God’s and the Devil’s Presence 2014-12
I never thought about God’s presence when I was younger than I am today. It only has been recently (last couple of years) that I gave it any thought. I had the same thoughts (or non-thoughts) about the Devil himself. It was sort of like, taking it for granted that there was a God and also a Devil out there somewhere.
Then something happened that I ended up calling “The Happening” (made sense for me to do so at the time). That is an event that has its own story/description that I will not go into detail here, but is on record elsewhere. Suffice to say, that experience affected me to where I started a spiritual journey which changed my life forever. I am no longer the person I was before, but instead am what I am now, which I identify as a spiritualist, for the sake of using a word. This is where I do not fit the mold of typical spiritualists that claim they can communicate with the dead or that type of context. I am a Christian, church going person that has a relationship with God and as such, I also feel His Divine presence at all times and all places.
This concept is not new of course, and much has been written about this presence of God. Some other religions make the same claim, but in almost all, they make the same theological terms. God’s presence is in nature, in all human beings and especially in each human being. It could be perceived as an outside, environmental or natural entity that could be in the mind but instead is an unseen being that influences human perception. You cannot see it perhaps, but it is there, it is felt and in the feeling it actually “is”.
Some would call this presence “an angel” (perhaps) that has somewhat of a human personality and can therefore interact with humans without actually revealing themselves. The Divine or Holy Spirit, or the archaic expression of Holy Ghost, is tied into the Triune God that interacts with humans in God’s name as God Himself. What we hear at Christmas as Immanuel, “God is with us” which is a Biblical concept of the Divine presence as a title for Jesus.
What you believe about the presence, is what you believe and that goes for my thoughts as well. It is the same as the word “Faith” that is said so much. Either you believe or you do not. The “Presence” (for short) is mentioned in religious context very much, but is it felt or experienced? Maybe it is and we do not know of its affecting us or being around us when it is. Jesus Christ is part of the Triune God and because of this fact, or opinion, if you think this way, His presence is with us always.
Allow me to quote from my favorite source, Wikipedia. “Considering the notion of Jesus’ presence within the Christological area of study, one can articulate an account of presence in nine themes and so throw light on Christ “in himself” (in se) and Christ “for us” (pro nobis), thus recalling the strikingly new modes of divine presence to humanity and the world that the missions of the Son of God and the Holy Spirit brought, according to the Christian faith. As Word/Wisdom/Son of God, Christ is eternally and personally related to the Father in the Spirit. To adapt a central statement from Nicaea I, “there never was a moment when God was not present to/in him” ( Col. 1:19; 2 Cor. 5:19) This divine “presence to”, which constitutes the triune God’s life in communion, is mirrored in Christ’s earthly existence — from the Trinitarian face of his virginal conception and baptism right through to his “being exalted at the right hand” of God the Father and jointly “pouring out” the Holy Spirit on the world (Acts 2:33). The Trinitarian presence takes into account the ultimate reality of Christ’s eternal and temporal existence.”
Let me digress to discuss the Devil’s Presence.
Much has been also written about the Devil and his presence. This entity (the Devil) is considered to represent evil and many religions have a devil to talk about in their writings. Many Christian writings have things about the Devil that are fabricated, or taken out of context.
The devil is sometimes called Lucifer and is thought to be a “fallen angel”. This has been taught in some Sunday schools for a long time. The only occurrence of the name Lucifer in the (KJV) Bible is in Isaiah 14:12, in this verse: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How are thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations?” Seems pretty straightforward, but it turns out that it’s another case of misinterpretation and mistranslation. If you go back to the original Hebrew text, you find a story not about a fallen angel, but about an unknown or named Babylonian king who figuratively fell from his throne when he began persecuting the Israelites.
The same goes for the number 666 that has been tied in with the Devil. This is cited from the Book of Revelation, in which John associates the number with the Antichrist, but the details of the story aren’t entirely clear. I don’t know many or any that truly understand Revelations. Another number, 616 has been mentioned as the other more accurate number based on numerology and different translations of text.
Now, there are many mentions in the Bible about Satan (The Devil), so I am not going to say there is not a Devil, but would like to offer the fact, or opinion, that the Devil is an evil presence that represents “sin” and, as such, is a factor in our lives. The Devil tempted Jesus Christ and was renounced by Him for his efforts. I will not call the Devil any name such as Lucifer, but say he is “the evil one” that corrupts humans to go against God’s wishes.
How do we know that the Devil is at work? Many do not know or ever will because what they do is normal (to them) and not evil in their mind, but instead, a way of life. He is described as hating all humanity (or more accurately creation), opposing God, spreading lies and wreaking havoc on the souls of mankind. Other Christians consider the Devil in the Bible to refer figuratively to human sin and temptation and to any human system in opposition to God.
In the Bible, the Devil is depicted as the serpent, which convinced Eve to eat the forbidden apple, and therefore Satan is shown as the serpent. Many snakes have been killed just because they represent the Devil in the minds of those doing the killing.
Is the Devil’s presence around us and affecting us? Once you get past the name calling and the myths that have been made, and consider what evil is, then you might believe that there is an evil one out there, coercing us to do those things that go against God’s wishes or Commandments. Modern conceptions of the Devil include the concept that there is a Devil that symbolizes humans’ own lower nature or sinfulness brought upon by evil actions.
What is evil?
What is evil? The easy answer is the opposite of good or the dualistic antagonistic opposite of good, in which good should prevail and evil should be defeated. In the context of religion, evil is complex and well discussed in Scripture. I read that the word evil occurs over 613 times in the KJV or 481 times in the Old Testament and 132 in the New Testament. Evil is described as a biblical term as being opposed to God and His purposes as “sin”, and describes the human perspective as being harmful and nonproductive, as in suffering. The fact of evil creates, not only a problem for existence, it creates a problem for belief in an all-good and all-powerful God allowing evil to exist. Almost all religions and denominations of the Christian faith have evil as a force to be reckoned with in one way or another.
I believe that evil exists and that learned people know when evil has entered their lives. As such, I can blame the Devil, called Satan in my mind, as the evil one that tempts me or entices me to do the things that are contrary to God’s will. That is a simple statement, but one which I will stick to. Others can bring up a load of facts and past opinions by academic scholars or text written by well educated people, but when it boils down to reality, “The Devil Made Me Do It” is real.
Is there a Presence of God or the Holy Spirit and is there a Devil called Satan that is hovering around us on a continual basis. I think so. I feel His Presence and at times when I have the feeling that the evil one is lurking near me, at those times I say, “Be gone, in the name of the Father, the Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit”, and I feel a calming effect come over me and I am at peace. DDB