Do You Think Satan Is Real?

Before I was a Christian, I just assumed that all Christians believed in Satan. Now that I’ve been a Christian for twelve years, I know that some Christians believe in Satan, and some Christians don’t.

My first six years as a Christian I attended a very large, old, rich, conservative Presbyterian church in downtown San Diego. Not once in those six years did I hear Satan mentioned from the pulpit. For the last six years, I’ve attented a very large, old, rich, liberal Episcopal church just outside downtown San Diego. Not once in those six years have I heard Satan mentioned from the pulpit. Because of my work I’ve gone to all kinds of services in all kinds of churches, and I’m not sure I’ve ever heard Satan mentioned from any pulpit — and if I have, it’s never been more than in passing. I once had a job as a Church Relations Manager for a Christian Rescue Mission, and nobody at that job ever mentioned the Devil or Satan. It’s the same in my professional life now. It’s just not something that ever comes up.

It’s been my own personal, humble experience that if Christians do believe in Satan, they don’t talk about it very much at all.

The question of Satan did, however, come up the other night during a Lenten class I’m leading at an Episcopal church here in the San Diego area. The subject of the night was evil. I had offered up my Basic Thought on the matter (which, if you care, you can read at Evil: Surprise! It’s a Good Thing!), and in the discussion afterward a man asked me if I believed in Satan.

“I think the whole idea of an evil entity existing out in the world is pure hogwash,” he said. “What do you think?”

The first thing I thought was, “Wow! Someone’s finally talking about Satan. And in a church!”

That was the good news. The bad was that the man had asked his question a full five minutes after the class was supposed to have ended. So we’re going to pick up on that subject next week.

If you were me, how would you answer that question?

(I suppose I should say that my personal answer amounts to this: I don’t care if Satan is real or not; I tend to have zero interest in questions I know can’t be answered. I know I believe in the reality of evil; and I know I have enough on my plate keeping as much of it as possible out of my own heart, mind, and behavior. And I know that’s enough to keep me busy for one life time. I certainly don’t have any problem with the idea of Satan being real. I think it’s a perfectly useful and even outstanding construct. Because it’s true that whenever you’re dealing with real, pure evil, it feels as if there is more to it than can be accounted for by the sum of its parts. It does feel separate from people in that way. So at the very least I think the idea of Satan makes perfect sense; I have found it is sometimes good and helpful to think of evil as something outside of, or foreign to, human nature and/or God’s will. As I say, though, the bottom line for me personally is that I stay plenty busy just trying to rid myself of all the selfish, greedy, petty, animalistic thoughts and feelings that I know I generate by myself, on my own, every hour of every day. I sure don’t need Satan to understand the difference between right or wrong, or to help me know when any wrong that’s happened is my own fault, and due to my own nature.)

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • Sabina

    John,

    I feel that the topic of satan is complex. I grew up in a family where we went to both Muslim and Baptist "services so the devil and satan were brought up a lot and felt very reall to me then. As a kid I just knew I was going to hell and that the devil was in me because of the fire and brimstone teachings at the baptist church-as an adult I know that those were scare tactics to get us saved. I believe that there is evil and that there are evil acts and persons who commit evil acts. I believe that all persons have the potential of doing wrong. I know from the bible that satan tried to tempt Jesus. So I would say that satan is "real" but the manifistations of satan is most real and most complex-serial killers, child abusers, war monger….As a Christian I don't focus on satan's existence, but on how I live my life. Am I doing all that I should be doing to walk the Christian walk? Have I stopped doing those things that are not of God? Have I asked for forgiveness and help in dealing with things I need to change?

  • Pastor_Dave

    John,

    In the southern midwest you find many preachers who speak of the devil. I want to mention a scripture passage. The Lord's prayer found in Matthew 6. Verse 13 in the NIV. On crosswalk.com the Greek lexicon page tells us that the word for evil in that passage is in the nominative case. In other words the NIV translation is more correct than others in this case. Jesus is teaching us to pray that the Father in Heaven will deliver us from The Evil One or in other words the satan or the devil. In the book of Job he is portrayed as an accuser like a prosecuting attorney in the Eternal Court. He is called Abaddon or the destroyer in Revelation 9:11.

  • http://shushnow.wordpress.com shush

    I would add to your thoughts that solely attributing evil to Satan is a dangerous proposition, because taken to extremes it negates the importance of autonomy and self control. Too many people are willing to toss off their temptations and urges as "Satan is testing me" and try to write off their giving in as, "Satan is winning."

    The Bible is clear that the spirit within us is STRONGER than that which is in the world. Call it Satan or the ether or the unknown or evil itself- what truly matters is that if we devote ourselves to Christ it will not overcome us.

  • Pastor_Dave

    John,

    Today there is an attempt to give the devil greater power than he has. The idea is like yin and yang. The idea is that the force of evil is equally balanced with the force of Good. Then the idea is expanded to the point that the devil is equal in power to God. All of the scripture about the devil teach us that he is a created being – a fallen angel. In the last judgement another angel will throw him into the lake of fire. That does not sound like a being with equal power to God.

  • Pastor_Dave

    OK last one. I must agree with Sabina and shush. For us today the real lesson is the fact that those who are believers, who have committed their lives to follow the teachings of Jesus and live a life of total obedience and have allowed Gods Holy Spirit to move into that 'God shaped hole' in their inner being – those people have tremendous power to do God's work in this world. These people have the authority and power to tell the devil to 'get behind me!"

  • windy blue

    Do I believe in Satan? Well only a fool would answer that as a NO.

    Satan is very real, and is doing all the evil in this world. But, as we see in Job, Satan can't do anything unless God gives his permission.

    Satan was s a beautiful angel created by God. He got jealous, with his beauty, and wanted to be just like God. And thought he could be. Well, he fell out of heaven, and so did his followers.

    In the End, when Jesus Comes back, Satan has one place he is going forever: HELL AND DAMNATION. AND MINE IS HEAVEN WITH JESUS FOR EVER.

  • MA Ross

    Jesus talks about satan. the New Testament is filled with info about satan…

    Tho it isn't necessarily totally Bible-based, Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis is an interesting take on how satan and his minions work.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    "Minions." I love that word. It's like … genitalized onions, or … something less stupid.

  • Pastor_Dave

    Oh, I'm sorry, is this discussion thread about vegetables???

  • MA Ross

    I am pretty sure Lewis used that word in the book….so I guess I kinda stole the use of it…. ? It is a cool word, or I wouldn't have! :)

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Satan; a root that makes us cry. Close enough.

  • FreetoBe

    As MA Ross pointed out (#7), Satan is real. Southern Baptist churches teach it and preach it. However, since we have the Holy Spirit, we are able to resist his **temptations.*** Anyone who claims that Satan is winning is not using his/her God-given power to resist.

  • barry

    There are no simple answers, but when people pose this question to me, I simply respond… You don't believe in Satan, You should… He believes in You.

    There are many things I don't believe, but that does not make them unreal, it just makes me feel more comfortable not having to think about them.

  • http://www.thriven.org jonathanbrink

    In the words of Baudelaire (and Keyser Söze)

    “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn’t exist.”

    I would offer one of the best reasons for believing in the enemy is that is allows us to humanize people. Humans hurt but they area also hurting. Much of that work to oppress is done by the "enemy". When we love, which is what Jesus calls us into, we're destroying the works of the enemy by rejecting the invitation to be oppressed or to oppress. In other words, we're rejecting the fight or flight reflex and becoming part of the solution.

  • Dan Cartwright

    One might think professing Christianity and denying the existance of Satan ideas in oppositin to one another. After all, the NT is very clear concerning the existance of Satan (not to mention way back in Genesis) and the fact that he is the 'prince of the power of the air' sho controls the current 'world' system and holds everyone who is apart from Christ in bondage/slavery to sin.

    Previous comments are, I think, accurate in saying he is sometimes given too much credit for 'bad stuff'. I think there are three enemies we face as Christians – the 'world', the 'flesh', and the 'devil'.

    Having said THAT, let me say that as believers in Christ, we are no longer under the power of Satan, that having been vanquished by the death and resurrection of our Lord.

  • http://heavenawaits.wordpress.com/ Marianne

    Yes. I believe Satan is real. He is a person too, not just a force

    we can be evil in 2 ways

    we give into our own "flesh" – natural inclinations – fallen nature

    we listen to a negative supernatural entity in our spirit, and we obey

    My answer is based on 3 things

    -the bible discusses him

    -I have seen someone possessed by him, which is not pleasant

    -I have personally seen a "thing" try to enter my room in the night , and I was not sleeping…I had awakened. It could not come near me because God protected me, and it left. But I will remember that experience.

    marianne
    http://heavenawaits.wordpress.com/

  • barry

    Oh, and as a follow on…

    "..The greatest thing the devil ever did, was make people believe he was not real.."

    There is alot of freedom to do what you want, when no one even thinks you exist.

    My last comment on the subject… "…If you dance with the devil, the devil does not change, the devil changes you…"

    Some people who don't believe, or do believe but do not feel like they can be harmed by the devil, vastly under estimate his powers.

    The funny thing is, I got all 3 of these quips from movies out of hollywood.

    Its funny how movies could teach more about the devil than alot of churches…

    And For those who want to fight the devil, remember the dance, you will lose. And The Arch Angel Michael would not even bring an accusing word against the devil, simply said the Lord Rebuke You.

    God did not commision us to fight the devil, but to resist evil.

    The Devil is real, and I fear his power, only when I am outside the will of God(and none of us stay in the will of God 24-7).

  • thereisnogray

    John, in direct answer to your question I do believe Satan is very real. I certainly believe that Jesus is real and that Matthew 4:1-11 talks about Satan tempting Jesus. I figure he wouldn't make that part up, right?

    The thing is: I am pretty certain that Satan is walking among us right now. Maybe not right here with me in my little cubicle at this very instant, but you know what I mean. I find it odd that we don't have any honest dialogue in our churches and small groups about the reality of Satan. HE WANTS YOUR SOUL! When it comes right down to it, I find it odd that we don't have any real discussions about righteousness, or right and wrong, or black and white. What are we (Christ followers) so stinking afraid of?

    Let's get on with it people! We can love the sinner and hate the sin. There is no gray area here! When it comes to sin, it's God's way or satan's way. Pick one! Love your neighbors for all your worth, but don't sell them short by pulling punches about the rest of God's commandments.

  • Pastor_Dave

    "God did not commision us to fight the devil, but to resist evil." -Barry

    There are some ministers who are directly called to battle the enemy. Other believers should be cautious about spiritual warfare beyond resisting evil. On the other hand, if you find yourself in a face-to-face confrontation you have all the power of heaven in the Name of Jesus. "Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world."

