Satan in the book of Job


#1

My question regards the way that Satan is presented in the book of Job as a servant of God that tests human beings. How does this relate to the understanding that the Devil and the fallen angels rebelled at the beginning of the world and were thrown out of heaven? How does this relate to the understanding of angels and demons and the unseen spiritual war going on that we cannot see? Any comments are appreciated. I Have been wondering about this for awhile.


#2

I wouldn’t say servant of God, though yes Satan being what he is, would and could serve God’s purposes when dealing with men. Satan was amongst the sons of God, but it doesn’t say he is a servant of God. God calls Job His servant though.

In the case of Job there is so much there, according to the Lord, Job was a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil. Why would the Lord allow such to befall Job if he was what the Lord said he was?


#3

Catholic theology steps in where scripture leaves gaps, for the sake of harmonization.

Ideas like the “fallen angels” are put forth to resolve problems.

The heresy of dualism is that before the world was created, there were two forces, one - God, and the other, an evil force, let’s say Satan.

Well, to preclude that, which the Church does not teach, they come up with this idea of fallen angels, which has some scriptural validation, someplace, to be sure.

The story goes that Satan said, “I will not serve [God].”

Satan’s creature status seem validated in Job by he assertion that “he” roams the earth – so he is finite, a creature, probably thus an angel, a fallen angel, different from those who worship and serve God.

if you look up “satan” in the encyclopedia, under one of the tabs above, you may be able to satisfy your curiosity over this question.


#4

Here’s one explanation, from the 1869 Haydock Commentary:

Ver. 6. The sons of God. The angels, (Challoner) as the Septuagint express it. (Calmet)
Satan also, &c. This passage represents to us in a figure, accommodated to the ways and understandings of men,
1. The restless endeavours of satan against the servants of God.
2. That he can do nothing without God’s permission.
3. That God doth not permit him to tempt them above their strength: but assists them by his divine grace in such manner, that the vain efforts of the enemy only serve to illustrate their virtue and increase their merit. (Challoner)
— A similar prosopopeia occurs, 3 Kings xxii. 19., and Zacharias i. 10. (Calmet)
— Devils appear not in God’s sight, but sometimes in presence of angels, who represent God. (St. Athanasius, q. 8. ad Antioc, (Worthington) or some ancient author.)
— The good angels can make known their orders to them, Zacharias iii. 1., and Jude 9. Both good and bad spirits may be considered as the ministers of God. (Calmet)
— They appear in judgment; though the latter could not see the Lord.


#5

from the encyclopedia on this website, please see

oce.catholic.com/index.php?title=Devil


#6

Here’s another, from the Navarre Bible Commentary:

**1:6-12. **The protagonists, God and Satan, act very much like human beings – God like a great lord who summons his ministers to a meeting (v. 6); Satan like a spy who seems to be stalking a man who fears the Lord, but in fact he is trying to attack God himself, for he turns traditional teaching about rewards and punishment on its head: it is not true that God blesses a man because he is pious; rather, man behaves in a pious way because God blesses him (vv. 9-11). Man only seems to be obedient to God; his actions are really motivated by self-interest.

In this book ‘Satan’ does not yet mean the devil, the fallen angel who tempts man to do evil (cf. Rev 12:9-11). He is the prosecutor who denounces man to God for his sins (cf. Zech 3:1). For a fuller comment, see the note on 1 Chron 21:1.

Like Abraham when he was required to sacrifice his first-born son (cf. Gen 22:1-12), Job does not realize that his faith in and fear of the Lord are being put to the test. Yet in both cases, Abraham and Job, the initiative lies with God: he will not allow Abraham to perform the sacrifice, nor will he allow Job to be tested beyond the limit (v. 12).

“The sons of God” (v. 6), which the Septuagint translates as “the angels of God,” are those who are subject to his commands.


#7

Sorry you are incorrect there is scripture that states that Satan fell from the Presence of God:

Luke 10:17: And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.
18: And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
19: Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Note that this is an account stated by He who wittnessed Satan’s fall.


#8

The scene is the Court of a King. Satan was a member of the court. “Satan” is a title; It means; “Accuser”.
And so it goes.


#9

There’s something to that thought, he is the one who seeks your condemnation via your guilt and expects your demise, but if you noticed, when Adam and Eve had to answer the Lord God the serpent wasn’t heard. The Lord heard Adam and He heard Eve but the serpent said nothing.


#10

D_Martin :thumbsup:


#11

I have before heard of people identify the satan as one of the a angelic servants of God,
but I fail to see how such even might be the case. All I see is that there’s are angels in
the presence of the Lord, AND the satan (Satan) was ALSO among them.

As I see it, there’s a guy named Job, a God and his angels, **AND **the Devil ALSO.

God also doesn’t just straight out call on Satan to screw with Job, the Devil makes an
interesting observation, that Job is only good not out of nature but because he’s kinda
spoiled with blessings and fortunate living, THEN God allows Satan to toy with Job.

