The Devil Made Me Do It?

Stan Mast

READ : Genesis 3:1-6

Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden”? (v. 1 NIV)

Can we say that doubt comes from the devil as he takes our experiences of God’s mystery and turns them into doubt? Some Christians are sure of that, but in fact the Bible never says that the devil is behind all doubt. Jesus makes no mention of Satan in the Luke 24 story.

However, Genesis 3 strongly suggests that the devil does work to raise doubt. His very first gambit in luring humans away from God was to sow the seeds of doubt about God and his Word: “Did God really say . . . ?” Eve argues, but the seed of doubt is sown along with death. No wonder Jesus called Satan the “father of lies.”

James 1 is relevant here. After encouraging us to ask for wisdom without doubting, James talks about temptation, which according to Genesis 3 comes from the devil. The devil’s work in temptation can indeed induce doubt in our minds. But we can’t say, “The devil made me do it,” because both Genesis 3 and James 1 say that human desire and choice play a key role in the decision to doubt and disobey. Attributing all doubt to the devil is simplistic and harmful, because it ignores us.

James does have good advice for us: “God opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble. Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (4:6-7).

PRAYER

Jesus, give me the grace to resist the subtle work of the devil and submit to you in faith. Amen.