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Bible Q

Is the devil a part of God’s creation?

If the devil were an enormously powerful supernatural being which tormented the wicked in hell, then it would be very difficult indeed to explain why God would create such a being. However the Bible does not teach that the devil is a supernatural being, or that it torments the wicked in hell. The Bible nowhere describes the devil as a creation of God. However, people often have the wrong idea about what the Bible means by ‘devil’ and ‘satan’. It is significant that the word ‘devil’ does not occur at all in the Old Testament.

The Hebrew word ‘satan’ is not a personal name, it is a word meaning ‘adversary’. It is used of different adversaries in different places. In Numbers 22:22 it is used of an obedient angel (as a verb), in 1 Kings 11:14, 23-24 and Psalm 109:68 it is used of mortal men, in 1 Chronicles 21:1 it is used of an enemy nation, and in Matthew 16:23 and Mark 8:33 it is used of Jesus’ disciple Peter, when he was opposing Jesus.

Throughout the Bible, God is described as the only source of supernatural disaster and evil: Judges 9:23; 1 Samuel 16:14-23; 2 Samuel 24:1 and 1 Chronicles 21:1; 1 Kings 22:22-23; 2 Chronicles 18:21-22; Job 1:12,16,21; 2:6,9,20; 5:17; 6:4; 9:4; 10:2; 11:5-6; 19:21; 27:2; 42:21; Psalm 78:49; Isaiah 45:7; Amos 3:6; Micah 1:12; 2 Corinthians 12:7; Romans 1:25-32; 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12.

No one can be found in the Old Testament who believed in a supernatural evil being called ‘Satan’: For example, all the individuals in the book of Job believe his disasters came from God, including Job (Job 1:21; 2:20; 6:4; 10:2; 19:21; 27:2), Job’s servant (Job 1:16), Job’s wife (Job 2:9), Job’s three friends (Job 5:17; 8:4; 11:5-6), Job’s acquaintances and relations (Job 42:11), and Job’s adversary himself (Job 1:12; 2:6).

In the New Testament the term ‘devil ‘ (Greek: diabolos) is applied to a variety of people who were doing things that were opposed to the ways of God. In John 6:70 Jesus says that Judas Iscariot was a devil. In John 8:44 Jesus says that the Jews who were planning to kill him were of their father the devil. In Acts 13:10 Paul said that Elymas, who was opposing Barnabas and Paul, was a son of the devil.

In 1 Timothy 3:11 Paul says that the wives of deacons should not be slanderers or false accusers, and in 2 Timothy 3:3 he says that in the last days people will be slanderers — in both these cases the Greek word that is used is diabolos, so the term devil was actually being applied to them. In Revelation 2:10 Jesus warned the believers that the Roman authorities would imprison some of them — he said that the devil was about to throw some of them into prison.

In all of these cases people were acting in ways that were contrary to God’s wishes and therefore the term ‘devil’ is applied to them. Of course, they were all part of God’s creation and were given the choice of doing good or evil — but they made the wrong choice.

The Bible says the devil has been destroyed by Jesus: Jesus, by his death, destroyed the devil (Hebrews 2:14-18), and the devil is that which has the power of death, which is sin (Romans 7:8-11, 1 Corinthians 15:56-57). This shows us that ‘the devil’ is a term used for the natural tendency of men to sin.

8 Replies to “Is the devil a part of God’s creation?”

  1. If Jesus detroyed the devil or sin as you call it,how is it we still have people commiting wrong things,evil things.sinful things?

  2. Because humans still have the natural tendency to sin. Destroying it in one person doesn’t destroy it in everyone.

  3. If man is not the ultimate source of sin,why do people like those described at Rev21:8 have to die?

  4. Hmmm Child of Devil!!! How can this be if the devil is gone?
    Act 13:10 And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, [thou] child of the devil, [thou] enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?

    If he isn’t here then how can anyone give him “place”?
    Eph 4:27 Neither give place to the devil.

    If he isn’t here then how do we stand against his wiles?
    Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

    If he isn’t here then how can be condemed?
    1Ti 3:6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

    If he isn’t here then how can he make a snare?
    1Ti 3:7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

    If he isn’t here then how can he take anyone captive?
    2Ti 2:26 And [that] they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

    Hbr 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

    If he isn’t here then how can he flee? and how do we resist?
    Jam 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

    If he is not here then how can he seek and roar?
    1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

    1Jo 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

  5. I’m quite confused
    Is this saying there is no devil?
    If so then who is tempts us to do wrong? because I thought at the beginning everything was perfect and but then sin entererd the world and that was satans fault.
    I have always thought satan was a being. At the back of my bible there is a dictionary – i lokked up ‘devil’ and it says
    ”Satan; a spirit and the enemy of God and humans”.
    Is this wrong?

    • I’m afraid your dictionary is wrong. The Bible explains where temptation comes from:

      But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:14-15)

    • Also notice that it is not a fault of the so-called Satan that sin entered into the world. Consider what Paul has to says about this in Romans 5:12-17 and see how it is emphasized that the sin is a result of human (of one man’s) disobedience back in Genesis 3.
      No literal supernatural being called Satan or Devil exists, but as Rob pointed out, it is rather our human nature and our own inclination of our flesh “in which nothing good dwells” (Romans 7:18), which prompt us to sin.
      One final advice, do not trust all the information your Bible gives you. Translators or publishers may be biased to interpret it in one particular way and thus blur important Bible doctrines. Follow the example of those in Berea, “who searched the Scriptures daily” (Acts 17:10-12), and read the Bible and find its meaning for yourself.