Thursday, July 22, 2010

Angels & Demons 16: Did Satan Disobey God by Refusing to Worship Adam and/or Jesus?


Since the Book of Enoch “claims” to be written by the man Enoch who lived before the Flood of Noah, we are pretty certain that the “claimed” authorship of the book is false. Enoch certainly lived long before the Greek language even came into existence, yet he wrote in Greek! We call such a book (whose authorship is falsified): “pseudepigrapha.” Another book that is termed “pseudepigrapha” is the Latin book, The Life of Adam and Eve. This book is written in Latin, but Adam and Eve lived long before the Latin language even came into existence.

This book about Adam and Eve, however, presents another possible Fallen Angel Story. The Devil is presented as an angel who was cast out of Heaven because of his refusal to bow down and worship Adam. He was expected to worship Adam because Adam was the “image of God” (Genesis 1:26). Later human cultures would make “graven images” of their gods and worship those images, so the author of The Life of Adam and Eve thought it logical that angels would have been expected to worship the (living) image of the one true God—Adam. According to this source, when the Devil’s angels, over whom he was placed, heard of the Devil’s refusal to honor Adam by bowing down, they also refused. Michael, who had been the first angel to worship Adam, then warned the Devil of the wrath of God should he persist in his refusal to pay homage to Adam. Whereupon the Devil was quoted as saying that he would set his seat above the stars of Heaven and would be like the Highest. I and Ginzberg (Legends, V, 35) see this last statement as a reference to Isaiah 14:12-14 (the Lucifer passage), a reference which Ginzberg says R. H. Charles (the editor of the Pseudipigrapha text in which the Life of Adam and Eve is published) failed to recognize. I will present the full text of this Life of Adam and Eve Fallen Angel Story in my next commentary.

In this excerpt from The Life of Adam and Eve, however, we have parallels in Revelation 12:7-13. In both accounts, it is Michael who leads in opposing the Devil. In both accounts, the angels of the Devil are also indicted, along with the Devil himself. In both accounts, the Devil is cast down from Heaven to earth. Both accounts also refer to the “anger” of the Devil and his “pursuit” of mankind (Adam and Eve 12 and Revelation 12:12-13).

Missing from the Revelation account, however, is any allusion to the Isaiah 14 passage. Missing from the Adam and Eve account is the strong “dragon” imagery of the Revelation account. There is no mention in Revelation 12 of the Devil’s refusal to worship Adam, though the Devil/Dragon has an apparent feeling of enmity towards the new-born child. He stands in the presence of the woman who was about to give birth in order to devour her child when he is born. I agree with R. H. Charles’s (I:320) and Martin Kiddle’s (p. 213) commentaries on Revelation when they say that the “child” of Revelation 12 is a messianic reference. Jesus is the child. I Corinthians 15:45-47, in stating that the first Adam became a living soul, while the last Adam became a life-giving spirit, strongly implies that Jesus should be understood to be a second Adam. In this same vein, Ginzberg (V:85) comments: “It is quite possible that Hebrews 1:6 goes back to [The Life of Adam and Eve] . . . and . . . makes the angels worship the second Adam (=Jesus), instead of the first.” Hebrews 1:6 states: “And again, when He leads the first-born into the inhabited world, He says, ‘And let all of the angels of God prostrate themselves before him!’”

A parallel indictment of the Devil in both accounts is that he “misleads.” In the Adam and Eve account, Eve was misled; in the Revelation, the Devil/dragon misled the whole world. There is no indication, however, in Revelation that the Devil/dragon is an angel like the Devil of the Adam and Eve account, nor is it clear whether “his angels” in Revelation 12 are, like the Devil’s angels in the Adam and Eve account, actually “angels of God under the Devil’s authority.” I have already discussed the Devil’s “misleading” in prior commentaries. I do not find it to be a sin.

The parallels between Revelation and the Adam and Eve account do seem to indicate that John, the author of Revelation, was familiar with the pseudepigraphal book, The Life of Adam and Eve. Frankly, John is familiar with a tremendous amount of literature and he draws profusely on images from that literature as he writes the book of Revelation. This, of course, does not mean that John believes The Life of Adam and Eve is inspired. He does seem to think there is merit in belief that the second Adam is worthy of worship, however. He shows how the transition from worshiping only God (in Revelation 4) to worshiping BOTH God AND the Lamb (in Revelation 5) was accomplished. And, he asserts that both God and the Lamb are “worthy” of worship by every creature in Heaven and on earth, in the seas, and under the earth (Revelation 5:13-14).

