When did G-D and Satan become equal?
By William J Jackson, Netiv Coordinator Northwest Arkansas
Many people believe that there are two battling forces; God and Satan. This concept is known as Religious Dualism. It was introduced by a religious sect called Zoroastrianism. These pagans were founded by the Iranian prophet. Zoroaster in the 6th century BC (1). They complied to the theology which history is a cosmic struggle between the powers of good, i.e., light, and evil, i.e., darkness. (2)
In the Tanakh (OT) “The Satan” is not in charge of the enemy camp but is controlled by God. We see this in Job when G-d tasks Satan to test Job (Job 1:12) and in Zechariah 3 where G-d rebukes Satan on Joshua’s behalf. The Tanakh doesn’t change it’s theology but some Jews in the last century of BCE did. They started to use the idea that their opponents were in fact opposed to G-d (Greece and Rome). Later on in the first century the new Christian movement found themselves in conflict with the Jewish establishment (3). Since everything opposed to ones agenda was interpreted as evil it was easy to adapt this pagan concept into Christianity, for example “the reason all Jews didn’t become Christian was because of Satan”. Introduction of this non-Jewish belief would have been consistent since many new concepts were infused into the NT (Exclusivism, Koinonia, Gnosticism, Hellenistic Judaism, Zealotry).
Question: So who is responsible for evil?
Answer: Isaiah 45:6-7 “… I am the Lord and there is no other. 7 Who forms light and creates darkness, Who makes peace and creates *EVIL; I am the Lord, Who makes all these.
Many Christian translations try to cover for G-d by using a different word for evil.
NLT “bad times”
But the Hebrew word used in scripture is “ra‘” which is “evil” (Strong’s 7451).
Actually the KJB says “evil”
Also look into Jeremiah 51:20, Isaiah 31:2, Amos 3:6, Ecclesiastes 7:13-14, Psalm 75:7, 104:20-23, clearly G-d is responsible for everything.
In some cases one could also say that since we are given “free will” (Deuteronomy 11:26, 30:15, 19, Joshua 24:15, Psalm 119:30, Proverbs 16:9) evil can become a necessary byproduct for choosing wrong. For example (within reason) if a parent allows a child to choose right or wrong to teach them responsibility, is the parent at fault for the child choosing wrong? Some might argue this point but it is a critical step in maturing children.
This answer only brushes the surface, there are many excellent sources that contemplate the “age-old” question “why does G-d allow evil?” (see below).
Conclusion: Those that exclusively follow the Tanakh (OT) are Monotheism, which is the belief in the one G-d. Believing that Satan is a god (John 12:31, Acts 26:18, 1 John 5:19, 2 Corinthians 4:4, Revelation 12:9) even a lesser god, would be in violation of the first commandment “Only one God” (Exodus 20:3, Deuteronomy 4:35, 6:4, 32:39, Isaiah 41:4, 43:10-11, 44:6)
When did G-d and Satan become equal? Never
(1) Zoroastrianism at a glance, BBC, Dated 2009-10-02
(2) By R. J. Zwi Werblowsky, DUALISM: Moral Dualism, Jewish Virtual Library, Dated 2013
(3) by Tom Radcliffe, The Birth of Dualism: a review of The Origin of Satan by Elaine Pagels, Dated 2000-07-29
Note: Sources for Why G-d allows Suffering/Evil: