What Does the Bible Teach About Satan?

Fallen: A Theology of Sin (Theology in Community) Although some critics and skeptics say that Christians made up a figure like Satan to scare people into morality, the truth of the matter is that Satan is real.  Even some non-Christian religions talk of evil beings and spirits, and a leader of these evil beings.  So what does the Bible teach about Satan?  Sydney Page has a nice summary in chapter nine of Fallen: A Theology of Sin (edited by C. W. Morgan and R. A. Peterson).  Here’s an edited outline of his excellent essay:

1) Satan is a created being.  Evil has not always existed, nor has the Evil One.  Scripture clearly represents Satan as being on the creature side of the Creator/creature distinction (Col. 1:15-20, etc.).

2) Satan is a fallen being.  Not only does Scripture present Satan as a created being, but also it presents him as a fallen being.  The first chapter of Genesis makes clear that God’s original creation was good, but Satan is undeniably evil.  See 1 Tim. 3:1-7 (esp. v 6), John 8:44, Rom. 16:20, Rev. 12:9 and 20:2.

3) Satan’s roles include:

a) The tempter in sexual sin (1 Cor. 7:5, 1 Tim. 5:14-15), b) tempting to withhold forgiveness (2 Cor. 2:5-11), c) tempting to anger (Eph. 4:26-27).

a) The deceiver and liar (John 8:44; cf. Gen. 3:13), b) deceiver and robber of the Word (Luke 8:12), c) deceiving and blinding the minds of unbelievers (2 Cor. 4:3-4, 15), d) deceiver and sender of false apostles (2 Cor. 11), e) deceiver to extreme asceticism (1 Tim. 4:1-5).

a) The accuser of our brothers (Rev. 12:10), b) the accuser in Job, c) the accuser in Zech. 3:1-2.

a)  The one who afflicts: Satan afflicts Job and Satan afflicted a crippled woman (Luke 13:15-16).

4) Satan as the opposition: a) he opposed Jesus (Jn. 8:37-44, Luke 22:3-4), b) he opposes the followers of Jesus (Luke 22:31-32, John 17:15), c) he opposed the early Christian movement (1 Thes. 3:5, Rev. 2:10).

However, despite the fact that Satan is Christ’s chief and powerful opponent, the Bible also teaches of his defeat:

1) His past defeat (Heb 2:14-15, John 12:31-33, Col. 2:15), 2) his present defeat (Rom. 16:20, James 4:7, 1 Peter 5:9, 1 John, 3) his future total defeat (Mt. 25:41, Rev. 20:7-10).

Page says much more about these topics and also lists more Scripture references.  I thought it was a helpful piece because I’ve not come across very many articles that give a nice, systematic summary of the Bible’s teaching about Satan.  We should know our enemy, the Devil – and also rejoice that God will one day crush him under our feet (Rom. 16:20).  His days are numbered!

Sydney Page, “Satan, Sin, and Evil” in Fallen: A Theology of Sin.

shane lems

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One comment on “What Does the Bible Teach About Satan?

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