It is hard to deny, in this day & age, with all the apparent wickedness that surrounds us on every side, that we are in the midst of a, if not THE, terminal generation! Everywhere you look nowadays, it seems that the idolatries that we practice in this nation, not to mention the world at large, are growing greater every day, adultery & fornication are becoming more acceptable, even almost the norm, all the time, and murder, especially in certain larger cities, seems almost to have become a national past-time ( this is barely to mention the legal murder of 3,000+ unborn babies a day )! The 'wicked one' sure seems to be having a hey-day!
Reading the headlines in many of today's national newspaper is almost enough to make you believe that 'Satan is alive and well on planet earth', but I assure you, according to an honest & thoroughly contextual reading of Scripture, he is not; at least, not the 'Satan' of Scriptural infamy!
It is accepted, when spoken of at all, that the relation of Cain to 'the wicked one' was that of spiritual paternity, in essence, that Cain was obviously 'of the wicked one' because he was himself wicked, and murdered his brother. We must note here, that Jesus told the Pharisees that they were of their father the devil ( John 8:44 )! To think that Cain and the Pharisees were actually the physical offspring of a spirit-being named 'Satan' is not only absurd, it also lends much credence to the notion that the promises of God are of a physical nature, and thus, to the very nature of our Creator Himself!
As we read Scripture in the original languages ( which is possible today, thanks to Al Gore ), we can see that much has gotten lost in the translation, whether purposefully or not, we can only speculate! For instance, if you have an open mind, you can see Covenant Creation in the very first lines of Genesis! The Story of the Fall, and the ensuing History of Fallenness, when read in the original Hebrew, and with an ability to 'read between the lines', so to speak, reveals new possibilities which are enough to make you rethink everything that you thought you knew about the Bible!
If one is at all familiar with the Hebrew 'satan', it is plain to see that the word simply means 'adversary'! Now, is this to say that a spirit-being can't be an adversary? Although the traditional view of Scripture has posited for years that pure spirit-beings do exist, and that one of them is named 'Satan', I believe that in most, if not all cases, the 'Satan' of Scripture was none other than any man who was an 'adversary' to the purposes of God! ( in fact, Scripture records at least once ( Numbers 22:22 ), that our Lord Himself played the role in opposition to another ) Debates about whether or not there is such a thing as a spirit-being may be a matter for discussion in another time & place, though, not at present!
The apostle, or Elder, John, wrote to his 'children' that the spirit of the Antichrist 'is now already in the world' ( I John 4:3 ). In a sense, that spirit exists today, there are those who oppose the Kingdom of God! No doubt much of the opposition is to those who claim to follow His orders & to 'the doctrines of demons' that they perpetrate, rather than to the gracious and loving Creator of all, but as it stands, there is still that adversarial spirit present in many people today!
The spirit of Cain, who is the first murderer ( of a fellow human ) on record in Scripture, is obviously still at work, for not a day goes by where one does not hear ( if he wishes to listen ) of a murder that has occurred somewhere in the world! Cain was 'of the wicked one' indeed, for he too ( 'the wicked one' ), 'was a murderer from the beginning'. Whether you believe that this 'adversary' was some fallen spirit-being, or just some human being ( s ) in opposition to our Lord & His Christ, that 'wicked one' of which Scripture speaks is no longer in operation! Scripture tells us that he was 'was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone' ( Revelation 20:10 )!
So, where the hell does this 'spirit' come from today?! Was Hal Lindsey right' is 'Satan' alive and well on planet earth? If not from some outside influence, then where? James asked the question of his readers 'Where do wars and fights come from among you?'; little later, he answered his own question, condemning most of them: 'You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war.' Jesus told His disciples that 'out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies' ( Matthew 15:19 ). Earlier, He had told the multitudes that 'whoever is angry with his brother [ without a cause ] shall be in danger of the judgment'.
It is from the spirit of man that this evil comes; it is not from some outside influence, whether spiritual or not! Sure, it may well be argued that there are things like a persons environment & and his familial upbringing ( or not ) which cause one to act in a certain way & to become the person that they are, and those things most certainly do have an effect on any given person, but they need not! Everyone has a choice; one can take the environment in which they live or the circumstances in which they were born and choose to circumvent them, to overcome ones disabilities ( physical or spiritual ) and to persevere in spite of them!
Cain had a choice, God told him, 'If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it' ( Genesis 4:7 ). We know from history what Cain chose to do! Adam, whether he was Cain's paternal father or not, chose, for whatever reason, chose to ignore the instruction of his Heavenly Father and so was estranged for a time! Whatever the case may be, he chose to raise Cain, and so, the world has known murder ever since!
Charles Haddon Shank