A Puritan Understanding of SatanPosted: April 8, 2014
What were the four points Puritan Isaac Ambrose made in regards to demonic angels as principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies ?
On “Principalities” Ambrose writes, Satan rules over the entire world and is called the “prince of this world” and “god of this world”. God in justice gave Satan leave to prevail and rule in the sons of disobedience. Next Ambrose describes “Powers” Demons are filled with a mighty power. They can control natural forces such as lightning and wind (Job 1:16, 19), the bodies of animals (Matt. 8:32). They can afflict believers with disease. (Job 2:7). Ambrose next describes the “Rulers of the darkness of this world.” He designates Satan’s dominion in terms of its time, the age of Adam’s fall until Christ coming. The place earth as opposed to the heavens. Satan’s subjects those persons in darkness, the spiritual night of sin and ignorance. Lastly Ambrose describes “Spiritual wickedness” As spirits Ambrose says demons can attack us indivisibly in any place at any time. As wicked spirits they are evil and malicious. Their main work according to Ambrose is to damn souls, these wicked spirits not only tempt us to fleshly sins but to spiritual sins, such as unbelief, pride, hypocrisy etc.
How is Satan described as ultimately fulfilling God’s purposes?
The powers of Satan are described as limited by God for His divine purposes to do good to those whom He has chosen. The Puritans saw Job as a prime example of Satan’s limitations. Stephen Carnock wrote on this subject the following “The goodness of God makes the devil a polisher while he intends to be a destroyer.” This polishing makes are metal shine. Indeed, God’s wisdom rules over Satan’s schemes so that the devil accomplishes God’s plans.
What were some of the devices of Satan cataloged by Spurstowe and what were some of the remedies given by various Puritan writers?
Device one described by Spurstowe is that Satan leads men from lesser sins to greater. The remedy given by Spurstowe is as follows “Take heed of giving place to the devil” (Eph. 4:27). Brooks wrote “The least sin is contrary to the law of God, the nature of God, the being of God, and the glory of God.” Another device described by Spurstowe is how the devil persistently urges men to a particular sin. Satan inserts evil thoughts in the mind (John 13:2). The remedy given is to reject the promises of sin. Brooks wrote on this the following , “ Satan promises the best, but pays with the worst, he promises honor and pays with disgrace, he promises pleasure and pays with pain, he promises life and pays with death, but God pays as He promises, for all payments are made in pure gold.”
What biblical passages did Jonathan Edwards see as describing types of Satan?
Jonathan Edwards considered the king of Babylon in Isaiah 14:12 to be a type of Satan. Edwards said the phrase “son of the morning” referred to Lucifer as the most glorious of the angels and “the very highest of all God’s creatures”. Likewise in Ezekiel 28:12 Edwards saw the “king of Tyre” as a type of devil who fell from grace.
How did Edwards see the revelation to the angels,“that God’s Son would become man” as the cause of Satan’s rebellion?
Edwards wrote that “Satan, or Lucifer, or Beelzebub, being the archangel one of the highest angels, could not bear it (the incarnation) thought it below him” to serve the lowly man, Jesus. Satan’s rebellion resulted in events that brought to pass the very thing Satan sought to avoid namely the incarnation of Christ and His exaltation over all angelic powers. Edwards’s view of the fall of the rebellious angels parallels his view of the confirmation of the elect angels in that both center on the Lord Jesus Christ.