    I would be sure that all your sins are confessed and covered by the power of the blood shed on the cross.

  • http://fitnessfortheoccasion.wordpress.com Dan (Fitness)

    Two perspectives you might find interesting. One is from Dick Gregory, who simply notes that growing up religion focused a lot on satan and evil. (Transcribed):

    "My Mama was so busy teaching me about the Devil, I'm a grown man before I found out about the beauty of God! I don't need to talk about the filth, the filth speaks for itself."

    In other words, focusing on evil might not be the most productive thing to do.

    A second perspective is from a non-Christian tradition. Satan is sometimes portrayed simply as one's individual ego. So thinking about it in a mystical sense, the struggle between God and satan is simply a struggle to recognize the divine within, and let go of the grasping ego.

  • http://samwrites2.wordpress.com samwrites2

    John,

    Hell yeah!

    But seriously, #16 and #20 bears out some of my own experiences. I read too much Carlos Casteneda I wish I could now unread.

    Went through the "Freedom in Christ" series recently and repeated my renunciation of Satan and his league of fallen angels (how's that – I didn't say "Minions" – which reminds me of foul-tasting and malodorous breath mints).

    This post deals with serious issues. Thanks be to God that there is protection in God and His power.

    -Sam

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Now now, Dave. Dan didn't say that. He described, not prescribed. Let's not let Satan let us pick fights.

  • http://skerrib.blogspot.com Skerrib

    There's the passage somewhere in there about "your enemy, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion" or something like that. I do believe Lucifer exists and became Satan and all that (and while we're at it, the minions, demons, and chives)…but I agree with whomever said that he probably doesn't look like the stereotypical 'evangelical' portrayal.

    As to Satan being mentioned in church…there are a whole lot of folks who view everything thru a lens of "Satan's doing such-and-such" to explain EVERY bad or difficult occurrence. I wouldn't go that far–we just don't know the reasons for everything God allows. I think it's a healthy thing to be aware that yes, as Christians we have an enemy who wants to pretty much do all the damage he can, which is why it's so important for us to deliberately pursue Christ and rest in his protection.

  • debese

    And 333 is only half as bad.

    Simple answer to the question: God's revealed Word says Satan exists, therefore…Satan exists. Too many questions are answered with the phrase "I think." Now…while it's important to think…it's also important to make sure our thoughts fit within the boundaries of God's Word. Our thoughts change based on the slightest of circumstances…God's Word endures forever.

    Trying to think if I've heard/preached messages on Satan. I've mentioned him is sermons and/or devotionals, but why preach about Satan when I can preach on the majesty of a sovereign God?

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com ric booth

    6666 – The Shore Code – Coming Soon

    Jesus talks about Satan as real, that is not just in parables. He does speak about him in parables too (e.g., the thief who does not enter thru the gate). I do like your take on your own struggles. Also, whatever prodding and tempting he may be guilty of, in the end I would have to consciously choose (free will) to sin. So whether that temptation comes from within or without, I am responsible for my choices.

  • harvey l melton

    well john you've never been in any of the churches i've been in, they all have mentioned and taught about that greatest of losers satan.wendy blue above has a very solid answer to this question, as does the post of debese, but however, the holy bible has the best answer of all, GOD can not by his nature lie to us, therefore if we have trouble believing him who can we believe? bill gates/bush/etc. etc.but i guess all the different versions of the bible out there are really misleading on this subject, i tend to stick with one version, the KJV, not the new kjv either and i use other study aids as well.i realise that back in the ot GOD wiped out a bunch of people, well a whole world of people, ie;the great flood. not to mention all those israile conquests.but there again as with JOB satan has to gain permission from GOD to do any bad thing to those that are in the family of faith.oh yes he can and does tempt us everyday, and tries to influence our very thought life.evil is alive and flourishing throught the world. look at the ones who think they are doing GOD a service by killing all the unbelievers of thier perverse religion. The bible talks about that too.in rev. islamist call christians ''people of the book'' but at the same time they have thier own ''book'' do they not? we as christians are much more than just people of the book, you know what i'm saying without all the broken down detail.if you ever have any doubts about your faith, beliefs, etc i urge you to gain counseling asap, and of course prayer.we as christians must know and learn how to defend our faith.that comes with study, study, study.staying in context, my own mother when i was a child used to twists scripture to fit her arguement. today there are certain things we still don't agree on, but i still offer up prayer for her, i still call her 'mom' still visit her still concerned about her.i have came in contact with a possed person and his possesed dog. that is another story. well anyway, rest assured that we as christians have the victory her, now, then and forever. keep the faith, never give up or in.-harv

  • Catherine M. Howell

    I believe he is real. It is what The Word states in many places. I trust Christ to keep Him away from me.

    A thought: When I was unsaved, I did not have this mind war going on. It does not always happen, but believers will know what I am speaking of here. Times of testing do come to everyone who is saved by the Blood of Christ. The enemy would do anything in his power to make us doubt and trip us up. He can no longer have our spirit which is saved for the day of redemption…but he sure tries at times to get us believing our salvation is not real. The closer I am to Jesus…the more faith I have to withstand those darts.

  • http://sharpiron.org Christian

    Hmm. I'm kinda like John. I am rather ambivalent about Satan. If he does exist I don't believe he is capable of any more evil than mankind is on their own. And I don't think we need Satan to help us create evil.

    Personally, I think Satan is a metaphor for not just evil, but the ego. The part of us that is more concerned about 'me' than 'you' or 'God'. In this regard Satan is always whispering in my ear, trying to lead me astray, telling me that I am more important than God. And when we give in to Satan, when many selfish and proud people join together, such as we've seen Nazi Germany, Afghanistan, and Wounded Knee then he is like a lion that devours everything in his path.

    When Jesus talks of Satan, or we hear of his struggle with Satan in the desert, this metaphor still works. Besides, the Jews had a very different picture of Satan than the popular church has.

    But then again, maybe he's real.

  • http://pauleilers.blogspot.com/ Paul Eilers

    I grew up in the Bible belt, and seemingly all you hear about is satan, the devil, etc.

    Makes you think there is a demon under every rock and behind every bush.

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse

    On the above note, there are two pieces of literature I think everyone must read.

    The first is "Paradise Lost". You can't help but root for Lucifer. Not because he necessarily has any redeeming qualities, but because he's the underdog who was brave enough to stand up to the omnipotent.

    Next, check out the Pulitzer Prize winning play "J.B." by Archibald MacLeish. Great retelling of the Job story, of which Satan, or at least a Satan-like character, takes a great part in.

  • http://thestateofamerica.wordpress.com/ Daniel

    “I think the whole idea of an evil entity existing out in the world is pure hogwash,” he said. “What do you think?”

    There are a lot of evil entities in the world. They murder, rape, steal, deceive, lie, corrupt others and I have not personally seen any of them. Oh, yes, I have seen pictures of a few of them; I was truly amazed none of them wore red, had horns, or other stereotypical things.

    Jesus told his disciples: I and my father are one; when you have seen me you have seen my Father; what I see my Father doing that is what I do. The backward minded disciples reversed it by saying anyone who practices sin is of the devil. When you see evil-doers, you see Satan. Why? Because they (we that used to be) are under his tutelage.

    If anyone wants to know how real Satan is, ask a Satanist. They ought to know. Speaking of which, I remember listening to an author who interviewed a one of their priests. The author asked what a Satanist is? If memory serves correctly, the priest defined a Satanist as anyone who did whatever they wanted knowing it was contrary to God, God's words, or anything other law or standard. That is what secularists do in practice and policy. Philip Hamburger's tasty book "Separation of Church and State" not only cover the legal history of the subject but he also show why secularist and their Separation is an inverted religion of Christianity. Although he was only pointing to the religious nature of secularists, his example show the same kind of practice as Satanism.

    One last point, a friend in college was at Kent State University during the riots when the National Guard killed a number of students. He got bumbed-out about incident. Looking for some sort of answer, he eventual started messing around with tarot card and ouija board. The dial moved or whatever in answer to questions and the like. At some point, he heard about the gospel and eventually answer the call of Christ to faith in the affirmative. Shortly thereafter something came into his room at night while he was asleep, he woke up while it picked him up and slammed him into the wall. He swears no human was in the room. His pastor told him it was the devil attempting to scare him out of his commitment to God and Christ. If no evil entity exists, what was it that happen to him? An earthquake? An hallucination?

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse

    "The author asked what a Satanist is? If memory serves correctly, the priest defined a Satanist as anyone who did whatever they wanted knowing it was contrary to God, God’s words, or anything other law or standard. That is what secularists do in practice and policy."

    Well…kinda. I would imagine a Satanist believes in god, so that's a big difference.

    Of course, a secularist is not necessarily an atheist, so you may have me there.

  • bohemianprose

    John,

    I do believe he is real; not just because of the narrative beliefs taught through the bible but also because we do at times see things even outside of the human nature at work it seems.

    At times I think of Newtons theories on relativity for every action there is on opposite reaction. can we see this in the natural I question? Day and night, love and hate, good and evil. I find it interesting when I think in terms like this, as God describes himself as light, love, goodness and describes the devil as darkness, the father of all lies, evil.

    I believe there to be too much proof of evil outside of human nature or perhaps extreme human mature that would support the spiritual idea of and angel gone bad. I think where many mistake this idea in in thinking that he is the opposite of God, he may oppose but he is not equal to (having the same powers as) the creator, look at Job as an example.

    I have experienced some things in my life (night terrors) that with all the scientific explanations still seems lacking for a true explanation. I am not sure why I have experienced these things, but many times they've happened when I was asleep and some when I was not, it's beyond my grasp of understanding.

  • http://chencenter.wordpress.com Michael Joyce

    i love blogs like this. so many comments and opinions from such eloquent writers.

    in my opinion, satan is not real. both the good and bad in the world are of God's nature. for those that believe the biblical example of satan's angelic beginnings… one would also have to question the power of God, since lucifer did indeed fall from grace. i don't know why we have to label things…god=good, devil=evil? can't we all just preach compassion?

  • Angela

    Yes, I believe Satan is real. "Faith comes by hearing and hearing through the Word of God."

  • http://cometothewell.wordpress.com dsrtrosy

    Yes, you do always post a stunner. I have to disagree with Dan C that professing Christians must, by definition, believe in Satan. The only argument that makes some rational sense is that if God is real Satan is likely to be real. But there are many, many ways to blow holes in that one (Morse? ideas? you always have good ones and my brain-on-grad-school is just too tired!).

