possible, but this possibility lies in the freedom of will. Therefore, the responsibility is on the moral agent who used his free will to activate this possibility.

Why God's new creation is His masterpiece? Because the new creation partakes of God's life and nature - and in this way partakes of His absolute perfectness - be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect! None of the old creation, even faithful angels, is as perfect as God. Only the church, the Body of Christ, has access to God's full perfection. This is why there will be no danger of sin anymore for us in eternity.

I hope it helps. God bless you!
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Old 08-10-2008, 10:37 PM   #58
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Dear Paul, we can play with different metaphors, but metaphors are useful only when they are based on the Word. Now let's see at the biblical picture of the fall. You know the law of the first occurrence that establishes a principle. The first one to fall was Lucifer. Now can you tell me what kind of bacteria did he catch? Or who injected sinful nature into him? What does the Word say about his fall? "You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you... you became filled with violence within, and you sinned... Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty... You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor...(Ez. 28:15-17). Satan fell because iniquity was found in him, it did not come from outside. It was not injected into him. No sinful nature was added to him. He corrupted his own nature.
Though man and Lucifer are both creatures of God, however they are totally different. When God created man he had body, soul, and spirit and the "uncreated life of God" as signified by the Tree of Life was outside of man, as well as "sin" or "sinful nature" or "death" or "personified Satan" as signified by the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil.

Now, please take note that Satan is "spirit" and has no body nor soul.

For a clear mind, we would be able to reason out that nothing can be injected to Satan since he did not possess any body in the first place. You said that "Satan fell because iniquity was found in him, it did not come from outside." I can agree with this statement. However, Satan was not privileged by God to choose from any tree, only man was given this high privilege.

The Bible is so illustrative that you cannot miss what God is telling us. The tenet of the Bible is for God, as the Triune God, to dispense Himself into man. God cannot dispense Himself to any other creatures because only man is perfectly matched and compatible with God. The Word says, whatever is born of flesh is flesh, whatever is born of Spirit is spirit. Please pray-read Zechariah 12:1 and you will see for yourself how important man is to God. God created the universe for the earth to exist. God created the earth for man to exist. God formed the spirit within the man to make man His habitation. God is Spirit and only the spirit of man can receive and communicate with God alone.

Unfortunately, Satan frustrated God's plan for man to take Him as man's life as signified by the Tree of Life by deceiving and persuading man to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, thus death reigned through the first Adam. Death is of the Devil, who is Satan. After the fall, the body was no longer a "body" but transmuted into "flesh".

Praise the Lord! The Bible is full of illustrations because the Tree of Life that was missed by the first Adam is now available through the Lord Jesus Christ who Himself declared that He is the True Vine. The Tree of Life is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself! (I hope you will agree with me that the Tree of Life is signfied by the Lord Jesus.)

Christ is within you the hope of glory! Does this Word ring a bell? If the first Adam had eaten the fruit of the Tree of Life, I believe you are in agreement within that something was "injected" or received by man, Who is Christ within us. In like manner, why can't we understand that through the mistake of the first Adam by eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil something was "injected" or received by man. After man's fall, the human being was corrupted: the body was transmuted into flesh; the soul into self; and the spirit was deadened. Death reigned in man's body which used to be but now, after man's fall, was corrupted by Satan.

Grace be with you.
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Old 08-10-2008, 10:53 PM   #59
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The same happened to man. God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes (Eccl. 7:29). The verse from James that you cited confirms my point. James 1:13-15: When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Satan can entice us. He can tempt us with something that appeals to our desires, but there is not foreign nature that makes us sin. So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable... (Gen. 3:6). What cause the fall of Eve was her own desire! It was stirred up by Satan, but it was her own desire.
I totally disagree with you on this one.

The "man" being discussed in James 1:13-15 is a corrupted man, the "man" after the fall of the first Adam. This man being discussed by James is a "fallen man" or "soulish man" where "sin" reigns in him, the "body of sin" is totally in connivance with the "old man", and the "old man" which is our "self" is always in agreement with "sin" to make sins. Please pray-read Romans 6:6.

Eve's mistake would not result in "death reigning in man" should she had not eaten the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. God's command to man was not to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. And we know all, that the consequence of disobeying God's command "you will surely die". The New Testament tells us that the penalty or wages of sin is death. Prior to Eve's eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil, death was not yet present in man's body. It was the very act of Eve when she ate the fruit from the Tree of Knoweldge of Good and Evil that death totally manifested in man's being; and thereby, transmuting the body into flesh, the soul into self, and the spirit was deadened.

The Bible is so illustrative using the "fruit" and the act of man eating the fruit to show us that something was received by man that caused his fall and corrupted man's body, soul, and spirit.
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Old 08-10-2008, 11:01 PM   #60
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Another thing: you say that when man ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, satanic nature entered man. But notice: Eve sinned before the fruit actually got into her. She looked at the fruit, desired it and and stretched her hand to get the fruit - it was already an act of sinning - desire was conceived and gave birth to sin - and it was before she actually ate the fruit.
What you have said that "before she actually ate the fruit" "was already an act of sinning" is actually applicable to the "fallen man" or "soulish man" and NOT to the first Adam nor Eve, who had not known "sin" or "death" before.

Do you remember what the Word says? Their mind was opened after eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Their mind were not opened before eating the fruit! The effect of "sin" was not yet in them before eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil; only after they have eaten the fruit. After the fruit had been received in their body, only then "sin" or "death" manifested in them.

The first Adam or Eve experience at the Garden of Eden is totally different with what you were citing in your above statement.
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Old 08-10-2008, 11:12 PM   #61
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Now you have to prove that the tree of knowledge is Satan. I have two reasons to doubt it: 1) If the tree of knowledge was Satan, then there were two Satans in the Garden - serpent and tree; 2) tree of knowledge was planted by God (Gen. 2:9).
Although the tree of the knowledge of good and evil signifies Satan, it does not signify him directly. It firstly signifies everything apart from God and then it signifies Satan indirectly, because Satan is hidden at the back of the things that are apart from God. Satan likes to conceal himself. Thus, the tree of knowledge represents him indirectly.

The tree of knowledge firstly signifies everything utilized by Satan, regardless of whether it is good or evil. It does not signify Satan directly, because he likes to hide. When Satan first entered into man, he did not do it in a frank way. He came in the form of a serpent. At the beginning of the Bible, the serpent was very cunning and apparently was quite attractive (Gen. 3:1), unlike the ugly serpents under God's curse. As Eve conversed with the serpent, she did not realize that Satan was in it. Herein lies the principle of Satan's appearing: he never appears frankly, but subtly.

The nature and result of the tree of life are both life because it is a tree of life. But the nature and result of the tree of knowledge of good and evil are both death because knowledge, good, and evil are all of death and bring in death. Anything that is not life is of death and results in death. Actually, the tree of knowledge of good and evil is the tree of death; yet it is not called the tree of death, but the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Death is not only behind evil; it is also behind knowledge and good. The title of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is subtle because Satan always likes to conceal himself. Satan has the power of death (Heb. 2:14). Since the tree of knowledge of good and evil is actually the tree of death, it signifies Satan.
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Old 08-10-2008, 11:35 PM   #62
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Though man and Lucifer are both creatures of God, however they are totally different.
You have to prove from the Word that this difference - Lucifer being angel and Adam being a man - is significant in our understanding of the fall. The fall is primary a corruption of will - both Lucifer and Adam had a free will, in this way they were no different.
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Old 08-10-2008, 11:44 PM   #63
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I totally disagree with you on this one.

The "man" being discussed in James 1:13-15 is a corrupted man, the "man" after the fall of the first Adam. This man being discussed by James is a "fallen man" or "soulish man" where "sin" reigns in him, the "body of sin" is totally in connivance with the "old man", and the "old man" which is our "self" is always in agreement with "sin" to make sins. Please pray-read Romans 6:6.

Eve's mistake would not result in "death reigning in man" should she had not eaten the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Before Eve ate from the fruit, she 1) had doubted God's word, 2) believed Satan, 3) decided to break God's commandment, 4) and acted upon here decision. It was sin! Look how Paul described the fall: as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds be corrupted... (2 Cor. 11:3). So the fall here is described as the corruption of mind through deceit. In her act we see lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John. 2:16).
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Old 08-10-2008, 11:53 PM   #64
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The nature and result of the tree of life are both life because it is a tree of life. But the nature and result of the tree of knowledge of good and evil are both death because knowledge, good, and evil are all of death and bring in death. Anything that is not life is of death and results in death. Actually, the tree of knowledge of good and evil is the tree of death; yet it is not called the tree of death, but the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Death is not only behind evil; it is also behind knowledge and good. The title of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is subtle because Satan always likes to conceal himself. Satan has the power of death (Heb. 2:14). Since the tree of knowledge of good and evil is actually the tree of death, it signifies Satan.
Herein lies the problem: death is not the result of the tree - there is nothing that proves it. Death was the result of disobedience, and the Word is clear about this. For as by one's man's disobedience many were made sinners... (Rom. 5:19). Death cannot be the nature of the tree of knowledge, because 1) it was planted by God, and God is not a source of death, 2) the tree was good for food (Gen. 3:6).
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Old 08-11-2008, 01:33 AM   #65
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You have to prove from the Word that this difference - Lucifer being angel and Adam being a man - is significant in our understanding of the fall. The fall is primary a corruption of will - both Lucifer and Adam had a free will, in this way they were no different.
We are talking about the writing of Nigel Tomes where he was contending that the local church and specifically Brother Witness Lee erred when he wrote that something was injected in man after the fall. This something has to do with the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil which signifies "sin", "death", even "Satan" himself that entered into man and corrupted him, whereby his body was transmuted into flesh, his soul was transmuted into self, and his spirit was deadened.

The book of Genesis chapter 3 is so vivid illustrating that the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil entered into man after man ate the fruit. Thus, "sin" or "death" reigned in man after the fall of man. The Old Testament are full of illustrations that cannot be found in the New Testament. The New Testament deals mostly with spiritual things which nobody can see them clearly except we go back to the Old Testament for us to see them accurately.

The point we are making is that whether Nigel Tomes had made a mistake in assessing the teachings of the local church or Brother Witness Lee. Discussing about Lucifer is a tangent in this subject. You must accept the reality that Lucifer does not have a "body" to be compared with "man". Therefore, you must go back to man's being having body, soul, and spirit to defend the writings of Nigel Tomes.

I can see clearly that Nigel Tomes lacks the understanding of the vast difference between "flesh" and "body". I can also perceive that he must have neglected the difference of the status or condition of man between "man's prior fall" and "man's after fall". Sorry to say, but this statement also applies to you.
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Old 08-11-2008, 01:43 AM   #66
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Before Eve ate from the fruit, she 1) had doubted God's word, 2) believed Satan, 3) decided to break God's commandment, 4) and acted upon here decision. It was sin! Look how Paul described the fall: as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds be corrupted... (2 Cor. 11:3). So the fall here is described as the corruption of mind through deceit. In her act we see lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John. 2:16).
Again, you are discussing a "fallen man" or "soulish man" in this respect. We are talking about the first Adam or Eve who had not been fallen yet at the time when the serpent approached the woman. Just ask yourself, when did the first Adam die? As a hint, he died when "sin" entered into him as "death".

If the fall of man has to do with the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, then, the rise of man has to do with the Tree of Life. What would you do with the Tree of Life for man to rise? I believe you will agree with me that we must eat the fruit from the Tree of Life because it signifies the very uncreated life of God. If man has not been disobedient and did not eat the fruit from Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, would you consider man as "righteous" at that particular moment while the fruit, either from Tree of Life or Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, are still outside of man or has not been eaten yet?
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Old 08-11-2008, 01:44 AM   #67
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Well, Paul, I see that you stay convinced in your view which is ok. I have clearly presented my arguments and proofs, so readers of this forum can compare and judge for themselves.

As for flesh, I will leave this topic for a later time. I hope that other participants will join this discussion.
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Old 08-11-2008, 01:52 AM   #68
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Again, you are discussing a "fallen man" or "soulish man" in this respect. We are talking about the first Adam or Eve who had not been fallen yet at the time when the serpent approached the woman. Just ask yourself, when did the first Adam die? As a hint, he died when "sin" entered into him as "death".
Paul, do you deny that Eve doubted God's word before she ate the fruit? Isn't it a sin to doubt God's word? Witness Lee actually claimed that Eve denied Adam's authority over here when talked to serpent. Isn't it also a sin to deny the authority over you? Moreover, she lied and misrepresented God, when said that God forbidden her to touch the fruit of the tree of knowledge (Gen. 3:3). Isn't it a sin?

When did Adam die? When he disobeyed! Sin came into his through disobedience, not through the fruit - Rom. 5 is clear about this!

Anyway, as I mentioned in my previous post, I stated my position, and it is now up to readers to decide which view is scriptural.
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Old 08-11-2008, 01:57 AM   #69
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Herein lies the problem: death is not the result of the tree - there is nothing that proves it. Death was the result of disobedience, and the Word is clear about this. For as by one's man's disobedience many were made sinners... (Rom. 5:19). Death cannot be the nature of the tree of knowledge, because 1) it was planted by God, and God is not a source of death, 2) the tree was good for food (Gen. 3:6).
I believe you are confused here, KSA. God Himself told Adam and Eve that if they would ever eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil they will surely die. Did not God speak here about "death"? It's true that the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was placed by God, along with the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden, but you must have forgotten that God forbade man to eat the fruit thereof!

How can you say that "Death cannot be the nature of the tree of knowledge" wherein God Himself was telling Adam and Eve that they will SURELY DIE the moment they eat the fruit thereof? Are we having another Word coming from you now?
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Old 08-11-2008, 02:21 AM   #70
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Paul, it is you who are confused when you use the word "nature". I do not doubt that eating from tree caused death, but it does not mean that death is the nature of this tree. Please, prove that death was the nature of the tree (when God Himself said that it was good for food). You should very well know that premature knowledge can be dangerous, and even cause death. But it does not mean that death is the nature of this knowledge. The tree of knowledge gave man something that only God had - God said "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil" (Gen. 3:22). Don't you think that this verse contradicts Lee's teaching that God is life, but knowledge of good and evil belongs to Satan? God knows good and evil, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil expresses this attribute of God. This tree has nothing to do with Satan. Satan tempted man to get something that belongs to God, just like he himself attempted to get something that belongs to God. Man fell because he craved something that belongs to God, but he wanted it apart from God. He wanted to become like God, just like Satan wanted to become like God. And this caused his death, just like it caused Satan's death.
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Old 08-11-2008, 04:13 AM   #71
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If the fall of man has to do with the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, then, the rise of man has to do with the Tree of Life.
On what do you base this statement? Is this not another of Lee's man-made parallelisms? I have seen no scripture that says this. The only references to the Tree of Life are in Revelation and you kind of need to have been "saved" before this time. Any other reference to the Tree of Life in the NT is a creation of Lee and not of the Word of God.
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Old 08-11-2008, 05:06 AM   #72
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Paul,

Two things.

