Psyche and Spirit
by Paul Werner
4. The Existence of Satan
Proving Satan's Existence
Man's Relationship with Satan
The Existence of Satan
Does Satan exist? It is a question that has been asked for thousands of years. And it is a question still pondered today. Some people are adamantly convinced of his movement throughout the world; others have concluded that he, like God, is a figment of man's imagination. Yet curiously some people who have strong faith in God refuse to believe in Satan's existence.
How is man able to recognize the face of Satan? If one does not talk about him, or believe he even exists, does that make him any less real? Can refusal to acknowledge his existence curtail his activities, or make his intrusion in man's life any less painful?
Proving Satan's Existence
Were we to study the actions of Nero, for example, we might be hard put to define why the man acted as he did -- placing so many people in jeopardy and mocking the belief of the Christians whose lives he dominated. It might seem that Nero was jealous of the faith the Christians had in Jesus. We could surmise, then, that he did not care about those people, and just did as he pleased to satisfy his own desire to control them. Looking at history from the viewpoint of Satan's identity and his involvement in man's life, it seems plausible that in a "behind-the-scenes" effort, Satan could have "directed" the dictates given by Nero, or other historic figures in such a position of power over people.
Just as line prompters -- whether mechanical or human -- can help those in theater remember their lines, were we able to see spiritually, we would notice that at some point all of us are given "spiritual" teleprompts. Human beings can be controlled and indeed manipulated by spiritual beings -- instructed to "say" or "do" certain things. Although man does not realize that he is being directed, Satan and his cohorts are definitely accountable for a great majority of the spiritual "advice" that man "receives." We might be amused at the way robots are portrayed in science fiction: they repeat what they are told to do, and carry out commands -- no thinking, no questions. But we might be unaware that we act in a similar fashion, spiritually. Because we do not recognize it, we do not change our way of relating, thus often simply carry out those commands we are given. Even if they go against our own understanding and principles, we have too little conviction to stand up and do what we feel is correct.
One premise of this work, then, is that Satan does indeed exist, and through the Fall of man he usurped God's position, thus becoming the ruler of the world. Ever since he has been battling to retain control of the world. As the Bible says in Jude 6-7:
And the angels that did not keep their own position but left their proper dwelling have been kept by him in eternal chains in the nether gloom until the judgment of the great day; just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise (like the angels) acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
The Principle discloses that Satan's sin was that of fornication, and the spiritual fall was an illicit union with Eve. Yet Satan has done an amazing job at hiding this fact from mankind. Since we descended from the first ancestors, we have also inherited their legacy: original sin. Because man does not realize his association with Satan, he might not recognize that the origin of his psychological problems actually stems from this.
Yet Satan has an endless list of enticements through which he shackles people to him. He has convinced man that these objects of love are much more attractive and attainable than the true love of God. And his prediction seems true enough: as soon as some people catch a glimpse of the sacrifice necessary to attain a deep and binding relationship with God, they become discouraged, and settle instead for the "gods" Satan offers them.
Satan has profaned this physical world. People believe they are free, feeling they express their individuality through their dress and demeanor. But touting rainbow-colored hair or white face paint does not make a person "free." We do not see just how tight a rein Satan has on us. Those who become inclined toward religion will notice that to love God one must fight an uphill battle. The reason is simple: Satan does not want to lose his grasp on us and hates seeing us give our loyalty to God.
Satan's world is built on the promise of instant gratification, which is nothing more than pseudo-freedom. We have only to look at the despair and decadence of this world to realize how real Satan is, and how imprisoned people are because he refuses to relinquish his control over them. The effects are cruel, for the coldness of Satan's world leads many to suffer the deprivation of love, to contemplate or even realize the act of suicide. Satan originated the desire for self-satisfaction; he himself wanted more love, and stopped at nothing to get it. Man continues this trend today; permissive love is a prime example. Beyond the few moments of seeming fulfillment in a one-night stand or an adulterous relationship lies spiritual degradation and death. Unfortunately, the majority of those involved don't realize what they are doing further binds them to Satan.
Satan is continually seeking to discover our human weaknesses, for through them he can invade and control us. Our defense is to be totally uncompromising to God's laws, but it is difficult. The standard of behavior accepted as "normal" by our society virtually gives Satan free reign. Because people are ignorant of the truth, they are helpless to win over him.
