by Jack Danya Kemplin
Back in the heyday of the Satanic Panic, adults would often warn children, “Whatever you do, don’t sell your soul to the Devil!” An age old warning as dramatised in the story of Faust, later loosely adapted into the film Bedazzled and its remake. In media this is often depicted as signing a literal contract, often written in blood, with the Devil himself; and this is how many people imagine it to be. It is startling how many Christians in America have an infantile understanding of the faith, grown adults who actually fear a horned and hoofed demon coming out and attacking their loved ones.
Some may respond, “Well we are to come to Christ like little children!” Yet in the Bible, Paul says:
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.1 Corinthians 13:11-12
Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.1 Corinthians 14:20
We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgement. And God permitting, we will do so.Hebrews 5:11-6:3
Though we may start out with a childish understanding of our faith, we are called to mature beyond that; we are not supposed to be walking in circles, but to be heading towards a goal.
As we learn the meaning of the original Hebrew words and original cultural understanding of scripture, the darkness of ignorance fades away and our eyes are opened to the light of God’s true wisdom. Now the actual Scriptures do not directly speak of selling one’s soul to the devil, but understanding what those words mean in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin can help us to move away from a childish understanding of that concept, and see it with a mature wisdom.
In Hebrew the word for “Soul” is the same as the word for “Life”; to “sell it”, would be to “dedicate it to”, to “turn it over to” a particular thing; and if we look at the word “devil” in this phrase as the “Evil One” in Latin that is “malus” or “malum”, which means, “unpleasant, distressing, painful, nasty, bad, evil, wicked, mischievous, destructive, hurtful, noxious, unkind, hostile, abusive, adverse.” In Hebrew haSatan means, “The Accuser” or “The Adversary.” Therefore, a more mature understanding would be:
“We should be careful not to dedicate our lives to wicked, destructive, hurtful, unkind, hostile, abusive, adverse, and unjust/unrighteous ways.”
For when we do that, we have truly given our life/soul over to evil, sold it in exchange for the pleasure of worldly wealth and exaltation, at the price of committing unkind acts of injustice towards others.
“If you love me, keep my commandments…On that day you will realise that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”…“Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me…I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.John 14:15,20-21,23-24,29-31
Each day, each moment, we make a decision to either dedicate our lives to living as YHVH God Almighty wants us to live; or dedicating our lives to wickedly unkind injustice–which will we choose, will we sell our souls / dedicate our lives to the Evil ways of ignorant darkness, or to the bright illuminating wisdom of YHVH Elohim God Almighty?