And now we come to the devil. What about him? Is he different in the OT than in the NT?
It can be granted the OT doesn’t say much about Satan. Why should it really? It was about the preparation of the coming of the Messiah. The Jews did not have a Satanology nor would they really need one. Of course, writings in the Apocryphal period and in the DSS do feature an evil figure opposed to God and when Jesus is on the scene, he is not making up terminology with Satan. (Or Hell for some who wonder.)
There are a few places. In Zechariah 3, we read about the adversary accusing Joshua before God. It must be granted also that the word “Adversary” does not always apply to Satan. We would have no problem accepting that. Just like any other word, the context will make clear how it should be understood. (An interesting read from the liberal perspective on this is Elaine Pagels’s “The Origins of Satan.”)
Now we are told that YHWH can be translated to mean “He causes to happen what happens.” I would like to see more on this. Our stance here is that God allows at least all that happens. God is not the immediate cause of evil in the world, for instance, although he has allowed for evil to exist and yes, we will later be dealing with the problem of evil and focusing on natural evil.
The census of David is mentioned here, but there is merit to the interpretation that it’s the adversaries of Israel that cause David to do this and not necessarily a celestial adversary. Even if it is, I have no problem with God allowing Satan to do such a thing. It would seem the texts of Samuel and Chronicles can be easily reconciled either way.
As for the garden, I have seen no reason to read it as a parable. It could be that Satan did possess a snake somehow or that Satan was described as a snake.
I do agree also that Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 do not refer to Satan.
So let us go straight to the end as we simply have the usual canard of Satan coming from Zoroastrianism. It would have been nice to have seen some evidence but none is given. Loftus wants to know how an intelligent being like Satan could be in the presence of God and still choose to rebel? That would be a stupid being.
Quite simple. He was not in the presence of God. He had not yet been granted to see all the glory of God. Once he made his choice though for his own glory over God’s, then he was sealed for all eternity. When an angel chooses who he will serve, there is no changing. Let us hope some humans though who have the option of changing and are serving the other side do change their minds while they can.