1) Much of your defense of Lee's theology depends on jumping to conclusions.

2) The fact that you do not disagree with Lee or Nee on anything hurts your credibility, if simply based on the fact that Lee and Nee didnt' agree on everything. But the fact that you act as if you don't differ in any way makes you uncredible. This is why I rarely discuss matters with you. You are not interested in discussion nor in admitting to the weak points of what Lee taught. You simply have an agenda to defend him at all cost. In doing so you just look foolish, like a person who can't think for himself but still wants to be seen as wise.
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Old 08-11-2008, 05:29 AM   #73
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Seems to me that Lee's theology and that of his parrot PaulM is: by eating the banana the sinful nature a/k/a Satan got into man and was somehow passed on down to us via the banana cells. Perhaps we should call this biotheology.

In fact, as has been pointed out several times the sin was disobedience.
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Old 08-11-2008, 07:36 AM   #74
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The tree of knowledge gave man something that only God had - God said "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil" (Gen. 3:22). Don't you think that this verse contradicts Lee's teaching that God is life, but knowledge of good and evil belongs to Satan? God knows good and evil, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil expresses this attribute of God. This tree has nothing to do with Satan.
You need to answer this Paul M. If it was the nature of the tree, "the knowledge of good and evil," that caused man to die, then God too must die, because He knows good and evil.

KSA is correct. Man died because he chose to disobey not because of some "nature of the tree."

God told Adam not to eat of the tree. Maybe as Adam became more mature, God would have said one day that he was mature enough to have the knowledge that tree would give. Just like we do with our children. There is a time and place for learning certain things and it is dependent on their maturity. Children need to trust and obey, just as Adam should have done. (The N.T. speaks of discerning between good and evil as something for mature believers.)

Sometimes our children learn the hard way and we have to allow this. This is not the preferable path to maturity, but sometimes it is the path children choose.

All of mankind has learned a very hard lesson, the hard way. We all face the results of disobedience to God every day. Like the prodigal son, one day we woke up and realized we were in the pig sty eating pig slop. We came to our senses and start looking for home. I guarantee you that the prodigal son, once restored to his father, did not exercise his freedom to go out again.

Why? Was it because the father injected the returning prodigal with some processed father drug that enabled the prodigal to stay home?

No, it is because the prodigal having learned the consequences of leaving his father would never choose to do so again. He would stay of his own volition, not because he was drugged with his Dad's nature. Staying with his father meant that every single need would be met. That is what grace is. Grace is not like a bio-drug that changes us biologically, intrinsically, organically, or whatever automatic sounding word you wish to use.

Grace is God's full and complete provision for us that is available to us as His children when we ask. Just as our choice to disobey opened the door for the the power of the spirit that works in the children of disobedience to control us, our choice to believe in Christ opened the door to the power of the Holy Spirit to energize us. We ask and He gives. Day by day this is how Christ lives in us. We will remain for eternity beings with freedom to choose to go out on our own, but we will never, never do this because we know what that means and because we have seen and known the love that God has towards us.

Thankful Jane

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Old 08-11-2008, 10:05 AM   #75
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Seems to me that Lee's theology and that of his parrot PaulM is: by eating the banana the sinful nature a/k/a Satan got into man and was somehow passed on down to us via the banana cells. Perhaps we should call this biotheology.

In fact, as has been pointed out several times the sin was disobedience.
LSM uses this analogy for both sides.
When we accept Christ and follow Him and are being transformed...we are being...re"gene"rated. (taking the word sperma literally saying we have God's DNA). In order to balance this word, you need the sin injection in the garden.

Sue
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Old 08-11-2008, 10:19 AM   #76
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I agree that the sin is/was disobedience. But does this mean that I was not BORN sinful, but rather lost access to God only after my first actual act of disobedience (which, if I remember correctly, was at age 8 months )?

If not - that is, if I WAS born with and in sin, how is that possible? Bio-theology?
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Old 08-11-2008, 11:01 AM   #77
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I agree that the sin is/was disobedience. But does this mean that I was not BORN sinful, but rather lost access to God only after my first actual act of disobedience (which, if I remember correctly, was at age 8 months )?

If not - that is, if I WAS born with and in sin, how is that possible? Bio-theology?

"Through one man's disobedience the many were made sinners." Romans 5:19a

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Original_sin
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Old 08-11-2008, 11:16 AM   #78
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I agree that the sin is/was disobedience. But does this mean that I was not BORN sinful, but rather lost access to God only after my first actual act of disobedience (which, if I remember correctly, was at age 8 months )?

If not - that is, if I WAS born with and in sin, how is that possible? Bio-theology?
To understand this, we only need to understand the basic truth of the gospel. We were born in bondage to Satan because of Adam's transgression. We are slaves to sin and under the power of an evil master. Our Daddy was a slave, so we are born into slavery, into Satan's dark kingdom. We work for the evil master and earn the wages of death. The "devil made me do it" is true in the sense of the master/slave relationship, not because Satan inhabits our our body. He is stronger than us and he has the legal papers showing ownership since the day Adam chose to obey him. An evil master has power over a slave's body but does not live in it.

Jesus has now Jesus paid the debt for us and bought our freedom. When we believe this we get transferred to another kingdom where by faith we become sons of God and His willing servants.

If you believe that your body acts under the control of Satan because he is in it, then it follows that the only way God can take over is to move out Satan and move Himself into your body. The Bible does not teach either of these things. Our body is not swallowed up by Him until the very last, when God has done his work in our heart.

Lee taught us that Christ lived in our spirit and Satan lived in our body and that they both were fighting for possession of our soul. (This is the stuff mental illness is made of.) Yet, the Bible charges us (as believers) to be cleansed from all filthiness of flesh and spirit. This means we can have a filthy spirit. The spirit that works in the sons of disobedience works in us and convinces our mind to sin. When we do, we are supplied by the evil source to carry out the deeds. We are persuaded in our mind by lies and we act.

In the same way, when we are cleansed from our sins, we begin a new relationship with the Holy Spirit, who inspires and persuades us by the truth in His Word and transforms us by renewing our mind, changing our way of thinking. As as we choose to obey God, which is our most reasonable service, and present our bodies to him for his use, He supplies us by His Spirit. He doesn't come and inhabit our physical body when we surrender it to Him. Rather he makes his home in our heart and lives there comfortably with us. The Father and Son come and make their abode with us. He doesnt' pack us up and move us out.

There is much more scriptural support for what I am presenting than for the automaton idea.

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Old 08-11-2008, 01:23 PM   #79
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To understand this, we only need to understand the basic truth of the gospel. We were born in bondage to Satan because of Adam's transgression. We are slaves to sin and under the power of an evil master. Our Daddy was a slave, so we are born into slavery, into Satan's dark kingdom. We work for the evil master and earn the wages of death. The "devil made me do it" is true in the sense of the master/slave relationship, not because Satan inhabits our our body. He is stronger than us and he has the legal papers showing ownership since the day Adam chose to obey him. An evil master has power over a slave's body but does not live in it.

...

There is much more scriptural support for what I am presenting than for the automaton idea.

Thankful Jane
Dear Jane:

I don't disagree with the master/slave analogy. My response is along the same lines as my last response to you in the "Last Adam" thread (did you get a chance to look at that? I know you've been pretty swamped). I keep coming back to this and related topics because, the way you are articulating the experience is a view that has caused me much mental disorder. Really. Read my description of the "angst" I've wrestled with in the "Last Adam" thread. In specific response to you here, though:

What about the law of sin and death? I don't obey that law because I'll get a ticket or get lashes from my master - as if its the external law of a kingdom (which is what a strict and exclusive master/slave analogy would turn it into). I obey that law because it is within me and operates like a law of nature. I do even that which I do not want to do. So did Paul. It compels me. Its not because an external master orders me to. Its because something within me compels me to.

I don't care "where" Satan or sin dwells as far as the complete theology goes - and, as such, I don't really care if Lee was right or wrong on Satan dwelling in our flesh. And the fact that the law of sin and death operates within me did make me an automaton - at least until the law of the spirit of life freed me. As one who has been saved, I'm not automaton now either.

At any rate, thoughts on "the law of sin and death" as an internal force?

In Love,

Peter

P.S. Have you ever dealt extensively with an alcoholic? I think sin works the same way with all of us, but it is really stark and clear - less subtle - with someone with an outward addiction.
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Old 08-11-2008, 02:39 PM   #80
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Dear Jane:

I don't care "where" Satan or sin dwells as far as the complete theology goes - and, as such, I don't really care if Lee was right or wrong on Satan dwelling in our flesh.
Peter, are you seriously telling us that given the choice of having Satan living in your body or not having Satan living in your body you'd say it makes no difference to you?
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Old 08-11-2008, 03:51 PM   #81
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Igzy:

In my rambling, I must have not made my point clear. The question is whether sin is in me (wherever or however) or not. If the sinful nature is in me, then I'm not sure it's makes a whole lot of difference where.

I am more concerned about the force of the law of sin and death and from where it operates. Is it internal? If so, it doesn't make a whole lot of difference (from a larger perspective), where it specifically dwells unless we have a very compartmentalized view of our parts.

From the totality of my post, I am suprised that this is the point with which you have contention or, at least, this is the point you felt to comment on. Is there something huge that I am missing? It wouldn't be the first time. As always, my ears and heart are open to correction.

In Love,

Peter
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Old 08-11-2008, 04:04 PM   #82
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I should also say, so as to keep on topic, I think Nigel's point was not a major one in regards to where Satan dwells. In fact, his article distinguishes between two things that doesn't have a real experiential consequence for me:

1) is a "virtual personification of Satan" indwelling us or
2) are we actually Satan possessed

His point, I think, was not specifically about how important the truth of this matter is, but rather to point out that Brother Lee was wrong on this issue. That is, his point was not about the theology on this point, but rather to show that Lee was not infallible. Likewise with his essay on Ham - Nigel isn't burdened about racism in the LC, he is burdened about a view that considers Lee infallible - that's the reason for writing these articles.

Which is why my posts aren't geared toward the content of Nigel's argument. I have no problem saying, "fine, Satan doesn't dwell in my body." But, somehow, the very nature of sin operates within me and in my members such that I am compelled (not by an outward master) to do that which I don't even want to do.

I think there is a symmetry. The decendant's of Adam are children of the devil - not just slaves to him. Just as we are children of God and slaves of Christ. I don't get all giddy just because there is a symmetry. But if there is one, I'd like not to be condemned as failing from a Lee-disease just because I point it out. That said, I'm also willing to hear a view that explains why I could be misdirected in this area...

Peter
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Old 08-11-2008, 04:44 PM   #83
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Igzy:
In my rambling, I must have not made my point clear. ..
My point was that these kinds of discussions can get so theoretical that people can say the most amazing things, like, as you implied but probably didn't mean, "I don't really care if a fallen angel lives in my body or not."

This, I think, is illustrative of one huge problem with this whole Satan-indwells-our-body nonsense. It's become such an abstract concept that people don't even realize what they are saying when they say it.

I understand what you meant by the point you made, that you are concerned with the impact of sin and death in your life. I just thought it was funny that to make your point you basically said that you don't care whether a fallen angel makes his home in your body or not.

Perhaps your nonchalance about what should upon reflection be terrifying is related to the fact that we still don't know how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
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Old 08-11-2008, 05:14 PM   #84
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Setting aside biotheology I'm not convinced Satan is omnipresent in the first place. How could he dwell in so many people at once?
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Old 08-11-2008, 06:52 PM   #85
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Setting aside biotheology I'm not convinced Satan is omnipresent in the first place. How could he dwell in so many people at once?
While I'm not sure if I agree with Lee or Tomes on this issue, I would like to point out that Lee's teaching about this had an important element which I think has been missing from this debate. He felt Satan's injecting of his nature into humanity was ultimately a huge mistake on Satan's part. By placing something of himself into mankind, the Satanic nature, could now be destroyed on the cross. Christ, in putting on the flesh, took on this human nature which, though Satan had no place in him, was in the line of Adam.

I have pondered this point many, many times. I liken Satan's blunder in Eden to the sacrifice a chess player may make of a pawn (or two, in this case). Among true chess masters, no loss of a piece is without a price. Satan must have pondered this fresh young pair, placed in such a vulnerable state. Hence he comes with questions, not sure, I think, of who exactly they were. When they bit, he experienced the momentary rush of joy in capturing two pieces.

But the Lord is a master chess player as well. The price was to be paid later and in another grand sacrifice, the queen, as it were. Satan again was puzzled by the appearance of something new -- Jesus Christ -- and again approached him with questions. He examined this one for three years or more. Finally he determined that God had made a mistake, a colossal one this. So he had him crucified. Oh, how the demons and fallen angels must have been high-fiving it as the nails went in.

But then, like all chess players who have taken the queen thinking it a brilliancy, only to find ... oops. At what point Satan and his minions realized their horrible mistake, I know not. Surely by the resurrection, they were clear.

Well, this meandering exposition is meant to point out that Lee's view that Satan was injected into man's flesh wasn't just for the heck of it. It was ultimately the trapping of Satan so that he could be destroyed on the cross.


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Old 08-11-2008, 08:51 PM   #86
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I would like to point out that Lee's teaching about this had an important element which I think has been missing from this debate. He felt Satan's injecting of his nature into humanity was ultimately a huge mistake on Satan's part. By placing something of himself into mankind, the Satanic nature, could now be destroyed on the cross.

I have pondered this point many, many times. I liken Satan's blunder in Eden to the sacrifice a chess player may make of a pawn
SC, how interesting for you to use the chess analogy to explain God's wisdom in a mystery, I Cor 2.8, "for if they had known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory."
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Old 08-11-2008, 10:35 PM   #87
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Well, this meandering exposition is meant to point out that Lee's view that Satan was injected into man's flesh wasn't just for the heck of it. It was ultimately the trapping of Satan so that he could be destroyed on the cross.
Amen!
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Old 08-11-2008, 10:57 PM   #88
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On what do you base this statement? Is this not another of Lee's man-made parallelisms? I have seen no scripture that says this. The only references to the Tree of Life are in Revelation and you kind of need to have been "saved" before this time. Any other reference to the Tree of Life in the NT is a creation of Lee and not of the Word of God.
Man was created in the image of God, but he was like a photograph showing something of God without having the life of God. Although man was in the image of God, he did not have the life of God. God intended that man should partake of the life indicated by the tree of life. Man failed to do it. Today, by believing in Christ, we have been brought back to share in that life. We all have received eternal life. Thus, there is no other way for us to express God in His image and to represent God with His authority except by sharing His life. This is confirmed by many verses in the Bible.

