Why does Satan seem to hate mankind so much? Why does he desire to see our destruction? To begin to answer these questions we must look back at the original sin. Most experts agree that it was the sin of pride. Satan wanted to be equal to God. A persuasive and deceitful being he persuaded many angels to follow him, leading them into rebellion against God (Revelation 12:7-9). Such arrogance and pride were doomed to failure. Defeated and cast out of heaven by Michael and the heavenly angels, and certain of his ultimate fate, Satan has continued to rebel against God, and in so doing he demonstrates the pettiness of pride and its destructive nature. Having failed to usurp God's throne he wants to reek as much havoc as he can, and to take away from God something God holds dear. You and me. As we look at the destructive campaign Satan has waged against God and man since the Garden of Eden, we see the traits and characteristics within him that have come to define him over the centuries; traits and characteristics we also see all too often in those men and women who choose to follow him.
According to Genesis 3:1, to bring man down Satan chose to enlist the help of the earth’s craftiest beast— the serpent. We are not told how the devil persuaded the serpent to do his bidding, but we do know the end result. The serpent appealed to, even created desire within Adam and Eve, and enticed them, not merely with the pleasure of tasting the forbidden fruit, but with the promise of wisdom like God’s (Genesis 3:4-6). And Adam and Eve sinned. Over the centuries little has changed in Satan’s game plan. Paul wrote the Church in Corinth: “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough” (II Corinthians 11:3-4). Today, as in the first century, as in the garden, Satan simply preys on our basic desires— to those things he knows most appeals to us.
Most of us have known someone in our life who seemed to have the ability to charm everyone around them, for good or bad. In comparison, we often picture Satan with a tail and horns, but really, he is the ultimate charmer, with cunning far beyond mere man. As John wrote about him, “And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world” (Revelation 12:9). He can not only charm you or me, or a crowded room, he can, and has, persuaded the whole world to follow him on the path to destruction. As we read in I Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be deceived: bad company corrupts good morals” (NASB). The devil is the great deceiver, the ultimate charmer who is in fact “bad company.” If we follow after him, it is to our own destruction.
As with all great charmers Satan is both confident and brazen in his actions. He actually tempted the Son of God, when He was here in human form (Matthew 4:1-11)! In Luke’s account he tells us: “And the devil took Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to Him, "To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If You, then, will worship me, it will all be Yours" (Luke 4:5-7). Paul described him as “the god of this world.” However, Satan overstated the extent of his power and authority when tempting Jesus. God, the One True God, is still sovereign over the world, although He has allowed the devil to operate on the earth with a great deal of latitude, as noted in Paul’s additional words, “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (II Corinthians 4:4).
Paul also described Satan as, “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Ephesians 2:2-3). His power is not only on the earth, but like the air, it encompasses the world. His ‘spirit’ is everywhere, being breathed in by all humanity. In that sense he is “the ruler of this world” (John 16:11). John would go on to say, in his first letter, that, “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (I John 5:19). These words are those of apostles. Men who had known Christ in person (in the flesh, or Spirit, as in Paul’s case). They knew, and in fact wielded the power of God, as no men before or since, yet even they did not underestimate the power of the evil one. So many, even those well versed in scripture, are nonetheless enthralled by him. As Jesus told the Jews, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8;44). Satan, the father of lies, has indeed persuaded many to stand with him in untruth. And next week will continue our study by looking at the servants of Satan, and go on from there.
Hi! I'm Roland. I began writing after retiring from the Navy in 2015. I believe that we each should strive to learn from one another, by sharing our thoughts and ideas. As a writer my goal is to help other seekers of truth to find and grow in Christ.