Statesboro, GA, USA
Me: "now you've got the even thornier theological problem of believing that an evil spirit prophesied the exact truth of what would happen to Saul, at the hand of God's judgement. Care to explain that one?"
JCP: Too easy. A demon spirit can tell the truth, and in this case God obviously wasn't going to answer Saul and the outcome was easily predicted. Satan is the Lord of this World. He does have some power to know what is going on.
The outcome may have been easily predicted in a very general sense of things. But you have to contend with the fact that this "spirit" predicted the future with a degree of accuracy only befitting prophets. The philistine victory, and the very day it would happen. The death of Saul and his sons, and the very day it would happen. If an evil spirit has that degree of prophetic insight, then you'll have to admit it is the only place in scripture which illustrates it in such precision.
Conversely, it's certainly not the only place in scripture where prophets in general, and Samuel in particular have been described as demonstrating such prophetic accuracy. In Samuel's childhood we read this: "And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.".
It's still quacking an awfully lot like a duck.
Clearly Satan and his evil spirits can tell the truth, as they were correct. Jesus is the Son of God.
But there may be a difference in "telling the truth" and in detailed prediction of the future. The former is attributed to many in scripture, the latter only to certain "prophetic" types. I'm not saying you can't believe that about demons or Satan. But what I am saying is that I don't think you have a strong case for it from scripture.
Says you and mainstream christianity. It is easy for one to make an interpretation work, if they say, when reading this passage it is only a musing, but while reading this passage it is not. Maybe, it is God's way of separating those who understand what is the true Lamb and what is Azazel.
Maybe, but maybe not. If something is true it's going to be supportable by textual explanation ... including consideration of what "type" of literature we are dealing with when examining a particular passage of scripture. For example, you haven't explained to me how, if you take scripture always as doctrinal establishment, we have such contradictory passages in the "poetry" sections of scripture.
That's why, if I had more doctrinal confidence in the "writings" (or the fairly distinct dialogical and poetic parts of scripture), I would quote such passages as:
"The dead are in deep anguish, those beneath the waters and all that live in them." (Job 26:5)
I don't know how you deal with the fact that the non-existent dead here are "in anguish", understanding statements in Job as fiats of dogma the way you do. But I personally couldn't even convince myself of my own position using such poetic passages. Why? Because of the type of literature and the playful paradoxical statements that are all through such works.
Me:But I think your main problem is trying to makes Solomon's (and Job's) poetic musings into technical descriptions.
JCPYeah, right. When mainstream christianity doesn't have an answer, it can easily say that Job and Solomon's words are merely poetic musings.
But I have explained it, and demonstrated it with the text itself. You can also read for yourself how the Jewish Rabbis approached such scriptures, and see that it had little to do with rigid theology. (though I don't deny that there's a rightful place for that in scripture too).
And to clarify: I never said that Job or Ecclesiastes was "merely" poetry. That makes it sound like I think that it has no meaning, or value whatsoever. Hey, I'm a poet. You ought to know better than that. I just don't think that you can pass Job off as an ancient "Westminster Confession of Faith", or something like that.
Lastly, you're right. We're only repeating ourselves again, for the most part. Wanna give it a break? Brad did say "nuff said".