The tree of life typifies Christ who imparts life to man and who pleases and satisfies man (cf. John 15:1; Exo. 15:25). Christ imparts divine life into us, pleases us, and satisfies us. Many of us can testify of this. We can say, "Hallelujah! Jesus has imparted life to me. He satisfies me all the time." This is the tree of life.

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Old 08-11-2008, 11:20 PM   #89
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Paul, it is you who are confused when you use the word "nature". I do not doubt that eating from tree caused death, but it does not mean that death is the nature of this tree. Please, prove that death was the nature of the tree (when God Himself said that it was good for food). You should very well know that premature knowledge can be dangerous, and even cause death. But it does not mean that death is the nature of this knowledge. The tree of knowledge gave man something that only God had - God said "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil" (Gen. 3:22). Don't you think that this verse contradicts Lee's teaching that God is life, but knowledge of good and evil belongs to Satan? God knows good and evil, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil expresses this attribute of God. This tree has nothing to do with Satan. Satan tempted man to get something that belongs to God, just like he himself attempted to get something that belongs to God. Man fell because he craved something that belongs to God, but he wanted it apart from God. He wanted to become like God, just like Satan wanted to become like God. And this caused his death, just like it caused Satan's death.
The first of these two choices was the tree of life, which denoted God Himself as life. The content of the tree of life is life. It is life, simply, purely, and absolutely. The nature of this tree and the result of this tree are also life. Life is the content, nature, and result. Everything is life.

The contents of the tree of knowledge are all things apart from God. Even the Bible inspired by God and the law given by God may be utilized in letters by Satan as the tree of knowledge.

The nature and result of the tree of life are both life because it is a tree of life. But the nature and result of the tree of knowledge of good and evil are both death because knowledge, good, and evil are all of death and bring in death. Anything that is not life is of death and results in death. Actually, the tree of knowledge of good and evil is the tree of death; yet it is not called the tree of death, but the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Death is not only behind evil; it is also behind knowledge and good. The title of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is subtle because Satan always likes to conceal himself. Satan has the power of death (Heb. 2:14). Since the tree of knowledge of good and evil is actually the tree of death, it signifies Satan.
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Old 08-11-2008, 11:25 PM   #90
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Well, Paul, you did not address my points at all, you just repeated the same old stuff that I have already dealt with. Very bad!
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Old 08-11-2008, 11:27 PM   #91
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While I'm not sure if I agree with Lee or Tomes on this issue, I would like to point out that Lee's teaching about this had an important element which I think has been missing from this debate. He felt Satan's injecting of his nature into humanity was ultimately a huge mistake on Satan's part. By placing something of himself into mankind, the Satanic nature, could now be destroyed on the cross. Christ, in putting on the flesh, took on this human nature which, though Satan had no place in him, was in the line of Adam.
SC, can you explain why for Christ to destroy Satan, it was necessary for Satan to be in man's flesh? This example with a trap is just another metaphor, but I would like to see a clear biblical ground for it.
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Old 08-12-2008, 01:06 AM   #92
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Well, Paul, you did not address my points at all, you just repeated the same old stuff that I have already dealt with. Very bad!
Please bear with me, KSA. My earlier reply had to do regarding the nature of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Please re-read my post and you will find that the nature of of the tree of life is "life"; and the nature of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is "death".

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Paul, it is you who are confused when you use the word "nature". I do not doubt that eating from tree caused death, but it does not mean that death is the nature of this tree. Please, prove that death was the nature of the tree (when God Himself said that it was good for food). You should very well know that premature knowledge can be dangerous, and even cause death. But it does not mean that death is the nature of this knowledge.
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Old 08-12-2008, 01:26 AM   #93
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I read and did not find. I addressed your points, but you did not address mine, you just repeated your old arguments that had been already addressed by me.

PS. I would like to comment this statement of yours as this would serve me as an additional argument:

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Even the Bible inspired by God and the law given by God may be utilized in letters by Satan as the tree of knowledge.
And the commandment... I found to bring death... sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me (Rom. 7:11). Here is says the law of God brings death - sin used it to deceive and kill. But does it mean that the nature of the law is death? Not at all! In verse 12 Paul says: "Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. In verse 13 Paul continues: "Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin... was producing death in me through what is good... Do you see it? In the same way Satan used something good (a tree of knowledge) to cause man fall. But the nature of the tree was good! I rest my case!
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Old 08-12-2008, 01:44 AM   #94
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The tree of knowledge gave man something that only God had - God said "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil" (Gen. 3:22). Don't you think that this verse contradicts Lee's teaching that God is life, but knowledge of good and evil belongs to Satan? God knows good and evil, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil expresses this attribute of God. This tree has nothing to do with Satan. Satan tempted man to get something that belongs to God, just like he himself attempted to get something that belongs to God. Man fell because he craved something that belongs to God, but he wanted it apart from God. He wanted to become like God, just like Satan wanted to become like God. And this caused his death, just like it caused Satan's death.
Your quotation of Genesis 3:22 was incomplete and this makes your understanding shortsighted regarding man's salvation by God.

Genesis 3:22 says, "And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever."

Here we see a picture. We all know that the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil signifies independence from God. The fruit of the tree of life, on the other hand, signifies life—the life given to us by the Son of God. After Adam sinned, God was afraid that Adam would eat of the fruit of the tree of life and that if he ate of it, he would not die. If Adam could still die after eating the fruit of the tree of life, then why did God have to do so much work? Why did He have to guard the way to the tree of life with the cherubim and the flaming sword? God did this because He was afraid that Adam would live forever if he ate of it.

Although Adam and Eve had the anticipated redemption, they did not then have the actual redemption. They were still sinful in nature. If they, being corrupted in nature, had eaten of the tree of life while in that condition, they would have lived forever with their sinful nature. God did not allow that. The tree of life signifying God must not be touched by sinful man. Thus, before the actual redemption was accomplished, God had to close the way to the tree of life. Once the actual redemption had been completed, access to the tree of life would again be possible. Thus, Genesis tells us that after God had prepared the anticipated redemption for man, He closed the way to the tree of life.

Now, I believe there is a flaw in your statements:
  • "God knows good and evil, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil expresses this attribute of God. This tree has nothing to do with Satan."
  • "Man fell because he craved something that belongs to God, but he wanted it apart from God."

Do you really mean that one of the attributes of God is the "tree of knowledge of good and evil" which signifies death?

Do you really mean that man craved for the "tree of knowledge of good and evil" that belongs to God?

I cannot see any logic in your statements.

What are the attributes of God?

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When Christ was living on this earth, He expressed the attributes of God, which are love, light, holiness, and righteousness... The Ten Commandments show us that God is love, God is light, God is holy, and God is righteous. These are the four basic elements—love, light, holiness, and righteousness—with which the Ten Commandments were composed.
Are you adding then another attribute of God, and as you are saying, the "tree of knowledge of good and evil" which signifies death? Wow! If I'm going to follow your logic, you must be concluding that even "death" is of God? I thought we were told in the Bible that the Lord Jesus came to give us life, an abundant life? By your logic, is He now giving us also "death"? Again, WOW!

You have indicated in your post that man "craved something that belongs to God". Are you not missing the Word when God forbade man (Adam and Eve) to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil? I am very positive that the reason God commanded man not to eat the fruit from the tree of knowlege of good and evil because He knows well that this fruit will not do good to them but rather harm, even unto death. God affirmed this thought when He cautioned man that as soon as they ate this fruit they "will surely die!"

Sorry KSA, I cannot buy your logic here!
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Old 08-12-2008, 01:53 AM   #95
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Now, I believe there is a flaw in your statements:
  • "God knows good and evil, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil expresses this attribute of God. This tree has nothing to do with Satan."
  • "Man fell because he craved something that belongs to God, but he wanted it apart from God."

Do you really mean that one of the attributes of God is the "tree of knowledge of good and evil" which signifies death?
The flaw in your logic is that you believe that the tree of knowledge of good and evil signifies death. It is a mere assumption without any biblical support. In my previous post I showed you how Satan uses something good to bring death. Yes, the tree of knowledge expresses an attribute of God as the Word says that man became like God, to know good and evil.

You know, Paul, debating with you becomes rather boring.. you cannot see obvious things.. probably because you have an agenda to defend a certain man's ministry, not the truth in the Word. I am really sorry for you.
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Old 08-12-2008, 02:14 AM   #96
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I read and did not find. I addressed your points, but you did not address mine, you just repeated your old arguments that had been already addressed by me.

PS. I would like to comment this statement of yours as this would serve me as an additional argument:



And the commandment... I found to bring death... sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me (Rom. 7:11). Here is says the law of God brings death - sin used it to deceive and kill. But does it mean that the nature of the law is death? Not at all! In verse 12 Paul says: "Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. In verse 13 Paul continues: "Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin... was producing death in me through what is good... Do you see it? In the same way Satan used something good (a tree of knowledge) to cause man fall. But the nature of the tree was good! I rest my case!
KSA, your explanation is out of bounds... Please remember that the letter ("law") kills but the Spirit gives life. You cannot compare the "law" with the "tree of knowledge of good and evil". The "law" was not in existence yet in the the time when the "tree of knowledge of good and evil" was placed by God in the middle of the garden. The "law" was not yet needed at that time since man has not yet fell. In fact, it was not God's intention to give the "law" to man from the beginning. The law came through Moses' time. You are just imagining things, KSA!

Below is a very clear explanation regarding the "law" and why it was given to man by God --

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Why was the law added because of transgressions? Let us look now at the last part of Romans 4:15: "But where there is no law, neither is there transgression." And let us also look at Romans 5:20: "And the law entered in alongside that the offense might abound." The purpose of the law is to cause the offense to abound. What does this mean? Sin entered the world through man, and therefore, sin is in the world. Death came from sin and began to reign. From the time of Adam to the time of Moses, sin was in the world. But how can we prove this? It is evidenced by death being in the world. If there were no sin from Adam until Moses, man would not have died. The fact that from Adam until Moses all died proves that sin was there. Although there was sin during that time, there was no law. Hence, there was only sin but no transgression. What is transgression? Sin was real and present in the world, but man did not know that sin was here until the law of God came. Through the law God showed us that we have sinned. Actually, there was sin already within us. We were corrupted already, but we did not know about it until the law came, at which time the sin within was manifested as transgressions.
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All the Bible readers and all those who understand God's will know that God did not give us the law with the intention that we keep it. The law was not meant for us to keep, but for us to break. God gave us the law so that we would transgress against it. This may be the first time for many of you to hear such a word, and you may feel that it is strange. God has known all along that you have sin. God knows this; but you yourself do not know this. Therefore God has given you the law to transgress so that you will know about yourself. God knows that you are no good, but you think that you are fine. Therefore, God has given the law. After you transgress against it once, twice, and a number of times, you will say that you have sin. Salvation will not come to you until then. Only when you admit that you do not have a way, that it is impossible for you to go on conducting yourself in such a way, will you be willing to receive the Lord Jesus as your Savior. Only then will you be willing to receive God's grace.
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Romans 7 explains this matter very clearly. Let us look at this chapter, beginning with verses 7 and 8, "What then shall we say? Is the law sin? Absolutely not! But I did not know sin except through the law; for neither did I know coveting, except the law had said, 'You shall not covet.' But sin, seizing the opportunity through the commandment, worked out in me coveting of every kind; for without the law sin is dead." Without the law, I do not feel that coveting is sin, even though there is coveting within me. Hence, coveting within me is dead; that is, I am not conscious of it. However, after the law comes, I resolve not to covet anymore. But I still covet, and the sin is made alive. Verse 9 says, "And I was alive without the law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died."
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Friends, remember that God gave you the law for one reason only: to show you that you have always been full of sin. Because you did not see your own sin, you acted proudly. The law came to try you out. You may say that you do not covet. However if you just try not to covet, what will be the eventual result? The more you try, the weaker you become and the more covetous you will be. You purpose not to covet, but the moment you purpose this way, you find yourself coveting everything. You covet today, and you will covet tomorrow; you covet everywhere you turn. Now sin is alive, the law is alive, and you are dead. Originally sin was dead and you were fine, but now that the law has come you cannot avoid coveting. The more you try not to covet, the more covetous you become. The problem is that man's being is fleshly, and because man is fleshly, his will is weak, his conduct is rebellious, and his desires are filthy.

Verse 10 says, "And the commandment, which was unto life, this very commandment was found to me to be unto death." If man can truly keep the law, he will live. But I cannot keep it; hence, I die.

Verse 11 says, "For sin, seizing the opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me." If the law had not told me that I should not do this or that, sin would go easy on me and would not be that active in me. But ever since the law came and told me that I should not covet, sin through the commandment has tempted me and put this matter of coveting in my mind. The law tells me that I should not covet, and I purpose not to covet; but instead of not coveting, I covet even more.
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Old 08-12-2008, 02:17 AM   #97
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The flaw in your logic is that you believe that the tree of knowledge of good and evil signifies death. It is a mere assumption without any biblical support. In my previous post I showed you how Satan uses something good to bring death. Yes, the tree of knowledge expresses an attribute of God as the Word says that man became like God, to know good and evil.

You know, Paul, debating with you becomes rather boring.. you cannot see obvious things.. probably because you have an agenda to defend a certain man's ministry, not the truth in the Word. I am really sorry for you.
KSA, sorry if you feel bore because I am not agreeing with you... Most of my questions to you have not been answered. You just simply ignored them.

