“Do you believe in God and the devil and all that?”
This question was asked to me by an intellectual coworker when I was a teenager. I answered sheepishly and affirmatively.
It’s not so bad to believe in “God” these days, as long as you don’t claim to know who He is. But to believe in “the devil and all that” seems fanciful to many. Images of a red troll with pointy horns don’t help! Yet alongside the biblical teaching of sin and personal responsibility, both testaments affirm the existence of a powerful spiritual adversary.
The existence of Satan implies that evil in our world is not merely an abstract concept. Evil is personal. Human wickedness springs not only from our own rebellion against God’s word, but also from external temptation.
If we are to understand the evils of our day, and especially if we are going to seek to fight against them, we must understand the spiritual backdrop of our human struggle. We ignore the devil at our own peril.
Keith Green wrote a song a few decades back that still rings true. In the song, the devil boasts, “I used to have to sneak around, but now they just open their door. It’s getting very easy now since no one believes in me anymore!”
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).