Even if a person accepts the premise that man has "blood ties" with Satan, Satan can continue to carry out his activities within the most intimate sphere of human existence -- the heart and mind -- almost undetected. It is because man does not have a working knowledge of how to combat these forces. While many religious people accept that both a force of goodness and a force of evil exist, they are unaware that there are beings behind them. Just as much as the image of a benevolent and loving father could be said to characterize God, one might find it easy to picture Satan as a criminal mastermind, plotting and scheming.
In recounting the details of the Fall, it should be noted that both God and Satan possess the qualities of heart and intellect, and both are fully aware of man's spiritual potential to become good or evil. Satan is extremely knowledgeable about man and has been exceedingly successful at cloaking his own role in thwarting God's ideal. In fact, he continues to mask the crimes he still commits today. If analyzed, though, they are "hidden" only to an untrained eye. The perverse sexuality, which has become so commonplace, as well as the rise in crime shows a spiritually sensitive person that Satan -- for all his supposed subtlety -- is very much on a power trip. Not only is he going wild, but he is actually "spilling the beans" about his own infractions-they are everywhere we look.
We should not underestimate the power of Satan, and neither should we fail to recognize the vice-like grip with which he holds this world. It has become standard practice for man to follow the dictates of Satan rather than God. Many people readily accept present human behavior as normal, although it is totally contrary to God's standards. Hearts are numbed and consciences less and less able to hear the impassioned pleas of God, which are drowned out by Satan's drone.
Satan has a knack for causing spiritual incapacitation. He accuses us through thought, word, and deed, and is happy when we offer no resistance and simply accepthis accusation as our own. Yet much of Satan's allegation is completely unjustified. His forte is disguise, and he is so good at it, most people believe his voice is actually their conscience. He desires us to be depressed and thus renders us powerless, for when we are in a weakened and vulnerable position, it is much easier for him to retain control. But the more we follow what he asks us to do, the more we will find ourselves in trouble.
Many times we allow Satan to infiltrate our memory. If we permit him, he will revive our recollection of those things we did or thought which further distanced us from God and others. And hecontinues to do everything he can to prevent people from hearing and responding to the word of God. He knows clearly that the more people know about God, the more they will fight his influence, and the less he will be able to dominate them.
Satan loves to feed our disillusionment at every possible opportunity. He will remind us not only of our mistakes today, but also in times past, something which can stimulate a sense of despair and depression. God, on the other hand, reminds us that all is forgiven, that through our repentance we have begun paying for our error, and that He would never want us to continue feeling guilty for things which have already been absolved through our contrition.
If we do not learn to recognize Satan or if we refuse to think about him, he can certainly manipulate and cause us to go against the will of God. This era sports many satanic cults and crimes, many of which seek the involvement of young children. These children might witness animal or even human sacrifices. Elements of fear are pumped into them, and they are warned that their family will be hurt if they tell anyone about what they saw. These children are being groomed for later "conversion" to this "religion;" threatened and taught about Satan and Satan's behavior, but not in a way in which they can fight against these forces. In the United States, police believe that a certain percentage of infants who are reported kidnapped or missing, have become human sacrifices used in the ritualistic rites of these groups.
We must wake up to what Satan is doing as he runs rampant throughout this world. If we turn away without regard or care, we run the risk that his power will escalate to even greater heights. We must stop the perversity and recognize his position as adversary and destroyer. We must see his destructive potential for what it is. We must realize that he is the enemy, and he is out to win.
We can easily recognize evil within the world -- we have only to look into our own heart to realize that something still keeps us back from doing good, and perfecting our love and heart. We do not have to go far or think too deeply to realize just what Satan's intention has been all along. He has kept mankind in literal spiritual "darkness;" for we find it hard to believe that he would commit such dastardly deeds. But we have to wake up to reality: we literally face the enemy every day, and therefore it is crucial that we learn to recognize him.
