4.1.2 Evil as a person

Evil is not only manifested as a power, but also as a person. Holy Scripture refers to the personification of evil as "the Devil" (Matthew 4: 1), "Satan", or "unclean spirit", that is demon (Job 1: 6 et seq.; Mark 1: 13, 23).

The accounts in 2 Peter 2: 4 and Jude 6 speak of angels who have sinned. These spiritual beings fell prey to evil and became evil themselves. The Devil "has sinned from the beginning" (1 John 3: 8), he was "a murderer from the beginning", and a "liar and the father of it" (John 8: 44). The question of the serpent to Adam and Eve caused man to doubt God and rebel against Him: "You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3: 4-5).

The antichrist is a manifestation of evil. Jesus referred to the antichrist when He spoke of "false christs and false prophets" (Mark 13: 22). The terms "man of sin" or "son of perdition" also refer to the antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2: 3-4).

Satan is not capable of thwarting God's plan of salvation. On the contrary, "the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the Devil" (1 John 3: 8). The power of the Devil and his followers is limited, and has already been broken by Jesus Christ's sacrificial death. Jesus Christ has been given "all authority in heaven and on earth" (Matthew 28: 18). Thus He also has power over evil spirits.

According to Revelation 12, evil–which is personified as Satan, the Devil, the dragon, or the serpent–will be cast out of heaven. After the kingdom of peace, he will be given one last opportunity to unleash powers opposed to God (Revelation 20: 7-8). The ultimate banishment of evil into the "lake of fire and brimstone" is finally described in Revelation 20: 10. In the new creation, where God will be "all in all" (1 Corinthians 15: 28), evil will no longer have a place.

SUMMARY

The origin of evil cannot be rationally comprehended or explained. It is only through belief in the gospel that the true nature of evil ultimately becomes clear. (4.1)

The invisible and visible creation was very good at first. Evil as such was not created by God, but rather permitted. The capacity to do evil lies rooted in the human ability to decide between obedience and disobedience toward God. (4.1)

Evil began to unfold when the created rebelled against the Creator. This led to a state of remoteness from God, estrangement from God, and ultimately godlessness. (4.1)

Evil is a destructive power that arises from the will to be independent from God. It changes those who fall prey to it. Thereby human beings become sinners. (4.1.1)

On account of concupiscence, no human being–with the exception of the incarnate Son of God–is capable of leading a sinless life. Nevertheless, no one is exposed to evil without a choice. No human being is exempt from personal responsibility for his sins. (4.1.1)

Evil not only appears as a power, but also as a person, and is called, among other things: "the Devil", "Satan", or "unclean spirit" (demon). (4.1.2)

See also