I had met Paulie in seminary years before. We were going to change the world. He was a brainiac. He graduated and went on to get his doctorate in Arabic. No, not Aramaic. That would have been made sense. He got a doctorate in Arabic.
I knew some Arabic. So do you. Don’t believe me? Ever heard of Arabic numerals? Yeah. That’s as much as I know about that, too. But don’t make the mistake with him and say how impressive it is that you have a doctorate in Aramaic. Parts of Daniel were written in Aramaic. He’ll bite your head off if you make that mistake. You got it. Like many with doctorates, he was a little arrogant.
One time he wanted to take me out on the court and play tennis. He kept serving me curve balls. Can you do that in tennis? He did. He was competitive. The asphalt was much cleaner for us having been there. He wiped up the hard court with me.
So you get the idea. He was a brainiac. A great guy. He married one of my best friends, a beautiful blonde. A girl. I have to make things clear in these times. She was a beautiful blonde. Flash forward. He was a professor at a leading seminary near New York. I was making a trip to visit my family in New Jersey. So I invited him to meet me at the Stadium to watch the Yankees. He was broke being a professor. But someone had dropped a couple of tickets on his desk for the game we were attending. God was at work even back then. So we met up.
I’ll bet we were irritating everyone around us as we discussed the ins and outs of theology. I was back in another seminary at the time. I told him a story about our school. I was sure I was going to shock him. I told him that one of my language (not Aramiac, not Arabic either) professors told us one day that Satan did not appear in the book of Genesis. I know I was shocked at the time. It was evident that the snake was Satan and the book of Revelation proved it!* So I told him the story.
I was sure he would be astonished. But was I red-faced. He said, “that’s what I believe.” Whaaaaaa? That’s what I said. That’s what I thought. Whaaaaa? So I could misunderstand him, he told me again. That was his theology. No Satan in the book of Genesis. Humbled and chagrinned, I just mumbled something about I guess I had to go back and look at the passage again. Then I think I changed the conversation with something like “Hey, the Yanks got a hit!”
I didn’t really think I needed to check myself but I looked at Genesis again. Not only did Revelation prove that Satan was the snake but all of Christian tradition sided with me.* But in the 80’s Satan himself had tried to write himself out of the Fall. He’d like to write himself out of Revelation, too. It won’t work. He fell and the next fall for him will be a doozy!
Do you realize that we are caught in a cosmic battle for the universe? Where would you look to work if you were the devil. The churches? The seminaries? I would! And if all the believers had been airlifted, how would things be on earth? It’d be H-E-double hockey sticks. And it is. That’s why I’d get clocked in the middle of a sermon. And that explains what happened to the good doc.
(To be continued . . . .)
*see Genesis 3 and Revelation 12:9