Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
Question: Does the Bible teach that Satan is a personal being, or the evil principle?
Answer: Many have rejected the thought that Satan is a personal being, instead believing that he
is the evil principle. This is due in large part because many of the teachings of the creeds on
Satan have been unreasonable and therefore unbelievable. Naturally, believing that these creeds
have been based upon the Bible, the true Biblical teachings on Satan have been rejected. Let us,
however, examine what the Bible teaches regarding Satan by examining a number of Scriptures
bearing upon the subject:
Zechariah 3: 1, 2: “And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the
LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the LORD said unto Satan, the
LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this
a brand plucked out of the fire?”
Matthew 12: 24-26: “But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out
devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto
them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house
divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself;
how shall then his kingdom stand.”
Jesus stating that Satan’s adopting policies contrary to his usual procedures in order to uphold
his weakening cause, strongly suggests Satan’s personality.
John 8: 44: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a
murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When
he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”
Jesus here taught that Satan was once in the Truth, but that he later introduced falsehoods and
murdered the human family when he introduced sin into the world. If Satan were the evil
principle, how could he have ever been in the Truth?
2 Corinthians 2: 11: “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his
Schemes imply thinking and planning, and therefore personality, which is contrary to an
inanimate evil principle.
2 Corinthians 11: 14: “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”
Transforming himself into an angel of light from an angel of darkness suggests thought and
reasoning, which again implies personality.
1 Peter 5: 8, 9: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion,
walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the
same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”
Satan’s walking about as a roaring lion, especially seeking Christians as his prey, is an additional
proof of his personality.
Jude 9: “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body
of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The LORD rebuke thee.”
Michael’s contending with Satan over Moses’ body, perhaps because Satan sought to use it as an
object of worship in Israel, is again another proof of him being a real, personal being, and not the
abstract evil principle.
Although many more examples could be cited, our examination of the above seven Scriptures
should be sufficient to prove that Satan, also sometimes referred to as the devil, is a personal
being, and not the evil principle.
Note: Please find a more thorough examination of this subject in Study 9 of Hope Beyond the Grave.