Throughout the ages, Satan has been seen as God's implacable enemy, fiercely determined to keep as many human beings as he can from entering the heavenly kingdom. But according to Henry Ansgar Kelly, this understanding dates only from post-biblical times, when Satan was reconceived as Lucifer, a rebel angel, and as the serpent in the garden of Eden. In the Bible itself, beginning in the book of Job and continuing through the New Testament, Satan is considered to be a member of the heavenly government, charged with monitoring the human race. In effect, he is God's Minister of Justice, bent on exposing sin and vice, especially in virtuous-seeming persons like Job and Jesus. He fills the roles of investigator, tempter (that is, tester), accuser, prosecutor, and punisher, but also obstructer, preventer of vice, and rehabilitator. He is much feared and despised, accused of underhanded and immoral tactics. His removal from office is promised and his eventual punishment hoped for. The later misreading of Satan as radically depraved transformed Christianity into a highly dualistic religion, with an ongoing contest between good and evil. Seeing Satan in his true nature, as a cynical and sinister celestial bureaucrat, will help to remedy this distorted view. ""A world expert on Satan in the Bible, Henry Ansgar Kelly offers the fruits of years of research. His intriguing thesis is that Satan is not God's enemy in the Old and New Testaments but God's employee, a divine prosecuting attorney working for the celestial government. At once learned and provocative, this book is bound to be controversial in probing the biblical foundations of evil."" --Mark S. Smith, Helena Professor of Old Testament Literature and Exegesis, Princeton Theological Seminary ""Henry Ansgar Kelly traces the story of the biblical Satan from its earliest sources to the post-biblical developments that dominate popular culture. In doing so, he carefully attends to the biblical contexts of references to the Adversary, distinguishing them from the misinterpretations and misappropriations that have accrued over the centuries. As such, Kelly has written an interesting, accessible, and biblically literate book of interest to scholars, students, and the general public."" --Mary Ann Beavis, Department of Religion and Culture Undergraduate Chair, Religion and Culture Program, University of Saskatchewan Henry Ansgar Kelly is Distinguished Research Professor in the Division of the Humanities at UCLA. He is the author of The Devil, Demonology, and Witchcraft (2004), The Devil at Baptism (2004), and Satan: A Biography (2006). n
Satan in the Bible, God's Minister of Justice was published by Cascade Books in November 2017. The ISBN for Satan in the Bible, God's Minister of Justice is 9781532613319.