One quick repeat question: Is the "tree of knowledge of good and evil" which signifies "death" one of the attributes of God?
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Old 08-12-2008, 02:24 AM   #98
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As with any other crucial biblical topics, the issue of Satanology seems to be so interlinked with other truths such as the Fall of man, Christology, the original sin etc in the Bible, as seen in the posts here by a lot of loving brothers and sisters. The interpretation of the Bible cannot be done away from reasoning, analogy, deducting, inducting – or collectively "thinking" unless you are claiming a direct revelation from God. In addition, It is needless to say that we have to think "critically (or logically)" to reach sound conclusions. Of course, this does not mean that only those who are able to think critically can be benefitted by reading the Bible. The opposite can be true as it is really the case with many theologians. I have long been wondering why our God didn't give us a volume of well-written systematic theology text book with which a lot of debates among Christian camps can be stopped. But He even didn't grant us the original manuscripts written by the Apostles, and on the contrary we have some different series of manuscripts – which has been causing the other issues, i.e. which manuscripts and which versions of English Bible to take. Was my God not wise to foresee this before?
After having spent so many times finding the right English Bible to anchor my belief on, I concluded that God was really great to the extent that he hided himself in the human errors. No manuscript is perfect and no human translation is perfect. But God is there speaking to those who reads it.
My curious mind had wanted to know everything on the crucial themes in the Bible with the pretext that that would be more helpful for my faith and other's. However, the more I delved into the depth of the truth, the more questions popped up in my head, leading to spiritual thirst rather than spiritual quenching. And, humbly speaking, I should confess that I am not able to present the "unquestionable orthodox doctrine" on Christian Satanology.
But I believe collaboration with seeking Christians would lead to more "life-supplying" elaboration of Satanology for me and theirs, if not perfect and it would not be so. So my starting point is this. The definition of "person." What is "person?" A person can have free will, disobey/rebel something (i.e. sin if that is against God), be punished. It seems that we human beings are persons. No arguing. Then, how about God? How about Satan? We also call God a or three person(s). And we think Satan is a person (even though he was an archangel.) Are we allowed to use the term "person" when we refer to God or Satan and, if so, by what sense? In other words, what is the dividing moment or watershed which distinguishes what is a person and what is not? (As far as I recall, Bro. Witness Lee or Bro. Nigel Tomes hasn't defined this term. Please correct me if I'm wrong.)
My tentative answer is whether an entity has freewill (or independent purpose which pleases the entity itself) or not. What do all of you think?

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Old 08-12-2008, 02:27 AM   #99
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Most of my questions to you have not been answered. You just simply ignored them.
Paul, let the jury judge.

I would only add that I did not tell that the tree of knowledge is the law (even though it is an idea worth considering). I used an example with the law to show you how Satan uses something good to bring in death. Now your verse: "letter kills, but the Spirit gives". Paul is not saying here that the law is the letter, and not the Spirit. In Rom. 7:14 Paul says that the law is spiritual, i.e. of the Spirit! But if we take the law by letter, not by the Spirit, the letter kills us. To take the law by letter is to come to the law for outward rules and miss Christ. Christ told Pharisees that they search the Scripture to find life, but miss Him of whom the law and the prophets testify.
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Old 08-12-2008, 03:07 AM   #100
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While I'm not sure if I agree with Lee or Tomes on this issue, I would like to point out that Lee's teaching about this had an important element which I think has been missing from this debate. He felt Satan's injecting of his nature into humanity was ultimately a huge mistake on Satan's part. By placing something of himself into mankind, the Satanic nature, could now be destroyed on the cross. Christ, in putting on the flesh, took on this human nature which, though Satan had no place in him, was in the line of Adam.
I haven't thought much about the Big Red Book in quite a long time, SC. It is in the cue of things I need to pick back up. (I'm enjoy a couple of different lines at the moment.)

Thank you for calling it back to my attention, though. That little diagram showing the flesh of Christ wasn't reproduced in any other place, that I am aware of, and this "trapping" theory doesn't appear in any other volume I've ever seen. Like you, I'm not sure I buy it at this point (it was always a rather difficult concept for me in some of the particulars) but it does help to explain how all the negative things, including the enemy, were crucified...
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Old 08-12-2008, 03:53 AM   #101
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Paul, let the jury judge.

I would only add that I did not tell that the tree of knowledge is the law (even though it is an idea worth considering). I used an example with the law to show you how Satan uses something good to bring in death. Now your verse: "letter kills, but the Spirit gives". Paul is not saying here that the law is the letter, and not the Spirit. In Rom. 7:14 Paul says that the law is spiritual, i.e. of the Spirit! But if we take the law by letter, not by the Spirit, the letter kills us. To take the law by letter is to come to the law for outward rules and miss Christ. Christ told Pharisees that they search the Scripture to find life, but miss Him of whom the law and the prophets testify.
The word "letter" in 2 Corinthians 3:6 refers to the law. When the law is compared to the Holy Spirit, the former kills because it does not have the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus said, "It is the Spirit who gives life" (John 6:63). Other than the Holy Spirit, nothing can give life to man. God's life is within the Holy Spirit. Our physical world was formed initially through the brooding of the Holy Spirit. The birth of the Lord Jesus and God becoming a man were done through the Holy Spirit. According to the revelation of the Bible, everything that has life and gives life is of the Holy Spirit. The law is only according to the letter; it is not of the Holy Spirit. This is why it is dead.

Not only does the Old Testament contain "letters" (i.e., the law) that kill, the New Testament also has its "letters." The Old Testament emphasizes the law. The Bible tells us that this law is of God; it is holy and spiritual. But the fact that the Holy Spirit is not within it means that it, like all other literature in the world, has become the letter that kills. Although many truths, commands, exhortations, and teachings in the New Testament are of God and are influential to man's conduct and morality, apart from the power of the Holy Spirit, they are just the letter that kills.
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Old 08-12-2008, 04:07 AM   #102
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If you check Rom. 2:28-29, you will see that letter is outward, but the Spirit is inward. The law in itself is holy, just and good. The nature of the law is spiritual. The only problem with the law was that it was outward and therefore could not give life. The Spirit does not deny or cancel the law. The Spirit takes the law from the outside and brings it inside (Jer. 31:33). Are you trying to prove that the nature of the law is death? How would you comment Rom. 7:12, 14?
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Old 08-12-2008, 05:43 AM   #103
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I agree that the sin is/was disobedience. But does this mean that I was not BORN sinful, but rather lost access to God only after my first actual act of disobedience (which, if I remember correctly, was at age 8 months )?

If not - that is, if I WAS born with and in sin, how is that possible? Bio-theology?
Peter, we are indeed born sinful. As I mentioned in my earlier posts, the fall corrupted our human nature, distorted it and twisted it. People live according the lusts that are warring in their flesh. The lusts are the desires that were created by God, but were distorted and misused by us. The distortion was caused by ego-centeredness. When man was created, all his desires were to be focused on God. When he fell, his desires are focused on himself. He left God as his source! So man is born with the law of sin and death in his flesh. But this law is not the law of satanic life as Witness Lee taught, but the law of fallen human nature.
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Old 08-12-2008, 06:48 AM   #104
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Delete. Post below.

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Old 08-12-2008, 06:49 AM   #105
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SC, can you explain why for Christ to destroy Satan, it was necessary for Satan to be in man's flesh? This example with a trap is just another metaphor, but I would like to see a clear biblical ground for it.
KSA,

Well, I don't have scriptural support for it ... yet. Hence my ginger handling of the topic. But that doesn't mean the verses aren't there. Maybe this thread can help find them in their disparate hiding places.

Here's a few things we do know:
  • Christ came in the likeness of the flesh of sin
  • Christ became sin on our behalf on the cross
  • Sin dwells in man and even "stirs"
  • Satan entered Judas once and was very closely allied with Peter on one occasion
  • Satan entered the serpent
  • Satan is an angel and angels can take on corporeal forms and even have sexual intercourse with humans
This top-of-the-head list just skims the surface of verses that show us something about the mysterious things concerning Satan, sin, and the human nature. But even considering these things, it is apparent to me that there are several mysteries afoot. How can Satan "enter" people? How does that work? What exactly was this flesh that Christ put on? How did Christ gain the victory over Satan on the cross?

It is interesting to me also that innoculation of a human body requires a bit of the disease itself to enter.

I also like the idea that God and Satan are fighting over the human soul, that is the battleground. With God coming from within (in the spirit), Satan enters the fray from without (in the body) and the lines are drawn in the great plains of the soul.

Like I said, I am not sure where I stand on this one. But I am not too quick to toss out Lee's teaching here.


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Old 08-12-2008, 07:33 AM   #106
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There is no solid scriptural ground for saying something as stupendous as Satan lives in our body. As SC alluded, it's something people "like" to believe for one reason or another, because it satisfies their desire for drama or irony or symmetry or some other thing. But it's not biblical; it's almost totally speculation.

Why should anyone expect people to base their core beliefs on speculation?
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Old 08-12-2008, 07:56 AM   #107
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What is the practical consequence (or negative fruit) of someone believing Satan dwells in their body, as opposed to just believing that sin dwells in their body and the law of sin and death operates within them?

I agree that there isn't clear Biblical evidence that Satan HIMSELF lives in our body. And those who believe it likely do so because it affords some "symmetry" or something. But if the practical effect of believing this is no different than just believing that sin dwells in our body, then what's the fuss? If it offers people a visual which inspires a desperation for Christ, why not let it be (so long as it doesn't have an unintended consequence - which is why I'm asking the question)?

To be sure, in the context of Lee, its important to point out an errant teaching - but not for the purpose of pointing out the teaching itself is wrong - but rather to show that Lee was not infallible.

That said, since (I think) we would all agree that sin dwells within us and that we were born children of the devil (John 3:10), I don't know that it makes a huge difference whether its Satan himself or just sin which indwells us - either one is profoundly terrifying.

Thoughts?

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Old 08-12-2008, 08:18 AM   #108
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To me it's a lot more terrifying, creepy, weird, prone to imagining all kinds of vague "supernatural" sensations (if Satan is in my body, can I ever feel him?), etc. to believe than Satan lives in my body than to just consider that my moral nature has been corrupted by the fall.

The Bible often uses metaphor, but that doesn't mean that the metaphor has an exact parallel in reality. Paul says sin "dwells" in us, but that doesn't necessarily mean that sin is a conscious, breathing entity. It's just metaphor.

I've witnessed several mentally unstable Christians, all in the LC. From my observation, such people tend to become very subjective and superstitious about their sensations, and get to the point that they can't sort them out. These people don't need to be thinking that Satan lives in their body. For the sake of the less stable and even immature among us, and there are many, I suggest we hold off on the practically groundless speculation that Satan himself dwells in us.

The other side of you question, Peter, then, is if the teaching does no good, why bother with it?
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Old 08-12-2008, 08:19 AM   #109
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Dear Jane:
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I don't disagree with the master/slave analogy. My response is along the same lines as my last response to you in the "Last Adam" thread (did you get a chance to look at that? I know you've been pretty swamped). I keep coming back to this and related topics because, the way you are articulating the experience is a view that has caused me much mental disorder. Really. Read my description of the "angst" I've wrestled with in the "Last Adam" thread. In specific response to you here, though:

What about the law of sin and death? I don't obey that law because I'll get a ticket or get lashes from my master - as if its the external law of a kingdom (which is what a strict and exclusive master/slave analogy would turn it into). I obey that law because it is within me and operates like a law of nature. I do even that which I do not want to do. So did Paul. It compels me. Its not because an external master orders me to. Its because something within me compels me to.

I don't care "where" Satan or sin dwells as far as the complete theology goes - and, as such, I don't really care if Lee was right or wrong on Satan dwelling in our flesh. And the fact that the law of sin and death operates within me did make me an automaton - at least until the law of the spirit of life freed me. As one who has been saved, I'm not automaton now either.

At any rate, thoughts on "the law of sin and death" as an internal force?

In Love,

Peter

P.S. Have you ever dealt extensively with an alcoholic? I think sin works the same way with all of us, but it is really stark and clear - less subtle - with someone with an outward addiction.
Hi Peter, I am sorry I am so slow responding to your post and that I never responded to you on the other thread. It isn't because I didn't want to. Also, I'm sorry for skipping over so much other discussion here. I just saw your last post when I was ready to post this one. (Things move too fast!!) Maybe what I've written will be of some help, so here goes:

I am not saying that you have an external master who "tells" you to do something. The essence of bondage is that you are forced to do what you do not want to do because the one forcing you has more power than you and also has the right to control you.

One question I had for years was how some Christians seem just start growing normally after they are born again, while others seem to struggle with bondage issues (alchoholism or other such addictive behaviors, longterm depression, etc.) and not grow much at all after years of being a believer. When I first read Neil Anderson's book The Bondage Breaker, I started to get some understanding of this in a way that made sense to me.

I learned that it was possible for believers to be in bondage (meaning you continue to be driven to do things you don't want to do). This could be for a variety of reasons. One reason is the presence of ongoing sin for which there is no repentance which may seem to be unrelated to the problem in question. The person may not even be aware they are sinning. Another reason is deception (believing things that are not true). There are other reasons. I think you might benefit from reading this book if you feel so inclined.

I am not trying to objectify the experience we have in our flesh. The overpowering feeling that comes from within ourselves is very real. Anderson explains that any habitual sin in our life is legal ground for the devil to afflict us and cause us to do evil things. He actually overpowers us. In the same way that he injects thoughts in our mind that seem like they are our own, he can empower us to do evil and it seems the source of that power is in us.

I do not think this means that Satan himself is indwelling our body from birth. (Why is this thought a problem? Because it can cause us to have unhealthy self loathing. There doesn't seem much way of escape or peace until the rapture. The Bible tells us that we are to take care of our body and appreciate it as God's temple, not look at it as some piece of real estate with a permanent squatter living in it.)

Satan is not omnipresent or omniscient or omnipotent. Only God is these things. He doesn't work by indwelling us himself. The Bible makes it plain that Satan has an army of fallen angels and evil spirits under his command through whom he does his evil work. He uses these beings to carry out his plans against us. No doubt sometimes he is directly on the scene, as with Judas, and as we know he will be with the antichrist.

I have been personally involved in seeing some people find freedom from years of bondage when they removed the legal ground from their lives that Satan had to afflict them. They did this by specific repentance for habitual sin in their life, after God gave them light on what that sin was.

Here is one example: My husband and I were close friends with a couple who were also Christians. They left the LC after being in it for only a few years. The husband had left divinity school to join the LC and after leaving the LC, he struggled for years with bitterness and depression. On a number of occasions we heard him say some pretty shocking things about God. His wife had wept and prayed for him and had confided in me how upsetting it was to see what had happened to him.

A number of years passed and we had not seen them. (They lived in another city.) One day, not long after my husband and I had been helped by Neil Anderson's book, the husband of this couple called us and came to spend the night with us. He was on a business trip. That evening he confided in us his desperate need to find God again, and his feeling of complete and utter helplessness and hopelessness. He said no matter what he did, he just couldn't seem to get through or find God. He felt he was in some kind of torment. He said God never answered his prayers and it was like the heavens were closed to him.

My husband shared with him a little about what we had learned from Anderson's book and some of the experiences we had had. He was desperate for help. We all sat in our living room and prayed asking God to show him any ongoing sin in his life for which he had not repented. As we prayed, one word came into my mind. The word was "slander." I then told him that I had heard him slander God terribly on numerous occasions over the years. At first he seemed surprised to hear this, but as I gave him an example or two, he hung his head. I suggested that he should repent for doing this.

He sat there silently for a few minutes thinking about that and then said he wanted to repent. He was truly penitent and after a few more minutes of silence with his head bowed, he prayed and asked God to forgive him for his slanderous speaking about Him.

