Here is a Spiritual Conundrum submitted to Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life by a reader named Kayla Lynn:
I’ve been having a hard time discerning the rationality of the Devil.
- I do not fancy the idea of a fallen angel, particularly since there is no direct story of this rebellious angel found anywhere, to my understanding, in the Bible.
- I do not see any need for the Devil in reality (in other words, the big picture), as humans can be quite awful on their own.
- However, I think, based on my understanding of human governments, if angels have a leader, then demons must also have a leader. However, that leader could possibly be God in both cases, right?
- Furthermore, why, even if God can create such evil (in us or in another being) in the first place, would evil be needed in the world at all? Is it to teach us a lesson or guide us?
These are my doubts at the moment, but I have had personal experiences which tell me otherwise… I could really use some direction on this subject.
Confused and seeking truth,
Thanks for the great conundrum, Kayla Lynn!
I would say that you have already sensed much of the truth about the Devil.
As you say, there is little or nothing in the Bible about the Devil being a fallen angel. That idea comes mostly from books that aren’t in the Bible, and from the myths of various cultures.
In the Bible itself, the word traditionally translated “Lucifer” in Isaiah 14:12 is actually a reference to the King of Babylon. He is compared to the “light-bearer” (Latin: lucifer), or “morning star”—meaning the planet Venus, which appears from earth as the brightest “star” in the morning (or evening) sky. You can read the full prophecy in Isaiah 14:3–23. It predicts the downfall of the evil and oppressive king of Babylon by comparing him to the morning star falling out of heaven. The Biblical prophecy is about the fall of an earthly power, not about some supposed powerful angel who fell away from God and became Satan.
In the Bible, the idea of the Devil, or Satan, developed only gradually over time. In fact, the word “satan” was originally used for human enemies. Later Satan, or the Devil, became a metaphor for evil and falsity, and a personification of the spiritual forces of evil and falsity that fight against God.
Does this mean that the Devil isn’t real?
No, the Devil is very real.
It’s just that the Devil and Satan are synonyms for the whole complex of human evil and falsity. You see, we humans, and not God, were the ones who originated evil. And human evil and falsity seen as a whole is the Devil and Satan.
Wherever we see evil and falsity in the world around us, and in our own minds and hearts, that is the presence of the Devil and Satan. And anyone who has ever been the victim of human selfishness, greed, and grasping for power knows that evil and falsity are very real, and very destructive.
Let’s take a closer look.
In Part One below, we’ll look at the real, original meanings of the Hebrew and Greek words referring to the Devil, Satan, and demons. This will lead to a different view of the Devil than the one prevailing in traditional Christianity.
In Part Two, we’ll take up the question of why there is a Devil at all.
For more on the Devil and Satan, please click here to read on.