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Is the Devil Real?


Casting Out Satan by Carl Bloch

Casting Out Satan by Carl Bloch

Carl Bloch (1834-1890); Public Domain
Many people scoff at the idea that the devil is real, but he is real and we must not be deceived into thinking that he's not. Who is the devil? Learn how he's a spirit son of God who desired God's power, rebelled against God, and started a war in heaven. Also learn how the scriptures and prophets testify of the reality of the devil.

The Devil is a Son of God:

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that the devil is a real being. Just like all of us he was born in the pre-existence and is a spirit son of God. In the pre-existence, before he fell and became the devil, he was called Lucifer which means "Shining One or Lightbearer."1 He was also known as a "Son of the Morning" although later he became known as Satan (see Names of the Devil).

The Devil Desired Power:

In the pre-existence Lucifer was a righteous spirit (or angel) who gained power, knowledge, and authority from God.2 However, when God presented His great Plan of Salvation (to allow men the opportunity to become like Him through gaining a body and exercising agency) Lucifer believed his plan was better than God's. The devil became proud and desired God's power when he said to God, "I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor" (Moses 4:1).

The Devil Rebelled:

When God rejected Satan's plan the devil became angry and sought to overthrow the Father and take His power:
"Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power" (Moses 4:3).
Lucifer rebelled against God and began a war in Heaven. One third of the hosts of heaven followed Lucifer,3 but all were cast out of heaven to forever be denied the blessing of a physical body and to never return to the presence of God. Upon being cast out, Lucifer became known as Satan or the devil:
"And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice (Moses 4:4)."
Satan's rebellion led to his fall from grace, and now he and his followers are sons of perdition.

The Devil is Real:

When the devil and his followers were cast out of heaven they were sent to Earth where they, as evil and invisible spirits, seek to destroy all mankind. Although Satan does not possess a physical body he is a real being who is in eternal opposition to the Father who "seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself" (2 Nephi 2:27).

The devil and his angels seek to destroy us by tempting and deceiving us. They try to lead us away from God and Christ. Indeed, one of the devil's greatest deceptions is to persuade us that "there is no devil."
"And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance" (2 Nephi 28:22).

Scriptures State that the Devil is Real:

To deny the reality of Satan is not only a deception, it is illogical. There are many scriptures4 supporting the literal existence of Satan:
"For I say unto you that whatsoever is good cometh from God, and whatsoever is evil cometh from the devil" (Alma 5:40).
From the New Testament we know that Christ cast out devils (Satan's followers) and was tempted by Satan himself. Not only do the scriptures and prophets testify of the reality of the devil but you can know for yourself, through the power of the Holy Ghost, that the devil is real.

We Must Not Be Decieved:

When we deny the existence of the devil, thinking of him as merely a symbol of evil, we set ourselves up for destruction. How can we defend ourselves against an enemy we do not believe exists? Elder Marion G. Romney said:
"We Latter-day Saints need not be, and we must not be, deceived by the sophistries of men concerning the reality of Satan. There is a personal devil, and we had better believe it. He and a countless host of followers, seen and unseen, are exercising a controlling influence upon men and their affairs in our world today."5
Although we should not spend an inordinate amount of time dwelling upon the devil's existence, we still must study the scriptures to understand who he is, what his tactics are, and what his ultimate goal for mankind is.6 The war in heaven still carries on today. The devil seeks to destroy us while Christ strives to lead us back into the presence of the Father. Each of us is at war and we must choose for whom we will do battle. If we are deceived into believing there is no devil we may find that we are furthering his cause. Let us not be deceived.

Poll: Is the devil real?

1 Guide to the Scriptures: Lucifer
2 See D&C 76:25
3 See D&C 29:36; Revelations 12:3-4
4 See Isaiah 14:12-15; 2 Corinthians 11:12-15; 2 Nephi 2:17; Moses 1:12-23
5 "Satan, The Great Deceiver," Ensign, Feb 2005, 52–57.
6 See "Putting on the Armor of God: How to Win Our Battles With Satan"
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