Prime Time Theology

I came across this blurb in what will most likely be my last issue of Relevant Magazine (which I am not sad over).

Stephen Colbert, known for tongue-in-cheek antics on his Comedy central show, draws big laughs for his commentary on topics like “truthiness,” the anger of bears and, of course, the biblical origins of sin and the theological complexities of hell.  The funnyman broke character, though, on a recent episode when guest Phillp Zimbardo a Stanford Professor and author of The Lucifer Effect, said, “Lucifer was right, and God was wrong” when discussing the origins of evil.  Colbert, who is also a Sunday school teacher, went on a theological rant straight out of seminary.  “Evil exists because of the disobedience of Satan,” Colbert explained.  “God gave Satan, the angels and man free will.  Satan used his free will-and abused it-by not obeying authority.  Hell was created by Satan’s disobedience to God, and his purposeful removal from God’s love, which is what hell is-removing yourself from God’s love.  You send yourself to hell; God does not send you there.”

Stephen Colbert?!?  Wow.  What do you think about this?  Is Colbert on the money or is he missing the mark?

  1. Colbert is off the mark on several counts.

    The discussion of free will does not and cannot satisfy the question of the problem of evil. Much to the surprise of many this is not an issue of Calvinism or Arminianism; it is much deeper. The question becomes, “What caused Satan’s sin?” It is easy for us to answer why WE sin: we are sinners with a fallen nature. What inclined Satan (or Adam, a man without a fallen nature) to sin? We do not know. Treating this question as Colbert has done shows ignorance.

    As for Colbert’s comment, “Hell was created by Satan’s disobedience to God…” makes no sense. This is sloppy theology. Disobedience doesn’t create hell. God created hell. Moreover, that “God does not send you there [to hell]” is a misrepresentation of the biblical account. You would have to do some interpretative leaps in a study of hell. One clear text is Revelation 20:15: “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Whoever is doing the throwing is doing so in accordance with the judgement of God, with his approval. Colbert’s belief calls makes light of the righteousness of God. Indeed, God becomes a passive judge. We don’t say that a criminal sends himself to jail; the judge sentences him in accordance with the law on account of the criminal’s actions.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: