Throughout all of Scripture, the existence of Satan is clearly established. He is mentioned in seven separate Old Testament books and nineteen New Testament books.1 In Genesis 3 the story of the serpent tempting Eve is told. While the serpent is not directly identified, Revelation 12:9 states, “the great dragon was hurled down – that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray”2. In Job 1 you can read about how Satan asked God to allow him to curse Job to see if he would still worship God. Jesus Himself refers to Satan fifteen times and even resists his tempting in the desert3.
Satan was created by God and at one time was good. This is shown in Colossians 1:16, which says that in Him all things were created, and Genesis 1:31, which says God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. Ezekiel explains that Satan was blameless in his ways but became wicked and filled with violence because of his pride (Ezekiel 28:15-17). He was cast down from heaven but was determined to take God’s holy position. He described his plans to ascend into heaven, raise his throne above the stars of God, sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, ascend above the tops of the clouds, and make himself like the Most High (Isaiah 14:13-14). David Guzik expounds on this saying that Satan was self-focused, self-obsessed and desired to be honored and regarded as not only higher than God but exalted above all other people4.
Satan may have been prideful and selfish, but he is also powerful, intelligent, and emotional. He organized a rebellion against God and even convinced one third of the angels to join him (Revelation 12:4). He was aware of Simon’s weakness as he tempted him to deny Jesus (Luke 22:31) and he attempted to break Jesus physically and emotionally in the Garden of Gethsemane. Satan is filled with fury knowing that his time is short (Revelation 12:12). All these characteristics help prove that Satan was an actual being with several aspects of personality.
Christians today tend to focus their learning on God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, but studying Satan is extremely important as well. The world has painted him as a cartoon character and pastors have skipped over truths about him as to not offend anyone, so he is often disregarded. People need to understand that Satan is not a symbolic figure or imaginary force, he is a real, personal, influential being. God Himself plans to cast him into the lake of burning sulfur to be tormented for ever and ever because of his wickedness (Revelation 20:10). While many religions try to deny he exists, if we, as Christians, accept the Word of God as inerrant, then we have no choice but to accept the existence of the powerful and evil being best known as Satan.
1 Dr. Harrold L. Wilmington, Wilmington’s Guide to the Bible (Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc), 726
2 Unless otherwise noted all Biblical references are from the New International Version
3 Wilmington, Wilmington’s Guide to the Bible, 726
4 David Guzik, “Study Guide for Isaiah 14″ The Enduring Word Commentary, March 10, 2017