    But many, many believers do not take the Hebrew or Christian scriptures as completely literal. I can't disagree with them.

  • Second Michele

    I really think we need to look at what the Bible says about this…

    Job: 1:9-12 "So the Metaphor answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? … But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”

    12 And the LORD said to the Metaphor, “Behold, all that he has is in your Metaphorical power; only do not lay a Metaphorical hand on his person. So the Metaphor went out from the presence of the LORD."

    1 Peter 5:8

    "Be sober, be vigiant; because a Metaphorical Construct walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."

    Matthew 4:5 "Then the Metaphor took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple"

    Matthew 13:39

    "The enemy who sowed them is a Metaphor , the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels."

    Matthew 15:21

    "And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely Metaphor-possessed.”

    Matthew 25:41

    “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the Metaphor and his other metaphors"

    John 8:44 "The Methphor was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth… When the Metaphor speaks a lie, It speaks from Its own resources, for the Methaphor is a liar and the father of it"

    Timothy 3:2-6

    "A bishop then must be blameless, … not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the Metaphor."

    Hebrews 2:14

    "Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the Metaphor"

    James 4:7 "Resist the Metaphor, and it will flee from you."

    You have to admire the Biblical writers, coming from diverse time periods and perspectives, for clinging so faithfully to Metaphor of Satan instead of coming out and saying what they really meant.

    Even Jesus will not even drop the "metaphoric" use of the word devil when He is giving the LITERAL interpretation of his own metaphor/parable of the Tares.(Matthew 13))

  • http://fitnessfortheoccasion.wordpress.com Dan (Fitness)

    Pastor Dave,

    John has it right, just describing some interesting takes, although I do think using the struggle between God and Satan described in the bible as a metaphor is a very interesting tool.

    Especially since some Satanists consider their religion simply a worship of ego and selfishness. Contrast this with the theme of selflessness found in *parts* of the Bible (and in many religions), and you'll find an argument over ethics that focuses more on ethical approaches to self and others, rather than focusing on actions that are inherently good or evil.

    One thing I find fascinating is the implications of evil in religious doctrine. For example, one of the more frequent comparisons one finds puts Christianity up next to Manicheanism, which protrays the relationship between Good and Evil in a wholly different light. What does it say about the world if good and evil are evenly matched? How about if good has more power than evil, or the other way around?

  • http://upliftingthoughts.org morgangreenster

    My theory is Saten was pinned down to the bottom of hell where here is constantly pissed off at God for being punished this way. But God made one mistake, he allowed demons to escape into our world. They may not be as powerful as Saten, but they can do some dirty nasty work. They can effect what comes out of people's mouths, the thoughts they get into their heads and what they actually do. Just turn on the TV and the effects of demons in this world are naked for all to see.

  • http://samwrites2.wordpress.com samwrites2

    Second Michele,

    Does this mean Cliche sits at the left hand of Metaphor? Does Simile sit at the right?

    Sorry, could not resist.

    I do believe in a literal Satan but wish we could stop this witch hunt and instead stand firm and protected by God. Not to downplay satanic influences – but by the power of God's Holy Spirit we should take inventory of our lives and rid ourselves of our self-generated sin.

    That's my take on what I read in the Bible – what I believe the best book to base my life on. Satan can tempt, oppress and probably cause tornadoes (I love to read Job, seriously), but not MAKE a Christian sin.

    Outside of scripture, personal experiences like those related above have convinced me. I won't argue Lucifer's existence anymore than that. Others are doing a better job.

    I like what Petra (contemporary Christian band) did on one of their vinyl albums with backward masking.

    When turning the Petra record backward a message would be heard saying "What are you looking for the devil for when you ought to be looking for the Lord?"

    -Sam

  • http://crumblestone.wordpress.com snowhite197

    I believe satan exists. It’s in the Bible. I think Shush and Pastor Dave made great points warning against giving Satan too much credit. It is not easy to blame one’s own nature or faults when there is a silent scapegoat like the Devil to pass the blame too, and we do it all too often.

    Jonathanbrink, what a great point!!! It is also too easy for Christians to heap blame or condemnation on others who may be facing great evil in their own lives without a victorious God to help them.

    Besides the Bible, the main reason I believe Satan exists is this. I have experienced some crazy stuff that I can only explain two ways: I am crazy or Satan is real! And no one in my life seems to think I am crazy for now, I do believe Satan is real not only because the Bible says so but because of personal experiences.

  • Pastor_Dave

    So Dan, do you feel that we are all god and we just need to let that inner divine nature come out and then we will all be OK?

  • Pastor_Dave

    Just curious.

    By the way John, I think the devil planted some peppers in my garden one time. They were devilshly hot!

  • Samhain

    “My first six years as a Christian I attended a very large, old, rich, conservative Presbyterian church in downtown San Diego. Not once in those six years did I hear Satan mentioned from the pulpit. For the last six years, I’ve attented a very large, old, rich, liberal Episcopal church just outside downtown San Diego. Not once in those six years…”

    666…Wow! The evil one is in the topic for today.

  • Peter

    Satan exists to acknowledge that there is something as God.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Samhain: Oh, shoot. I thought you’d missed a six, and went and bolded it for you. But now I see the one you missed made for the FOURTH “six” I mentioned.

    Well, still. If 666 connotes the devil, 6666 must be REALLY bad!!!

  • http://cometothewell.wordpress.com dsrtrosy

    But, Bob–isn't the entire idea of exegesis simply a human theory about what might possibly make up the practice/rules/method which are constantly changing over time? There is no way to accurately state what any author/book/chapter is trying to say on any given subject because we are 1,900-2,800 years removed from those authors, their cultures and the situations in which they wrote.

    Paul understood Jesus' teaching not through having ever known him in life, but by his conversion and his Platonic leanings. Then Augustine came along and gave us a new view of Paul. Now we filter our beliefs about Jesus through at least those two layers…and two thousand years of men saying "This is what God means."

    I can believe, but I don't get there through exegesis.

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse

    No. I don’t believe Satan is real.

    He makes for a really interesting literary character, though.

  • http://melcartera.wordpress.com melcartera

    Hi, John.

    Congratulations on coming up with successive posts that elicit/stimulate/provoke very thoughtful responses. Your blog is great not just because of the posts, but also because of the comments. Great job, man!

    God bless you!

  • http://www.barethoughts.com/blog Tam

    I know quite a few Christians who believe in Satan, at least enough to tell me that (since i am a none Christian) I worship him (funny since i don't believe in the Christian devil) and he has lead me astray with his lies (boils done to my religious beliefs being lies foisted onto me by the 'devil")

  • http://sharpiron.org Christian

    Daniel – I’m completely for the separation of church and state. And I am hardly a Satanist – even at times call myself a Christian (though at other times the idea makes me shudder), We tend to think that when Christians get cozy with government that we can influence it. Much more often (always?) government ends up influencing Christianity. A little off track but what the heck.

    Bohemianprose – darkness does not exist – it is a non-entity. Light fills the darkness like air fills a vacuum. Is evil what we have when goodness is removed from human action, when we turn our back on God’s ‘light’? It’s a twisting, a warpage of what originally was good. Can it exist alone as a tangible presence, apart from some ‘actor’?

    Satan – he had a lot to do with many of the Church’s atrocities through out history. Or at least the Church’s obsession with rooting him out did.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Hi, Mel. Thank you very much for your generous words. And you're right; this group of comments has, I think, been the best group ever. It's been a real pleasure to follow. Thanks again for your encouragement.

    Tam: Man, I hope not TOO many Christians have told you that you worship Satan. I would imagine that if I were Satan, nothing would delight me more than to hear a professed Christian accuse an innocent non-Christian of worshipping me. It'd be like killing two birds with one stone.

  • http://www.brianswriting.com Brian Shields

    It’s like watching a football game. They’re both playing the same game based on the same silly (to me) myth. It’s just a question of which team you’re rooting for.

  • http://www.considerjesus.wordpress.com Michelle

    I’m reading Pleasing God by R.C. Sproul and am on the chapter about the devil (aka Satan). Sproul writes:

    A second image we have of Satan is of a roaring lion who goes about seeking whom he will devour (1Peter 5:8). Notice that the same figure that is used for Christ, the lion, is used by Satan, the archtype of the Antichrist. The anti-lion devours. The Lion of Judah redeems.

    With both allusions to the lion we find a symbol of strength, though with Satan it is an evil, demonic strength. His strength is no matich for Christ, but it is a strength that is certainly superior to ours. He is not as strong as Christ, but he is stronger than we are.

    There are two frequent ways that Satan deceives us. On the one hand he will seek to have us underestimate his strength. On the other hand there are times that he seeks to have us overestimate his strength. In either event he deceives us and can trip us up.

    I thought that was worth quoting. ;)

  • http://www.brianswriting.com Brian Shields

    Read any of Carl Jung’s work on archetypes and the whole God/Satan GoodGuy/BadGuy game seems more sensible to me.

  • Cliverty

    Second Michele -

    Great post! Good points all.

    You forgot the one from Rev 12 “And there was war in heaven. Michael and His angels fought against the metaphor and his angels… woe woe to those who dwell on the earth for the metaphor has come down to you knowing that he has a short time”.

    To John Shore’s topic –

    The answer is incredibly simply – the Bible says the devil is “real”.

    The REAL question is — will Christians always choose to “believe the Bible” – or are some Christians “mixing in” some musings of their own with what the Bible actuallly says and then claim it all came from the Bible??

    Bob

  • Cliverty

    If you take religion seriously there are two questions for every topic.

    1. Do you even know what the Bible says on this subject? To “know it” you have to embrace something like “exegesis” — the practice/rules/method of accurately stating the position a given author/ book/chapter of scripture on a given subject.

    2. Do you care what the Bible says – or do you simply mix in your own musings and call “the mixture” your “belief”?

    For example:

    Hindus would not “care a lot” about what the Bible says — but that same Hindu WOULD highly value their own “musings” as the final word no matter how the Bible addressed the topic in question.

    Bob

  • http://upliftingthoughts.org morgangreenster

    Maybe I give the belief in demons the belief that causes many of them to exist. There might be a logical explanation for many negative happenings.

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse

    Morgan, the idea of demons existing is not terribly logical…whether one were to wish them into existence or if they were to exist by themselves.

  • http://sharpiron.org Christian

    Second Michelle, good points (and pretty witty, to boot) but the Bible is full of other metaphores that are spoken about as if they were 'real'. And why not, since the metaphor immediately creates in us an understanding which is lost when we try to explain things literally.

    For example, did Moses really see the backside of God as described in Exodus 33?

    Is Jesus a literally a path, a way, a door?

