Surveys in America have revealed that a majority of Americans believe in Satan. When questioned further it seems that most Americans believe Satan to be an evil force and not a personal being. Is Satan a real, personal being or is he a symbol that personifies evil in this world?
Evil exists. Even the most die hard of atheists would be reluctant to deny the reality of evil in this world. The question regarding Satan is not if evil exists, nor even is it if evil people exists. The question is if there is a spiritual being actively working to accomplish his evil purposes in this world? The existence of Satan cannot be proven based upon any empirical evidence. That is, Satan has not been and cannot be video taped, recorded, interviewed or subjected to lab tests. The Bible presents Satan as an angelic creature. Because he is a spiritual being, we do not expect Satan to be perceptible to the physical senses.
What does the Bible say that leads us to conclude Satan is a real being, not just an evil force? Ezekiel 28 describes Satan as the anointed cherub. A cherub is a type of angel. Satan was at one time a powerful angel entrusted with great responsibility in the worship of God. In the book of Job, Satan stands before the throne of God and has a conversation with God about the man Job. The Old Testament describes Satan in very personal terms, presenting him as much more than just a force. The gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke describe the temptation of Jesus. After Jesus spent forty days fasting in the wilderness, Satan appeared to Him and tempted Him. The account of this temptation is clearly the account of a personal being engaged in conversation with another personal being. If Satan was merely a force of evil, one would have to conclude that Jesus was having some kind of hallucination in which He carried on a conversation with a force. This would be as nonsensical as someone having a discussion with electricity about how lights work.
Other indications of Satan being a real being are found scattered throughout the Bible. In 2 Corinthians 4:4 Satan is the god of this world who actively works to prevent men from believing the gospel. In Ephesians 2:2 Satan is the “prince of the power of the air” who holds dominion over unsaved men and is actively at work in them. In John 8:44, Satan is described as a murdered and a liar that has spiritual descendants who follow in his footsteps. In the book Revelation Satan is described as coming under God’s judgment, being bound and then cast into imprisonment. Evil exists in this world, but Satan is not just a personification of evil. Satan is a real being, created by God. Satan rebelled against his Creator and is now bent on the spiritual and physical destruction of man. Satan is a mighty angelic creature who stands in rebellion against God and seeks to oppose the plan of God.