How Do We Know Satan Didn’t Corrupt the Bible?

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.


About humblesmith

Christian Apologist & Philosopher
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7 Responses to How Do We Know Satan Didn’t Corrupt the Bible?

  1. The creator of everything is the true God. But people throughout the world custom-make their own gods and worship them. There is Satan, a created angel called Lucifer, who desires to be worshipped, luring the people, showing himself as god with different names to different people. God allows this and gives people the option to choose. Here, we study the Bible to find the maneuvers of Satan.

  2. Hausdorff says:

    “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.”

    I’m not really sure I understand what you are saying here. You seem to be implying that once someone mentions Satan, that character must be exactly as he is described in the bible. I think the question asked in your title includes the possibility that Satan has influenced his own depiction in the bible. Perhaps he has made it so that things are written in such a way that it appears he has less power than he actually does.

    To put it more simply, why couldn’t the collection of verses you cited be among the verses that Satan himself has corrupted? Forgive me if you answered this already, if so it apparently bounced off of my brain.

    • humblesmith says:

      As posed at the front of the post, the question from some critics is that the Bible depicts Satan as someone who influences the church and inserts thoughts into mens’ minds. The claim is that this is what the Bible teaches. The post simply refutes this using the Bible. If someone were to say that we cannot quote the Bible to answer the question, suggesting the Bible is inaccurate, then the Bible would also be inaccurate to quote for the original question. If we pose the possibility that Satan had corrupted the verses I quoted, then it’s also possible Satan corrupted the verses used to pose the original question, and the problem posed by the question would disappear.

      In other words, the person asking the question is saying that the Bible is accurate enough about Satan to pose the question, but not accurate enough about Satan to give an answer, a position that is arbitrary at best, and in fact a logical fallacy.

      • Hausdorff says:

        Ahh yes, I see. I slightly misread the initial question. I agree with you, given this question I think referencing the bible is legitimate.

        I do think there are related questions for which referencing the bible would be a little harder to justify. But that’s probably a question for another day as it would seem to be out of the scope of this post.

  3. eensrds says:

    If Satan corrupted the Bible, he didn’t do a very good job of it. Scripture portrays his successes as limited and his failures as being colossal and irreversible. Not the account a prideful creature would care to give of himself.

  4. William says:

    So, explain this:

    The very nature of an all powerful God, and His antithesis in the form of Satan, presupposes a struggle. Which presupposes moves and counter-moves.

    So, putting yourself in the shoes of Satan (who is oft-mentioned as the great deceiver, and silver-tongued), how would you go about accomplishing your goal of ruining humanity’s chance at salvation?

    If I were the Devil, I’d circulate a book loosely inspired by truths (the best lies always have a basis in truth), and proclaim it to be the word of my Enemy. If anyone believes it, they’re lost. If they don’t, I’ve lost nothing. And history has shown us people are gullible. We fall for cons ask the time.

    So what is to prevent this from being a reality? If my, mere mortal and 27 year old, brain can come up with this, what’s to stop Satan from doing something similar? Or something worse?

    Now, I feel it necessary to also add that I am a firm believer in God, Jesus, and the fundamental truths of the Bible. I’d die for God tomorrow if He asked me to. But I’m interested in the response. Nobody I’ve posed the question to has had a good response. Just a simple, “Have faith.”

    • humblesmith says:

      All too often the church has indeed shied away from answering questions, falling back on a misunderstanding of faith.

      Part of your question claimed that Saran is an antithesis of God and that there is a struggle between them. This a myth born in popular culture and not supported by the Bible.

      As the post mentions, the Bible teaches that God is in complete control of Satan, who can do nothing without God’s permission. In Job 1 and 2, Satan appears to have no choice in whether to appear before God, and God twice limits exactly what Satan is allowed to do. Then near the end of Luke, Satan has to ask permission to sift Peter. Further, God commands Satan in Genesis 3 and near the end of Revelation. Clearly, the Bible presents God in complete control and there is no struggle.

      Theology confirms this when it demonstrates that God is infinite and Satan finite. Thus God is infinitely more powerful than any created being.

      To the question of what prevents your scenario from being a reality, we can be assured it is not. First, as the post quotes Jesus in speaking to the twelve disciples, God the Holy Spirit caused them to remember accurate words of Jesus. Second, we have hard evidence to show that the apostles words have been copied accurately. Third, just speculating that something might happen does not prove that it has, so this theory would have to come up with some evidence to show it credible before we can consider it to be viable.

      So these several lines of reasoning show that your speculation is not possible.

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