One of the classic principles of logic is the law of contradiction that states two contradictory statements can not both be true at the same time. The statements “Qubobs have exactly four sides” and “Qubobs have exactly three sides” are contradictory and only one can be true at a given time.
Billy Graham falls into this logical contradiction when he discusses the nature and status of Satan.
I have previously discussed the history of Satan, but in a synopsis, Satan did not exist as a major character in the Hebrew Testament until after the return from captivity, when the Persians allowed the captive Jews to return to the lands they had previously inhabited. They brought with them many ideas from the Persians such as the idea of a conflict between the forces of light and the forces of darkness, between good and evil. Yahweh was given the role of light and goodness, while a minor character, “the satan” or “the adversary” was elevated to god-like status as the leader of evil.
This was about 200 years before Jesus and by his time, the idea of Satan as the tempter and as the source of evil in the world was ingrained in his culture.
As Christianity developed, it adopted Satan as a supernatural being with power over this world and who would struggle with Jesus/God at some point in the future.
Jesus apparently believed the end time to be eminent. For example, he claimed that some people then alive would still be alive to see his new kingdom. “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” Matthew 16:28 NIV
Billy Graham and the preachers use Satan as a simple answer to a complex question. When asked why people suffer or why God allows so much evil to exist in the world, the preachers just trot out Satan and point their finger – “It’s his fault,” they cry, hoping to protect the God they claim has so much love for the people of the world.
However, I recently noted that Billy Graham is a bit confused about the status of Satan.
In his February 25, 2010 My Answers article, Billy says, “Will the devil ever be defeated? Yes — absolutely! Some day, the ongoing conflict between God and Satan will be over — and Satan will be defeated forever.”
In the next paragraph, Billy says, “Satan is already a defeated foe, and his final doom is already certain. The reason is because by His death and resurrection Jesus Christ overcame the powers of sin and death and Hell and Satan.”
So, first Billy says Satan will “some day” be defeated which means that Satan is not currently defeated, that is, Satan is undefeated. Billy then says Satan “is already defeated.” How can Satan be both “defeated” and “undefeated”? This is an example of two contradictory statements and they cannot both be true.
In his November 20, 2014 article, Billy again refers to Satan as a defeated foe and gives the same argument, that is, in dying and being resurrected, Jesus overcame death and evil.
In his November 29, 2014 article, Billy says, “…some day Satan will be defeated and all evil will be destroyed.”
Why would someone as prestigious as Billy Graham waffle on such an important issue?
The easy answer is two fold. First, Billy wants to make it clear that Jesus/God is more powerful than Satan. Thus, in any fight that might occur, Jesus/God would win.
But this presents a problem for Billy, as he wants to have a scapegoat to blame for the evil in the world. Thus, he maintains a belief in the current existence of Satan so that Satan can be blamed for all the evil that occurs.
Is Satan defeated or undefeated? Billy Graham is not sure and probably will continue to refer to the status of this imaginary nether world creature as being both.
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