My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? –C.S. Lewis
When you think of the Devil what comes to your mind? Do you think of phrases like the devil made me do it or the devil is in the details? Do you get a mental image of a little red man with horns and a pitchfork? I used to think that the Devil was a childhood fantasy, a monster that your parents made up to scare you when you were doing something wrong. When I became a Christian and began to investigate the Christian faith in more depth I realized that this being was no childhood fantasy and that spiritual warfare is the number one thing that Christians must battle. I think almost everyone senses that there are things beyond us, things we cannot comprehend. Like the sudden and drastic impulse of the mass murderer who the week before was a seemingly normal everyday student, or the abrupt and unexplained action of a pilot who purposely veers off course crashing and killing scores of people. I have read so many articles lately on the problem of evil that it is no wonder this is the number one argument Atheists put forth against the existence of an all-loving and all-powerful God. One thing they tend to overlook in their skepticism is that they are presupposing a standard of good. Without a standard of objective ‘good’ there is nothing to measure evil by. A truly honest Atheist can only say that things are just the way they are and we are merely dancing to our DNA. In this worldview there can be no good or evil, but look at their reaction when they hear of atrocities such as rape and torture of babies; or terrorists who force the killing of a Mother by her child. There is no one I can think of who would not call those acts evil. We all have built into us an innate feeling that things are not the way that they are supposed to be, but why?
In the book of Genesis chapter three we find this figure of a serpent inhabited by Satan, a fallen angel. His focus was to tempt and deceive. Eve, along with Adam, chose to disobey God’s only rule with full knowledge of the consequences to follow. Satan’s story can be found in various pages of the Bible and almost all ancient cultures have some kind of figure representing evil. In my studies I have discovered that Satan and his fallen demons actually make sense, at least in part, of the problem of evil and that the spiritual world is something that we should not ignore. Jesus, during his time here on earth, specifically points to Satan as the father of lies, a murderer and deceiver (John 8:44). Light-bulb, anything opposing the truth taught in Scripture is of Satan! I believe we see this dramatically increasing in our world today because so much of what has been called truth for all of human history is being twisted in droves. In Romans chapter one Paul says that humans, in their wickedness, exchange the truth that God has made so clear for a lie and they would choose to serve the created thing rather than the Creator. Human choice plays a significant part; but what part is Satan playing?
The first attack of Satan is always on God’s Word:
Step 1: Twisting God’s Word, causing doubt
“He said to the woman, Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’” (Genesis 3:1)
Step 2: Contradicting God and substituting another idea
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. (Genesis 3:4)
Step 3: Challenging God’s Motives
“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5)
We also find, for the first time, these three things affecting human choice (Genesis 3:6-7):
- Lust of the flesh: The ‘thing’ was tempting to the appetite.
- Lust of the eyes: The ‘thing’ looked good and was attractive.
- Pride of Life: Satan presented it as something they were owed, that they deserved it and that God was holding it back from them.
Fast-forward to the New Testament we find that Jesus triumphs over these same three things (Luke 4:1-13):
- Lust of the flesh: Jesus was hungry after 40 days of fasting—Satan tempted him to turn the stones into bread.
- Lust of the eyes: Satan took him to a high place showed him the kingdoms of the world that he was over and if Jesus would only worship him he could have them all.
- Pride of Life: Satan took Jesus up to the pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem and told him to throw himself down if he was the Son of God all Jesus had to do was to test God.
Notice: Jesus did not even discuss it with Satan, instead He used only God’s Word against him and triumphed!
At the end of the first century The Apostle John warns the early Church of these same three things (1 John 2:15-17):
- Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and it desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
Do we need to heed this warning still today?
The greatest weapons we have as Christians against Satan and his demons are prayer, God’s Word and Christian brothers and sisters who surround us!
Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:11
For further reading I highly recommend: The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis
Let me know what you think:
- Do you believe that a spiritual battle exists? If so what do you do about it?
- Can evil only exist because there is a devil? Why or why not?
Join us next week as we continue to look at the problem of evil and suffering, part 2.
Over the next several blogs I am going to continue to present logical reasoning and sound scientific evidence not found in the public school textbooks.
This blog is part of a series. You can start the series by going back to the September 1, 2014 Introduction called A Case for Christianity: Why do we need one?
Always be ready to give an answer for the hope that you have in Christ Jesus as Lord.
1 Peter 3:15