“I hate the Devil!” yelled undergraduate and future missionary Paget Wilkes across an Oxford street a century ago to a friend walking on the opposite side. “So do I!” his friend roared back. Passersby were struck by the exchange, and maybe the memory of it did them good, for the sentiment was right. The Devil is hateful, and the Christian way is to hate him as heartily as one can.

Profile. Satan (his name means “adversary”) hates humankind and seeks our ruin because he hates God, his and our Creator. He seeks only to thwart God’s plans, wreck his work, rob him of glory, and in that sense master him. Devil, his descriptive title, means “slanderer,” one who thinks, speaks, and plans evil against others.

Created good, he is the archetypal instance of good gone wrong. He heads a company of rebel angels, whose moral nature, like Adam’s, was set in the mold of their first sin. This army of demons, as the Gospels call them, has “as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon” (Rev. 9:11)—both names meaning “destroyer.”

For his fierce, sustained, pitiless hatred of humanity, Satan is spoken of as a murderer, the evil one, a roaring and devouring lion, a great red dragon, and the accuser who constantly calls on God to banish his saints for their sins. For his habit of twisting truth as a means to his ends, he is called a liar and a deceiver. He is unimaginably malicious, mean, ugly, and cruel. His temptations are literally testings to destruction, and yielding to them is always the road to ruin.

Power. Like other angels, Satan’s powers are more than human, though less than divine. He is at ...

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