Recently, the Satanic Temple in Oklahoma City, OK unveiled plans for a 7-foot tall statue of Satan, according to an ABCNews article. The statue, showing an image of Baphomet, often associated with Satan, with a young child at his side, is sparking quite a heated debate. Accompanying the article is a video featuring various debates on the existence of Satan, which includes clips from The View as well as a debate featuring four panelists, with Pastor Mark Driscoll, Pastor of Mars Hill Church, and Annie Lobert (pronounced lo-BEAR), the former prostitute who founded Hookers for Jesus, aimed at bringing the Word to sex workers, on the side of the existence of Satan; on the side of the non-existence of Satan was Bishop Carlton Pearson, the chief theorist behind the Gospel of Inclusion, and Deepak Chopra, the physician and philosopher who has written extensively on the concept of deistic thought. This conversation sparked the opening of a Pandora's Box, leading to many conversations, in and out of the media, about the existence of Satan. So, what does the Scripture say? Is Satan real?
Yes, so says the Old and New Testament of the Bible. Satan is very clearly mentioned in the Book of Job, beginning in verse 6. Satan is mentioned 1 Chronicles 21:1, Zechariah 3:1-3, and many times in the New Testament by name. By inference, the account in Ezekiel 28 speaking to the King of Tyre is attributed to Satan as well. So, as we see, Scripture is clear about the existence of Satan, and theologians throughout the years have attributed the stories of the Serpent in the Garden of Eden, the King of Babylon, and others to the character of Satan as well. In the debate, Mr. Chopra and Bishop Pearson make some interesting points, and I believe those need to be included in this discussion as to the existence of Satan.
One point made by Bishop Pearson is that we can pick and choose what Scripture says, and that the Bible is not the infallible Word of God, but, rather, the inspired word of man about God. If we are coming from a strictly Biblical standpoint, the Bishop's thoughts do not pan out with what the Bible is clear about. In his instructions to Timothy, the pastor of the church at Ephesus, the Apostle Paul said this: "16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV). As we see, Paul is clear: the Word is God is the Word of God given to man, not man writing about God. The phrase God-breathed in the original Greek text of the New Testament is a Greek compound transliterated Theopneustos, which literally means breathed out of the mouth of God. Much like you or I were to speak something to be transcribed, the Word of God is transcribed by man from the mouth of God. So, the Bible is the infallible Word of God.
Another point made by the moderator, in the form of a question was, "Why would a loving God create such evil?" The answer, if we look at Ezekiel 28, is clear. Satan, originally Lucifer (Hebrew bright morning star), was originally created as the head angel and was beautiful in all his array. Ezekiel 28 details the stones and jewels that adorned Lucifer, and also mentions the "pipes and timbrels" that Lucifer was outfitted with. Yet, Lucifer became corrupt in his own doings, not those of God. Scripture speaks of free will often, from the creation of the Garden of Eden (in which Adam was told he could eat of any tree but to avoid the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil) to Deuteronomy 30:15-20 (choose between life and death) to Matthew 7:13-14 (strait gate vs. broad gate). Consider this: if we had no choice, why would we be given instructions as to how to act, how to live, what to eat, etc.? Lucifer was given the choice between good and evil; he made his choice, as we must also do.
Finally, a point made by Deepak Chopra in his defense against the existence of Satan makes a perfect final point. Chopra asked Annie Lobert why she would reference a "mythical figure outside of [her]" as the source of the evil thoughts and desires she had, as well as the evil she saw in the eyes of her "Johns" she serviced. She, not being theologically-minded, with more of the gift of service, was not well-equipped to battle with one whose emphasis was on philosophy. I, however, have a definitive answer to this question. The Bible, in the book of Ephesians, chapter 6, verse 12, says this: 12 For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is what we wage spiritual war against, not against ourselves or any other flesh and bone human. This shows that the evil thoughts we experience are not in and of ourselves, but come from outside of us, from the external evil forces around us, Satan being the Commander-In-Chief.
Scripture is clear as to the existence of Satan, and for this man, whose deep, abiding faith is in God, and in Scripture as His infallible Word, I believe what the Word of God says as the ultimate authority on all that is. We, however, are all creatures of our own wills and we can make up our minds for ourselves. So, Examiner readers... what say you?