The devil, or Satan, is usually the one who gets the blame. There are many people that live in constant fear of the devil, and there are many people that are convinced that there is no such thing as a devil. Others are unconcerned whether or not there is a devil — their life is such that even if there was a devil, the devil would be of no concern to them.
The apparent invisibility of the devil is of little importance to those who believe that he exists. They refer to the Bible, which refers frequently to devils, demons, and even provides names for some of the demons: Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub, Belial, Abaddon, Apollyon. The character of the devil is described frequently:
- the tempter (Matthew 4:3, 1 Thessalonions 3:5)
- the evil one (Matthew 13:28, 39)
- a murderer (John 8:44)
- a liar (John 8:44)
- the father of lies (John 8:44)
- the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4)
- prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2)
- the adversary (1 Peter 5:8)
- the deceiver of the whole world (Revelation 12:9)
- the great dragon (Revelation 12:9)
- the ancient serpent (Revelation 12:9)
- the accuser of our brethren (Revelation 12:10)
And yet, despite these impressive references to the devil, the Bible appears to fall short in explanation with respect to several fundamental aspects:
- The Bible nowhere explains Satan’s origins.
- The Bible nowhere explains why such a powerful force of evil is allowed to exist.
- The Bible is almost silent about devils in the Old Testament.
These shortcomings are by no means insignificant. A fundamental question that must be answered is if God is a supreme, all-powerful God, why does He allow a being as powerful as Satan to co-exist with Him? Why would He allow Satan to lead mankind towards chaos, if His own intention was to offer salvation to all mankind? If Satan is a fallen angel, why was he allowed to continue living, and rather not destroyed as were later people who deliberately rebelled against the Almighty God? Why should God allow a rebellious Satan to have a free hand over His creation for thousands of years, and then destroy him at the last time, as asserted by many Christian believers?
These are some of the aspects that must be capable of reasonable explanation if the Bible is the Word of God, and if we are prepared to consider exactly what the Bible does say about the devil and his angels.
The Devil’s Appearance.
These conceptions of the devil go back in time well to before the Middle Ages; and are traceable to several thousand years BC at least.If the devil is a being that can influence our behaviour, and can manipulate us as individuals, then he must be invisible when he is acting his role in the lives of people. Can an invisible thing have a shape or image? Can the devil materialise into a visible form if the need arises, and if so, what is the form he takes? What does the devil look like? What does Satan look like?
There are many impressions of what the devil looks like. Although ideas vary, they normally (though not necessarily) include two features in common: Horns and hoofed feet. Over centuries of time there have been numerous drawings made of the devil.
These conceptions of the devil go back in time well to before the Middle Ages; and are traceable to several thousand years BC at least. In Nimrud, a city in ancient Babylon, one of the objects worshipped was a winged, hoofed bull with a human head. The ancient Egyptians had a similar god amongst those they worshipped. So it perhaps not surprising that such imagery exists practically through to our own day of a power that is seen to be so extensive.
If the devil is part of God’s creation, perhaps an unintended part, it would be logical to look at the Bible — God’s Word — to get answers to these things.