    Does God have a hand that can stretch out over all of Job's life? Does God have a face? Since we are in his image, does God have hands, and feet? When we are called his hands and feet, are we really hands and feet?

    Is there really going to be a 'lake of fire', or is that just a great description for the truly indescribable?

    Rather than replacing the word Satan with the word metaphor, try some other words that work just as well, maybe even better. Words like ego, or 'the self'. Pride.

  • http://hedonisticpleasureseeker.wordpress.com/ The Hedonistic Pleas

    Satan as an autonomous Being with a personality? Nah. I don't believe in an entity named "Satan." The "concept" of Satanism exists but then ALL concepts exist. If it can be conceived of it "exists." Dwell on it to much and it sucks up your energy like a Hoover.

    "Satanic" is anything that separates one's consciousness from the awareness of the Divine, connected, sentient ALL TRUTH.

    "Satanists" derive pleasure from separating and isolating and the brutal things that result from our forgetting. Malicious lies, obfuscation, confusion, distraction.

    False dichotomies are Satanic.

    The Big Lies that lead people toward cruelty and war are Satanic.

    The Powers that Be ruling the world in George Orwell's 1984 were Satanic: "War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength." The "Ministry of Truth" was staffed by Satanists.

    The forces that led to the Tower of Babel debacle were Satanic.

    "The War on Terror" is Satanic.

    Satanists slither the halls of the White House as we speak.

  • Clyde

    Do I believe in Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. Yes. Were it not for the Divine revelation of the Word I would not know about Christ Jesus. God's Word further reveals many things that we cannot observe at will, test, measure, quantify or qualify.

    The Bible teaches that there is a spiritual realm (unseen) which exists and is most prominently populated by God. I believe in God the Son – Christ Jesus and I believe in God the Father I also believe in God the Holy Spirit, three Personal Entities in the spiritual realm. The Bible, God's Word, reveals this to us.

    God's Word, the Bible also reveals the existence of spirit beings, angels, demons, cherubim, seraphim and Lucifer who became Satan. He is also alluded to or spoken of as the king of Tyre in one place in Holy Scripture.

    To comprehend and understand spiritual things we must go to the Word of God and humbly ask God's guidance as we study.

    1 Peter 5:5 NIV Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."

    1 Corinthians 2:14 NIV, The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    2 Peter 1:20, 21 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

    God has promoted His Word to the highest place of authority:

    Psalm 138:2 I will worship toward Your holy temple and praise Your name for Your loving-kindness and for Your truth and faithfulness; for You have exalted above all else Your name and Your word and You have magnified Your word above all Your name! Amplified Bible.

    We should lay aside tradition, unbelief and personal opinion and humbly seek knowledge from the correct source, the Word of God. God values His word so much he refers to His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as the Word, God's Communication to man.

    God's Word is always under attack by the sophistries of Satan. If Satan can cast doubt on God's Word, if he can cause us to be skeptical of God's Word then he can lead us into much error.

    So I guess the question is not, 'do I believe in Satan' so much as, 'do I believe in the veracity of the Holy Scriptures, God's Word'. And the the answer to that question is, 'I do believe'.

  • Jeff

    Yeah, I think Satan is real. But, I think christians are for the most part meaner than Satan.

  • Cliverty

    dsrtrosy –

    Exegesis is simply an objective logical approach to finding out what the text is saying – it does not argue so much for "and now that you know what the Bible says – choose to believe it".

    When you read a math book a How-to book a cook book a set of "instructions" you can not constantly claim "I have no idea what this means and each person will prefer to think of it differently" and get anwhere in a civilized world. There have to be agreed upon standards of reason and logic – and that is what Exegesis relies upon — it does not change.

    Finding "what the text says" is easy and if you use this objective method then it is actually very precise.

    Choosing to take the time to find out what it really says is another story

    Choosing to accept what you read is yet another story entirely.

    Bob

  • Cliverty

    Clyde -

    That was a good factual post.

    By contrast we do get a lot of "well I think maybe.. I think mabye" musings on the topic. And those posts are also interesting to see the degree to which people consider this topic at a casual level.

    Anyone who places very little value on what the Bible says – certainly has no reason to get too worked up over the topic of Satan and his angels.

    Bob

  • born4battle

    “One might think professing Christianity and denying the existance of Satan ideas in opposition to one another.” was Dan C’s quote. He didn’t actually say “professing Christians must, by definition, believe in Satan”. The phrase “one might think” is not a positive assertaion/statement.

  • Cliverty

    My wife's family has a history in the occult (from one of the Islands of the Caribbean). Some pretty scary stories about what happened in their family prior to being saved and converting to Christianity.

    In the Bible the story about 1 demon leaving and seven worse demons returning — is a case where someone is freed from demon posession then (according to Christ) that demon returns and finds the house (house of the soul) swept clean and empty. Then taking 7 demons worse than himself he returns and takes up residence.

    Christ's point was that when someone is freed they are not to simply be idle – they should not allow the empty house to remain a target but should fill the house of the soul with the things of God — especially with the Spirit of God who is Himself infinite in power and wisdom. Paul says that as Christians we are to be "filled with the Spirit" and we see that in his own life in places like Galatians 2:20.

    Bob

  • frank

    First of all John,

    "I don’t care if Satan is real or not,I tend to have zero interest in questions I know can’t be answered."

    Well that's interesting because in one of your last posts you asserted that we cannot know if there is God or not. But your interest in God seems to be quite above zero. Weird.

    windy blue @#6 "But, as we see in Job, Satan can’t do anything unless God gives his permission."

    Wow so it is God that allows all the evil to happen. I knew it.

    Now my humble opinion. There are demons in our heads, there are gods in our heads. They are thoughts emotions phantasies. Some beutiful goo inspiring and some terrible , vicious mean. That's all there is.

    To me God , Satan, Jesus, FSM, Zeus, Krishna etc. are excuses invented to avoid the anavoidable: Responsibility for our existence.

  • http://anunlikelyperspective2.squarespace.com/ Dominique

    One of the best explanations of Satan I have ever heard is this one by my pastor/friend in Claremore, OK.

    There are two diametrically opposed kingdoms. One is Gods' and one is Satan's. Every thing we do forwards one or the other kingdom. So, if I am doing something that is against God, I am forwarding Satan's kingdom and vice versa.

    I do believe in Satan because the Bible is clear that he exists but also because I am a modern day Mary Magdalen story. In 1998 I was delivered and set free and have never been the same since.

  • Cliverty

    Christian -

    You asked -

    “Is Jesus a literally a path, a way, a door?

    Does God have a hand that can stretch out over all of Job’s life? Does God have a face? Since we are in his image, does God have hands, and feet? When we are called his hands and feet, are we really hands and feet?

    Is there really going to be a ‘lake of fire’, or is that just a great description for the truly indescribable?”

    In John 10 when Christ said “I am the door” and in John 14 “I AM the Way the TRUTH and the Life” we can see the clear meaning in the text. Nobody is the least bit tempted to “suppose that Christ is a big wooden door”. So that is a case where metaphore is well accepted and clear.

    But is “God a metaphore” is “salvation a metaphore” is the virgin birth the resurrection — in fact any and ALL the basics of the Christian religion “just a collection of metaphores that can be imagined into anything one wishes since that religion has no real substance to it to start with”??

    Just because “a metaphore exists today” does not mean that we can turn the tax code of Virginia “into another metaphore” and stop paying taxes.

    This is why I keep getting back to exegesis. The Christian religions-that-be have already solved this problem of determining what the Bible is really saying –

    That is no longer the “problem”.

    The problem in each group now is — “what to do about it”.

    Everyone comes to the Bible “with some prior bias” and “wants to see something” that confirms prior world-views rather than simply taking the text for what it says.

    That is the real issue —

    Bob

  • Cliverty

    Demons are simply fallen angels who are lead by Lucifer (Satan).

    All of them were Created as sinless perfect Angels — all of them chose rebellion. The future Lake of Fire mentioned in Revelation 20 is “real” (or I should say – will be real).

    Evil angels have been confined to this world according to Revelation 12.

    Evil angels are “held in check” by a system of rules that God has setup even for this fallen world.

    God’s knowledge and power are “infinite”.

    Satan although created as a superior life form to humans is still finite – in every sense of the word both in intelligence and in power.

    Bob

  • cas

    Seems today I’ve been going around putting 2cents in. I don’t know what it’s worth, but I ran across you all talking about satan. Before Christ, I was afraid/and made aware of darkness. As a family, we “saw” stuff… ghosts, fearful experiences, even what seems a stereotyped form of what looked like the “grim reaper”. Of the seven of us and parents/ancestors, some dabbled in the occult in one form or another. A week before I was born again, filled with the Holy Spirit, I had a visit from a local satanist in my drive with friends in the dark, when I was home alone with my 2 yr. old. I was seeking the Lord and wanting to know if He was real, evidently it brought up hell too. When I saw these people in car outside my door, I investigated and when they saw me, they pulled out of my drive, and burned tires roaring off. Before they pulled forward I was looking and somehow saw in the spirit? realm, or perhaps satan decided to reveal himself as the spirit inside the man driving the car. Kind of like thermography…able to see into the dark this being. Later found out that the man was wanted by police, and that I should ask for “extra protection” around my home should I see them again. (I did) I was fasted state (not purposely and for weeks) and perhaps this made some difference in my discerning this. There is more to this story, but I am trying to say that I’ve had some “experiential” thing going on when it comes to the reality of darkness as a persona. I do not go looking for it, but if the Lord brings it up, or gives me a word about something I try to pray and follow up. There was such a time in ’91 on a conversation with a Christian friend discussing this same subject. She insisited that Christians need to understand spiritual warfare, and deliverance of demonic spirits. I said I did not believe out of fear of discussing satan, maybe because of my earlier experience. I did not believe in deliverance for sure at the time. After we talked a couple days later, I was trying to nap on a muggy July afternoon on the couch, and while awake saw a demon pop it’s head out of my livingroom wallpaper and from my right came a wash of blood as if being thrown out of a bucket onto the demon, and it vanished. A vision? Have had physical manifestations, like invisible weights of beings sitting on my back while sleeping or another time suffocating me while I slept, and inside screeming out to Jesus although I could not breath at all. A sense of darkness there when it left. I have cast a demon out of a 103 yr. old woman. I was just thinking about her minutes before I ran across this blog. She asked why I thought God had let her live so long. I asked if she knew the Lord… “yes… I went to the Methodist church all my life” Some people disagree with this approach, but I asked her if she had ever confessed she was a sinner, asked forgiveness, and received Christ as her Savior, asking Him to live in her. She said so matter of fact… ” I am not a sinner.” So I prayed for wisdom. Nothing came. We continued a conversation. Asked about family. She told me about her daughter that had cared for her up until recent and how hard her daughter’s life had been, that her husband had beat her. She was obviously still very angry about this, and I so naively asked her if she had ever forgiven her son-in-law. Suddenly I had Linda Blair on my hands. She rose up off the bed (she was blind and very weak at 103 and near end of her life) and in a very hoarse (Linda Blair) voice said with eyes blazing at me “I hate him!!! I hate him!!! I’ll never forgive him!!!” I wanted to RUN. I didn’t need much discernment to see and hear this demon(s?) Praying, I asked what to do… felt so inadequate… but somehow I got up nerve to say ” In Jesus name, I take authority over this spirit of hate and unforgiveness, and command you to release this woman’s mind to the Spirit of truth in Jesus name.” After a few seconds of thinking of my next step, I just tried it again…” Alice, would you like to pray to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior? ” “Yes” And so we prayed again. When I said repeat after me ” Lord Jesus, forgive me… I am a sinner, and need you to save me from my sin…” Just like a child, she said the words and there was no hint of reluctance or anger at all. There is a spiritual gift in 1 Cor.12, called discerning of spirits. I really didn’t know what that would be, until experiencing it. I have seen them exposed in people’s eyes (one time my own daughter… who after words of knowledge about spirits controlling her, she came to the Lord at 20 yrs. old), and sometimes others. I do not look for them. The Lord leads me to them and to the people held captive by them. It’s part of our life in Christ. Right now, after years of no such instances, the Lord has asked me to pray for a brother who I believe God has shown me has an unclean spirit blocking his decision to follow Christ and be healed. This is a brother that believes in Christ and prays and reads the Bible. He is not an overcomer though. He is held by strongholds in his life. I will end my story here, but this brought up the demoniac Legion. I haven’t thought a whole lot after, but one time I thought that his story revealed that he was a believer. I know he recognized Jesus, and “fell down… and worshipped” him. Jesus explained in another place about repentance without being filled… one demon out/7 more in… that it only takes I think 4 or 5 times of cleaning them out and not filling up the void with God’s Spirit? Multiplies out to 2000 plus demons…