So, Revelation helps us to establish that Jesus, the second Adam, is worthy of worship. It does not present the Devil and/or his angels, however, as refusing to worship him. The Devil is, indeed, cast out of Heaven in Revelation 12:7-9, but not because of any refusal to worship Jesus. He was cast out because “there was no room found for him in Heaven.” His job as accuser had been downsized. Jesus’ blood had paid the price for the sins of all those he was accusing.

As an aside, and along the same line, in my book Revelation: The Human Drama (p. 80), I comment:

Wellhausen claims, "The [image of the Beast] is the alter ego of the empire just as Jesus was called the [image] of God" (cf. II Corinthians 4:4 and Colossians 1:15), then a living human being serves as the "image" of the beast, just as the human, Jesus, serves as the "image" of God. Where exactly Wellhausen derives his information that Jesus is the [image] of God, Charles does not indicate; and the explicit statement is found nowhere in Revelation. However, the [Life of Adam and Eve] 13-14 passage clearly calls Adam the "image" of God, and Ginzberg sees in . . . Heb. 1:6 the link which makes Jesus a second Adam in the fashion of [The Life of Adam and Eve], hence making him worthy of worship. Thus, intertestamental literature with which John could easily be familiar has a human serving as an "image," and therefore receiving "worship."

If John is making the "image" of God (Jesus) in Revelation 5 "worthy of praise," then, in antithetical fashion, he could be making the "image" of the beast (the high priest) in Revelation 13 the object of (unworthy) antichristian worship. In this way, John could be saying that ironically the abomination which the Jews had felt that they had avoided in the assassination of Caligula happened anyway! Instead of an image of stone, the Jews had in the middle of their temple an amazing sign--an image that could "speak" (13:15)! He was the voice of the Empire in the midst of the temple.

4 comments:

  1. All of what stated about the book of Enoch maybe true, but the same can be said for most part of the New Testament, (four gospels) who names, the 12 were placed, well after their death.

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    1. Thank you for commenting. You surely are not talking about what is the "most part of the New Testament"--the Pauline epistles--because Paul explicitly claims to have written them. The difference between Paul writing these letters and Enoch writing the book of Enoch is that (critical scholarship opinions notwithstanding) Paul's letters were written during Paul's EARTHLY LIFETIME. The Book of Enoch was written at least 3000 years AFTER ENOCH IS PRESENTED in Genesis AS HAVING LIVED ON THE EARTH! If, as you suggest, you refer to the authorship of the four gospels, none of them makes an explicit claim concerning the identity of the author in the way that the Book of Enoch does. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are names that have been ascribed to these gospels based upon clues in the text. Yes, these attributions of authorship were made after their deaths, but the arguments were made that these attributed authors WERE ALIVE ON EARTH AT THE TIME THE BOOKS WERE WRITTEN, at least. (Please, don't let the ALL-CAPS make you think I'm yelling. I'm just emphasizing the differences between New Testament authorship and Enoch as a falsified authorship.

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  2. So am I to understand then, that everything that's wrong or bad or evil in this world and universe is because Lucifer, before he was Satan, refused to do an act of worship to Adam? This is the reason for all the pain and suffering that has been and is yet to come, and the premise on which Judeo/Christian and Islamic faiths are based?

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    1. Thanks, Randy, for your comment. No, I think you are reading entirely too much into this post. First, read the blog post right before this one--Angels & Demons 15--to see that Lucifer is not and never was Satan. Then, read the two blog posts right after this one--Angels & Demons 17 and 18--to see that neither I nor John, the author of Revelation, believed that Satan was commanded to worship Adam. As I state in this blog post, "Frankly, John is familiar with a tremendous amount of literature and he draws profusely on images from that literature as he writes the book of Revelation. This, of course, does not mean that John believes The Life of Adam and Eve is inspired. He does seem to think there is merit in belief that the second Adam is worthy of worship, however." That is the only point I am making here. To answer your question, sin--and the resulting curse of pain and suffering--came into the world through an act of Adam, not Satan. (Adam was given the "thou shalt not," not Satan.) That is the premise on which Judeo/Christian and Islamic faiths are based

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