After this, he looked at us and said, "Nothing has changed. I don't feel any different." We said, "Well, it can't hurt to repent for slandering God." The next morning before he left, he told us again, he was in the same condition as when he came. We felt sad for him, but didn't know what else to tell him except that we would pray for him.

Two days later we received a phone call from him and his wife. The wife began with this statement, "I don’t know what you did to my husband, but thank you!" She described how the day before he had been outside working on their car, when all of a sudden he came running into the house. He ran across the living room to the corner and stood on his head, shouting something about being free. (This was something they had done over the years when something exciting or extremely noteworthy happened to them. They had seen Scrooge do this when he got delivered from his selfishness in an old, old movie. J) He proceeded to tell her what had happened to him.

He had been working on his car for a period of time and could not figure out why it wouldn’t start. He said he got more and more upset and that he eventually gave up in frustration. Then he decided to pray. He asked God to help him fix the car. He said he immediately knew what to do and did it. He turned the key and the car started.

He then proceeded to tell us that from that moment forward he realized that everything had changed. The dark cloud he had been under was gone and since that time he had been full of joy at having the Lord’s presence again.

About twelve years passed before I saw him again. When I did, he took me aside and told me that from the time of his repentance for slandering God to the present he had continued to walk with the Lord in freedom. His old anger and bitter expressions and depression were a thing of the past.

My point is that the ongoing sin in this brother’s life was legal ground for the devil to oppress him for many years. He was a Christian in bondage. When he repented the devil lost that ground and he found freedom.

Neil A. says that one of the most bondage engendering sins is unforgiveness. He encourages people to pray and ask the Lord to bring to their mind the names of any persons they have not forgiven. God is very faithful to answer this kind of prayer!!

I am not sure I am answering your question, but I hope this helps some. I have not dealt extensively with alchoholism. Anderson’s book does address this kind of addiction. Things like alcoholism and other addictions are more like fruits in a person’s life which have another underlying cause.

As usual, what is high on my list is not doctrinal perfection for the sake of intellectual satisfaction. I am into what helps people. Having a healthy understanding of how the powers of darkness work and the way to find lasting freedom from their attacks is important since we live in a world that is full of evidence of their persistent activity, not only in unbelievers but also in Christians.

Nuff said.

Thankful Jane
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Old 08-12-2008, 08:30 AM   #110
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The other side of you question, Peter, then, is if the teaching does no good, why bother with it?
I'm not sure it does no good. Personally, I find it terrifying enough to know that sin dwells in me and operations with the power of a law of nature.

But I also know a number of Christians who didn't appreciate that - both inside the LC and outside. These folks had an active church life or ministry, they weren't killing anyone and were helpin' out the poor on Tuesday nights. Living like this and in the insular community (which most groups - particularly Christian groups are), it becomes easy to forget that sin is inwardly operating. I don't know, these folks might benefit from a little scare that comes from the thought that Satan himself dwells within them.

It can be an illustration that hits home a point. We can state clearly that there is not solid Biblical support for the ultimate truth of it and still use the illustration.

For those who believe it to be truth, well, I guess it would depend on how their errant belief is operating in their life. If they're going nuts (like the folks you mention), perhaps a little tough love and cutting straight is in order. If they hold to the belief because it offers a healthy does of fear which turns them more to Christ, I'm not sure we need to call in the truth police...

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Old 08-12-2008, 08:31 AM   #111
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please delete. duplicate
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:14 AM   #112
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SC, how interesting for you to use the chess analogy to explain God's wisdom in a mystery, I Cor 2.8, "for if they had known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory."
Ohio,

Thanks for the verse. It certainly fits my little chess analogy.

One thing I value in a forum discussion like this is the many heads at work. We all have bits and pieces of the puzzle in our heads. We all have particular verses and interpretations that can contribute to the whole. I for one no longer have much drive to spend my hours studying the Bible in isolation. I'm not necessarily proud of that fact, but it is so.

So when a brother or sister brings me a verse that clarifies, supports, illuminates, or even undermines a pet theory -- a verse I may have neglected or forgotten -- I am thrilled.

Short posts, lotsa dialogue, verse nuggets ... this is what I enjoy most.


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Old 08-12-2008, 09:31 AM   #113
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I'm not sure it does no good. Personally, I find it terrifying enough to know that sin dwells in me and operations with the power of a law of nature.
That was exactly my point. You said before that knowing that sin dwells in you was terrifying enough. So if it's enough, why add the aspect that a fallen spook lives in you, too? The Bible supports the idea of sin being in you, so if it's enough, why go further?
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:13 AM   #114
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SC started one post with the following:

While I'm not sure if I agree with Lee or Tomes on this issue, I would like to point out that Lee's teaching about this had an important element which I think has been missing from this debate. He felt Satan's injecting of his nature into humanity was ultimately a huge mistake on Satan's part. By placing something of himself into mankind, the Satanic nature, could now be destroyed on the cross. Christ, in putting on the flesh, took on this human nature which, though Satan had no place in him, was in the line of Adam.

I’m not sure what I think about this one either. Maybe it was just in the way he said it, but I suddenly had this interesting thought.

Lee kept harping on what God had to do to deal with Satan. Actually, it was not what he had to do, but what he chose to do. He didn’t have to have Satan injected into man so that the cross would destroy him. In fact , if it was a matter of Satan being trapped in man and then dying with him, then why didn’t every other death of a human have the same effect.

And if it didn’t, how did dying with Christ on the cross specifically kill Satan in a manner that the other human deaths did not? And since he (Satan) obviously still lives, is there a hole in that theory? We have to wait for the end of Revelation to see the actual execution. Does the scripture actually say that Satan was executed on the cross, or does it say that the hold of sin, Satan, etc., was eliminated without actually saying Satan was executed?

(I’m not looking at any particular scripture. While I have some hunch were this may go, I do not pretend to know the answer This is a question for consideration. The answers could be either way and I’m not necessarily partial.)

In other words, is there something scriptural that clearly states that there was a little bit of Satan in man and he was executed when Christ died on the cross? Or is the it that through the death of the body (first of Christ) that we are able to identify with Christ and be freed from the sinful nature with which we were born (but was not stated anywhere as being Satan dwelling in us)?

Is there a clear scriptural basis for that thought, or does it circle back to the Romans 7 kind of argument about whether Satan is actually in us or simply a sinful nature? Is this teaching that Satan was executed on the cross correct, or was it another leap by Lee?

Did it have to be a certain way for Satan’s demise to be carried out? Or was the sacrifice on the cross the fulfillment of the death of man for his own sin? Is the ultimate judgment of Satan in Revelation because of the cross, or is that judgment there, and not at the cross, or sometime millennia before the earth was created simply because that is how God decided to do it? This “had to” talk seems to limit God and make the skirmish between God and Satan seem more like a strategy game between equals than a well-orchestrated plot by an all-powerful God to demonstrate His power and restraint relative to a created being. I would tend believe in the latter, not the former based on my understanding of scripture in general.
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Old 08-12-2008, 12:08 PM   #115
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My observation from reading the bible is that there is a whole other world going on in the spiritual realm that we as humans are not privy to in it's entirety but can catch glimpses of it here and there. Within this realm are a hierarchy of good and bad angels and within this system are certain protocols and procedures in how they relate one to another and to God. Job, Eph, 2 Peter and Jude give us some insights into this matter. To directly handle a human being it appears Satan has to ask for God's permission e.g. Job and Peter. It appears God may grant permission but gives limitations. It seems to me that if Satan actually lived in human beings these other items would be moot.

Further when I consider the incarnation I find it rather preposterous that the Holy Spirit would join himself with a body in which Satan dwelt to bring forth Jesus Christ.
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Old 08-12-2008, 12:21 PM   #116
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Further when I consider the incarnation I find it rather preposterous that the Holy Spirit would join himself with a body in which Satan dwelt to bring forth Jesus Christ.
I also find it hard to reconcile "In Him is no sin" (1 John 3:5) with the idea that the Father of Liars dwelt in His flesh.

P.S. Igzy, you said "You said before that knowing that sin dwells in you was terrifying enough. So if it's enough, why add the aspect that a fallen spook lives in you, too? The Bible supports the idea of sin being in you, so if it's enough, why go further? " That's why I italicized the word "personally..." But then I went on to say that such a belief could have value to others who view things differently from me. While I don't buy the teaching myself, I am taking a position of liberality toward others on an issue on which I might disagree with them.

Seems to me, with teachings like this - where the evidence isn't clear cut in either direction and the consequence of an errant view isn't obvious and universal - its a good and pretty easy occasion to practice Romans 14, no?

In short, I don't believe or need the teaching, but others might and, so long as it ain't obviously harming them or others, let it be.

That said, I'm all for a rigorous discussion on the truth of it provided the dicussion doesn't include sneering...
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Old 08-12-2008, 12:32 PM   #117
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Oh, what's a good sneer between friends. Anyway, I agree. It's not the faith. I just question whether it's a healthy, expedient teaching.

And, as you alluded, this subject is at least as interesting as an example of a fallible teaching by Lee, which his ever-intrepid followers insist is not fallible, even while standing in the bright headlights of the oncoming truck labeled "Little or No Scriptural Support.
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Old 08-12-2008, 12:39 PM   #118
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I am not saying that you have an external master who "tells" you to do something. The essence of bondage is that you are forced to do what you do not want to do because the one forcing you has more power than you and also has the right to control you.

One question I had for years was how some Christians seem just start growing normally after they are born again, while others seem to struggle with bondage issues (alchoholism or other such addictive behaviors, longterm depression, etc.) and not grow much at all after years of being a believer. When I first read Neil Anderson's book The Bondage Breaker, I started to get some understanding of this in a way that made sense to me.

Thankful Jane[/FONT][/COLOR]
Jane:

Thanks for the thoughts and the story. I will pick up a copy of Neil A's book. On one hand, I think there is something particular going on with the stereotypical "addict" - on the other hand, I think it can do us a disservice by bracketing the "addict" behavior only to those cases where there is an obvious object of the addiction (like alcohol or whatever). Because, whether it is love for the bottle or love of self, sin operates in all of us the same way. It can be easy to say that since we don't do any of the really ugly outward behavior that we're okay. We're not.

Recently I have been fellowshipping with someone going through alcoholics anonymous. Upon reading some of their literature, I had the thought: geez, everyone should go through aa. Because our root problems are the same - even if we don't run to the bottle. We are liars. We want to hide when God calls us. We don't want to face the way we treat others and ourselves. We hide behind the things we're good at or the things we're comfortable in so that we don't have to face our lack. So we dive into the "meeting life" or we avoid certain people, or we stop praying, etc... As I have written before, I see sin as simply being the LIE - which came from the Father of Liars, the one who asserted there was something other than God. And there is nothing WE can do about our condition to "cure" ourselves. We need God - we need Christ, the one who condemned sin on the Cross. All of us and every day. Not just the ones who are caught in certain "classes" of sin. All of us and every day.

Whether the master (Satan) is within us or outside of us, the point is that his tool of bondage - Sin, the Lie - operates in our members.

Wretched folks that we are, who can deliver us? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

In Love,

Peter
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Old 08-12-2008, 03:26 PM   #119
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Speaker,
If Satan was trapped in man so that he could be destroyed in the flesh, then wouldn't he have to have been indwelling the flesh of our Lord Jesus? Perish the thought.
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Old 08-12-2008, 03:48 PM   #120
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Short posts, lotsa dialogue, verse nuggets ... this is what I enjoy most.
Then perhaps Twitter is for you, www.twitter.com, the latest in social networking.

Twitter allows you to create a sort of micro-blog with posts no longer than 140 characters, which are broadcast to anyone who cares. Verbosity is verbotten; brevity is enforced.

From Wikipedia: Westwinds Church in Jackson, Michigan uses Twitter as a part of its weekend worship services and introduced the concept of Twitter Church. Westwinds runs training classes for Twitter and encourages members to bring laptops and mobile devices to church. On occasion, the Twitter feed will be live on the screens in the auditorium and everyone is encouraged to give their input, make observations, and ask questions in an interactive worship format.

Join twitter and broadcast your tweets to other twits. Really.
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Old 08-12-2008, 03:55 PM   #121
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Speaker,
If Satan was trapped in man so that he could be destroyed in the flesh, then wouldn't he have to have been indwelling the flesh of our Lord Jesus? Perish the thought.
Roger
Roger,

Yes, perish that thought. But the situation with the Lord's flesh is not so simple. Consider that-- "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Cor. 5:21) What's up with that? Would you perish that thought, that He became sin?

And of course Isaiah 53:6, "...but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him."

Then there's the interesting little story about Isaac on the altar. A transfer takes place. Surely this is a picture of deep spiritual stuff that was going on on the cross.

Sin is different than Satan, a rejoinder I know you will make which I will agree with. But it's still pretty awesome a thought to think that the Son of God became SIN.

So maybe in some very strange way in His becoming sin, he also took on some of Satan's nature at that point. Maybe he was, like Isaac up to the point of the transfer, the pure, innocent son. And then, in the transfer, the pure Son was pulled out leaving the shell of flesh which was full of sin and even the Satanic nature.

I don't know. I just know it's pretty interesting stuff to think about.


SC
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Old 08-12-2008, 05:12 PM   #122
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Yes, indeed.

In my early Christian life I was led to believe that it was the physical suffering that the Lord dreaded when he was in the Garden of Gethsemane. While his physical suffering was something beyond our imagination, it was his becoming sin in that moment and being totally estranged from the Father, for even a moment in time, that was his greatest dread.

We can’t even comprehend what fellowship exists between the Father and Son. We only get a little taste in the Church. But to have that deep, deep, vast immeasurable fellowship to be cracked even for a second of time was too much to consider. But thank God for, “Let your will be done, and not mine.”

Roger
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Old 08-12-2008, 06:08 PM   #123
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I think it can do us a disservice by bracketing the "addict" behavior only to those cases where there is an obvious object of the addiction (like alcohol or whatever). Because, whether it is love for the bottle or love of self, sin operates in all of us the same way. It can be easy to say that since we don't do any of the really ugly outward behavior that we're okay. We're not.

Recently I have been fellowshipping with someone going through alcoholics anonymous. Upon reading some of their literature, I had the thought: geez, everyone should go through aa. Because our root problems are the same - even if we don't run to the bottle. We are liars. We want to hide when God calls us. We don't want to face the way we treat others and ourselves. We hide behind the things we're good at or the things we're comfortable in so that we don't have to face our lack.
Your observations are correct. As a recovering addict, and "recovery" (aa/na) regular, I see parallels all the time with "normal" people. But the meth addict has to see it because the "side effects" of his personality distortions will kill him. With others, they are overweight, or they shop too much, or they stress out on people at work, and they tell themselves they are okay, mostly, and don't face the thought/behavior patterns that are playing out.

