Wednesday, October 01, 2008

question of evil (6)

Hiebert makes some interesting points regarding Spiritual Warfare and evil.

He points to three worldviews but 'Cosmic Dualism' would it seem to influence much of what I have read regarding SW; it underlies a sense of
redemptive violence where order can be established only when one side defeats the other in spiritual warfare.

One side seeks
to establish a kingdom of righteousness and order, and the other an evil empire. Sounds familiar - Hiebert interestingly draws parallels with other religious similarities found in Zoroastrianism, Manicheism and Hinduism where mighty gods battle for control of the universe.

Hiebert points out that:

Many current Christian interpretations of spiritual warfare are based on an Indo Euro worldview which sees it as a cosmic battle between God and his angels and Satan and his demons for the control of people and lands. The battle is fought in the heavenlies, but it ranges over sky and earth. The central question is one of power - can God defeat Satan? Because the outcome is in doubt, intense prayer is necessary to enable God and his angels to gain victory over the demonic powers. Humans are victims of this struggle.
It seems a shame that we are left with a caricature where engagement within SW is akin to to Popeye cartoon. Hiebert paints the scene...

Every week Bluto grabs Olive Oil. Every week Popeye tries to rescue her. Every week Bluto beats up Popeye. Every week Popeye gets his spinach and defeats Bluto. Bluto never learns to leave Olive Oil alone. Popeye never learns to take his spinach before he attacks Bluto...!

Hiebert P.G. (2000) Spiritual Warfare and Worldview in ERT 24:3 pp 240-241


Matt Reid said...

Thanks for the link, but I think it is Hiebert who is guilty of caricature.

I no of no witers on Spiritual Warfare who would suggest that the outcome is in any doubt at all, all see the death and res. of Christ as the victory of God and the defeat of Satan. Where does he get this from? It seems a very crude extrapolation that is a complete distortion of the reality. The pertinent question is the part we play - will we be informed, active participants in the battle or dreamers playing at the edges of the Christian landscape. The central question is not 'whether' God wins but 'how', does it involve you and me. Only you can answer that, as Brueggemann writes, 'God's resolve awaits human readiness.'

Jon Rouffet said...

I know many Christians who believe that a war is raging in the heavens between the angels and deamons and that we are required to 'tip the balance' with prayer.

If we agree that the battle is won is spiritual warfare the battle we face in our daily choices - whether or not to take part in 'God's resolve'? What power can the devil have over this decision other than to deceive?