Justin Brierley’s guest in his latest “Unbelievable” program is N.T. Wright. In most of Brierley’s podcasts, he asks his guests challenging questions. Not once, however, does Brierley challenge Wright. For example, Wright says that he believes in Satan (Hebrew “deceiver”) but does not believe “he” (the devil) is a person. That is why, Wright says, Satan is a sub-person, an “it.”
It seems Brierley was a tad intimidated by the blinding light coruscating from the great Wright throne; it was Brierley who, at the beginning of the podcast, remarked on the poundage of Wright’s latest volume – on Paul. Not something Paul would be able to carry about, or throw overboard, without some help.
Now, I’d bet my bottom if not my dollar that Brierley believes that Satan is indeed a person, that when he (Brierley; Satan too, I suggest) reads
You do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. 42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
he (Brierley, and Satan, for sure) believes that an “it” cannot be a liar, never mind a “father.” Wright, of course, believes that although “your father the devil” is a real creature, “it” is not a real liar, but a sub-liar. Eishegesis!
Wright also says he finds medieval descriptions of the devil and hell – pitchforks and unquenchable fire – as over the top. Never mind the other stuff Wright said about the devil, this is one time Brierley should have pitched in.
Glossary: Fire (Hebrew “Eish”)