Yes, the root problems are the same.
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Old 08-12-2008, 06:58 PM   #124
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Jane:

Thanks for the thoughts and the story. I will pick up a copy of Neil A's book. On one hand, I think there is something particular going on with the stereotypical "addict" - on the other hand, I think it can do us a disservice by bracketing the "addict" behavior only to those cases where there is an obvious object of the addiction (like alcohol or whatever). Because, whether it is love for the bottle or love of self, sin operates in all of us the same way. It can be easy to say that since we don't do any of the really ugly outward behavior that we're okay. We're not.

Recently I have been fellowshipping with someone going through alcoholics anonymous. Upon reading some of their literature, I had the thought: geez, everyone should go through aa. Because our root problems are the same - even if we don't run to the bottle. We are liars. We want to hide when God calls us. We don't want to face the way we treat others and ourselves. We hide behind the things we're good at or the things we're comfortable in so that we don't have to face our lack. So we dive into the "meeting life" or we avoid certain people, or we stop praying, etc... As I have written before, I see sin as simply being the LIE - which came from the Father of Liars, the one who asserted there was something other than God. And there is nothing WE can do about our condition to "cure" ourselves. We need God - we need Christ, the one who condemned sin on the Cross. All of us and every day. Not just the ones who are caught in certain "classes" of sin. All of us and every day.

Whether the master (Satan) is within us or outside of us, the point is that his tool of bondage - Sin, the Lie - operates in our members.

Wretched folks that we are, who can deliver us? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

In Love,

Peter
Dear Peter,
I agree on all points you made. The LIE (made up of many lies) actually works in our minds. You'll find that Anderson shows that the battle with the evil one is fought with truth. Let me know what you think of what Anderson has to say. I don't think I did justice to what his message and insights in my posting.

Thankful Jane
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Old 08-12-2008, 07:38 PM   #125
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Your observations are correct. As a recovering addict, and "recovery" (aa/na) regular, I see parallels all the time with "normal" people. But the meth addict has to see it because the "side effects" of his personality distortions will kill him. With others, they are overweight, or they shop too much, or they stress out on people at work, and they tell themselves they are okay, mostly, and don't face the thought/behavior patterns that are playing out.

Yes, the root problems are the same.

Hi, aron! Glad you're here! Keep comin' back, it works!!



To everyone else --- everyone who wonders what the heck I am talking about, that is real AA/NA talk, and my way of saying me too, aron. I don't go to meetings anymore, but I did for a long time. It's a great program, and the principals work.

Like Peter said, a lot of the what the 12 steps deal with is the lies. There is a line that says something like we (alcoholics, addicts) cannot afford to lie. Or maybe that line is about holding resentments and anger. It is all pretty deadly to people who really like to run to their addiction of choice. Gotta deal with those things before (like aron said) it kills us.

Another goal of the program is to deal with the wreckage of the past. That's why all the self-examining, sharing with someone you trust and then amends-making. It's all to help you leave the past behind, start new. Not bad, huh?

And the real key to whole thing is what they call your Higher Power. AKA, God. They give people a lot of room to define that for themselves, but it really is key to the success of the program. And a great jumping off point for people to discover Jesus. I mean, you start asking God to help you, you end up with Jesus.

The program is genius in the way it works and clearly a gift from God, in my very very humble opinion.

And, Peter, what you said about we dive into the "meeting life" or find other ways of avoiding the truth, is right on. God is Light, and in Him is no darkness. So when we run from that light of truth, we are trying to run from God. Doesn't work very well, He just stays next to us. Stop running for just a moment, and bamm, there He is.

When I was in the LC, I used to think (in moments of honesty) that I really really liked the 'getting out of my mind' because I just really liked being out of my mind. In the drugged, sick sort of way..... I used to think about that. I think chanting accomplishes that, regardless of what you are chanting. And we did chant, didn't we?

I hope this isn't too off target, I just wanted to echo what aron and Peter and Jane and everyone said. (uh oh. Is that just another way to say it is their fault, not mine? Oh man, I gotta work the steps on this )


I'm glad to say I am

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Old 08-12-2008, 07:46 PM   #126
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Default How to interpret the Bible

I looked up two dictionaries for the definition of person. As most of Bible students well aware of, the origin of the English word person is "persona" in Latin and "hypostasis" in the usage of Trinity. However, the one eye-catching explanation is that "A person is a thinking intelligent being." (Webster's 1828) and " a human being as distinguished from an animal or thing" (Merriam-Webster's 2000).

So, a bit more refined definition of person is this. Person – any entity that is able to think (as opposed to animals or plants which usually act according to its instinct) with its own freewill with which it could be judged for reward or punishment (Of course, except God. He doesn't need to be rewarded or punished because He is the final authority in the Universe.) Whether an entity can be called a person or not is regardless of physical existence.
If I follow my self-made definition of person, I seem to be able to think of four categories of persons. God, human beings, angels, Satan and its subordinates. Among them, only human beings are wearing physical body. Human beings are so accustomed to themselves in bodily form (or in the limitation of time and space), so they unconsciously assume as if God, angels, and Satan and its subordinates were in the same limitation of time and space because they even cannot imagine what it is like to be totally free from bodily limitation.

Now my next question is this. Is my God free of this limitation? Of course, He is because He is omnipresent and omniscient. But some expressions in the Bible depict our God as if He is in the limitation of time and space.

Mat 6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye. Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. (ASV)

We know that our God is omnipresent and omniscient so we think this verse is not saying He is confined in heaven but depicting of His Highness. But this kind of depicting can give us human being who is under the limitation of time and space a strong feeling. In short, the reality of the spiritual sphere should be translated into expressions of human words in time and space limitation for the convenience of understanding.
If you agree with me, you will soon find how difficult it is to interpret some verses in the Bible.

Eph 2:2 wherein ye once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the powers of the air, of the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience; (ASV)

The air in this verse is physical or spiritual? Clark gave us the following explanation;

[Satan is termed prince of the power of the air, because the air is supposed to be a region in which malicious spirits dwell, all of whom are under the direction and influence of Satan, their chief.]

Do malicious spirits literally dwell in the air? Or Isn't this verse also a kind of paraphrasing with human words for the convenience of understanding?
My point is this. We should be on the same page regarding Biblical language before we scrutinize crucial issues in the Bible. I remember that dispensationalist took the extreme position on this matter – 100% literal interpretation and Bro. Witness Lee took a bit mitigated position - as literal as possible.

My position? I am going to start in the next post. BTW, what is your position?

Webster's 1828

quote
PERSON, n. per'sn. [L. persona; said to be compounded of per, through or by, and sonus, sound; a Latin word signifying primarily a mask used by actors on the state.]
1. An individual human being consisting of body and soul. We apply the word to living beings only, possessed of a rational nature; the body when dead is not called a person. It is applied alike to a man, woman or child. A person is a thinking intelligent being.
2. A man, woman or child, considered as opposed to things, or distinct from them.
A zeal for persons is far more easy to be perverted, than a zeal for things.
Unquote

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Old 08-12-2008, 11:52 PM   #127
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Default what do you mean?

The reason I started with the definition of person is that Nigel Tomes' original writhing was on the matter of the dwelling of Satan in us as a person, but without defining the word and its variant, personification. And the reason I looked up the definition of the word in Webster's 1828 is that some Christians are saying that the definitions of Webster's 1828 better represent the usage of English words in the Bible. - Gubei

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Old 08-13-2008, 12:14 AM   #128
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In addition to my posts #43 and #49, I would like to bring your attention on John 3:14. I did not find any reference made by Nigel Tomes on this wonderful verse while contending with Brother Witness Lee's teaching regarding this thread. Perhaps, it was not touched by Nigel Tomes since this particular verse will turn upside-down his thesis on his writing titled "THE ENEMY WITHIN—SATAN IN THE BELIEVER’S BODY— LSM’s UNORTHODOX SATANOLOGY".

John 3:14 was addressed by the Lord Jesus Christ to Nicodemus who was a teacher and zealous Jew in his time. John 3:14 is as much applicable to us as in Nicodemus time. Likewise, John 3:14 was in reference of the Scripture in Numbers 21:9. Here in this discussion we have both the New Testament and the Old Testament interpreting the Word with the Word. I would like to take the liberty in saying that the Lord Jesus was allegorizing in this instance, and perhaps, it is more accurate to say that the Lord Jesus was directly revealing a mystery in typology.

I just pray that we may have an open spirit while reading the following teachings of Brother Witness Lee like the true Bereans of the Bible. My spirit rejoices in the Lord for knowing this interpretation by Brother Witness Lee on John 3:14.

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John 3 : 14
14 And as Moses lifted up the 1serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

141 This chapter deals with regeneration. Regeneration, on one hand, brings the divine life with the divine nature into us. On the other hand, regeneration terminates the evil nature of Satan in our flesh. In Gen. 3 Satan, the serpent, injected his nature into man's flesh. When the children of Israel sinned against God, they were bitten by serpents (Num. 21:4-9). God told Moses to lift up a bronze serpent on their behalf for God's judgment, that by looking upon that bronze serpent all might live. That was a type. Here, in this verse, the Lord Jesus applied that type to Himself, indicating that when He was in the flesh, He was in "the likeness of the flesh of sin" (Rom. 8:3), which likeness is equal to the form of the bronze serpent. The bronze serpent had the form of the serpent but was without the serpent's poison. Christ was made in "the likeness of the flesh of sin," but He did not participate in any way in the sin of the flesh (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15). When He was lifted up in the flesh on the cross, by His death Satan, the old serpent, was dealt with (12:31-33; Heb. 2:14). This means that the serpentine nature within fallen man has been dealt with. When a man is regenerated with the divine life in Christ, his satanic nature is annulled. Because of this, in this portion of the Word, when the Lord revealed the matter of regeneration to Nicodemus, He specifically mentioned this point. Nicodemus might have considered himself a moral and good man. But the Lord's word in this verse implied that regardless of how good Nicodemus might have been outwardly, he had the serpentine nature of Satan inwardly. As a descendant of Adam, he had been poisoned by the old serpent, and the serpent's nature was within him. He needed the Lord not only to be the Lamb of God to take away his sin (1:29) but also to be in the form of the serpent that his serpentine nature might be dealt with on the cross and that he might have eternal life. In the principle set forth in ch. 2, this is the changing of death into life.
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The Serpent

Therefore, the Lord referred to the type of the brass serpent lifted up on a pole by Moses (Num. 21:9). The Lord seemed to be saying to him, "Your fathers were all bitten by poisonous serpents, and the poison of the serpents entered into them. Your fathers became serpents in the eyes of God. Because they were dying, Moses prayed to God on their behalf, and God told Moses to lift up a brass serpent on a pole to bear His judgment upon the poisoned Israelites. Everyone who had been poisoned by the serpents and who looked to the brass serpent lifted up on the pole lived." Many of the Israelites did this, and their lives were preserved. This is a type of regeneration. The Lord seemed to be telling Nicodemus, "Don't consider yourself as a gentleman. You must realize that you are one of the people who has been poisoned by the serpent and that you have the serpentine nature within you. Apparently you are a man; actually you are a serpent. In the eyes of God you are one of the serpents. Although you are a serpent, I have come to die for you. I shall die on the cross in the form of the serpent. When I am on the cross, in the eyes of God I shall not only be a substitute for sinners; I shall be judged there by God in the form of the serpent. The only difference is that the real serpent has poison, but I shall only be in the form of the serpent. I do not have the nature and the poison of the serpent. I have come in the likeness of the flesh of sin, in the form of the serpent, to die for all of you who have been poisoned by the serpent."

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Old 08-13-2008, 12:55 AM   #129
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It is a very interesting article. I remember we discussed this matter in detail at the Bereans forum. I would like to mention here some of the conclusions I made when considered this topic.

1. There is no such thing as "sinful nature" or "sinful substance". Sin is not a substance, but a defection of will (according to Augustine). When Lucifer fell, he did not have any sinful nature or substance enter him. Sin is not a matter of substance, but of volition. When Satan seduced man, he did not inject into him substance - he effected his volition. Therefore, the fall did not added some other substance to human nature, but deformed human nature. We can compare the fall with the untuned piano. Piano originally was tuned to produce good music. But then it was untuned. It does not mean that some kind of nature entered it - it was simply disharmonized. Man was created a harmonious being. But fall disharmonized him.

2. The flesh in the Bible is ususally defined as a pattern of living, and not as some kind of substance. This pattern of living is shaped by the desires of our heart and body that are independent of and contrary to God.

3. Charles Fynney said that the fall of man was moral. He said that should it have been physical, man would not be subject to be judged by the law of God. If we sin against our will being compelled by some kind of nature, we are not to be judged. Only voluntary actions are judged.

I think that these points are enough to start good discussion.

Dear KSA,

Thanks for your initiation. I'm sorry for not having participated in the past discussion in Bearean Forum. So please forgive me if I'm repeating the same thing.

1. I thought over your illustration of an "untuned piano." I think even though the untuned piano is not added with something, the untuned piano is of sinful nature as long as it gives us untuned sound. In other words, as long as a person has a defection of will, he himself is of sinful nature.

So isn't it better to delete "sinful nature" in your first conclusion?

2. To go further, even if Satan did not enter into man, if he influenced him enough to defect man's will, can we not say that
man was added with the influence? Can influence not be a kind of substance? - Gubei

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Old 08-13-2008, 04:14 AM   #130
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Dear KSA,

Thanks for your initiation. I'm sorry for not having participated in the past discussion in Bearean Forum. So please forgive me if I'm repeating the same thing.

1. I thought over your illustration of an "untuned piano." I think even though the untuned piano is not added with something, the untuned piano is of sinful nature as long as it gives us untuned sound. In other words, as long as a person has a defection of will, he himself is of sinful nature.

So isn't it better to delete "sinful nature" in your first conclusion?
Well, my objection to the term "sinful nature" is this. Nature is a substance. All substance is created by God. Therefore, substance cannot be sinful. Sin is not a substance, it is a perversion of substance. Sin does not have an ontological existence of its own. It is just the corruption of something created by God.

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2. To go further, even if Satan did not enter into man, if he influenced him enough to defect man's will, can we not say that
man was added with the influence? Can influence not be a kind of substance? - Gubei
No, influence is not a substance. Substance is a matter, and influence is not.
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Old 08-13-2008, 08:17 AM   #131
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FPO, yes the AA "recovery" plan is useful. The 12 steps were based on the Oxford Group in England, which was a bunch of sinners trying to figure out how to come back to God according to Biblical principles. The drunkards seized upon the "way" because they were literally perishing. It was not self-improvement, it was survival. If "sinners" realized how grave the situation was they would likewise seize the principles (faith, repentance, honesty, forgiveness, restitution, etc) and allow themselves to be likewise saved from perishing.

