Yes, the Bible teaches that Satan the Devil is, indeed, a real person. Critics of the Bible, however, scoff at such a portrayal of the Devil. Satan, they say, merely represents the principle of evil that resides in humans.
Should we be surprised by the confusion regarding Satan’s true identity? Not at all. To illustrate: A criminal might wipe his fingerprints from a crime scene so that he may conceal his identity and thus continue his illegal activity undetected. Similarly, Satan is a criminal mastermind who is content to operate behind the scenes, promoting moral corruption. Jesus clearly identified Satan as the one responsible for the evil state of human affairs. Jesus called Satan “the ruler of this world.”—John 12:31.
Where did the Devil come from? Originally created as a perfect spirit creature in heaven, this outlaw angel made himself the Devil when he became obsessed with the desire to have humans worship him instead of God. The Bible records a conversation here on earth between Satan and Jesus in which the Devil revealed his selfish ambition. Satan tried to get Jesus to “fall down and do an act of worship” to him.—Matthew 4:8, 9.
Likewise, in conversations with God, as recorded in the book of Job, Satan revealed his motives. He would stop at nothing to influence humans to renounce God.—Job 1:13-19; 2:7, 8.
Consider: If Satan conversed with Jehovah God and Jesus Christ, how could Satan possibly be merely the principle of evil that resides in others? There is absolutely no evil in God or his Son! Clearly, then, Satan is a real person—an evil spirit creature who has no respect for Jehovah or for Jesus.
The corrupt state of human affairs bears testimony to the existence of a real Devil. The nations of this world let surplus food rot while their hungry populations starve. The nations store up weapons of mass destruction for mutual annihilation. They pollute earth’s environment. Yet, most people are blind to the source of such hateful, self-destructive behavior. Why?
The Bible reveals that Satan “has blinded the minds of the unbelievers.” (2 Corinthians 4:4) To manipulate humanity, Satan employs an invisible organization. He is “the ruler of the demons.” (Matthew 12:24) Just as a boss of an organized crime ring can run a large illegal empire without revealing himself to all those involved, so Satan uses his insidious organization of wicked angels to control masses of people who remain largely unaware of his role or influence.
How thankful we can be that the Bible unmasks the Devil and exposes his organization! We can thus take steps to resist the Devil’s influence. The Bible admonishes us: “Subject yourselves . . . to God; but oppose the Devil, and he will flee from you.”—James 4:7.