Question #1: Why Is Satan "Evil"?

So far, I've had a couple responses on my "Ask A Pastor..." offer. One posted to the original post and a couple on Facebook. I'll answer them in separate posts, and the original offer still stands. Ask any question, on any topic and I'll do my best to answer it.

Our first question comes to us from an anonymous asker:  "Why is Satan considered "evil"?

I'll be honest, at first glance, this question caught me off guard. I mean, I've been a Christian half my life, and before that, I was still surrounded by what I call "cultural Christianity" so, while I've always believed, and still believe, that Satan is evil, I haven't really ever given much thought as to why we believe that. If I have, I've never really articulated it. So I'm thankful to the asker for the opportunity to do it. 

You can't talk about the devil without talking about who created the devil. As Christians, we believe that the devil is a created angel who, at one point, worshiped God with the other angels. Timeline wise, we know from scripture that the angels were created at some point before the events of Genesis 1, they actually predate what many of us call "the creation event." Details in scripture are scant, but what we believe happened was that the devil was an angel in good standing with the Lord until he decided he wanted to challenge God's authority. Again, details are scant, but you're going to want to look at Isaiah 14:12-15. (I'd also be remiss if I didn't point out that it is highly debated as to whether or not Isaiah is explicitly talking about the devil here.) 

It appears, from the Biblical account, that the devil's sin was pride. He thought he could be greater than God. This is where we start to answer your question. Christians believe that God is completely and utterly holy, just, and righteous (among many other attributes). Because of this, to "sin" is to do anything that counter-acts God or his character. To sin is to "miss the mark" the high mark of holiness, righteousness, and perfection that God sets. When the devil declared his intention to rise above and supplant God as a created ruler of a universe he did not create, that's a pretty big miss. As a result, he was cast out of heaven (Luke 10:18). The reason we consider him evil to this day is that we believe he continues to tempt and lead people astray, to follow in his footsteps as it were, in rebellion against the creator God. 

Thanks for asking, I hope that answers your question for you.

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Posted on February 14, 2015 .