If Satan punishes bad people, doesn't that make him a good person?

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In Christian theology, the devil is generally thought of as both being evil in himself AND as being the punisher of bad people. But isn't punishing bad people a good thing? And if so, wouldn't that put the devil on the side of good? How does standard Christian theology resolve this seeming contradiction?

Mr Pie

Posted 2019-01-11T07:02:39.273

Reputation: 137

Question was closed 2019-01-11T09:47:38.963

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Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.

– Geoffrey Thomas – 2019-01-11T09:29:00.617

@GeoffreyThomas firstly, thanks for moving it to chat, so the post does not look so... cluttered. Secondly, I think your understanding of this isn't wrong, and am glad you put this on-hold as off-topic, as it does seem to be a misinterpretation ;) – Mr Pie – 2019-01-11T09:46:07.730

5Thanks for comment. For what it's worth, my understanding of Christian moral theology is that Satan does not punish; God punishes those whom Satan has led astray. Best - Geoffrey – Geoffrey Thomas – 2019-01-11T09:49:48.493

I think this does have an on topic question in it, although it's perhaps better asked on http://christianity.stackexchange.com Please note, btw, that (according to my limited understanding of) Muslim theology, Satan is generally conceived as an enemy of mankind, but a servant of God, who tests people and punishes the bad ones in much the way you describe.

– Chris Sunami supports Monica – 2019-01-11T18:46:45.610

2I have rather severely edited the question and voted to reopen. Please feel free to revert my edits if they don't respect your intentions. – Chris Sunami supports Monica – 2019-01-11T18:51:03.827

@ChrisSunami uhh... well... ok then, hahah. I am ok with it, as long as the discussion is in the chat ;) – Mr Pie – 2019-01-11T22:02:06.090

You are assuming that an evil entity is incapable of doing good... Also what if he is doing it not because it is good but because he enjoys it? (Assuming his motives) – christo183 – 2019-01-12T08:23:21.193

@christo183 Well either way, if someone enjoys making someone else suffer, I don't think that is good ;) – Mr Pie – 2019-01-12T08:26:45.523

1In the Old Testament Satan only said Job was not faithful enough. He did not punish, neither God, of cpurse, punished Job. But aside from that there is no mention of that entity anywhere else in the Bible. Yes, there is the Beast in the Book of Revelation. But that's another entity and has nothing to do with punishment. Mostly ideas about Satan are a folklore. But that's almost all of the christian ideas existing nowadays. Almost everything is a folklore. – rus9384 – 2019-01-12T11:49:31.490

1As @rus9384 says it's mostly folklore, but it's a good question about folklore. I suppose we'd have to say that it's God who punishes and the Devil is his agent. This must be true if God is in charge and there is such a thing as punishment and the Devil . . – None – 2019-01-12T13:14:12.920

@PeterJ Folklore is created by masses and people can disagree on many things. It's hard to find logical connections in folklore. Mostly it's inconsistent. Maybe consistency is one criterion to decide if given text is written by a single person or not. – rus9384 – 2019-01-12T17:43:23.050

I'm not aware of any Christian denomination that teaches that Satan punishes people. – curiousdannii – 2019-01-12T23:05:09.047

@curiousdannii Well, I viewed it as a punishment because all I knew was that Satan sends people to Hell because they have been bad. In Hell they burn forever. This, to me, is clearly some kind of punishment. However, in doing research, it appears that God may send people to Hell. The Christian Bible talks about Judgment Day and how God will decide through the expected Second Coming of Christ, but it says here by Peter confirming that God might be responsible for sending us to Hell.

