What the Devil?- Cultural Commentators Debate the Existence of Satan

March 27, 2009

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made.  He said to the woman, ‘Did God actually say, “You shall not eat of any tree in the garden”?’

With this, which is Genesis 3.1, we are introduced to evil and to the head of all evil, “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2.2), Satan.  From this point forward Satan is ever-present in the Scriptures, reappearing in name in such passages as 1 Chronicles 21.1, Job 1.6-2.7, Zechariah 3.1, Matthew 4.10, and Revelation 20.2, and in allusion in places like Matthew 4.1, 12.24-27, 2 Corinthians 11.3, John 12.31, and 1 John 2.13.  Still with all of the evidence, many people today, including a number of “Christians,” are finding it sexy to deny that Satan actually exists.

It is because of this that ABC News recently held a Face Off debate, asking the question “Does Satan Exist?”  And to be honest, though I don’t know their intentions, they seemed to do a good job.  If nothing else, the lineup held promise, and a promise on which it delivered.  There were four participants in all, but the two headliners were on one side, Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA, and on the other New Age guru/philosopher/metaphysician Deepak Chopra.  When I heard these two would be facing off I knew it would be worth watching.

One highlight of the night was the following exchange:

  • Deepak: Thank you for having at least the intention of saving me.  I don’t know what I would do in the absence of people like you.
  • Driscoll: I love you and I want good for you
  • Deepak: Thank you sir
  • Driscoll: I do
  • Deepak: Thank you.  I’m really okay, you know.  I don’t need the devil because I don’t have the guilt and shame that you people have
  • Driscoll: I don’t have guilt and shame.  I used to.  I used to, and then being forgiven, listen, and then I don’t need to rejoice in myself, I get the joy of thanking someone rather than being proud.

(Applause)

  • Deepak: Everyone is saying what they’re saying from their level of consciousness and actually there is no need for debate here because everyone totally believes in their truth.
  • Moderator: Well, the debate is not for you guys it is for the people at home . . . 
  • Deepak: Yeah, okay
  • Moderator:  . . .  and they may be learning something

Honestly, at times the arrogance of Chopra and his teammate, “Bishop” Carlton Pearson, was about too much, and I was extremely proud of how Driscoll handled it.  I know myself watching it that I wanted to just blast the deniers side, but in proper Christian charity Driscoll well-represented the message of the gospel and the true love of Christ (which I’m sure some people would have as much trouble believing as Deepak does the devil).

Below I have linked the 10 parts of the full debate off of YouTube.  If you have the time and interest you should check it out.  This is certainly not a question that is going to go away anytime soon.

Part 12, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

Enjoy and please be prepared to join in the debate as well.