Another in an intermittent series of questions about the Bible that have reasonable answers.
Question: Isn’t it true that Satan has a presence in the church? Is it true that Satan causes people to have impure thoughts? If this is true, how do we know whether Satan affected the thinking of the people who were writing the Bible?
Answer: This is partially true, but requires an explanation of how the Bible was inspired.
It is true that Satan has a presence on the earth, as Satan admits in Job 1:6. It is also true that Satan can influence people’s thoughts. In Acts 5:3, the apostle Peter asks a man named Ananias, “Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?” Further, 1 Peter 5:8 tells us Satan prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. So Satan is on the earth, is active, and influences people’s thoughts.
As to whether Satan “causes people to have impure thoughts,” this can be possible, but in the category of impure thoughts, people seem to do well enough on their own without needing Satan’s help. The Bible gives an accurate summation of the human condition in Genesis 6:5, “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
However, it is not true that Satan can indwell or dominate a Christian. In Matthew 24:24, speaking of the end times when Satan will be very active, gives us a clue as to Satan’s limits. Jesus says “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.” So it would seem from this that, at least as far as critical issues are concerned, that God’s chosen elect cannot be deceived. Further, speaking of the Antichrist who deceives, we are told in 1 John 4:4 that “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
But more specifically to the question, it is not possible that Satan could have put impure thoughts into the writers of the Bible, such that the Bible would be corrupted. First, God has complete control over Satan’s actions and can stop him at any point. In Job 1 and 2, we find God in complete control over how far Satan can go. This is supported in Luke 22:31, where Jesus tells Simon Peter that Satan had to ask permission to attack Peter. Therefore if God wanted to protect the mind of certain chosen people, He can. Second, Jesus tells us that God the Holy Spirit will directly influence the minds of the apostles, who were the writers of the Bible. In John 14:26, Jesus, the night before He died, told His apostles “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” So Jesus claimed that God Himself would inspire the thoughts of the Bible writers. Third, the Bible goes even further, claiming that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16), meaning that the very words of the Bible are breathed out by God. Fourth, many passages of the Bible are direct quotes of God, and do not come from the mind of the human writer. There are enough direct quotes of God to corroborate the other writings in the Bible, which are proven trustworthy.
The critic may claim that this is quoting the Bible to prove the Bible, but this shows a fundamental logical fallacy. The question was about what Satan can do to the mind, and the question depends on teachings found in the Bible to make its point. The very context of the question assumes a Biblical teaching and worldview; if the Bible is denied, the question falls also, and the criticism is destroyed.
Since the Bible is found trustworthy, we can be confident that the Bible is the words that God gave us.