The devil, also known as Satan and Lucifer, is a powerful angel. Lucifer was created by God. He was created perfect but Lucifer soon turned from God. In pride, Lucifer rebelled and sought to take to himself the majesty and glory of God. As punishment for his rebellion, Satan was cast out of his glorious position near the throne of God. Now Satan is the chief adversary against God, leading a massive army of rebellious angels. He attempts to overthrow the plans of God. He seeks the destruction of all men and viciously attacks Christians. Satan is described in the Bible as the adversary, a murderer, a liar and a roaring lion bent on destruction. He is called “the prince of the power of the air” and “the god of this world”.
The devil is a powerful adversary, a spiritual being much greater than any man. The Bible only gives us a few hints of the powers of angels. They are able to move swiftly from heaven to earth. Some angels are messengers of destruction, bringing about the judgment of God on men. Demons are able to inhabit and control human bodies. Angels are able to bring about swift death and destruction on great armies of men.
From the Bible we also know some of the limitations of angels. Angels, whether obedient or rebellious, are creatures. All angels are limited beings. Though powerful and majestic none possess the power and glory of God. No angel is all powerful, all knowing or able to be in more than one place at once. Satan’s knowledge, though vast, is not complete. Satan’s power, though great, is not limitless. Satan’s presence, though daunting and supported by a great army of demons, is restricted. In all the interactions of angels with men discussed in the Bible, none give any indication that angels can read the thoughts of men.
The Bible records only two conversations between humans and Satan. The first was between Satan and Eve when he tempted her to eat of the forbidden tree. In that brief dialogue there is no hint that Satan was reading her mind. He skillfully manipulated her, but the whole conversation is based on her verbal responses to him. The other interaction between Satan and a person took place when Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness. Once again Satan attempted to manipulate Jesus, playing on what he believed were Jesus’ desires. Satan’s interactions appear to be based only on what Jesus said. There is no hint that Satan could read Jesus’ mind. Satan is able to exert great influence on people, and skillfully works to stir up sinful desires in the heart. Satan dominates the system of this world, but nothing in the Bible hints that Satan can read the thoughts of men.
The absence of any definite Biblical statement requires we be cautious with our understanding of Satan’s power. The Bible’s silence on whether or not Satan can read minds can not be interpreted as a conclusive argument for either opinion on the matter. It seems most consistent with what is revealed about Satan to think he cannot read minds, but no definitive answer is given in the Bible. Speculations about Satan’s potential power should not cause the Christian undue fear and worry. However great Satan’s power is, the truth still stands, “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)