Is the devil real?


Is the Devil Real?

By:  Barry Cooper

The devil is just a myth made up by the Church, right? The Bible disagrees.

“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.”C. S. Lewis1

If you want to show that you’re culturally unsophisticated—or just plain weird—a good way to start is to say you believe in the devil.

Most people in the West don’t believe that Satan is a real living being. “He” is just a useful way of symbolizing evil in general.2 Even among professing Christians, only a minority believes that the devil is real.3

Perhaps, given the way that the devil is typically portrayed in popular culture, this isn’t surprising. Mention the words “the devil” or “Satan,” and most of us immediately think of a cartoonish figure with red skin, black horns, and a rakish goatee—maybe even a pointy tail and pitchfork thrown in there.

Besides, the devil is just a fairy tale made up by those in the Church who want us to follow their God and do as they say. Satan is nothing more than a legend, a myth, a means of manipulation.

The Devil and the Bible

The Bible begs to differ, however. The biblical evidence regarding Satan is clear. Satan is described as an angel, a being created by God who nevertheless rebelled against his Creator.4 He is engaged in constant warfare against God and all whom God created. According to the Bible, he aims to turn men and women against God, luring them to destruction.5

The way the Bible describes the devil makes it clear that he is indeed a personal being, not a mere symbol of evil.6 The devil is presented as a functioning being, capable of actual action.

  • He speaks.7
  • He lies.8
  • He works.9
  • He contends against God’s angels.10
  • He desires.11
  • He prowls.12
  • He has designs and plans to outwit believers.13
  • He blinds the minds of unbelievers.14
  • He murders.15
  • He gets angry.16
  • He deceives.17

He also goes by a number of different—and very character-revealing—names. For example, the word “devil” is the English version of the Greek word for “slanderer.” “Satan” is the Hebrew word for “adversary.” He’s “the tempter” and “the evil one.”18 He’s “the ruler (or prince) of this world” and “the god of this age.”19

And he is, if the Bible is to be believed, very real.

The Devil and Jesus

Jesus Christ certainly believed in the reality of the devil. And while it’s easy to discard his view as merely a product of its time, it’s helpful to remember that Jesus was never one to toe the party line or go with the cultural flow. It was, after all, his outspoken attacks against the religious establishment that got him killed.20

In fact, the Bible speaks of personal interactions between Jesus and Satan. The Gospel of Matthew vividly describes the temptation of Jesus by the devil, and Satan’s methods haven’t changed much in two thousand years.

Essentially, the devil promises us power as a way of securing it for himself. He says to us (as he says to Jesus in Matthew 4), “Do what I say, and I’ll give you whatever you want.”21 The problem is that the devil is an inveterate liar.22 His concern for our well-being is much the same as a shark’s concern for a sardine—nonexistent. In fact, he would gladly devour us.

But in their interaction, Jesus shows us the way to fight Satan’s temptations. In each of his three temptations, Jesus resists the devil by appealing to the word of God.23 Much like a small boat caught in a vicious squall, we can lose our bearings in the wake of temptation. In those moments, God’s word and our faith keep us on course and away from the rocks.

The Devil and Our Response

How should we react to all this?

The right response, as C. S. Lewis suggests, is a balanced one. We shouldn’t become obsessed with the devil—from either a place of fear or admiration. But neither should we naively dismiss him as a vestige of primitive superstition. After all, if someone is bent on our destruction, it would be a mistake to tell ourselves that the person simply doesn’t exist. That’s why the Apostle Peter urges believers to “be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a lion seeking someone to devour.”24

But if the devil does exist and is implacably opposed to us, how can we protect ourselves?

The problem is that the devil’s chief weapon against us is nothing more spectacular than our own sin and weakness. He doesn’t force us to do anything we don’t want to do. We sin because we want to, and it is our sin that will ultimately lead to our destruction. Our only hope, therefore, is that our sin can somehow be dealt with.

Thankfully, the New Testament tells us that this is exactly what Jesus does for all those who repent and believe in him.

When Jesus died, he died “as a ransom for many.”25 In this act, Jesus took on the punishment that we all deserve for our sin, thus robbing the devil of his main weapon against us. Jesus died so that “by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”26 The Apostle John puts it very simply: “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.”27

Why do we need to “be on the alert” if Christ’s death has “destroyed the works of the devil”? The biblical image of the devil, this side of the cross, is that he knows he is defeated—and that very knowledge makes him all the more dangerous. Revelation 12:12 says that he “is filled with fury, because he knows his time is short.” An enemy who feels he has nothing to lose can be the most vicious enemy of all.

But wonderfully, his time is short. The cross guarantees it. Rather than becoming fixated on the devil, then, we should fix our hope and trust on the one who has defeated him.

