Satan the Theologian

Personal Interview
Father of Lies
Final Outcome

Personal Interview

To his admirers, Satan is the original free-thinker: "But here steps in Satan, the eternal rebel, the first freethinker and the emancipator of worlds." (Mikhail Bakunin, God and the State, Kindle location 33). It is strange that some people disbelieve in a personal devil, when the New Testament records an extended conversation between Jesus and Satan, during the temptation in the wilderness. If there is no such party, then this conversation is evidence for lunacy:


  • “And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.”
  • (Luke 4:12-13).

Father of Lies

The Bible is inspired by God. His words are pure words: "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times." (Psalm 12:6). To be pure means to be without admixture of contaminating matter, such as 'error' in a book of truth. When fallen and error-prone speakers are quoted, the Bible truthfully reports what these erring speakers said, for instance,

"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." (Psalm 14:1).

"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." (Psalm 53:1).

The Bible student who concluded it is accurate to say, "There is no God," would err, because God's word is here telling us that "the fool" says this, not that it's so.

"And Rabshakeh said unto them, Speak ye now to Hezekiah, Thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria, What confidence is this wherein thou trustest?. . .But if ye say unto me, We trust in the LORD our God: is not that he, whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away, and hath said to Judah and Jerusalem, Ye shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem?. . . Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, The LORD will surely deliver us, and this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria. . . Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered at all his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath, and of Arpad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah? have they delivered Samaria out of mine hand? Who are they among all the gods of the countries, that have delivered their country out of mine hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of mine hand?" (2 Kings 18:19-35).

Although the quoted words are in the Bible, the implication that trusting in the Lord is futile is blasphemy. The Bible accurately quotes Rabshakeh's words, it does not endorse their content.

How about Satan? Is he a speaker whose reputation gives the listener confidence? He told Adam and Eve that sinning would bring godhood: "For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:5). Did they become gods, or only ruined sinners doomed to death?"'Well,' some say, 'do you believe all Scripture is given by inspiration?' Yes, every word of it; but I don't believe all the actions and incidents it tells of were inspired. For instance, when the Devil told a lie, he was not inspired to tell a lie, and when a wicked man like Ahab said anything, he was not inspired; but someone was inspired to write it, and so all was given by inspiration and is profitable." (Dwight L. Moody, How to Study the Bible, Kindle location 349).

In tempting Jesus, Satan boasted that he was the ruler of the world. Was he telling the truth this time? Some interpreters take it for granted that he was: "But we must always remember that Satan 'controls the entire world' (1 John 5:19) and owns the authority of all governments (Luke 4:5-7) — including the ones we approve of." (Gregory A. Boyd, The Myth of a Christian Religion, p. 28). Really, we know that Satan holds rightful authority over this spinning world, because he himself told us so?

But no doubt, he is in charge. Jesus refers to Satan as the ruler of this world:

"Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out." (John 12:31).

"Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me." (John 14:30).

"Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged." (John 16:11).

In a similar vein Paul calls Satan the god of this world:

"In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." (2 Corinthians 4:4).

On what basis does Satan hold office? Is he, as they claim, God's vicegerent?: "It was God who placed the cherub Lucifer on the throne of the earth and Lucifer, who has become Satan the Devil, remains on earth's throne only because God allows it, and only until God sends Jesus Christ to sit on that throne when he removes Satan." (Herbert W. Armstrong, Mystery of the Ages, Kindle location 4178). Or does his rule rest on an entirely different basis? Is his office an elective monarchy? How did he come into power? By God's appointment, never rescinded though it didn't quite work out, or man's rebellion?

Is he the people's choice, the freely chosen ruler of rebellious mankind? Or was he personally chosen and appointed to this office by God, and is he a god indeed as the Jehovah's Witnesses teach? In proof of their claims, they offer Satan's own words in temptation of Jesus in the wilderness:

  • “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.”
  • (Matthew 4:8-9).

  • “And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, showed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.”
  • (Luke 4:5-7).

Why were American heresiarchs Charles Taze Russell and Joseph Smith so confident in their alternative theology, that Satan was created a god, whose rule over this sin-darkened globe came by birthright? Perhaps part of the reason is that they used to read this great work of the poetic imagination in American schools. Inspired by the Renaissance's rediscovery of the literary classics of pagan antiquity, this author tried to split the difference between paganism and monotheism. How can both be true? See:

St. Michael Defeats the Devil, Eugene Delacroix

"The temptation of Jesus also shows that all the world governments are the Devil's property. For how could the Devil's offering them to Christ have been a real temptation if they were not really his?" (The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p. 13).

