I think, if Jesus had called Peter “adversary” (in the generic sense), His words would have been recorded consistently in Greek for the whole sentence. As it is, the sentence is recorded in Greek, with the exception of the word “adversary,” which is retained in Hebrew. If Jesus was just saying that Peter was being adversarial, it seems that the Greek word diabolos would have been used (as is often the case in the New Testament). The retaining of the Hebrew form suggests that the word “Satan” (being left untranslated) is being adopted from the Old Testament as a proper name.A prime example in the New Testament is found in Matt 16:23, where it is recorded that Jesus called Peter "Adversary" because he had said that it would never happen to Jesus that He would suffer and be killed and be raised to life again (vs 22). Unfortunately it is translated as if Jesus called Peter "Satan" (suggesting that he was that personal being known as "Satan." See the ESV translation below):
But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man."
But in reality, He called Peter "Adversary."
If Satan was acting independently of God, in this matter, to whom was he making his "demands"?This doesn't sound at all as if Satan were seeking permission from God, but that he DEMANDED to have Peter. That sounds as if Satan were acting independently of God. If he had asked permission of God and God denied him, then it wouldn't have been necessary for Jesus to pray for Peter that his faith would not fail.
I agree with Robby’s comments on this. But even if you render the word “demanded,” is it not possible to use such a word for what Satan was doing in Job, chapters one and two? Wasn’t he demanding that God give him access to Job to test him? I see no difference between the two instances.
Absolutely, they could not do so! Are there not promises of God to these men, as to us, that God can protect them from all harm? God should not make promises that He cannot keep. He would be giving comfort through false promises, pretending to have powers that He does not possess—like when a mother cradles her child as the bombs are falling and says, “Don't worry! Everything’s going to be all right!” She is giving comfort, but not in a truthful way, since she has no power over where the bombs hit. If God has the power, and has promised, to protect from all harm, then any harm that comes must be that which He deliberately did not prevent (i.e., that He allowed to happen).I began to think of all the other evil people in the world who act independently of God and work horrible evil in the world constantly, for example, those who beheaded Paul, and those who crucified Peter. Or do you think they couldn't have done that without getting permission from God to do it?
And how about the many martyrs in the early days of the church who were tortured to death, burnt at stake, etc. as well as the anabaptist martyrs who were tortured and killed in the middle ages by both Catholics and Protestants. Did God give his permission to these torturers and murderers to carry out their horrible acts? And what about our own time in which many little girls have been raped, tortured and killed? Were these vile deeds carried out with God's permission? If so, then it must have been God's will that these horrific acts took place. If this were true, then the implication is that no events can occur without them being God's will. However, if THAT were true, then the petition in the Lord's prayer would be meaningless, "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." For God's will would always be done on earth.
There is nothing in my words that suggest that everything that happens is God's will. My comments, like the biblical record itself, do mean that no harm can befall those whom God has pledged to protect, unless He so wills it.
The rapist is not choosing to do God's will—and will be judged for his intentions as well as his action. If God chooses to protect the victim, He can and will do so. If He does not do so, it is not because He can't, but because He saw fit not to do so. His "seeing fit" is His choice—an act of His will. If He protects the victim and prevents the rape (as He has done many times, I am sure), the rapist will still be judged for his free-will choice—a choice which was not the will of God for him to make—which was to rape the victim. However, the crime will have never been committed against the victim.
People took up stones, choosing to kill Jesus, on many occasions. It was not God's will for Jesus to die in that manner, at those times, so He was protected from them and walked away unscathed. However, when He was finally arrested, and killed, it was because God did not choose to protect Him, as He had previously. Jesus was, on that occasion, "delivered [over to their malicious intentions] by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23).
Similarly, there were many attempts against Paul's life from which God delivered him: Once, when people lay in wait for him at the gates of Damascus; once, when he was stoned (seemingly to death) at Lystra; once, when 40 men swore not to eat or drink until they had murdered him (in which case, the deliverance was spectacularly providential). Even when he was in danger of being condemned to death by Nero, at his first trial, he escaped. He specifically attributed this outcome to the Lord's deliverance (2 Tim.4:17). Yet, at a later trial before Nero, Paul was not delivered, but was executed. Why did God deliver him on previous occasions, and not on the final one? Certainly, it has nothing to do with God's inability to intervene this final time, as He had done so many times before. It was, rather, because God wished for Paul to die on that occasion, and delivered him over to the plans of the wicked—as He had not willingly done previously.
Paul also had a "messenger of Satan" buffeting him perennially, from which he, three times, asked Jesus to deliver him. Jesus answered Paul, but not in the manner that you apparently would. Jesus didn't say, "Sorry Paul, my hands are tied. I would like to deliver you from Satan's attacks, but, what the heck! I gave him free will, so what's a Savior to do?" Instead, Jesus told Paul that these buffetings were circumstances in which Paul should rejoice, because God was more glorified through Paul's being afflicted than He would be by his being relieved. Paul got the message, and said, "Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities...in persecutions, in distresses..." (2 Cor.12:7-10).
Sadly, you are advocating a sub-biblical conception of suffering, death, and the glory of God. You see the martyrdom of Peter and Paul as tragedies, which God would have liked to have prevented, but simply could not. The apostles saw things differently. In speaking of Peter's martyrdom, John said that this was the death by which Peter "would glorify God" (John21:19).
I have the impression that you have no place in your theology for a God who is glorified in the suffering of the saints, and who counts His eternal glory a thing more important than their temporal relief. This simply means that at least a hundred major passages in the Old and New Testaments can find no place in your theology. I recommend that you spend some time with such passages, and develop a view of suffering that agrees with Jesus, the apostles, and all the saints and martyrs.
I have never been a Calvinist, but I can read scripture. To argue for an omni-competent God, who makes promises that He is capable of keeping, is not Calvinism. It is Christianity. Anything less is a God who may be well-intentioned (or maybe not even that!), but who simply doesn’t have the competence to back up His guarantees. What religion is THAT?To me, the position that God wills all events that occur, sounds a whole lot like Calvinism.