  • http://www.ldbeams.wordpress.com ladybeams

    John,

    Once again I totally enjoy reading what you have to say and the conversation it stirs.

    I was raised going to a Presbyterian church in central California, and we were definately taught about Satan as if he could be standing right beside us. Now I listen to Christian radio, and they discuss him all the time. What I don't recall is ever getting the "fire and brimstone, hell and damnation" sermons that my mother talks about hearing in my great uncle's Pentacostal church. I do believe in the devil and that his handywork lies just around the corner. It's up to us to choose who we shall follow.

  • http://sharpiron.org Christian

    Cliverty- please show me where a belief in an actual being called Satan is essential to following Jesus. The seven and one story of demonic possession has been interpreted differently.

    Dominique – Praise God that you have been saved from your destructive past life. But…how does this support the idea that Satan is real ? And the Bible is very ‘clear’ about a lot of things – the Tpwer of Bable, the Flood, Lot’s wife turning into salt. But many Christians do not see them all as factual. Are these damnable mistakes?

  • http://jaredplane.wordpress.com jaredplane

    Hey John,

    This is an interesting post. I don’t really understand where you were going with it though. “Does Satan Exist?”. To me, from a Christian perspective, this question doesn’t make any sense. It’s like an IT professional, refusing to believe in wireless! (Please excuse the dodgy metaphor, I think it works though). The existence and realism of Satan is a no-brainer. People at my church talk about Satan, and the forces of evil. etc. all the time. The Bible certainly talks about it a lot! As was said above, Jesus was tempted by Satan. Satan and God had a conversation in the Book of Job. Evil spirits, and demons have possessed people.

    John, I don’t understand why you wrote this. The answer to this question is just so blatantly obvious. Anyway, I don’t want to rustle any feathers. Thanks for posting, I enjoyed reading it. I’m looking forward to your next work.

    Talk to you soon,

    Jared

  • Cliverty

    Christian -

    You said

    "Cliverty- please show me where a belief in an actual being called Satan is essential to following Jesus. The seven and one story of demonic possession has been interpreted differently."

    1. Jesus speaks to the subject and reality of Satan numerous times in the gospel and the gospel writers point out the real personal exchanges between the two of them. See Matt 4. When you ask if you can believe Jesus without believing what He said about Satan you are proposing a self-conflicted solution.

    2. When you point out that "there are different interpretations" you are correct — just as some accept the Genesis account in Genesis 1 and some do not. Some accept the flood account in Gen 7 and some do not — the same goes for the virgin birth, the resurrection of Christ, the miracles of the Bible etc etc.

    But that is NOT because "the text is so vague you can't tell what you are reading". Rather it is because people abandon the practice of exegesis entirely when it comes to bringing bias to the text and then trying to bend the text to fit a preference.

    Bob

  • http://sharpiron.org Christian

    In other words, it is necessary for the something to be factual in order for it to be true? Yet we can discern the truth in Jesus' parables while knowing that they did not occur. I don't disbelieve what Jesus said about Satan, I just see Satan a differently than you. He also said that one cannot serve both God and Money and I don't see Money as being a sentient being, either.

    It is not important to me to argue against the existence of Satan, or Hell or demons. Just as I am not concerned that many people believe in the factuality of Genesis 1, or the Flood Account or Lot's wife. As long as we understand and agree upon the truth that is enveloped within these stories then we can go forward.

    I would never suggest that someone who holds to a firm belief in Satan (as my own wife does) is missing the boat when it comes to the Gospel of Christ. Just as I don't think the person who holds to a strict and 'literal' (this word is mis-used in this regard) form of exegesis (and it's just a different form, really – we are all guilty of eisegesis – it can't be avoided) has the authority to claim that this is necessary for a ''correct" faith in Christ.

  • http://www.todayscoolnews.com Brian Shields

    Someone once told me the Devil doesn't need me to believe in him.

    So I don't.

  • http://lp27.wordpress.com LP

    St. Augustine argued that while good is, evil simply is not. Similarly, darkness is just the absence of light. So evil is simply the absence of good.

    But does the devil exist? Yes and no. I believe that if the devil exists, it must be in some way that he exists without existing. In other words, the devil is so completely devoid of everything that his very non-existence is an entity. While some may consider this "existing through non-existence" a contradictory and irrational concept, what else would be the nature of a purely chaotic being other than a contradictory and irrational (non)existence?

  • http://sharpiron.org Christian

    That's interesting, LP. I think another way of looking at the light vs.dark analogy is found in thermal dynamics. Heat is the result of action – it is a positive thing. Like life. There are varying degrees of heat present all the way down to (theoretically) Absolute Zero, at which point motion ceases. Inaction. Death.

    If heat energy is analogous to God's presence then the complete absence of God's presence is cold death. Hell. Or as I see it, annihilation. We see evil as the varying degrees in which we deliberately remove God's presence from our thoughts and actions. This must be an option for us if we are to be free. This is so deliberate on our part, and the results so horrendous, that it begins to take on the appearance of evil design.

  • http://auxano415.squarespace.com Don Watson

    Wow!

    This is a large number of responses to a single blog entry. All abouth whether Satan really exists a s a person or being. While I know that there are diverse opinions about the subject, I would ask two questions:

    1. Do we believe the Bible? Is it really God's word? As the serpent asked Eve in the Garden of Eden, "Has God said…?

    2. What does the Bible say about Satan? The answer to this is not as simple as one might think. Our beliefs about Satan are colored by Biblical interpretations, by Jewish and non Jewish traditions, by extrabiblical Christian traditions, and even by less than perfect interpretations of what the Bible says. If we peel away what we have heard and look at what the Bible says, then we will probably get a better picture of the identity of Satan. I certainly believe that what the Bible says indicates that he is a real being. However, the Bible does not say everything that Christians have believed and taught about him. I urge everyone who is interested in the subject to look at what the Bible actually says about it.

    Don in SC

  • Cliverty

    Christian said -

    "In other words, it is necessary for the something to be factual in order for it to be true? "

    If the list of facts that a document provides are "true" are "correct" then the document is "correct". If the document is full of "erroneous facts" then while it may assert many "facts" it's assertions are false. Your question seems to imply the fallacy of an erroneous document being labled "true no matter what the facts".

    Simply does not work.

    Christian said

    " Yet we can discern the truth in Jesus’ parables while knowing that they did not occur."

    Indeed – in the case of Matt 18 and the illustration of "Forgiveness revoked" we see "details of a parable" and we also see the clear application of that parable. No problem with "knowing the details". It is not as if "we are all confused and can not determine what the story is about or if it is simply a story". It obviously is.

    Christian

    " I don’t disbelieve what Jesus said about Satan, I just see Satan a differently than you."

    When both the Gospel writer and Christ assert that Christ is speaking with Satan in Matt 4 — do you have any trouble at all seeinig the facts of the chapter? Is there some "question" as to whether Matt 4 begins with "imagine if you will a certain scenario where someone might be said to sort of speak to Satan as it were"??

    IF the chapter began in such a way – one might take it literally while another takes it as a story – a parable.

    No question that IF such a thing had happened in there – there could be some differences as to what was "story" and what is given as fact.

    A "key principle" in the precise method of exegesis is to first honestly admit to the obvious intent of the author to his own first century reader. It is clear for example in Matt 4 that the author is not presenting a "pretend story" to his reader.

    So on this bible topic — as on any Bible topic — step one is "what does the Bible actually say".

    Step two is — "what would you prefer to believe".

    There is no point in confusing step 1 with step 2.

    Christian said

    "It is not important to me to argue against the existence of Satan, or Hell or demons. Just as I am not concerned that many people believe in the factuality of Genesis 1, or the Flood Account or Lot’s wife. As long as we understand and agree upon the truth that is enveloped within these stories then we can go forward."

    I believe that all serious reviews of those topics will start with step 1 — What is actually said in the Bible (leaving bias and preference aside for an honest moment). In stating the facts of step 1 – we would need to be as precise and accurate as possible.

    Step two is then "what do we prefer to believe about that". And here again it pays to be precise stating why we would stray from the details of the text at times — to fit science assumptions, or bias, or preference etc.

    For example the Bible says the Christ rose from the dead – but science shows clearly that this is not possible.

    The Bible shows that Christ claims "I am the way the truth and the life .. no one comes to the Father but through Me" in John 14. But we know from the standards and norms of political correctness that this is not the most inclusive model for a religious system.

