Cutting Room Floor: Troubling?
There is a theological problem here, of course, or at least something to discuss, because the devil says that all this has been given to him, and he can do what he pleases with it.
What’s up with this, right? Did God give the devil power over all these regions and their rights and glory?
I don’t think so. I don’t think so. It’d be very unlike what we know about God. In fact, what we know about God is that he gave stewardship over all creation to us, right? To humanity. So perhaps it’s the case that the reference made here is to the fact that really, we gave to the enemy the rights he had over everything, when we turned from God and toward sin. And in using the devil’s tricks–tricks like violence, abusive power, punitive punishment, fear, threat of force, manipulation, distrust, secret-keeping and lies, and all the rest–to govern our world, all we’ve done is give the devil more power over what he had. Or used his toolbox as we’ve gone about ordering and directing creation’s steps.
That may be one answer; it’s not that God gave the devil the rights he claimed, it’s that we did.The other answer may be that the devil has simply lied to himself for so long about what his powers really are that the lie has become truth for him, like an old thief who for years tells himself what he stole was given to him, until he can’t think otherwise. Gollum Gollum.
Even if this is the case, what the devil stole he stole from us, as creation’s stewards, and what God has been doing through Israel and now in this Messiah is positioning humanity to take back–as only Jesus can take back–what is rightfully humanity’s. Because we know that Jesus is the perfectly faithful person, he is the new Adam, who never gave away what Adam gave away. And his faithfulness lets him, as this first and only perfect person, rightfully take back stewardship over creation after we had traded it to the devil for cheap, plastic crowns. Of course, though, a steward doesn’t keep for him or herself what he’s watching over, and Jesus will give all things into his Father’s hands. This is part of his mission as the Messiah; and in fact, it’s this mission particularly that the devil is attacking here.