We would greatly overestimate Satan’s power by supposing that he can interact directly with us in a physical sense, but an equal and opposite error would be to suppose that he does not have access to our minds. First, Satan cannot read our minds, but he can influence our thoughts. Thus, the Bible instructs us to “put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11). Without the armor, you are a guaranteed casualty in the invisible war; with it, you are invincible. Spiritual warfare is waged against invisible beings that personify the extremities of evil. And their weapons are spiritual, not physical. While they cannot bite us physically, violate us sexually, or cause us to levitate, they can tempt us to cheat, steal, and lie.
Furthermore, it is crucial to note that if we open the door to Satan by failing to put on the full armor of God, he does—as it were—sit on our shoulders and whisper into our ears. The whisper cannot be discerned with the physical ear; it can, however, penetrate the ear of the mind. We cannot explain how such communication takes place any more than we can explain how our immaterial minds can cause the physical synapses of the brain to fire. But that such mind-to-mind communication takes place is indisputable. If it were not so, the devil could not have tempted Judas to betray his Master, seduced Ananias and Sapphira to deceive Peter, or incited David to take a census.
Finally, while fallen angels are not material beings and thus cannot interact with us directly in the physical sense, they are as real as the very flesh upon our bones. No doubt much to the devil’s delight, we often depict him as either a cartoonish clown with an elongated tail, red tights, and a pitchfork—or as a cultural caricature. Far from silly or stupid, however, Satan appears as a cosmopolitan angel of enlightenment. He knows full well that without our spiritual armor we are but pawns in a devil’s game.
In the final analysis, the whole of Scripture informs us that spiritual warfare is the battle for the mind.
For further study, see Hank Hanegraaff, The Covering: God’s Plan to Protect You from Evil (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2002); and C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (New York: Macmillan, 1982).
***Note the preceding text is adapted from a new Revised and Updated version of The Complete Bible Answer Book that is forthcoming in Fall 2023. When available for pre-order we will update this page with corresponding information. Until then you can still purchase or receive for your partnering gift the current version by clicking here for purchase or here for partnering gift. ***
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