The Ultimate Loser
The Devil (the chief evil spirit) is an intriguing personality. The late comic Flip Wilson made audiences roar with his routine “the Devil made me do it.” Books, songs, and documentaries are devoted to the person and work of the Devil. More often than not, he is taken lightly. Doing so is a mistake, however, because he is a powerful adversary. Yet he will never defeat God.
To help people understand this enemy, the Bible reveals the Devil’s origin, work, and fate. Arriving on earth after creation––after “God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good” (Gen. 1:31)—he inhabited the body of a serpent and cunningly tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden (3:1).
Angels, from the Greek word angelos (Hebrew, malach), also called sons of God, were created by God (Ps. 148:2–5) and are His messengers. They were present when God laid the foundations of the earth, for “the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:4, 7).
The most beautiful of all God’s messengers was an angel named Lucifer (“light-bearer,” from the Latin Vulgate; Isa. 14:12). As the “anointed cherub who covers” (Ezek. 28:14), he was “the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty…in Eden, the garden of God;…every precious stone was [his] covering” (vv. 12–13).
Sometime after God declared His creation perfect, Lucifer lost his place in heaven and became ha-satan, Satan, the accuser or adversary. The transformation was a result of pride. Not satisfied with his position under God, he wanted to be like Him: “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation;…I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High” (Isa. 14:13–14).
Yet God promised him, “You shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit” (v. 15). This beautiful, light-bearing creature was condemned by his own pride (1 Tim. 3:6).
Satan’s fall tainted a sinless universe. To make matters worse, Satan persuaded one third of the angels to join him in his sinful rebellion against God (Rev. 12:4). He then possessed the serpent and tempted Eve, one of two innocent humans living in the Garden of Eden. After Eve disobeyed and ate the forbidden fruit, she gave it to her husband, Adam, who did the same. Innocence disappeared, and sin indwelt the human race (Gen. 3). Satan usurped man’s position as regent and ruler on the earth and transformed a perfect universe into the sin-cursed world we live in today.
In response to Satan’s evil, God immediately promised to restore His relationship with humanity by bringing a Redeemer, first mentioned in Genesis 3:15––the same chapter that describes the Fall of Man.
Over the millennia, Satan has done everything he can to try to thwart God’s plan. Scripture describes him as a tempter (Mt. 4:3); “ruler of the demons” (9:34); a murderer, liar, and father of lies (Jn. 8:44); “the evil one” (17:15); a deceiver (2 Cor. 11:3); the “prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2); a “great dragon” and serpent (Rev. 12:9); and “the accuser of our brethren” (v. 10).
Scripture records Satan winning many battles, but he will be the ultimate loser. With his demons and the people who follow him, he will be cast into the Lake of Fire where he will be “tormented day and night for-ever and ever” (20:10).