I often want to ask Christians (or any theists for that matter) whether they believe things are right and wrong inherently, or because they are commanded by God. Why does that matter? Well, if the former is true then we can figure out what is right and wrong and decide what is best without relying on God. If the latter is true, we must rely on God to help us figure it out -- and that is extremely problematic with Christianity. Here's why:
First, let's look at some of the key properties of God, according to the bible:
1. God exists.
2. God communicates with some humans at certain points in time, in different forms such as a burning bush (Exo 3:1) or an angel (Judge 6:11).
3. God has asked specific people to break the primary rules he provided man (Exo 20 and Deu 5), like telling Abraham to kill his own son (Gen 22:2) and giving Moses authority to command the Levites to murder thousands of their brothers friends and neighbors (Exo 32:26-29).
But Satan has very similar attributes:
1. Satan also exists. (Rev 12:9)
2. Satan can also communicate with some humans at certain points in time, in different forms such as a snake (Gen 3:4) or an angel (Corin 11:14).
3. Satan has also asked men to break God's rules (Gen 3). He's also quite tricky and can tempt even the most righteous (Matt 4:1).
So how would a Christian be able to tell the difference between God and Satan? Couldn't Satan come to a righteous Christian and claim to be an angel (which he is, according to many interpretations of the Bible) in order to make that person do something horrible, such as commanding the rape of women and murder of infants? And why would that Christian believe that such a thing was actually terrible, since it has been condoned by God (e.g. Isaiah 13:16)?
Carlos, Phil summed it up beautifully above. I figured you would already be familiar with this argument.
If there is free will in heaven , then there should also still be evil in heaven. If there is no free will in heaven , then how can you say we are able to enjoy heaven or that it is endless bliss or that we are close to God? Do we have bodies in heaven or just spirits? How do we move our spirits around ... do we float everywhere like a ghost? Do we have any decision making skills (free will) or does God dictate every single action we take in heaven?
So many questions ... why not just jump to the dark side and just assume we die and that's it. When we die , nothing happens after. We weren't created by any invisible magical architect of universes. We are an accident that evolved from single celled organism , also an accident. We have no purpose. Come on ... it's more fun over here!
But we don't really have free will. It's a very muddled, impossible-to-understand concept. We know that the physical control of our body is the result of a physical process involving the nervous system and ultimately the brain. The brain is either a process subject to physical laws governing the electro-chemical events which the brain uses to process information and tell the body what to do. No free will there. But let's throw a wrench in the works by saying that maybe on the subatomic level things can be a bit more like, well, random. I don't know about you but I don't see much free will there, either.
Where is free will?
MADE us fall? If he MADE us fall , then we don't have free will! You need to be more internally consistent in your theology. How can you say he made us fall and believe in FREE WILL at the same time?
So do we have free will in heaven?
Ok... "made us" is a bad choice of words - I'll admit that.
I only say "made us" because, like any normal person would know, temptation is a force we need to overpower through will and something that can have a habit of convincing us of following.
It could even be called a force that show us what we love and where our allegiance truly is.
I only say "made us" because, while they did their actions willingly, it was through the serpent that came a temptation strong enough to bring forth to light the degree of obedience that Adam and Eve were willing to follow - or not follow, for that matter.
On to the other arguments, now...
But how do we know that Adam and Eve were supposed to follow Yahweh , instead of the serpent? How did THEY KNOW who to follow? Also , who says they had to follow Yahweh?
Did Yahweh present to them a clear and concise and definitive consequence or set of consequences for breaking a specific rule?
I liken this to a stranger telling a young child not to step on the cracks when walking on the sidewalk. Then this really cool looking guy , who is fun and friendly and likable says 'nahhhhh.....hey little girl , you can step on those cracks , it won't hurt you at all , it will actually give you some pretty cooool powers!'
Then the little girl thinks 'hey , I'm gonna step on a crack! weeeeeeeee!'
Then the little girl and all her family and all her future family is then tortured for their lifetimes unless they pray to and worship the total stranger who first told them not to step on the crack.
It appears to me to be the same exact scenario as in Genesis.
A parent has an obligation to tell a child WHY they shouldn't do something , and the punishment should FIT the disobedience ... not resort to ETERNAL DAMNATION for eating a cookie from the cookie jar ... eerrrrrr , I mean a fruit from the tree of good and evil.
I would think that most Xians use Satan as more of a metaphor for the opposition of God. A teacher of mine (a very religious man) once posed God and Satan to me as the duality of Christianity.
Your teacher was right without Satan god makes no sense. There is no context for good and evil as described in the bible without Satan.
Son of Sam was commanded by a dog.