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The Darkest Spirit

The Darkest Spirit
“The devil made me do it.” This catchphrase was popularized in the early 1970s by comedian Flip Wilson, who often played the role of a sassy woman named Geraldine Jones. When her husband confronted her about buying an expensive new dress, she would retort, “The devil made me do it.” Then the husband would tell her that she was too quick to blame the devil.

Who Is The Devil?

The devil has certainly made the rounds in popular culture—movies, computer games, novels, and music. On Halloween, kids dress up in classic devil costumes featuring red leotards, grotesque masks, horns, and a three-pronged pitchfork. He is called by many names, including the evil one, the father of lies, lord of the underworld, Satan, and Beelzebub.

But who is the devil really? Is he a ghostly demon who tempts you to do wrong, a cloven-hooved beast with a barbed tail, a beautiful but fallen angel who stood up to God, or only a psychological representation of instinctive desires? Or is he nothing more than a cartoon figure?

According to the Bible, the devil is a genuine being. He first appeared in the Garden of Eden as a serpent who tempted Eve to disobey God. He lied to Eve, saying that she would not die even if she broke God’s command to not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:4). Like Geraldine Jones, Eve blamed Satan for her behavior, saying to God, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate” (verse 13).

A deeper study reveals a surprising beginning for Satan, who is called the “serpent of old” and “the Devil” (Revelation 12:9). His original name was Lucifer, and he once lived in heaven as a perfect angel (Isaiah 14:12). He was created as a “covering” cherub for God’s throne but eventually fell “like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18).

An Angel ... Fallen

The Bible explains that his heart became corrupt from pride (Ezekiel 28:17). He also wanted to be worshiped and to take God’s place in the human heart. He said, “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. … I will be like the Most High’ ” (Isaiah 14:13, 14). As a result of his sin, Satan “was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:9).

Thereafter, the devil has made the earth his headquarters (Job 2:2), where his primary motive is to tempt people to turn away from God. When humans sinned, they gave up control of the world to Satan. As the prince of this earth, he directs his anger against God’s people (1 Peter 5:8). He is a hateful, vicious murderer who causes havoc on our planet (Revelation 12:12).

If the Bible is an accurate source of truth, then its descriptions of Satan—a deceiver, liar, false accuser, miracle worker, slanderer, and one who has the power to impersonate people and heavenly beings—should make us wonder if the devil has something to do with what appear to be ghosts or the spirits of dead people in our day …

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