I would actually be interested if some[size=3]–
body could point out to me how Satan
is seen as a servant/son of God in the
Book of Job and not simply a mischie-
vous Devil trying to discourage som[size=3]e−[/size]
b[size=3]ody’s[/size] faith in and loyalty to God.
[/size]


#12

The Satan was (is) a rebel, not a servant. I can’t explain it…


#13

The more I think about it, I tend to think Satan is doing exactly what he was created to do for God, without him in the world, there would not be a whole lot of sin or temptation, him and his fallen angels do serve a purpose and if you look at the larger picture, it is for the greater good.

I also have a hard time believing Satan himself decided to go against God, and also that he managed to convince a 1/3 of the other angels he was right! Angels are much different than humans, they KNOW what God is and KNOW he is all powerful, so Satan WOULD have known full well, it would not do him any good to rebel against God, Satan knew he could not win a war against God, he knew would not even stand a chance, and Im quite sure the other 1/3 of the angels also KNEW this for a FACT, so it does not make sense for them to rebel against God and side with a fellow angel. Angels do not have to rely on faith, they know first hand what God is and how powerful he is.

It would be similar to a single man truly believing he could win (or even stand a chance) in a battle or war against the entire US military, PLUS this single person would also convince 100s or 1000s of other men to stand with him and that he TRULY could accomplish this…this is basically the same situation as Satan rebelling against God.

Doesnt it make more sense that Satan and his fallen angels were actually created for the purpose they serve, after all, God is supposed to know beforehand what is going to happen, so he would have known Satan was going to do this and ruin his creation, yet he still went on to create him then…???


#14

Nothing impure can come in the presence of God, but Satan, evil personified, can come to God’s throne and have a very courteous discussion with God about one of God’s creatures, Job. Makes a lot of sense. :rolleyes: I remember hearing talks by Father Corapi, he said one of God’s attributes is his simplicity. When you look at someone and analyse them, see how they react in different situations, under stress etc., you can have a reasonably good idea of who they are, God is everything and its opposite. If Satan was cast to the earth, then how is it possible that the world Adam and Eve lived in was without sin, by their disobedience, sin entered the world. How could Satan and the angels inhabit a sinless world? If you want straightforward and plain, God may not be your best option.


#15

You think the story lacks internal coherence? So do I. But critical thinking is not welcome in the Catholic Church. She wants child-like faith, we’re compared to sheep, and to quote Joyce Meyer, “sheep are dumb”. Adam and Eve is the CC’s equivalent of Pandora’s Box. Why should everyone be affected by the single act of two people we don’t even know for sure existed? Yet God is heralded as this beacon of justice.


#16

On the first point, God does not create anybody with the purpose of sinning. As Yeshua, the author of Sirach, explains in the 15th chapter: God has no use for sin. He doesn’t create a person for the purpose of them going against His own will. He does not lead people into doing that which he hates. This is why the Calvinist theology of God supposedly creating people for the purpose of them being condemning has no weight to it.

On the second issue, it is not a matter of the fallen angels necessarily thinking that they can somehow “win” against God, although it is possible that this seemingly common sense idea was somehow obscured from them. The point is that there were some angels that chose good and there were some angels that chose evil. If I pull out a gun and tell a mugger to drop his knife, he’s probably going to comply with me. The fact that I have overpowered him with force to make him subservient doesn’t change the fact that he would love to mug me if he could. It does not change the moral landscape of the situation: the mugger has still chosen evil in his heart one way or another. It is not a matter of offering a formal surrender and then supposedly everything is peachy.

The third point gets into some complex theology, but Thomas Aquinas addressed this question in his Summa Theologica in the Middle Ages. The question he posed is that if God is outside of time and possesses the foresight of all decisions, then why would he not either A) Choose not to create those creatures who he foreknew would choose evil, or B) Obstruct their faculty of free will in some way so that they could not choose evil. The answer to this question is that God cannot change his mind and allow His sovereignty to submit to his own creation, which would be something inconceivable and unconscionable. There is no “will be” or “was” in the mind of God. To Him, everything simply is. There is no such thing as sparring an evil creature from being created, and if God were to do that, it would be evil triumphing over good by compelling God to do something against His intended design. The intended design of Satan was to become a saint, and to live with God and his fellow creatures in an eternal kingdom of perfect love. Obviously, Satan strayed from that.


#17

I used to think Satan was God’s sworn enemy, now I see him more as his tool. You don’t get a sense that there is any kind of hostility between God and Satan when they’re discussing Job’s destruction. They’re more like partners to some extent.


#18

I fail to see the logic behind that as well. :confused:


#19

Look at the wording in Job:

Job 1:6
Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.

Job 2:1-2
Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
2 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “Whence have you come?” Satan answered the Lord, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.”

Will have to check the commentaries, but this seems to indicate that the devil was only among the sons of God - not directly stating that he was (then) one of them. God even asked him where he had come from.


#20

So if no evil creatures were created, that would be the triumph of evil? I’m in awe of that “logic”. Of course, we’d have to debate the good of creating creatures who, God knows full well, will end up perpetually miserable.


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