Mr. Mattison's Final Speech
2-1-28 Salvation Issues
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 exists.
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.