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Sounding Off:

Jesus and the devil brothers? Not the case in Catholicism

January 12, 2008|By Ila Johnson

It is very disappointing that Thomas L. Thorkelson, director of Interfaith Relations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has chosen to misrepresent Roman Catholic doctrine in his attempt to explain his Church’s theology. (“Huckabee question complicates perception of our church,” Community Commentary, Jan. 4.)

Thorkelson writes in response to presidential candidate Mike Huckabee’s question, “Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?”

I find Huckabee’s remark, as well as his identifying himself as a “Christian leader,” completely inappropriate coming from a candidate for the president of the United States. We’re not voting for a pastor here.

But more to the point, Thorkelson references a number of scripture readings in what appears to be a defense of the belief that Christ and Satan are brothers by virtue of both being sons of God.

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He goes on to say, “The idea that Jesus and Lucifer (now a fallen angel) were once both important sons of God is not really new.” To support that notion he quotes Lactantius, a pagan convert to Catholicism.

Lactantius is not known for his knowledge of scripture but for his eloquence in Latin. “New Advent,” a Roman Catholic website, has this to say about Lactantius: “The beauty of the style, the choice and the aptness of the terminology, cannot hide the author’s lack of grasp on Christian principles and his almost utter ignorance of Scripture.” Wikipedia goes so far as to say that he was considered “somewhat heretical after his death.”

But more important than Lactantius’ writing is the indisputable fact that the Catholic Church has never considered Satan a brother of Jesus.

Satan, an angel created good by the triune God but now fallen, as such is like us a creature by definition. Jesus is his creator, not his brother. That is a doctrine of the faith that must be believed by all Catholics.

Jesus, by contrast, is not a creature nor is He an angel, nor has He ever been an angel. That Jesus, the second person of the Holy Trinity, is true God and true man, eternal, has no creator, and no need of one is the commonly held belief of every mainstream Christian denomination.

The catechism of the Catholic Church states that, “In the Old Testament, ‘son of God’ is the title given to the angels, the Chosen People, the children of Israel, and their Kings.

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