Man's Relationship with Satan
Once a person has the proper know-how, he can expose and then block the intentions and activities of evil spirits, and at the same time, restrict Satan's power. However, the person must be careful not to attract those spiritual beings to return after driving them away. He must guard against creating a foundation that would allow their intrusion once more. We may successfully force evil spirits to leave us alone, but if we are not careful, they will re-enter our consciousness and "dare" us to sin once more. We, therefore, must be aware of the way they can infiltrate even our most insignificant thought, word, or deed and even with one "foot," step back in through the door of our mind and heart. How is it possible to assure that they will stay away for good? It is a challenge we face daily, but we must be realistic: simple desire will not free us from their influence, nor will it happen overnight.
Each one of us displays typical "satanic" behavior at one time or another. For instance, in groping for love we perhaps silently or even verbally accuse people of not loving us. Satan himself still demands love from God even today. There are many misfits in any society who rebel against everything; this hardened and resistant behavior results from Satan's influence and stems from his lingering resentment toward God and man. That is the exact emotion we must fight against when we feel we are not loved enough.
Originally, God created man with free will. Yet since Satan became ruler of this world, all mankind has been forced to do his will. Most people do not realize this. Separating ourself from Satan -- the one who bequeathed to us the spirit of rebellion-is tied to our course of maturation and perfection, and something each of us must tackle individually. Compromising the voice of our conscience and what we know to be the will of God, will simply attach us more steadfastly to Satan. But we are foolish if we feel we can break our connection to him exclusively by ourselves. To successfully triumph over any of the points of our fallen nature (as explained in the Principle), we absolutely need the power, as well as the love, compassion, and forgiveness of God. We also need repentance and the sincere desire to change. Furthermore, we need the example of the Messiah to show us how to wrench ourselves from Satan's control. Recognizing how Satan uses us, and then actively pursuing how to become free of him through the Messiah's guidance can be our greatest weapon, but it is one so little understood and unfortunately so little utilized. Thus, we often stagnate in our spiritual growth, and do not untie the ropes that bind us to Satan, but almost allow ourselves to be incarcerated by him.
As the Principle explains, on the foundation of Jesus' victory of resurrection, God can rule the spiritual realm. Yet people remain chained to Satan because he still governs the physical realm. No matter how much faith we have in God, each of us still finds it difficult to stimulate ourself to grow spiritually. When people hear some element of truth that could change their lives, in spite of their belief and enthusiastic response, they often remain bound by ingrained habits, especially the tendency to sin.
Satan works in so many ways. He can control man's emotions through manipulation, but also just as effectively, work through spiritual intervention. People must bring themselves out of their perdition by creating the conditions which would instead beckon God's intervention. Just thinking about God is a way to connect with Him. But by the same token, if we experience one evil thought, feeling, or action, we have connected with Satan-many times unknowingly, and at least subconsciously, unwillingly. We have to guard against being influenced by the environment and by others, and in the process attach ourselves more firmly to Him.
When man steps out of Satan's boundary and walks toward the territory of God, Satan's possessiveness starts to show: he does whatever possible to hold on to that person more tightly -- something which can definitely result in greater tension or guilt. Likewise when we become angry over seemingly small things, it may be due to give-and-take we had with Satan or an evil spirit. He provoked us, and we "bit" back. When he finds an opening, he tries anything to win for himself the loyalty we desire to give God. If a person shouts at us and we shout back, a fist fight might eventually ensue. But if a person shouts at us and we just ignore him, the negative energy of give and take generated is cut and will dissolve. Yet if we begin to argue, we surrender to those negative forces, which then just seem to mushroom. From that point, other things might start going wrong. We can see such an effect when a person utters one swear word; it is a small base, but Satan takes his cue from it. Because of evil influence, sometimes a person then ends up swearing a "blue streak"; it is far easier to multiply evil than to stop it. It can make people lose spiritual power, and even self-confidence. What is worse, because of the guilt engendered, evil influence can ultimately stimulate feelings of depression.
Man is oppressed by the force and cunning of Satan. Psychologically we are definitely still affected by Satan's activities and hold on us. Any motivation we may feel to escape is partially tied to the fact that God can still reach us through our original mind; but when we face this prospect, we sometimes feel overwhelmed by the difficulties. Each person must work at subjugating Satan, but in a way that reverses his domination of us: through selfless love and service to God and others, which is offered in the spirit of humility and meekness.
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