  1. C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters: Letters From a Senior to a Junior Devil (London: HarperCollins, 1992), 9.
  2. Gustav Niebuhr, “Is Satan Real? Most People Think Not,” New York Times, May 10, 1997,
  3. “Most American Christians Do Not Believe That Satan or the Holy Spirit Exist,” Barna Group, April 10, 2009,
  4. The Holy Bible, New International Version © 2011, 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6.
  5. Indeed, this is the first act we associate with Satan when he’s first mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 3, where he’s represented as a serpent). See also Job 1; 1 Chronicles 21; Zechariah 3.
  6. This summary is taken from Mike McKinley’s Did The Devil Make Me Do It? And Other Questions About Satan, Demons and Evil Spirits (Epsom, Surrey, UK: The Good Book Company, 2013), 17.
  7. The Holy Bible, Matthew 4:6.
  8. Ibid., John 8:44.
  9. Ibid., 1 John 3:8.
  10. Ibid., Jude 9.
  11. Ibid., John 8:44.
  12. Ibid., 1 Peter 5:8.
  13. Ibid., 2 Corinthians 2:11.
  14. Ibid., 2 Corinthians 4:4.
  15. Ibid., John 8:44.
  16. Ibid., Revelation 12:12.
  17. Ibid., Revelation 20:2–3.
  18. Ibid., Matthew 4:3; Matthew 6:13.
  19. Ibid., John 12:31; 2 Corinthians 4:4.
  20. See, for example, The Holy Bible, Matthew 26:3–4, 59; Mark 3:6; Mark 11:18.
  21. Ibid., Matthew 4:1–11.
  22. Ibid., John 8:44.
  23. Ibid., Matthew 4:4, 7, 10.
  24. Ibid., 1 Peter 5:8–9.
  25. Ibid., Mark 10:45.
  26. Ibid., Hebrews 2:14–15.
  27. Ibid., 1 John 3:8.
  28. Photo Credit: Jessica Islam Lia /
Read the original article on »

Categories: Apologetics

Tags: , , , , ,

20 replies

  1. That site is SO good. Keep posting these articles from it, they are great!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s one of my favorites and I will keep using it.

      I talk to a lot of people who don’t think the devil is real which is probably his favorite lie.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Oh my gosh, and so many who say that are people who also say they are Christians!

        Then, we have the rather odd subset of people who see a demon behind every not good thing that happens. And if we just pray hard enough, we can corral the power of the Holy Spirit and force Him to deal with the demons. That’s pretty dangerous itself.

        I was talking to another blogger who had had some contact with people who were into daily fighting with demons; quite odd according to this person.


        • Interesting. While Satan and his demons are real, they have been defeated and they know it. The Word of God is the double edged sword we use to fight them. Stay focused on that and they will flee from you.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yep, worked for Jesus in the desert, figure it will work for us too

            Liked by 1 person

          • Really? Not so. Ive seen this saraph called the devil. And yes he’s real. No he doesnt look like those hollywood devils. Not human at all, a serpent dragon very frightening to see. Hes supernatural very intellecually intellegent an powerful. He doesnt accept worship he hates man an subdues women. For my eyes decieved me not nor my ears. An NO im not mentally ill. Very aware an my soul is w/ jesus christ/ holy spirit. I dont care i know what i know


  2. Well said. A great piece of writing about who Satan is and what he does.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for sharing this post

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My learned opinion is that the devil is like anything else not of this world and only a manifestation within your mind. If at any time you think you see a devil or anything like it you will have a mental disorder and you require medical help.


    • Really? Not so. Ive seen this saraph called the devil. And yes he’s real. No he doesnt look like those hollywood devils. Not human at all, a serpent dragon very frightening to see. Hes supernatural very intellecually intellegent an powerful. He doesnt accept worship he hates man an subdues women. For my eyes decieved me not nor my ears. An NO im not mentally ill. Very aware an my soul is w/ jesus christ/ holy spirit. I dont care i know what i know


  5. Reblogged this on The Living Message of Christ and commented:
    Something which all of us need to heed and be prepared for. Amen.


  6. Excellent post on our foe, the devil. But as some have said, we’re in a fixed fight. The victory is already won.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on RG’s 2 Cents Studios.


  8. What would you had said if THE DEVIL SATAN himself made a deal with GOD THE FATHER if he asked GOD THE FATHER after Adam sinned if he could save humanity at any cost even if it was not an easy way if SATAN parts of the way to save humanity was for example to himself take all evil onto himself to become a scapegoat if you will and almost like second step was for JESUS to die at the cross and the final step was for SATAN himself to be sent to the lake of fire if only after all those 3 GOD THE FATHER could wipe the slate clean and take away sin through JESUS as well as SATANs self sacrifice,


  9. If after THE DEVIL himself almost made the ultimate self-sacrifice by allowing himself to first become the scapegoat of all humanitys sins throughout history and then allow himself to go to the lake of fire and perhaps be able to leave and in exchange allow humanity to be on earth and rest of physical universe and even in HEAVEN at the cost of himself being tormented day and night forever and ever if this was true would you had wanted to say thank you to SATAN if this was true.



  1. My Article Read (11-5-2015) | My Daily Musing
  2. Is the devil real? – Running The Race | Glymyre Tales

Leave a Reply

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

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

Google photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: