One of the great lies of Satan is in how he uses human institutions such as religion and politics to make it look like God uses violence to defeat violence. This is the great myth of redemptive violence, which is seen in almost every movie, story, and legend of history, as well as within every daily newspaper and every nightly news broadcast.
We have been taught that violence is the best way to defeat violence. This is the myth of redemptive violence.
But more than that, divinely sanctioned violence is the most successful, and can even be carried out in the name of God. But Jesus reveals in His life and ministry, and especially through His death and resurrection, the true emptiness of redemptive violence. He unmasks Satan’s lie of redemptive violence for all the world to see.
Although really, as it turned out, it was Satan himself who, in crucifying Jesus, unwittingly revealed his lie to the world. The trap that Satan had set for Jesus turned out to be a trap that Jesus had laid for Satan. This is why Paul says that if Satan had known that the death of Jesus would be his undoing, he never would have crucified the Lord of glory (1 Cor 2:8). In blaming God and finally crucifying God, Satan thought he was winning; but the death blow he dealt upon Jesus turned out to be his own. By using the power of Satan, Jesus defeated Satan, which in reality, turned out to be Satan causing his own defeat.
Satan Stole Dominion Over the Earth
It all began in the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve were created by God, they were given dominion over the earth. But when they sinned in the Garden, they effectively handed this dominion over to Satan. He did not steal the dominion; it was freely given to him. As a result, he now became the ruler of this age, the god of this world (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11; 2 Cor 4:4).
Due to the nature of the dominion which God had given to Adam, God could not simply take back the dominion now that it had been handed over to Satan. God had freely given it to Adam, and Adam had freely given to Satan. The only way for God (or mankind) to get the dominion back from Satan was if Satan freely gave it back, which he was never going to do. Satan had wanted to be like God, and in gaining dominion over the earth, he became a god. Satan had an iron grip on this world, and he ruled it ruthlessly and with all dominion, power, and authority.
Under Satan’s rule, darkness, terror, death, and chaos reigned. If you have read Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy (or seen the movies), imagine what life would be like in Middle Earth if Sauron had been able to obtain the One Ring, the ring of power. The reason that Gandalf and the races of Middle Earth sought to stop Sauron from regaining the ring is because they did not want their world to plunge into eternal death and chaos. But in the biblical account, this is exactly what happened when Adam handed dominion over to Satan.
Satan Blamed God for Satanic Violence
But Satan was not content just to rule by spreading darkness and terror. He wanted to get humanity to blame God for all the evil that happened in this world, and in so doing, solidify his own power even more. How did Satan do this? He used the myth of redemptive violence. He got people to believe that when evil people rose to power, whether their power was over a single person or an entire country, violence was required to overthrow that evil. And yet almost without fail, when the new rulers rose to power, they became more oppressive than the oppressors they overthrew.
In this way, the cycle continued endlessly.
Satan raised up oppressive and tyrannical individuals, governments, and religious institutions so that he might later raise up “righteous liberators” who would violently overthrow the oppressive regimes, but in so doing, become more oppressive and tyrannical than those who preceded them. Those who had power reigned with violent methods and those who came into power did so with violence. Almost always in human history, when the persecuted rise up in violence to overthrow the persecutors, it did not take long before the persecuted become the persecutors.
In this way, Satan “casts out Satan,” and thus endlessly consolidated and amplified his own power.
We will look more at this idea tomorrow. Until then, what do you think of the idea laid out above? Do you think that Satan uses violence to make it look like God is defeating Satan, when in reality, it is Satan “casting out Satan” so that it appears that God is defeating him?How can a God who says "Love your enemies" (Matthew 5:44) be the same God who instructs His people in the Old Testament to kill their enemies?
These are the sorts of questions we discuss and (try to) answer in my online discipleship group. Members of the group can also take ALL of my online courses (Valued at over $1000) at no charge. Learn more here: Join the RedeemingGod.com Discipleship Group I can't wait to hear what you have to say, and how we can help you better understand God and learn to live like Him in this world!