Gubei, I like your ideas on a "person" posessing "agency", or will, or the capacity to choose. I have long felt that only God has the capacity to act. Satan merely reacts. When we are in Spirit, we act. When we are being religious, with our scriptural rule books, we merely react. Only God is a "person". All other entities are either agents of God or agents of Satan, who by definition are "not". Question: do we act by "instinct", merely reacting, or by God's grace do we turn and open to the only One who "is"?

Paul Miletus, I liked your inclusion of the Brass Serpent story. It certainly is salient to the discussion. The brass serpent has the form, but not the substance. Jesus had human form, but not sinful nature. So, is it possible for us, by God's grace, to choose the divine nature, not the fallen human nature, as the "substance" of our "person"? I think/hope so. Without that hope, what hope do I have? Thanks for the posted material; I liked it.

KSA, you are correct. Influence is not a matter. Substance is a matter. Influence is the clue that you are in the presence of substance (gravity = mass, etc). And the sphere, realm, domain of influence is what I like to call a "kingdom". In physics it is called a "field". It is a useful analogy.
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Old 08-13-2008, 09:38 AM   #132
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Well, my objection to the term "sinful nature" is this. Nature is a substance. All substance is created by God. Therefore, substance cannot be sinful. Sin is not a substance, it is a perversion of substance. Sin does not have an ontological existence of its own. It is just the corruption of something created by God.
KSA,

By extension, your argument would appear to confirm the idea of modern psychology that everything ultimately is just a chemical imbalance. If we could just fix that, then the schizophrenic would become whole (I'll buy that) ... and the demon-possessed would be free (not willing to buy that).

Flannery O'Connor, southern American Catholic writer, wrote a short story entitled, "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" which promotes this view: that everything is out of balance. (The story, by the way, is a fascinating theological treatise hidden in the strangest of plots, a worthwhile read for sure).

Well, are things simply, like the true definition of a weed, simply out of place? Is that what Jesus's coming and second coming will restore: balance? Or is there actual evil out there which has no cure?

I have read quite a bit in recent years on new views on Hell. Tim Keller's view, in "The Reason For God" (a rebuttal of all the atheist treatises out ther) has an interesting take. He believes Hell is simply complete and total narcissism (John Edwards might agree with that these days). The annihilationists believe there is no eternal torment, just a "blip!" and disappearance of the unregenerated soul.

No matter what view you take, there's still that little fact that Satan gets tossed in to endure eternal torment. So maybe he is in fact more than just something out of balance. He was a substance made by God, but it seems he actually became evil.

To conclude, I'm with you to a point, KSA. But I still hold out some place for the idea that some things are just plain evil right to the core, no redemption is capable.

What say you?


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Old 08-13-2008, 10:57 AM   #133
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It's just another small speculative step from here into real problems.

If Satan were created good, he must have gone bad, which means he was created imperfectly, which is obviously God's fault.

If it is the case that Satan's nature is evil, then God must have made him thusly, for he could not overcome his created nature to become what he wasn't, any more than gold could turn itself into clay.

I mean, I'm sure no one intends to be Satan's apologist but these speculations lead to some pretty thorny issues which are probably more than we can handle here during amateur hour.

I think someone has previously contended that Lee's doctrinal problems originated in unfamiliarity with orthodoxy. Well, what's good for the goose is good for the gander....
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Old 08-13-2008, 11:11 AM   #134
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It's just another small speculative step from here into real problems.

If Satan were created good, he must have gone bad, which means he was created imperfectly, which is obviously God's fault.

If it is the case that Satan's nature is evil, then God must have made him thusly, for he could not overcome his created nature to become what he wasn't, any more than gold could turn itself into clay.

I mean, I'm sure no one intends to be Satan's apologist but these speculations lead to some pretty thorny issues which are probably more than we can handle here during amateur hour.

I think someone has previously contended that Lee's doctrinal problems originated in unfamiliarity with orthodoxy. Well, what's good for the goose is good for the gander....
I've posted this before, but here's my view on Satan's fall which, I think, avoids the thorny issues:

There wasn't pre-existant evil nature or substance which motivated Satan. God made everything. There is nothing that exists in reality that is not out from God. As KSA said, there is no "substance" which is not out from God. So, what Satan did was chose "not God." Not inherently "evil" or anything, he simply chose "not God." But, as mentioned, there is nothing which exists which is "not God." Thus, he chose something that didn't exist. He chose a lie. The realm in which he operates is a realm which doesn't exist - it is a lie and he is consequently the father of liars.

That said, I still have a hard time with the fact that I was born into sin if something wasn't "injected" into human nature by virtue of the fall. Perhaps it is simply that we are born into a realm that "doesn't exist" and thus, by nature, are born into sin - the lie.

Thoughts?


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Old 08-13-2008, 11:40 AM   #135
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Perhaps it is simply that we are born into a realm that "doesn't exist" and thus, by nature, are born into sin - the lie.
Right.

This is another wriggly can of speculative worms, though, Peter.

I'm not sure how you just put "doesn't exist" in quotes like that.

I understand what you mean and can go along with you but, playing "devil's advocate" so to speak, what does it mean to put those quotes there?
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Old 08-13-2008, 12:20 PM   #136
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Frankly, its just awkward to say, even if true - from the perspective of one who was born into an existence based on a lie. You live in it, you operate in it, you make plans in it - its awkward to say it doesn't exist - even if true. So the "quotes" are a way of expressing that tension. They're not necessary though.
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Old 08-13-2008, 01:04 PM   #137
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Well, I'm curious to see what might pop out of the can yet...
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Old 08-14-2008, 02:13 AM   #138
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KSA,

By extension, your argument would appear to confirm the idea of modern psychology that everything ultimately is just a chemical imbalance. If we could just fix that, then the schizophrenic would become whole (I'll buy that) ... and the demon-possessed would be free (not willing to buy that).
Dear SC, I am enjoying this discussion here as it allows to sort things out, even though you are the one who misunderstands me the most.

The fall is not just about chemical imbalance. As I mentioned earlier, the fall effected the whole human being: spirit, soul and body. The fall effected our whole nature. Our nature is corrupt to the uttermost. What I object to is that at the fall satanic nature was added to us. Our nature is evil enough even without some additional nature of the fallen angel.

I believe Eph. 2:1-3 will shed additional light. Here we see that sinners are called the sons of disobedience. It shows that the root issue of sin is disobedience. Men fell because he disobeyed. This disobedience opened the way for Satan to work in man - "the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience". Now verse 3: "...we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath...". Look, the key word here is desires (including lusts). That is how sin operates. It is not Satan who wills in our stead and makes us sin against our will. It is our own desires that entice us and draw us away. "Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin... (James 1:14-15). Satan tempts us by presenting something desirable to us. There should be something in us that responds to Satan's temptation. That is why Satan could not succeed with Jesus, because there was nothing in Jesus that would respond to Satan's temptation - "for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me" (John. 14:30).

Why I so much object to Witness Lee's hamartiology. Not just for the sake of theology, but for practical reasons. When sin is just a foreign nature in you, all you need is to get rig of this nature - here comes the theory of dispensing, of gradual liberation from this sinful nature. It is considered as a kind of panacea in our spiritual life. But things are not that easy. We are all tempted differently. We all have different desires. We all have different weak spots. Therefore, we need to deal with our particular problems, not with some kind of abstract "nature". For example, someone suffers from fear. You cannot just make him pray-read 2 Tim. 1:7 and trust that the dispensing will do it. You have to work with this person to find out the reason of his fears. And it is not psychology - because you have to find out spiritual roots. Well, just read Neil Anderson to get a glimpse of it. I began to doubt Witness Lee's teaching in this area, because his teachings did not work when I tried to help the saints with big problems. Pray-reading, calling on the Lord, reading the ministry, attending the conferences did not work, no matter how "constituted" they were with "the ministry".

Let me give you one example. We had a brother who turned out to be a drug addict. I tried to help him, but to no effect. I pleaded with brothers, asking them to help this brother. All these brothers could do is invite him to the conferences. I had a morning watch with this brother by phone every morning. It did not help. The situation grew worse and worse. Everybody in the church gave up on him. (This is when I began to seriously doubt that the recovery is "the way"). Eventually I advised this brother's wife to send her husband to a rehabilitation center of another assembly in our city. When he was sent there 1st time, he came back after a month. When I asked him why he had left the center, the reason was that he felt that his knowledge of the Word was superior to theirs (you know, being constituted with the ministry). Very soon he resumed taking drugs. I really felt helpless. I was really struggling with the Lord at that time - it was a very painful process for me - I, being so constituted with the ministry, not only reading it, but translating it, being a leading brother, could not help this brother. I was absolutely helpless. Eventually this brother was on the verge of death, it really humbled him and he went to the rehabilitation center 2nd time. This time he had a powerful encounter with the Lord, got fully free, his family was recovered, he found a good job and fully involved with the ministry in that church.
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Old 08-14-2008, 02:33 AM   #139
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Gubei, I like your ideas on a "person" posessing "agency", or will, or the capacity to choose. I have long felt that only God has the capacity to act. Satan merely reacts. When we are in Spirit, we act. When we are being religious, with our scriptural rule books, we merely react. Only God is a "person". All other entities are either agents of God or agents of Satan, who by definition are "not". Question: do we act by "instinct", merely reacting, or by God's grace do we turn and open to the only One who "is"?
Dear Aron,

1. Before I get into answering your question...

My 2 cents for ontology most of posters are discussing now.

Aristotle is said to have tried to define everything by such a systematic way
as

apple (lower concept) = red (difference) + fruit (upper concept)

And at the zenith of upper concept is "existence."

Some posters in this thread seem to be trying to say "at the zenith of upper concept are "existence" and "non-existence". God created only existence, and non-existence (including sin in it) is from nowhere."

However, with a second thought, the assumption of non-existence is existence itself. In other words, when we say non-existence, it means non-existence existes, thus non-existence is included in existence.

Of course, I'm not a devil's advocate. But the afore-mentioned logic is very troublesome.

2. Now answering your question...

Actually you are asking so difficult questions a lot of theologians have debated so long, in vain... I'm no better or smarter than those.

Anyway, my humble answer is as follows;

a. Man is a person

I'd rather say man is a PERSON who has his own freewill and purpose than an agent. God is (a) person(s), having HIS own will. If we are made as per his image and likeness, we should have our own will with which they are for or against God's will. How many wills are there in the universe? If you follow my definition of person, you get at least 1.6 billions (the current population size on the earth). Of course we should add Satan and his subordinates' and angels.

b. instinct and will

Man has both instinct and will, and in general will is superior to instinct. Let's say I haven't eaten meal for three days. I would feel some basic urge to eat apples displayed when I get by a discount store hall. That is of instinct. I would not be blamed for that urge by God. I, however, may want to steal some to eat. That would be because I am sinful. Most of people just suppress that strong urge by using his will. His moral standard is high.

In summary, the urge to eat apples – reacting to my instinct, the urge to steal apples – reacting to my sinful nature, suppress of the urge by using will – acting independently.

c. Judgment by God

In above-mentioned case, I should be judged by God to be guilty despite actually not stealing apples. That's because God cannot accept even sinful nature, let alone sinful action.

d. Salvation

Even though I have a freewill, my freewill is so weak (or defected by fall), so I cannot turn to the Lord. Only those who are selected by God can turn to the Lord by HIS grace.

In short, we, human beings, can make decision with their own freewills except for one thing – salvation. The universe is "deterministic" in regard to salvation. In regard to other incidents, it seems to depend. - Gubei.
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Old 08-14-2008, 06:26 AM   #140
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KSA,

I get that you think the human being got corrupted in the fall but did not get another nature added to it (Satan's). Where I don't follow you is what exactly you think happened to the human nature at the fall. Did we become evil? Did our physical body change? Can we pass on this evil through childbirth?

In other words, I don't understand what you think happened to man at the fall. Maybe I read too fast, maybe you said it already, but I've missed it.


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Old 08-14-2008, 07:11 AM   #141
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If you want me to tell you what happened on the level of "physics" substantially, like if it affected DNA, how sin is transmitted through birth and stuff like that, then my answer will be "I do not know". We know that as a result of the fall the human spirit was deadened, human soul was corrupted and the human body became subject to sickness and death. But all the metaphisics are not covered in the Word. I would say that the best portion in the Bible about the effects of sin is Rom. 1-3.
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Old 08-14-2008, 07:49 AM   #142
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I note that virtually everything else in creation changed as a result of the Fall. Thorns; thistles; animal kills and eats animal; man eats by the sweat of his brow. Did Satan do this? Actually, I believe the Word says God did.

How did the change in man occur? Other than the obvious fact of the loss of fellowship with God, KSA is right to say that "I do not know." I don't think that was made known to us. The cause and result are mentioned throughout scripture, but the mechanics/physics/biology of the actual change is not. It is quite possible that the removal of the active presence of and fellowship with God gave license to man's free will to do according to his own considerations. That is not to say that God was restraining man before, but that the every-present experience of Him was a guide of choice for man. (That would even be consistent with the post-regeneration aspect of walking according to the Spirit to fulfill God's righteousness. It might be argued that while still quite choosable, an aspect of the pre-fall condition is restored upon our regeneration.)

It would appear from previous threads on this line that it is not even clearly stated all that was before the Fall. We know there was this situation of peace and fellowship with God. There was peace within the setting of the garden whose name, Eden, is now associated with utopia. But there is uncertainty as to exactly what man's position was with respect to God beyond what is written in the short history of creation up to the Fall. That makes the analysis of the change even more speculative.

And while having some external thing — a little bit of Satan — injected into man is not clearly in opposition to scriptures, all of the relevant scriptures can be understood without such fact being assumed (in my opinion).
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Old 08-14-2008, 07:56 AM   #143
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And while having some external thing — a little bit of Satan — injected into man is not clearly in opposition to scriptures, all of the relevant scriptures can be understood without such fact being assumed (in my opinion).
I do not like the word injection , I think that "influence" is a better word (biblical word is temptation). If something was "injected" into man, it was a lie and a doubt in God's word. All the rest was man's choice and his own responsibility.
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Old 08-14-2008, 08:01 AM   #144
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I do not like the word injection , I think that "influence" is a better word (biblical word is temptation). If something was "injected" into man, it was a lie and a doubt in God's word. All the rest was man's choice and his own responsibility.
I would tend to agree. Man always had a choice. And he chose poorly.
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Old 08-14-2008, 08:01 AM   #145
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Another argument against the LSM view of the fall is to ask how exactly Satan is in our flesh and how he is passed from generation to generation. Is he interwoven in our DNA somewhere? Will we ever find the "Satan gene?" Just where is he hiding?