    Many "reasons" to determine that one needs to diverge from what the text says. Still we "should" be able to state what it says.

    Bob

  • Cliverty

    LP said

    "But does the devil exist? Yes and no. I believe that if the devil exists, it must be in some way that he exists without existing."

    This is a perfect example of what I have called "step two" where we clearly state our own belief/preference/bias on the topic (as LP has done) rather than confusing that with what the Bible actually says regardinig the point under discussion.

    Bob

  • Hjordes

    John – you described my thoughts about Satan to a tee. Perfect. (How DO you do that?)

    But your question was, "If you were me, how would you answer that question?"

    I would answer it exactly as you did here in this blog. Then I'd give this website address so that they could read these other interesting opinions.

  • http://thestateofamerica.wordpress.com Daniel Downs

    Does belief or non-belief require the devil exist? No. But if he/it does, then there must be some evidence to support those claiming the devil's existence. If the devil does exist as the gospel say, then the devil an demons are persons. If persons, they may be known or make themselves known.

    One of the more interesting stories in the gospel is the man who was possessed by a legion of demons. Some scholars see in this story a political message. First, the evils of Rome rule in Israel caused much suffering. This suffering made some people susceptible to mental and spiritual problems. The devil seeking to devour means seeking easy prey i.e, susceptible people. Second, Jesus delivering man from a legion of demons was in one sense symbol of Jesus as Messiah delivering the people of God from the oppression of Roman rule. This view does not negate the existence of spirit-beings oppressing people. It just means that Satan and demons are part of the complex evils and misery of human life.

    Those who deny the existence of spirits do not know they do not exist. Deceiving spirit deceive the deceived in order to accomplish a purpose, but the Indonesian monk who rose from the dead a few years said he saw Buddha in hell and Peter told him that Jesus Christ is the only reason people make to heaven.

  • Cliverty

    Don said

    “If we peel away what we have heard and look at what the Bible says, then we will probably get a better picture of the identity of Satan. I certainly believe that what the Bible says indicates that he is a real being. However, the Bible does not say everything that Christians have believed and taught about him.

    I urge everyone who is interested in the subject to look at what the Bible actually says about it.”

    Exactly!

    Instead of clouding each of these Bible topics AS IF the Bible is “saying different things just because each of us chooses to believe different things” it would be much better to first state accurately what the text actually says — and then show where our own preferences and beliefs vary from the strict factual statements found in the text.

    Bob

  • http://sharpiron.org Christian

    Gosh, Clive, I think Matthew 4 is a perfect example of how the devil can be taken as either a literal person or a literary construct or as a metaphor for our internal struggles with our ego. Matthew never tells us what form the devil takes, how he approaches Jesus during this time of weakened physicality and heightened spirituality.

    I have had friends of mine, when I have shared personal doubts and struggles of faith, tell me that I was under 'attack' from Satan. He was, in some way, implanting words of discouragement in my mind. Now, he never stood before me – I never heard nor saw anything supernatural. Whether this internal struggle of mine (and Christ's struggle in the desert does resemble that) was self (ego) generated or had Satan as it's source is no matter. The end result is the same – and I need only call on Christ Jesus to find the strength to overcome it.

    I feel that my ego – which is always available and ready to stir up trouble-is much more of an insidious and persistent threat to my faith than this Satan chap could ever be.

  • T. M. Batterson

    So let me see if I have the question correct…how would I answer the gentleman (that asked, “I think the idea of an evil entity existing out in the world is pure hogwash – what do you think?”) if I were you? That is very easy actually. If I were YOU I would simply give a very liberal, non-controversial, easy to swallow answer, such as, “In this sanctuary of safety we are free to share opinions, no matter how diverse they may be. Here we will tolerate anything you wish to call truth, there is no bottom line, no standard, no black and white, no final unarguable truth, no ultimate good, no decisive evil – unless, of course, you think there is.”

    If you are asking what I think about his statement that is harder, because I do believe there is a standard an unarguable truth an ultimate and a decisive evil. Therefore, I am less interested in giving a palatable answer than I am in giving an accurate answer, while acknowledging it is still my opinion of the truth.

    Since this man was in a church I will make the very dangerous assumption that he also professes to be a Christian, followed by a secon assumption that he also believe Christs word. (I know, I know, what assuming does. I am willing to take that risk to make my point.) I mean, if Christian do not believe Christs word how can they learn about the Christ they profess to love and follow?

    Now the next issue I would have to establish is, assuming he is a Christian and reads Christ’s word, does he believe it is indeed the infalliable word of God? Or does he pick and choose what to believe?

    In my opinion if we question one jot or title of the word of God we may as well through the whole thing out, because then it is only a matter of human opinion and seriously don’t we get enough that in places like this?

    So to begin to assemble how I would answer the orginal question, it may help to refer to statements already made here that I agree or disagree with.

    Dominque infurred to a scripture where Jesus said, “Anyone who isn’t helping me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.” I agree with Dominque in this. If we are not actively, purposefully ‘helping’ to spread the true word of God we are by default working against Him. Perhaps, another way of saying this is, if we are not consciously aligning ourselves with an ultimate good we are by default working for a decisive evil.

    Jeff said, he did believe satan exists, but most Christians were meaner! Sadly, I too believe this true! Many people who profess to be Christians know nothing about what it really means to follow Christ and his teachings because they don’t even know what his teachings are and if there were any they didn’t like they threw them out as just a metaphores anyway.

    One person commented they felt that belief in satan was not essential to following Christ. This, of course, is true. It is not essential, but it is certainly helpful. What do these “christians” do with all the scriptures that speak about satan? Oh that’s right they are just metaphores. And what is he a metaphore for exactly, I wonder?

    Another person mentioned scripture wasn’t logical. Ok. Why would we think spiritual writings that speak about and to the things the spirit would line up logically with the things of the flesh? I mean, what are we looking forward in a Heavenly Kingdom? More of the same. According to Christ’s teachings, to understand spiritual things we must use the spirit within us NOT our carnal minds.

    I believe it was you, John, that used the term “innocent non-christian”. I have yet to meet an innocent human being, christian or otherwise. Who teaches a baby not even old enough to read to “lie” when their mother asks, “did you eat that cookie?” when they weren’t supposed to? No one it is ineherent in the heart of man. Only in the heart reborn, the mind renewed and the spirit filled with the Holy Spirit is there any hope of glory.

    For me, the two most thought-provoking comments were one by Michelle, who pointed out tha our advesary was referred to as a roaring lion that walks to and fro looking for whom he may devour, while Christ is referred to as the Lion of Judah. That same theme exits throughout scripture. Many times in the old testament (especially Proverbs) a good king was a strong protective lion while his wrath was seen as a roaring lion. God created everything including good and evil, heaven and hell, etc. For everything he created there is a blessing and/or a curse. There are natural laws for everything they were put in place before the foundation of the earth. He does not ‘sit on a throne in heaven’ looking down waiting for to screw up so he can punish us anymore that he sits somewhere watching and waiting for us to be good so he can reward us. But, certain things, actions, thoughts etc have a intrinsic blessing while othes have a built in curse and othes a lay. When you fall you don’t shake you fist at heaven, you just know that the law of gravity is working! In the same way so do all of God’s other ‘laws’.

    The other comment I found intriguing was Peter’s “Satan exists to acknowledge that there is something a God.” All of God’s creation is contrasts. If we never needed a savior, how would we know Jesus saves? If we never needed a healing, how would we know Jesus heals? If we never saw evil how would we recognize good?

    So finally I guess MY answer to the gentleman would be, “Of course I think there is an evil entity out in the world, God’s word says so, the hearts of man manifests it, the six oclock news affirms it.”

    Thanks for the opportunity to be part of a very interesting dialogue.

  • Loni

    Hi To All

    No weapons formed against you shall prosper.

    Christians are the head not the tail.

    They are blessed in the city, blessed in the feild, blessed going out , and blessed comming in.

    Jesus is the alpha and the omega, Glory belongs to our Lord and Savior.

    Satan should not receive all this attention.

    He may be winning the battle, but the war will be won by the Lord

    Be Blessed

  • Cliverty

    Daniel said -

    "Does belief or non-belief require the devil exist? No. But if he/it does, then there must be some evidence to support those claiming the devil’s existence. If the devil does exist as the gospel say, then the devil an demons are persons. If persons, they may be known or make themselves known.

    One of the more interesting stories in the gospel is the man who was possessed by a legion of demons. Some scholars see in this story a political message."

    1. The "some scholars" qualifier shows that "there exists someone with a post graduate degree that has this opinion" – like those scholars that think the miracles in the Bible did not happen, deny the virgin birth, deny the resurrection of Christ etc. There is "no limit" to the quote that one can get out of "some scholars" when it comes to the Bible. Clarity on that fact – is our starting point.

    And so "it is not very interesting" that there is yet another part of scripture for which we can go find 'some scholars' who will water it down – because it does not fit the bias that they bring to the text to start with.

    2. What is "more interesting" is an accurate rendering of the text (what does the text say) followed by clarification when "some scholars" choose to reject what the text says and talk about something "else" instead.

    In other words — they could provide "light" by explaining the bias that they bring to the text and that they use to water down the text. It would be good to know the logic for it.

    Bob

  • Cliverty

    By the above I don't mean to impugne the large group of Bible scholars that do promote the actual statements of scripture with the same "attention to detail" that one might have found in the monks and scribes of the middle ages. People willing to count every letter to make sure they got it right.

    Bob

  • Cliverty

    How much of what Christ said – can you knowingly reject/downsize/water-down/revise/discount and still be truly “A follower of Christ” ?

  • http://sharpiron.org Christian

    Excellent question. And I think it needs to be directed more often to church leaders and theologians who, though they perhaps insist upon doctrinal consensus, fail to be overly concerned about Jesus’ other commands, particularly those found in Matthew 25: 31-46.

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse

    "How much of what Christ said – can you knowingly reject/downsize/water-down/revise/discount and still be truly “A follower of Christ” ?"

    Ask Thomas Jefferson. His version of the bible removes everything supernatural or god related, and only includes the teachings of Jesus.

    But he still considered himself, essentially, a follower of Christ.

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com ric booth

    My sister and grandmother once got into one hell of an argument over this very issue.

  • Jo

    Do I believe satan is real? The real question is do you believe GOD'S word? If Jesus was not above being tempted by satan (Matthew 4), then how can we dare not believe he exists and will not tempt us. This was after JESUS was baptized by John. Our greatest temptation is doubting the word of GOD and giving it our own interpretations because it makes us feel better.

