We live in a society where the culture of blame is widespread. It seems that it is always the fault of someone else when things go wrong. There is nothing new in this. When Adam and Eve were in the garden of Eden and broke the law of God by eating of the Tree of Knowledge, Adam claimed that he was not to blame. Eve had given him the fruit, but ultimately it was his decision whether to eat it or not. Eve on the other hand blamed the serpent for deceiving her. The outcome of their own sinful action was death, and man became a mortal being. We can read of this in Genesis chapter three.
This sad tale has been enriched somewhat in our world today by the suggestion that the serpent was the devil and that it is "he" who makes us do nasty things to others. You know the phrase, "The devil made me do it." This is the popular view, that some kind of supernatural being or force for evil makes us do things that we would not normally contemplate.
But is this what the Bible teaches? The simple answer is no! The Devil or Satan in Bible terms, actually means a "false accuser" or "adversary". Anyone who goes against the laws of God, or the good intentions of a fellow human being, can be described as a devil, or "adversary". One of Christ's own hand picked disciples betrayed him in this way. Jesus said,
"Have not I chosen you twelve and one
of you is a devil?"
(John 6:70, 71 - NIV).
He was referring to Judas Iscariot who turned away from following after his Lord and finally became his adversary. He threw in his lot with the false accusers of Jesus for thirty pieces of silver and betrayed the son of God. No superhuman being caused him to sin against God. Judas simply betrayed Jesus for money, the love of which is described in the Bible as the root of all evil. That was his temptation! Here then is the key to understanding the Devil and Satan - they are the enemy within.
Each one of us can have evil thoughts that when put into action cause us to sin. Jesus says, "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts." (Mark 7:21 - 23, NIV). He goes on to list the kind of things that defile mankind and cause us to sin. This is the Bible picture of human nature at its worst, inherently sinful. Since the time of Adam and Eve the human race has preferred to blame someone else, rather than live with the consequences of sin (as described in Romans 6:23).
It is the easy way out to believe that someone else made us do it! The Devil or Satan become totally redundant when we understand in scriptural terms how mankind is fully competent in his own ability to promote evil. Sadly we see this only too vividly in our world today.
Happily the Bible also teaches that Jesus through his sacrifice was able to overcome his own sinful nature, and destroy "him that had the power of death, that is the devil" (Hebrews 2:14, NIV). Jesus has overcome human nature, and we too can do the same. The best way to find out how to do this is to read the Bible. We have a completely free course available here, which we hope will help you to both read and understand your Bible.