Does he consciously jump into the sperm and the egg of a conceiving couple? And if the sperm is held in a sperm bank and the egg in a laboratory for months and months, does Satan just hang around in those cells until they are brought together in vitro? Or does he jump on board from the host mother when the zygote is implanted in her?

And if he is passed that way, why isn't God also passed on to the spirits of the children of two believers? Why is just Satan passed along?

Also, if we have Satan's nature, why do we only inherit some of his moral failings. Why don't we also inherit something of his angelic power? When God comes to dwell in us, we do inherit something of his divine power, the power to transcend, certain spiritual discernment, etc., which are more than moral strengths.

The more I consider this Satan's nature in man idea the more stupid it seems to me.
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Old 08-14-2008, 08:10 AM   #146
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Another argument against the LSM view of the fall is to ask how exactly Satan is in our flesh and how he is passed from generation to generation. Is he interwoven in our DNA somewhere? Will we ever find the "Satan gene?" Just where is he hiding?
Ain't Good Book sayin that a damn thing hides in a heel?
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Old 08-14-2008, 08:14 AM   #147
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Also, if we have Satan's nature, why do we only inherit some of his moral failings. Why don't we also inherit something of his angelic power? When God comes to dwell in us, we do inherit something of his divine power, the power to transcend, certain spiritual discernment, etc., which are more than moral strengths.
Let me emphasize that if being "children of the Devil" i.e. fallen humans, means we have Satan's nature, then by definition that makes us part angel, or angel-men. Especially if you believe having God makes us God-men.

Does anyone believe we are angel-men with the nature of an angel mingled with our own? Hmmmmm?

If you believe in God-men and you believe that Satan's nature is in your nature, then you have to.
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Old 08-14-2008, 06:31 PM   #148
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Let me emphasize that if being "children of the Devil" i.e. fallen humans, means we have Satan's nature, then by definition that makes us part angel, or angel-men.
There were true angel-men in the Bible ... Genesis 6. At least that's the interpretation I buy for the "sons of God" who took the "daughters of men" as wives. The result was giants and probably the trigger event for the Flood.

Then there is the story of Satan entering Judas. Not an angel-man, but a man possessed at least temporarily by an angel.

And then there's Peter who Jesus told, "Get the behind me Satan." Here it could have been somewhat figurative, but the fact is Jesus saw Satan's hand at least in Peter's words.

And of course who can forget Moses' terrifying experience of throwing down his rod and discovering it was inhabited by a serpent? Who'da thunk it? Not a human-angel mingling, but something quite close.

It appears there are levels of angelic-human mingling: body, soul, and maybe even spirit.


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Old 08-14-2008, 07:34 PM   #149
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Did Demons have Sexual Relations with Women in Genesis 6:4?
by Hank Hanegraaff

"The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown." Genesis 6:4

Genesis 6:4 is one of the most controversial passages in the Bible. As with any difficult section of Scripture, it has been open to a wide variety of interpretations. It is my conviction, however, that those who hold consistently to a Biblical worldview must reject the notion that women and demons can engage in sexual relations. I reject this interjection of pagan superstition into the Scriptures for the following reasons.

First and foremost, the notion that demons can "produce" real bodies and have real sex with real women would invalidate Jesus' argument for the authenticity of His resurrection. Jesus assured His disciples that "a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have" (Luke 24:39, NKJV). If indeed a demon could produce flesh and bones, Jesus' argument would not only be flawed, it would be misleading. In fact, it might be logically argued that the disciples did not see the post-resurrection appearances of Christ but rather a demon masquerading as the resurrected Christ.

Furthermore, demons are nonsexual, nonphysical beings and, as such, are incapable of having sexual relations and producing physical offspring. To say that demons can create bodies with DNA and fertile sperm is to say that demons have creative power - which is an exclusively divine prerogative. If demons could have sex with women in ancient times, we would have no assurance they could not do so in modern times. Nor would we have any guarantee that the people we encounter every day are fully human. While a Biblical worldview does allow for fallen angels to possess unsaved human beings, it does not support the notion that a demon-possessed person can produce offspring that are part-demon, part-human. Genesis 1 makes it clear that all of God's living creations are designed to reproduce "according to their own kinds."

Finally, the mutant theory creates serious questions pertaining to the spiritual accountability of hypothetical demon-humans and their relation to humanity's redemption. Angels rebelled individually, are judged individually, and are offered no plan of redemption in Scripture. On the other hand, humans fell corporately in Adam, are judged corporately in Adam, and are redeemed corporately through Jesus Christ. We have no Biblical way of determining what category the demon-humans would fit into - whether they would be judged as angels or as men, or more significantly, whether they might even be among those for whom Christ died. I believe the better interpretation is that "sons of God" simply refers to the godly descendants of Seth, and "daughters of men" to the ungodly descendants of Cain. Their cohabitation caused humanity to fall into such utter depravity that God said, "'I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth - men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air - for I am grieved that I have made them.' But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord." (Genesis 6:7-8).
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Old 08-14-2008, 07:37 PM   #150
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Well, I'm not part angel, SC, and neither are you, and as far as I'm concerned neither is anyone else. Except my wife. She's a real angel.
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Old 08-14-2008, 08:22 PM   #151
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Albert Schweitzer: You don't have to be an angel to be a saint.


(Meaning there is hope for all of us, non-angels that we are. Except Igzy's wife )

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Old 08-14-2008, 08:41 PM   #152
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Another argument against that angels having sex with women interepretation is that if said angels were fallen angels, then why does the Bible call them "sons of God?" Show me one other place where the Bible calls fallen angels or demons "sons of God." So since they weren't fallen angels, they could only be good angels. But what were good angels doing having sex with women? So the only logical conclusion is they weren't angels.
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Old 08-14-2008, 08:57 PM   #153
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Ig,

Well, for starters it would be nice if Hanegraaff got the specie right. The argument is for fallen angels, not demons. Demons and fallen angels are clearly different beings with numerous scriptural examples showing their distinctions. G. H. Pember inferred that demons were the disembodied spirits of a preadamite race, a controversial assessment to be sure, but one that at least clearly shows that they were not fallen angels.

While Hanegraaff made some interesting points (all quite refuteable), the fact that he couldn't even get this basic component right makes it a fairly useless piece of evidence.


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Old 08-14-2008, 09:00 PM   #154
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Ig,

Another point. Why would God and two angels have eaten with Abraham if they aren't capable of corporeal forms? (In response to your quote: First and foremost, the notion that demons can "produce" real bodies ... Jesus assured His disciples that "a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have" (Luke 24:39, NKJV)."


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Old 08-14-2008, 09:12 PM   #155
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I CORINTHIANS 11:7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man is not from woman, but woman from man. 9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. 10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.


If we accept that the "sons of God" in Gen. 6 were angels, v. 10 and the head covering rationale become much more meaningful.


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Old 08-14-2008, 10:16 PM   #156
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Ig,

Well, for starters it would be nice if Hanegraaff got the specie right. The argument is for fallen angels, not demons. Demons and fallen angels are clearly different beings with numerous scriptural examples showing their distinctions. G. H. Pember inferred that demons were the disembodied spirits of a preadamite race, a controversial assessment to be sure, but one that at least clearly shows that they were not fallen angels.

While Hanegraaff made some interesting points (all quite refuteable), the fact that he couldn't even get this basic component right makes it a fairly useless piece of evidence.

SC
There's no solid scriptural ground for believing there is any difference between demons and fallen angels. That's Pembers teaching which Lee took and fed to us. I just don't see enough ground for believing it.

Besides, that's a side issue and a red herring to Hanegraaff's actual argument, which is quite strong. Can demons or angels on their own produce DNA and sperm cells capable of producing life in a human female? I have no reason to believe they have that kind of power. Do you?

And if Hanegraff's argument is refutable, then do it. Tell me how angels can produce physical bodies capable of duplicating human DNA and sperm.
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Old 08-14-2008, 10:18 PM   #157
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Ig,

Another point. Why would God and two angels have eaten with Abraham if they aren't capable of corporeal forms? (In response to your quote: First and foremost, the notion that demons can "produce" real bodies ... Jesus assured His disciples that "a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have" (Luke 24:39, NKJV)."

SC
The answer, of course, is that God gave them those bodies temporarily. They weren't able to produce them on their own.
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Old 08-14-2008, 10:26 PM   #158
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I CORINTHIANS 11:7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man is not from woman, but woman from man. 9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. 10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

If we accept that the "sons of God" in Gen. 6 were angels, v. 10 and the head covering rationale become much more meaningful.

SC
Why? There is no connection. v.10 says angels, not sons of God. I Cor 11 doesn't need Genesis 6 to be valid. And Genesis 6 doesn't say anything about head covering. So I'm not sure what you are getting at.
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Old 08-14-2008, 10:42 PM   #159
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While Hanegraaff made some interesting points (all quite refuteable), the fact that he couldn't even get this basic component right makes it a fairly useless piece of evidence.
By the way, I have to point out that the above is just plain fallacious and beneath you. Whether angels or demons are different or not in no way weakens Hanegraaff's basic argument. For example, suppose Hanegraaff said "No car can travel over 1000 miles per hour. So a Ford Explorer cannot travel over 1000 miles per hour." You equivalent response to him would be, "Hanegraaff doesn't even know a Ford Explorer is really a truck, so his assertion is useless." That's about the speed of your argument above, no pun intended.
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Old 08-15-2008, 12:02 AM   #160
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Paul Miletus, I liked your inclusion of the Brass Serpent story. It certainly is salient to the discussion. The brass serpent has the form, but not the substance. Jesus had human form, but not sinful nature. So, is it possible for us, by God's grace, to choose the divine nature, not the fallen human nature, as the "substance" of our "person"? I think/hope so. Without that hope, what hope do I have? Thanks for the posted material; I liked it.
Amen!

Many thanks to you also...

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Old 08-15-2008, 12:49 AM   #161
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There were true angel-men in the Bible ... Genesis 6. At least that's the interpretation I buy for the "sons of God" who took the "daughters of men" as wives. The result was giants and probably the trigger event for the Flood.

Then there is the story of Satan entering Judas. Not an angel-man, but a man possessed at least temporarily by an angel.

And then there's Peter who Jesus told, "Get the behind me Satan." Here it could have been somewhat figurative, but the fact is Jesus saw Satan's hand at least in Peter's words.

And of course who can forget Moses' terrifying experience of throwing down his rod and discovering it was inhabited by a serpent? Who'da thunk it? Not a human-angel mingling, but something quite close.

It appears there are levels of angelic-human mingling: body, soul, and maybe even spirit.


SC
I will come back to the main subject whether Satan dwells in our body. I will not deal with Gen. 6, even though personally I think that Pember made quite a compelling case. My argument will be based on them being angels.

When sons of God had sex with the sons of daughter, they produced giants - mighty men - who were higher and stronger than the rest of people. If Satan's nature entered us in the same way as of those angels, then people would become more powerful than they were. Can it be that those angels in Gen. 6 were more powerful than Satan himself that their offspring exceeded in power the offspring of Satan?

As for Satan entering Judas, it just proves that he was not in him before, otherwise no need of entering.
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Old 08-15-2008, 12:58 AM   #162
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Amen!

Many thanks to you also...
I would like to say a few words about the brass serpent. First, we should realize that what actually healed Israelites in the wilderness was faith. They looked at the brass serpent in faith and were saved. In the same way when we look at Christ crucified in faith, we are saved. And now my main argument: if Satan is indeed present in human body, then how can he be destroyed by termination of his likeness? Everybody say that there was no Satan in the body of Jesus - Jesus came only in the likeness of the flesh of sin. Obviously this analogy of Satan being trapped in man and then taken to the cross does not hold water. There was no Satan in Jesus' flesh. Therefore, we are not talking here of some biological termination of Satan in human nature. I will touch upon how Satan was dealt with on the cross a bit later.
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Old 08-15-2008, 02:00 AM   #163
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The answer, of course, is that God gave them those bodies temporarily. They weren't able to produce them on their own.
Dear Igzy,

Thanks for your logical explanation.

My simple question. Gen 3:24 has been a conundrum so long to me.

Do you think that The Cherubim in Gen 3:24 has a physical body? And is the flaming sword in that verse physical? If not, how can they keep man from getting access to the garden of Eden? Or even are the garden of Eden and Adam themselves a figurative place and a chracter without physical entity?


Gen 3 [24] So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.』 (KJV)
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Old 08-15-2008, 05:47 AM   #164
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The answer, of course, is that God gave them those bodies temporarily. They weren't able to produce them on their own.
You had indicated, via Haanagraff, that angels can't do physical things like have sex. When I pointed out that they do indeed do physical things at times in the Bible (even to the point we're warned to be good in taking in hospitality since, who knows, it could be an angel), you drop your original objection and now say, "Of course."

Well, okay. I don't care how they got their physical bodies, I care only that there is scriptural proof that the lines of demarcation between angelic beings and human beings can at times be blurry.

And you have supported that point. Thank you.


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Old 08-15-2008, 05:58 AM   #165
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There's no solid scriptural ground for believing there is any difference between demons and fallen angels. That's Pembers teaching which Lee took and fed to us. I just don't see enough ground for believing it.
Well, for starters two completely different words are used for these beings. Seems to me the responsibility is upon you to prove these two differently named beings are one and the same.


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Old 08-15-2008, 06:06 AM   #166
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By the way, I have to point out that the above is just plain fallacious and beneath you. Whether angels or demons are different or not in no way weakens Hanegraaff's basic argument. For example, suppose Hanegraaff said "No car can travel over 1000 miles per hour. So a Ford Explorer cannot travel over 1000 miles per hour." You equivalent response to him would be, "Hanegraaff doesn't even know a Ford Explorer is really a truck, so his assertion is useless." That's about the speed of your argument above, no pun intended.
Well, in a debate about the nature of who the "sons of God" refer to in Genesis 6, you would think a so-called Bible expert would take the time to at least define and use the key terms carefully. Defining terms in a debate is crucial.

However, since you think my rejection of Hanegraaff's argument on these grounds was fallacious and lowly, I'll withdraw it. I didn't do a point by point refutation of it because I thought it would be tedious to me and the reader alike and it really isn't my concern in this general debate. I may go ahead now and do so, however, since you have requested it.

One last point. You are the one stating absolutes here. You said this whole idea of Satan's nature somehow entering man is "stupid." I merely am raising flags found in the Bible to show that things aren't all that simple. For me, the jury is still out on this issue.


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Old 08-15-2008, 06:09 AM   #167
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Maybe it would be better to discuss Gen. 6 in a separate thread? In the subforum on teachings?
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Old 08-15-2008, 06:25 AM   #168
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Maybe it would be better to discuss Gen. 6 in a separate thread? In the subforum on teachings?
Nah, I'm done with this tributary. Carry on.


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