  • http://sharpiron.org Christian

    Keeping in mind that Jesus was Jewish I think it might help to understand the Jewish take on Satan. Here is an excerpt from a treatise on this subject:

    The adversary in Zechariah was a very real, very human one, the adversary in Job is a teaching tool, as is the Satan of the aggadah. Humans have within them a yetzer hara and a yetzer hatov, a bad impulse and a good impulse. We need no outside, powerful, ultimate evil force to tempt us, the impulse lies within ourselves. By following G-d's will, we can overcome this temptation. There is no power to rival G-d. All angels in Judaism are obedient servants of G-d.

    This is in contrast to the Christian idea of the "devil" and their "satan". In Christianity, "satan, aka the devil" is viewed as the "god of this world". He has enormous power and he opposes G-d. He is seen as a "fallen angel".

    http://geocities.com/~alyza/Jewish/satan.html

    One of my son's best friends is a very learned and conservative young Jewish lady. We have had a few good conversations about Judaica and the Hebrew scriptures that have been very enlightening.

    If Jesus believed in Satan then he believed in a Jewish idea of the adversary, not a later Christian version that was greatly influenced by Greek philosophy and pagan superstition.

    The same with Hell. The concept didn't come to fruition until the middle ages. Hel was a female Norse goddess who ruled the underworld. Hades was a Greek concept. The Jewish scriptures only speaks of Sheol – the grave. Jesus mentions Gehenna – an actual burning garbage pit near Jerusalem. The lake of fire – a great metaphor for something very undesirable. Kind of hard to base a firm doctrine on that type of history.

  • KS

    I would have asked the man why he thinks that the idea of an evil entity out there is "pure hogwash." He didn't offer any reasons. Jesus believes in Satan's existence, which is enough for me. I attended an Episcopal church for many years and rarely heard about Satan, hell, or even sin. The priest also explained away miracles (feeding the five thousand came about by a chain reaction of sharing, etc.). I think that Satan, hell, and sin are the real inconvenient truths of our day. The fact that churches ignore them is neither here nor there.

  • me

    satan is definitely real. I have personally known people who have encountered demons. Or perhaps go to satan's church in San Francisco. You can find testimonies of people who have had spirit guides dominate them and been set free. Just talk to people in Louisiana who are familiar with witchcraft. They'll tell you of accounts of spirits speaking through people in different voices. The demons will even tell you their names.

    http://www.christian-faith.com/forjesus/out-of-oc

    http://www.christian-faith.com/testimonies/newage

    Have you all ever heard of "channeling" spirits? How about automatic handwriting? How about clairvoyance? How about out-of-body experiences? It's all demonic activity.

    I used to work in a courtroom. A lot of people who commit crimes are under the direct influence of demons. A lot of people who end up on the street are under the direct influence of demons. We call them "crazy" but they're really just very harassed.

    Forgive me, but HOW CAN YOU NOT BELIEVE IN DEMONS IF YOU BELIEVE IN THE LORD??? There's PLENTY of evidence of demon involvement in this world.

    In some respects, there's more evidence of demons in this world than there is of the Lord, because the Lord is purely spirit and He does not harass people as demons do.

    The devil subliminally puts thoughts in our heads, but we do "the deed," so no, the devil didn't make me do it, but he sure had an influence. The Lord influences us for good works.

    Evidence of demons? Look at TV, movies, violent crimes. The devil is behind most of it, influencing society to cause destruction, apathy.

    Many heinous criminals admit to having heard voices, and they are NOT lying or delusional. They really ARE hearing voices. Can't you understand that some of these heinous acts are really inspired by dark forces, not human at all?

    Forgive me again, but WAKE UP!!!!! Please wake up.

    "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers…" IT'S REALLY TRUE. I TESTIFY THAT IT THE DEVIL IS REAL, and SO IS JESUS CHRIST, WHO SITS IN THE POWER SEAT.

    Do I want to focus on the devil? NO. Do I want to "walk circumspectly because my adversary roams around seeking whom he may devour"? You'd better believe I'm walking circumspectly…

    Fellow believers: "Redeem the time." The world has a way of blinding us.

  • me

    I just had to say to the writer above, Clyde: RIGHT ON AND WRITE ON…

    You speak Truth.

    Amen.

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse

    "Forgive me, but HOW CAN YOU NOT BELIEVE IN DEMONS IF YOU BELIEVE IN THE LORD??? There’s PLENTY of evidence of demon involvement in this world."

    Um…no there's not. There's plenty of people saying they see demons, or are demons. But no evidence for actual demons.

    Don't get me started on evidence for 'the lord'. :)

  • Linda

    Wow. This is an entirely new idea to me: I never knew there were Christians who didn’t believe in Satan. Since there are many references to Satan in the Bible, I’m not even sure I understand where the questions are coming from. As someone raised in a fire and brimstone preaching church, who now attends services at a much less hell-fire preaching church, I have noticed a distinct absence of all things uncomfortable from many pulpits lately. However, I did not realize that it was due to a reluctance to believe in these concepts, but always thought it was part of the movement to make church more appealing to people in order to get them attending and saved, and then discuss the difficult concepts later. To find out that there are actually so many people who do not believe in something so clearly addressed in the Bible is very disturbing to me. I hope these questions are resolved for these people soon, before it’s too late and they unfortunately find their questions answered in a way they would not have wanted to see.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Oh, yeah: There are a LOT of Christians who believe hell isn’t a real place at all, but rather a metaphor for being away from God. They don’t see that much in the NT having to do with hell, and what they do see doesn’t tell them that hell is the whole literal, burning-forever prace Christians have traditionally held it to be. I get the impression Burning Forever hell isn’t even taught in seminary schools anymore–or certainly not as often as it used to be.

    Anyway, for sure lots and lots and lots of Christians out there reject the traditional Christian understanding of hell. I know a lot of deep, profound, extremely knowledgeable (sp???) Christians who think the tradtional construct of hell is just … not true.

  • me

    Morse, respectfully, have you ever witnessed anyone channeling voices? The spirits actually speak through the host in voices not their own. They will also control the person's body, such as automatic writing, or more violently throw them around, and also give them knowledge of things or events they shouldn't know because the host will hear voices which tell them things. I know this for a fact because I've known people that I completely trust who have been involved in the occult and have supernatural knowledge and powers.

    I've also known people who have suffered hell fire on earth, a terrible, excrutiating torment, and the Bible supports such experience in Job 8. There are a lot of people who have experienced all types of torments, and the devil's greatest trick is to blind the eyes of nonbelievers.

    Morse, I pray you *never* come in contact with anything of the sort, but that you might believe the testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Savior of the world, who died for the forgiveness of sins, which I'm sure you must believe exists — sin that is?

  • me

    Correction: It's Job 33, not Job 8. Sorry.

    There are people on this earth that actually suffer torment due to involvement in the occult. The New Testament talks about various people, including a child, who suffered terrible torment from demons. Believe me, they are very real and very powerful. Our refuge is Jesus Christ, the only One Who can deliver. Believe the account of those who have encountered it.

    Job 33:14-30

    14 For God does speak—now one way, now another—

    though man may not perceive it.

    15 In a dream, in a vision of the night,

    when deep sleep falls on men

    as they slumber in their beds,

    16 he may speak in their ears

    and terrify them with warnings,

    17 to turn man from wrongdoing

    and keep him from pride,

    18 to preserve his soul from the pit, [b]

    his life from perishing by the sword. [c]

    19 Or a man may be chastened on a bed of pain

    with constant distress in his bones,

    20 so that his very being finds food repulsive

    and his soul loathes the choicest meal.

    21 His flesh wastes away to nothing,

    and his bones, once hidden, now stick out.

    22 His soul draws near to the pit, [d]

    and his life to the messengers of death. [e]

    23 "Yet if there is an angel on his side

    as a mediator, one out of a thousand,

    to tell a man what is right for him,

    24 to be gracious to him and say,

    'Spare him from going down to the pit [f] ;

    I have found a ransom for him'-

    25 then his flesh is renewed like a child's;

    it is restored as in the days of his youth.

    26 He prays to God and finds favor with him,

    he sees God's face and shouts for joy;

    he is restored by God to his righteous state.

    27 Then he comes to men and says,

    'I sinned, and perverted what was right,

    but I did not get what I deserved.

    28 He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, [g]

    and I will live to enjoy the light.'

    29 "God does all these things to a man—

    twice, even three times-

    30 to turn back his soul from the pit, [h]

    that the light of life may shine on him.

  • http://crumblestone.wordpress.com snowhite197

    Morse, respectfully, Benjamin Franklin could have said he was a Christ-follower, but look at some of the things Christ said. He said he was the son of God, could forgive sins, and was the way, the truth and the life and that no man could get to God except through Him. Jesus’ words do not leave us the option of believing He is a wise teacher. H claimed to be God. Therefore either He was God, he was lying, or he was delusional.

    Why would someone claim to be a ‘follower’ of a person that they believe was either deluded or lying? I don’t know, but I think Franklin liked an idea of Jesus or certain aspects of Jesus, but did not accept all of His claims. This does not make Franklin a Christian. Christians accept Jesus as Lord (God).

    Sorry to get off topic.

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse

    "Believe me, they are very real and very powerful."

    I'm sorry, but I don't. Believe you that is.

    Which is not to say I think you're lying. You could certainly believe these things. But your belief in them doesn't make them real.

    And I seriously hope one day you're able to free your mind from these superstitions.

  • Steve Myers

    "I don’t care if Satan is real or not…".

    Peter says, "Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith." 1 Peter 5:8

    Although we are to live in our faith in Christ, we are warned and told that we need to know Satan exists and to stay alert – be aware of his tactics that could ensnare us, and one of these is to doubt his existence and even if we believe in him, ignore him.

    There are three oppositions to God: the world, the flesh and Satan. We need to focus on Christ as our life, but be fully informed of all that could side track us.

  • Lee Hanson

    Much has be discussed about if there is a real Satan. 1 Pet. 3:8 says, "be on the alert, Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." You're easy prey, if you don't even know there is a real enemy.

    It is real popular not to believe there a real Satan, but is that what the Bible teaches? No, he is a real being.

    We need to know what we believe – read and study God's Word.

    I found the small group study for Christians – "The Truth Project" (Focus on the Family) to be a excellent way to have a Biblical World View – which well help to answer questions like "Where does evil come from".

  • Janice Marsh

    In the Gospels Jesus made it very clear that satan is real. Jesus said it, that settles it!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Gerry

    i belive. i seen him. you do not.

  • Darlene

    Do you or do you not? The bible speaks of the devil. He came to tempt Jesus on his 40 day fast. Its noted in the KJV

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse

    “Morse, respectfully, have you ever witnessed anyone channeling voices? The spirits actually speak through the host in voices not their own.”

