I have asked myself this question repeatedly over the past few weeks, Is the devil real? Not because I doubt that He is, but because I cannot find one way, one sentence, or one example to fully answer the question if He is, but rather a multitude of ways.
In the same way that we as humans have doubts and questions over the existence of God, Jesus, and the whereabouts of heaven, we also have questions, and doubts over the existence of the devil, demons, and hell.
Of course, if we were honest, we would all like to live in a world that held no trace of sin or sickness. No trace of evil. But that is just not the reality we find ourselves in. So, some of us find ourselves asking if the devil real out of curiosity around religion/Christianity.
Some ask because they are hoping he isn’t real and it's all a big lie. Some ask because they are curious about how to answer a friend’s questions.
I will be totally honest with you; I am probably not going to give you conclusive answers unless you are someone who believes in the truth and authenticity of Scripture.
What Does the Bible Say about the Devil?
Let me begin by looking at Scripture. The Blue Letter Bible has narrowed down for us a list of 26 different names used to name or define the devil. These include:
- Satan, used 52 times; son of the morning.
- The devil; tempter; ruler of demons; the evil one.
- Enemy; liar, or father of lies, murderer; ruler of this world.
- Adversary; dragon; serpent; deceiver; accuser; and the list goes on.
None of these definitions or names hold any positive slant.
Every verse that speaks of or describes the person or character of the devil, whether in the Old or New Testaments, displays before us a person who is evil and dark, not someone many of us would choose to be around.
We are first introduced to the devil in Genesis, the first book of the Bible. The opening scenes are serene, calm, and beautiful. God is speaking, and the world and universes are being created over a period of five days.
Then on day six, God creates a man out of the dust of the earth and names him Adam (Genesis 2:7). He places him in a Garden called Eden, which literally means paradise. God says, “It is not good for the man to be alone.
Finally, everything is in place, the garden is good, the plants, the animals, all of it; God has declared as good, and the humans He created, God named very good. No sin, no sickness, no strife is on the earth; everything is perfect.
Then we open our Bibles to Genesis 3, verse 1, and immediately we see mention of “The Serpent.” Scripture goes further in naming him as “craftier than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made” (Genesis 3:1), which gives us a great opening idea of who he is.
A story unfolds before our eyes of a conversation between Eve and the serpent. Eventually, the serpent coaxes Eve into taking a bite of fruit from a tree that God had previously banned.
This serpent tricks her into thinking God was keeping something from them. I suppose it would be better to say that He was trying to keep them from something. He was trying to protect them from sin.
Despite the perfect world around them and their every good desire being met in the Garden of Eden, the very thought that Eve was missing out was enough to change the world forever as she then bites the fruit from that tree and offers some to Adam who eats of it also.
I think there is a great lesson here. The acronym FOMO means “fear of missing out,” and it seems here that Eve held FOMO, a fear of missing out on something that she thought would be of benefit to her. It turns out it was to her detriment.
As a result, the serpent is given a curse that he will crawl on his belly, eat the dust of the earth, and enmity would lie between him and the woman’s offspring (Genesis 3:14). Here, we see a prophecy of Jesus coming into Scripture.
This is the change of everything; weeds would now grow where there were flowers, waves would crash where the sea was once calm, death would be a part of our lives, and sin would remain until Satan’s overall defeat. What was once perfect was now tainted and marked.
As we read through Scripture, we see story after story of Satan trying his hardest to derail God's plan to send a Messiah. We see him lie, cheat, steal, manipulate and coerce.
But God’s plans always prevailed, and as we open our Bibles in the New Testament to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, we learn of the life of Jesus on earth and how He defeated Satan on the cross when He died for our sins and rose again.
If you flick your Bible pages a little further and jump to the Book of Revelation, there, we read of an angel binding a serpent. It reads, “He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years” (20:2).
This verse automatically connects our Genesis story to the final Armageddon, where Satan is gone for eternity.
The biblical story of Satan and Jesus is an incredible one. One that occasionally seems as though Satan may win the battle, but in the end, he is always defeated.
I am aware some of you reading these words scoff when I mention the Bible; you question its validity, and I respect that you are on your own journey of discovery whatever path that may lead you on.
Is the Devil Real Today?
But if we look around us at today’s culture and society while we can see the beauty of humanity, generosity, kindness, and love. In the sacrificial spirit of those who are brave and courageous, we can also see the work of evil.
Logically, there must be a person on the side of evil and organizing and orchestrating it in another realm; just as logically, there must be a good, good God. We see evil and despair in the face of starving children, displaced societies, wars, and biochemical weapons.
We see murder, racism, and depravity on the rise every year. We see that children abandoned by their parents, addictions, and human trafficking are on the rise also.
We see domestic abuse, neglect, and bullying. We see children murdered by their own parents and used as child soldiers in the African continent. We see darkness in every corner of the world.
Every time we turn on the news or read a newspaper, there is dark and evil content. Some of us have read or watched so much of it that we are now desensitized to the evil that exists in our world.
For that reason, whether we believe the story of the Bible or not, it is safe to say evil exists. Whether we want to call the father of evil Satan, the devil, Lucifer, or the serpent, it is clear to me that two opposing powers are in existence in this world, and both are vying for power.
Reading again the incredible book by C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, I was reminded of how evil can think, and if this is a subject you would like to read further into, I would advise you to get your hands on that book. It is an incredible read.
Only one of the powers previously mentioned has true authority and power on the earth, and that is God the Father, our Creator, and our Savior.
What Does This Mean?
If we believe in God and we trust our paths to His plans, we will one day see the story of Jesus and Satan completed, and we will spend the rest of our lives in eternity with God, glorifying Him.
If you would like to know more about this topic, why not link in with one of your local churches, as I am sure a pastor would love to share more with you!
For further reading:
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Michelle Treacy is a Christian writer, a wife to Gerald, and a busy mother of three, Emily, Ava Rose, and Matthew. Finding time to write is not always easy. However, Michelle’s desire to write about Jesus, and passion to teach is what motivates her. Michelle writes on Instagram Michelle_Treacy_ and for CrimsonSeasCA. Also, on WordPress at Thoughts From My Bible. If you meet her in person, you will likely find her with two things in hand, a good Christian book, and a cup of tea!