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I did not need to see Satan's face in the picture of the billowing smoke pouring out of the gashed side of the World Trade Censer to know that he had something to do with this horrific event. Whether the image of the smirking face that appeared in the AP and CNN pictures was a manifestation of Satan's visage or not, I know that he is capable of inspiring all manner of catastrophic evil.

In the book of Revelation, he is called "the destroyer" -- Apollyon in Greek and Abaddon in Hebrew (Rev. 9:13). Jesus himself said in a veiled reference to Satan that "the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy" (John 10:10). The evil one has a long history of prompting the hearts of men and women to be enraged, to do violence, and to destroy life. In fact, Satan was directly involved in the most outrageous death in human history -- the crucifixion of the Lord of glory (Luke 22:3 ; John 3:27).

Although the evil one is intent on promoting physical violence and death, his primary mission is actually one of much greater consequence. Satan wants to do all that he can do to thwart the redemptive purposes of God in the world. In 2 Corinthians 4:4, Paul says, "the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." His number one objective is to keep people away from the saving love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord -- and this has eternal consequences. This is really the heart of spiritual warfare. This is also precisely why prayer is so important in outreach and evangelism. Satan works to keep people from comprehending and responding to the good news of the gospel. Thus, spiritual warfare is more a way of viewing life -- a worldview -- rather than a specialized ministry of the church.

As the Apostle Paul makes so abundantly clear in his letters, struggle with the evil one is also acharacteristic part of the life of every Christian in his or her effort to please and obey the give up on us. His goal is to re-enslave us into a life of sinful disobedience against God, thus nullifying the level of impact we can have on the world for the cause of Jesus Christ. The great news of the Scripture, however, is "greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world" (1 John 4:4).

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This article originally appeared in Bio Connections, Winter 2002, pages 16-19, and is reprinted with the author’s permission.

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