Our world is so consumed by the material that we often entirely miss or ignore the spiritual realm. In our feel-good, live-in-the moment culture, it’s easy to gloss over the parts of scripture that implore us to consider what we cannot always see: the invisible hand of evil.
Ephesians 6 offers some startling descriptions of what the Bible claims is unfolding in the spiritual realm. Scriptures within that chapter implore humans to “put on the full armor of God” so that we can “stand against the devil’s schemes” (verse 11).
But what are those “schemes” and how, exactly, does this evil manifest itself?
“The Bible tells us that we are in a battle with Satan himself,” Dr. Michael Brown told me in an interview for my new book, “Playing with Fire: A Modern Investigation into Demons, Exorcism, and Ghosts.” “The Bible tells us that we're not wrestling with flesh and blood, but with demonic powers operating in a systematic, coordinated way.”
Yet millions of people ignore this scriptural reality. Of course, it’s not surprising why so many seek to look past Satan, demons and other biblical elements. Sure, we enjoy these themes in bombastic Hollywood movies, but applying them to our own lives and existences is somewhat less enjoyable. And with so many distractions, many of us would just rather ignore it.
Even if you’re an atheist, though, there is something powerful that can be taken away when we examine what scripture says about the devil. Understanding Satan’s character leaves us with a warning, some guidance and much-needed biblical truth.
Plainly stated, the Bible’s descriptions of Satan paint a terrifying blueprint of human depravity and indecency (i.e. how not to act). Understanding these descriptors is particularly important amid humanity’s intensifying struggles with hate, chaos and anger.
Scripture unequivocally tells us that the devil is a deceiver and liar who authors, sparks and perpetuates mass confusion. He’s described as an “enemy” who “prowls around like a roaring lion” (1 Peter 5:8) — a figure who hatches schemes, tempts and is the “prince of this world” (John 12:31).
And it seems this evil was within Satan from his inception, as 1 John 3:8 (NIV) proclaims that “the devil has been sinning from the beginning,” going on to note that Jesus came to “destroy the devil’s work.” This is all appropriately summarized in Revelation 12:9-10 (NIV), which tells us that Satan “leads the whole world astray” and is an accuser.
Interestingly, we see Satan’s deceit in the Garden of Eden at the start of the Bible and we experience the aforementioned descriptions of his evil at the end of the Bible in the Book of Revelation — tragic bookmarks that leave us with much to ponder.
The entirety of the narrative of Satan provides the worst of qualities. And when we look at our culture — one that is filled with messages that seek to deceive, and sweeping movements that spark chaos that seeks to divide and breed hate, it’s hard to miss the parallels.
Satan’s character is the polar opposite of God’s and, thus, it’s no coincidence that we see society increasingly devolving as we grapple with the growing proportion of people who are disinterested in God and biblical truth. Despite this chaos, we can have hope, though.
Evil is real, but understanding its nature helps us avoid it, cling to Truth and navigate life’s choppy choppy waters. To defeat evil, we must first understand it. I address these themes in my new book, “Playing with Fire: A Modern Investigation into Demons, Exorcism, and Ghosts,” a book that dives deep into the truth behind these fascinating and important issues.