    Yes, I’ve seen people talk in voices other than their own. They’re called ‘ventriloquists’. Or ‘impressionists’. Or ‘voice-over actors’. Do I think that people who ‘channel voices’ are lying? Not necessarily. But the human voice is certainly able to sound incredibly different.

    “They will also control the person’s body, such as automatic writing, or more violently throw them around.”

    And a person can replicate such things very easily if they are either lying or have an issue with their brain.

    “and also give them knowledge of things or events they shouldn’t know because the host will hear voices which tell them things”

    Cold reading. Check it out. It’s quite interesting.

    “I’ve also known people who have suffered hell fire on earth, a terrible, excrutiating torment, and the Bible supports such experience in Job 8. There are a lot of people who have experienced all types of torments, and the devil’s greatest trick is to blind the eyes of nonbelievers.”

    Sounds like people who are in mental or physical pain and refuse to go to the doctor.

    “which I’m sure you must believe exists — sin that is?”

    Nope. I believe people can do right and wrong. But ‘sinning’? If it includes thoughts, which gender you can love, what fibers you should wear and whether to cover your head? No. Those aren’t sins. Those are morally neutral things that many religions label as ‘sin’.

  • me

    Actually, the Bible depicts in The Book of Revelations that there is a war going on between God and the devil, and Jesus Christ is the Victor. This war is "front and center" to Christianity.

    To not believe the Words of Jesus is to not believe Him. He testified

    that He spoke Words from His Heavenly Father.

    The pride of man and desiring to do whatever we please — sin — keeps us from accepting and following the Lord.

    There's plenty of hard evidence there's sin in the world.

    Are these sins? Lying, stealing, rape, murder, hatred, betrayal, greed, pride, slander, division?

    How about the Ted Bundys of the world, or the Jeffery Dahmers? Do you think their acts were sinful? How about very dark and sinister, demonic even?

    From Wikipedia:

    "Dahmer served his time at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin, where he ultimately declared himself a born-again Christian. This conversion occurred after viewing Evangelical material sent to him by his father. A local preacher, Roy Ratcliff, met with Dahmer and agreed to baptize him."

    Dahmer himself claimed "Something took over," that evil forces may have led him to commit his crimes.

    Dahmer wasn't trying to escape liability. He admitted killings.

    _____________________________________________________________

    Ted Bundy:

    In an execution-eve interview conducted by Dr. James Dobson:

    Point 4: Bundy was eventually driven by an evil supernatural force. Although he never named this force as demon possession, his descriptions of it, and the obvious results, point to a classic case of intermittent (time-sharing) demon possession.

    Mr. Bundy: ". . . have been possessed by something so awful and so alien, and then the next morning wake up from it, remember what happened . . .

    Point 5: Despite the influences of obscenity and demonic forces, Bundy recognized his need to be accountable to society and God for his behavior.

    Mr. Bundy: ". . . I deserve, certainly, the most extreme punishment society has and society deserves to be protected from me and from others like me, that's for sure."

    _______________________________________________________________

    The Book of Revelations:

    9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the devil and satan, who deceives the whole world

    10Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:

    "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God,

    and the authority of his Christ.

    For the accuser of our brothers, (the devil, which means "accuser")

    who accuses them before our God day and night,

    has been hurled down.

    11They overcame him

    by the blood of the Lamb

    and by the word of their testimony;

    18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

    I think I'm going to accept what Jesus says is true, not only because I believe Him but because I have personally witnessed it. We are either with Him — or not.

    Luke 10:17-25

    17 Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”

    18 And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

    Sorry it's such an unpleasant topic, but it's a reality we deal with.

    John 8:44

    You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

    And on that note:

    Philippians 4:8

    [ Meditate on These Things ] Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

    But walk "circumspectly and redeem the time"…

    May our Father protect you all and richly bless you with His peace.

    John 14:27

    Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

  • http://www.praisefree.com Sukky Fagbohun

    satan materializes only through the human that lends him/herself to his whims and caprices. The fact that he exists cannot be denied. The Bible states in 1Peter 5:8 that "your enemy, the devil goes around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour"

    I believe that satan exists as the voice of temptation. Satan is that voice that tells you to steal, to kill, seduce the secretary, or run off with your neighbour's wife/husband. The moment you act on these temptations you accord tangibility to satan.

    In essence, one becomes the body through which he can manifest.

    Without human compliance satan would only roam and roar.

    When we, by our own volition submit to temptation, we must be ready to face the consequences rather than blame satan for our actions. Satan can tempt us, but he cannot make us sin.

  • Cliverty

    In Matt 4 Satan "materializes" without Christ yielding to a single temptation.

    In Matt 4 Satan even transports Christ to the top of the temple for one of the tests.

    In Job 1 and Job 2 – Satan appears before God and other beings – without God or any other being yielding to his temptation.

    In Rev 12 Satan is shown to conduct War along with his angels against God's angels — and to lose and to be cast down to this earth. The earth is real, the Angels are real, God is real, Satan is real.

    Bob

  • Cliverty

    In Rev 12 Satan is shown to be behind the persecution of the saints during 1260 years of the "Dark Ages".

    Satan is real.

    Bob

  • BLESSED

    all i can do is laugh because this who satan really is. Satan is very cunny and the root of all evil. This is one of his tricks to make poeple NOT believe in him. In order to be close to God you have to be without sin. IN satan is the founder of sin. I will say this SATAN CAN EVEN TURN HIMSELF INTO GOD…he can fool anyone if they dont stand firm with GOD. so yea he is real…to not think of him as not being real than may GOD BLESS YOU to open your eyes in see evil…

  • http://sharpiron.org Christian

    You're kidding, right?

  • Connie Akers

    John said, "I tend to have zero interest in questions I know can't be answered. I know I believe in the reality of evil…I certainly don’t have any problem with the idea of Satan being real. I think it’s a perfectly useful and even outstanding construct."

    What a bad joke. Satan is repeatedly mentioned in the Bible. The question CAN be answered from the Bible quite easily. You SHOULD have a problem with people believing in a being called Satan if there really isn't one, because that type of thinking is delusional. There is nothing useful or outstanding about believing something that isn't true.

    Do everyone a favor and read the Bible with the idea that you get Truth from it instead of you bringing your truth to it. You are going to be misleading people with this type of writing.

    The presence of evil without the presence of a real Satan is an unbiblical concept.

    ~Connie

  • http://sharpiron.org Christian

    Is evil contingent upon the existence of Satan? Or, more likely, is evil contingent upon the existence of the self-obsessed?

  • me

    We either are with Jesus — or not.

    We either believe what He said — or we don't.

    I can assure you, MANY people have direct experience of the enemy. Talk to folks bound in chains by the enemy who are having a hard time getting free because they can't find enough faithful Christians who stand on God's Word to deliver them or who are too afraid to enter that arena due to lack of knowledge or understanding… or FAITH!

    "This kind goes out by prayer and fasting," is what the Lord said. And it takes continual and fervent prayer. The Lord wants us to press into the darkness to bring in His Kingdom. That's what He's called us to do as His children, to be bold, not "giving way to fear."

    There are so many people who need our help, our prayers, who are crying out to be released from bondage. The enemy is VERY deceptive in the ways that he keeps these people in complete fear.

    Poke around the following website and you'll find authentic stories of people… MANY people have been set free, but there are many who are in bondage because they are DECEIVED, told lies that "Once you contract with the devil, he owns you," and lies like that. I know of someone who actually said that to me. To which I replied: "The devil doesn't own anybody. The Blood of Jesus cancels all contracts!"

    But the deception is actually MUCH more powerful than that!!!

    Dear brothers and sisters, arm yourselves with His Word, sitting at His Precious Feet, and begin to pray for the release of those who are held captive.

    http://www.christian-faith.com/forjesus/out-of-oc

  • http://www.savemenot.wordpress.com Samanthamj

    I found this whole thread pretty interesting. Amazing really… All the different things people chose to believe in, or not to believe in. ??

    I personally don't believe in Satan… but, then again, I also don't believe in God – so, this makes perfect sense to me. Sure, I believe in there is "good" and "evil"… but, I don't think it's because of God or Satan.

    What I don't understand is how people CAN belive in God, and NOT believe in Satan. ?? If there's a Heaven… isn't there a Hell? And, who would it be "running" Hell, then if you don't believe in Satan? Unless, you also don't believe in Hell.. which, makes me wonder how you can believe in Heaven? I guess I don't get how people can pick and chose the parts of the bible they believe in… ??

    As for not hearing Satan talked about at church? I was raised baptist, then pentecostal, and we went to a few different churches over the years. I remember lots of sermons about the terrors of hell… and the threats of Satan impacting our lives… and even the casting out of "evil spirits" and demons from people. And, I live in the Northeast US…. I guess, times…. they are a-changin!… LOL To which, all I can say is GOOD…and NOT fast enough!

    =)

    ~smj

  • http://sharpiron.org Christian

    What I don’t understand is how people CAN belive in God, and NOT believe in Satan.

    Well, if you believe in the God that has been portrayed mythically throughout the ages, by Sumers, Greeks, Romans, Norsemen etc etc. then that would be understandable. I recommend that you consider a God without those trappings and you will find that Satan (and hell) are unnecessary constructs that have proven to be very expedient for religious institutions.

    God/goodness/heaven are positives. Satan/evil/hell are merely ways of looking at the absence of these positives. Just as darkness is merely the absence of light. Darkness actually does not 'exist'.

  • http://sharpiron.org Christian

    Oops. Damn HTML!

  • Pingback: In response to “Is Satan Real?”… « Mom’s a religious nut & Dad was an atheist

  • John Poulton

    Incredible. This started out as a reasonable thread but, wow, there are some real nutters out there. Satanism has rather declined in my area. We used to get together and sacrifice a virgin or two, innocent stuff, nowadays you can't a virgin for love nor money. We did import some from eastern Europe but, alas, the supply has dried up.

    Its not easy worshipping the prince of darkness these days…

  • http://www.steroids.com john

    i do belive in him also!! and i aslo belive in wearing nappies well past the age of 18!

  • ashley

    yes i belive he is creal he is a human just like ever body else and i cant wait to meet him in hell

  • NightHawk

    I can prove that either he or bauchus is real. I have photographic evidence.

  • Matt Ryan

    Children do NOT read this. I'm not EFFIN kidding! Satan is real. He can lie and tell the truth at the same time. Lies and Truth. Good and Evil. Fire and Light. Yin and Yang. Contemplate.

    A mysterious platonist.

    Did anyone ever notice that the Universe could be easily described as an Abyss?


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