And how did they come to be his? He says they were 'delivered' to him. Surely Satan would not say it if it weren't so! Why, that would be lying! But Jesus said that Satan is the father of lies: "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." (John 8:44). Given that Satan is a notorious liar, it is difficult to understand the logic of basing doctrine on his sole say-so. Which is more likely: that an entire system of world governance was instituted by God, whose establishment is nowhere so much as hinted at in the Bible, or that Satan is simply lying, as he is prone to do?: "And here the daring insolence of the devil is manifested, in robbing God of the government of the world, and claiming it for himself. All these things, says he, are mine, and it is only through me that they are obtained." (John Calvin, Harmony of the Gospels, Volume 1, p. 194, Matthew 4:5, 8).

Although all things that happen in the world are allowed by God's permission, Satan is ruler by usurpation, not by constitutional right. He has recruited his blinded followers to join his rebellion; he was not given them for his possession. "But the kingdom has been delivered unto him [Satan] by men rather than by God (Eph. ii. 2)." (J. W. McGarvey, The FourFold Gospel or a Harmony of the Four Gospels, Kindle location 1718).

Some people think otherwise: "It is revealed in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28, that God placed the archangel Lucifer, a cherub, on a throne on the earth. He was placed there as a ruler over the entire earth. God intended him to rule the earth by administering the government of God over the earth." (Mystery of the Ages, Herbert W. Armstrong, Kindle location 1075). Need it be pointed out, this is not what Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 teach? According to the Jehovah's Witnesses also Satan rules by divine appointment, and his legitimate reign has survived any unfortunate insubordination on his or anyone else's part. But according to the Bible Satan is a rebel, and his kingdom is founded upon rebellion:

"Romans 5:12 could not be an clearer: 'Sin came into the world through one man. . . .and so death spread to all men because all sinned.' The reign of Satan therefore is parasitic to the reign of sin (Rom. 5:21). As George Smeaton says, 'Sin was the ground of Satan's dominion, the sphere of his power, and the secret of his strength.' . . . .Satan tempted Adam before the fall, but it was not until Adam sinned that Satan gained dominion over Adam (and his progeny). Only because Adam rejected God as king did Satan become his ruler." (Jeremy R. Treat, The Crucified King, p. 197).

According to John Chrysostom, Satan's governance of the world is by popular choice, not by divine appointment:

“Further, why does he call the Devil 'the prince' of the world? Because nearly the whole human race has surrendered itself to him and all are willingly and of deliberate choice his slaves.” (John Chrysostom, Homilies on Ephesians, Homily 4, p. 143, ECF_1_13).

His rule, though real, is not legitimate; Satan is a usurper. He has built up his constituency through seduction. The Jehovah's Witness system elevates Satan far above his Biblical position. Their view ultimately is similar to the Mormon concept that Satan and Jesus are peers, whose paths diverged when one obeyed, the other rebelled. They do not believe this because the Bible teaches it; the Bible teaches no such thing. The Bible teaches that Satan is a rebel, not a feudal vassal or vicegerent as in their system.


Mephistopheles, Eugene Delacroix

“for that is delivered unto me: so far he spoke modestly, in that he owned an original, superior governor of them, by whom he pretended they were transferred to him; but lied, in that he suggested they were put into his hands by him, who had the supreme power over them; and that he acted by his constitution and appointment, as a deputy under him; when what power he had, as the God of the world, was by usurpation, and not by designation of God; and at most only by permission: and least of all was it true what follows;

“and to whomsoever I will I give it; or "these", as the Vulgate Latin reads; that is, these kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; when so to do is the peculiar and sole prerogative of God: nor can Satan dispose of the goods of a single man, nor of a herd of swine, nor enter into them without leave from God.” (John Gill, Exposition of the Entire Bible).


Final Outcome

The outcome of the conflict is not in suspense. What awaits the devil is a lake of fire:


Lake of Fire Worm Dieth Not
Lazarus I'm Not Going
The Face of God Dark Fire
Wheat and Chaff Vengeance is Mine
Wheat and Tares Old Testament
God's Will Gandhi in Hell
Hell in the Koran Infinite Loss
Do Unto Others