1-28 Salvation Issues
Mr. Mattison's Final Speech
Okay, so I have ten minutes. I don't know if I will use all of it, but
we will see. There are a couple of points I would like to begin with.
One is, I would like to correct some misunderstandings that were apparent
earlier. For one thing, I never said that the issue of where sin comes
from is irrelevant. I think it's very relevant. What I said was that the
issue of where the devil came from is irrelevant. As I indicated earlier
I do have some thoughts about the origin of the devil. Those are not set
in concrete, nor do I believe it is really important, because the Bible
doesn't make any issue out of that.
Let's see here, also we talked about Mark chapter 1, I wasn't trying to
imply that the spirit which led Jesus into the wilderness was the devil.
I believe the spirit there was the spirit of God. The point was that the
spirit of God led Jesus into the desert where God knew the devil would
approach him and tempt him. I stated that God wanted that to happen. Incidentally,
there was a great interesting point made that the temptations of Jesus
had a number of parallels to the Old Testament. There is one more parallel
I would like to draw out and that is, that there is a very strong parallel
between Jesus' temptations and the temptations of Adam and Eve in the
garden. If the first Adam was literally tempted by an external force,
who as I stated earlier I do believe was the devil, then it logically
follows that in this parallel passage in which Jesus was tempted, he also
was literally tempted by an external force.
A couple of other random statements. For one thing, I am, I think there
is a difference between being convinced and turning it into a salvation
issue. Let me give you an example: personally, I am convinced that the
Gospel of Mark was written before Matthew and Luke were ever written,
but I am not going to make that a salvation issue. If you think that the
Gospel of Mark was written after Matthew and Luke, I think that's fine,
I think it's pretty irrelevant. Similarly, I am convinced that the devil
teaches the existence of a literal devil, but I don't consider that a
salvation issue, briefly addressing that point.
Also when I said earlier that the question of Satan's being is irrelevant,
I would clarify that. I wasn't meaning his existence, what I meant was,
his mode of existence is irrelevant. The relevant point is that the devil
Let's see, my point I believe, about the use of the article in Hebrew
and Greek, I think still stands. Earlier it was suggested that was an
interpretative marker, not so much a linguistic marker. And yes, there
is an element of interpretation there, but still linguistically, I think,
my point was never answered, that indeed there is a great difference between
the times when we find - and this I think I can say as a statement right
across the board - in the Old Testament when you see the word 'satan'
when it does not have, when the word 'satan' in the Old Testament has
the article, it always refers to the supernatural adversary, and in the
New Testament, when the word 'diabolos' has the article, it always refers
to the supernatural adversary. I believe that holds true.
However, this one exception was pointed out from the Septuagint in the
7th chapter of Esther in which once or twice Hadad is called diabolos
with the article. Of course, that is still consistent with the principle
of what the definite article means. The use of the definite article means
that you are talking about something which is well understood. If you
look at the context of Esther 7 there, in the Septuagint version of Esther,
you will see a great deal of emphasis is placed upon the wickedness of
Haman, and so that is why the article could be used, because Haman was
definitely the accuser of that context.
Now on the other hand, when we look at other passages, similarly we would
expect that when the article is used, some well known frame of reference
is in mind, not just some unknown accuser, as for example in his book
" Christendom Astray" Robert Roberts talks about the temptations
and says " We don't know who this tempter was, we don't know who
this accuser was." But Matthew and Luke both use the article in that
case. He wasn't saying a devil, as Roberts seems to imply.
He talks about the devil. What devil? As I mentioned
earlier, or perhaps alluded to, Christadelphians seem to do a pretty good
job of telling us what the Bible doesn't teach in many cases, but not
always a very good job at telling us what it does teach. And the temptation
stories are an example.
Aside from that, that's probably all I have to say in conclusion. I've
enjoyed being here. I've enjoyed the discussion. I think it has been very
fruitful and profitable, and thank you very much.