– Mr Pie – 2019-01-13T02:59:48.610

@PeterJ Perhaps you are right in saying God is fully in charge: he is the ultimate, powerful being that sends you to Heaven or Hell, Heaven with Christ and Hell with Satan. Read my comment above to see what I mean but at the end of the day, we can all agree that this is folklore. And thanks for saying it was a good question; I am glad to know that ;) – Mr Pie – 2019-01-13T03:02:59.667

@rus9384 There is another mention of Satan in the temptation of Christ written in three gospels but this only reveals the character and true nature of Satan when Jesus fasts for 40 days and nights. It mentions that Satan shows Jesus from atop a high mountain all of the kingdoms of the world, and that Jesus could have it all if he worshipped Satan. It appears that Satan can show this, but if Satan showed his actual figure, the Bible has not described it. Perhaps Satan is in the same form as God but just for everything God does not stand for.

– Mr Pie – 2019-01-13T03:12:25.177

@rus9384 Of course, though, my above comment is from the New Testament, even though you're referring to Satan in the Old Testament. – Mr Pie – 2019-01-13T03:14:23.743

It is never said that the entity temptating Christ there is Satan from the Old Testament. Neither it is the Beast. It could be the same entity as the serpent from the Eden, but no clue still. Also, it is not mentioned as a punisher anywhere. The concept of hell is not a genuine jewish concept. But Jesus probably used it because it already was common at his time. Yet, it was God who was the judge, who both decided whom to punish and whom to reward. – rus9384 – 2019-01-13T03:33:08.283

@rus9384 The Bible perhaps does not mention much about Satan and Hell because of what is said here, with how "It cannot be stressed too strongly that God sends no one to hell, or everlasting punishment. People go to hell because of their wilful rejection of Christ, not because of God's desire. The Bible says of God."

– Mr Pie – 2019-01-13T03:38:55.807

@rus9384 However, the verse 2 Peter 2:4-9 says: "For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment ... if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment." I misread this verse at first, and thought God did send people to Hell, but it turns out God does not send people to Hell at all. Nonetheless, being sent to Hell is a punishment, particularly on Judgment Day, according to this passage. – Mr Pie – 2019-01-13T03:40:50.157

@rus9384 But God knew that Adam and Eve would sin, and thus people would become sinners and some people will go to Hell. God might not directly send someone to Hell, but being sent to Hell is ultimately work of God, methinks (and perhaps partially the work of Satan?). – Mr Pie – 2019-01-13T03:45:42.427

1The verse from Ecclesiastes os too vague to be actual statement that humans live for eternity. There was no concept of soul among jews any further than "a breathe". Neither there is any mention of hot hell. It is not God who created hell. It is humans. And punishment is never good. – rus9384 – 2019-01-13T03:46:41.323

2@user477343 Christians don't teach that Satan sends people to hell either! Hell is where God sends Satan. He will have no power in hell. – curiousdannii – 2019-01-13T04:06:41.070

@curiousdannii Isn't Satan already in.... Hell....? Wait.... could this mean that Satan is walking hereon the face of the Earth?! :o – Mr Pie – 2019-01-13T04:08:10.680

2@user477343 Well Satan is a spirit, and doesn't have a body, but yes. Revelation describes hell as the place Satan will be sent after he is judged, along with all the people who reject God. It's not perfectly clear, but my interpretation would be that "hell" is not yet occupied. – curiousdannii – 2019-01-13T04:45:20.663

1What we need is to make a renewed attempt to worship the objective of God, not our forefathers' doctrines about him. ~ Charles Hartshorne – Bread – 2019-01-13T05:15:42.693

1Why's this on hold? It's a great question. – user4894 – 2019-01-13T06:21:45.590

@user4894 it was originally not posed like this ;) – Mr Pie – 2019-01-13T11:05:32.500

@Bread nice quote. (+1) ;) – Mr Pie – 2019-01-13T11:06:25.900

@curiousdannii I see... okay, thanks for taking part of a discussion with me. I appreciate you forfeiting your time for this :D – Mr Pie – 2019-01-13T11:07:22.427

1@SonOfThought - Questions about beliefs are not intrinsically opinion-based. The question "Is there evidence that X holds Y belief?" is a counterexample. – Chris Sunami supports Monica – 2019-01-14T20:42:50.667

No answers