In “Yin Yang dualism, CS Lewis and Christianity,” I examined the question whether Christianity has an equivalent philosophy to Yin Yang? I examined this question in terms of CS Lewis’ discussion of dualism.
Within the Mandala (circle) of Yin Yang, here are two opposite forces of equal power in the universe, a kind of bitheism (two supreme gods), a kind of cosmic indeterminism, where even the two greatest of all gods don’t know how things are going to PAN out. In certain movements in Christianity (Arminians, but not necessarily all Arminians), there’s a great battle going on between God and the Devil, where God loses some of the battles but ultimately wins the war. The worst for this kind of Christian is to be caught up in one of these battles on the losing side, which does not necessarily involve the ultimate loss – the loss of eternal life, but possibly loss of a job, house, loved one, health, or of one’s earthly life “before one’s time.”
Is it true, though that God and the devil are battling it out for the souls of men – or for whatever? Not at all. The devil is God’s devil. God rules the heavenly as well as the earthly roost. With regard to salvation, we also hear stuff like “God is for you, the devil is against you – you decide.” This is plain silly. Satan can do nothing without God’s permission; as we read in the Book of Job:
7 And the LORD said unto Satan: ‘Whence comest thou?’ Then Satan answered the LORD, and said: ‘From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.’ 8 And the LORD said unto Satan: ‘Hast thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a whole-hearted and an upright man, one that feareth God, and shunneth evil?’ 9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said: ‘Doth Job fear God for nought? 10 Hast not Thou made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath, on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions are increased in the land.
11 But put forth Thy hand now, and touch all that he hath, surely he will blaspheme Thee to Thy face.’12 And the LORD said unto Satan: ‘Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thy hand.’ So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD (Job, 1:7-12).
A very popular book on the God versus the devil theory is “God’s Strategy in Human History” (1976) by Roger Forster and Paul Marston. In his review of the book, John Piper refers to the theme that I am dealing with:
“A great spiritual battle is raging in history now but we may be assured that “the Lord Omnipotent reigns” (109.9) and that evil will be destroyed and the church will be brought to glory (103.5). “So God’s plan is finally achieved; his great project is accomplished.”
For Forster and Marston, there’s certainly no game of cosmic chess going on; no game at all over human souls – it’s all out war. But God is bound to ultimately win because the devil is not as wise or powerful as God. Human beings are no pawns but participants in this battle. Those who choose God find their strength in Him; those who choose the devil, find their strength in the devil.
The central theme of Forster and Marsden is a critique and rejection of the view that “God orders and ordains all things” (41.1), or that “God’s will is always done and is never impeded by the will of any creature” (40.3). See Piper’s full review. Also listen to Curt Daniel’s “Objections to Predestination.”
Yin Yang may play cosmic chess with each other, but the God of the Bible does not play cosmic chess or fight any battles with the devil.