Satan the liar or truth teller?

Satan the liar or truth teller?

In this post I would like to talk about one verse and its application to the book of Genesis.

John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

What does it mean when it says that there is “no truth in him”?  Does this mean that Satan is incapable of telling the truth?  If Satan is incapable of telling the truth is Genesis 3:5 a lie?

Genesis 3:5  “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

We have God telling us in Genesis 3:22

Genesis 3:22 Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; …”

Is there any difference between what Satan said and what God said?

Before I tell you what I think, I would like to know what you think.  How do you reconcile Jesus’ words that say that there is no truth in Satan and the words in Genesis 3:5 compared to Genesis 3:22?

Next post we will discuss more answers.

19 thoughts on “Satan the liar or truth teller?

  1. “What does it mean when it says that there is ‘no truth in him’? Does this mean that Satan is incapable of telling the truth? If Satan is incapable of telling the truth is Genesis 3:5 a lie?”

     Isn’t it true that most false teaching has some truth mixed in or most would see it as false right away? (A little leaven)
    ‘No truth in him’ may refer to his intentions which are to deceive us. He is also referred to as an angel of light, right?
    This is very interesting. I am looking forward to your teaching on this.

  2. He also told the truth when he quoted scripture to Jesus in the wilderness.

    I think Jesus was simply using common Hebrew hyperbole when he said there was no truth in Satan, but on the other hand, that even when Satan uses truth, it is for the purpose of deception. That’s also why so many are falling into “every wind of doctrine” in the churches; if it has a smidgen of truth they think it must be of God.

  3. Thanks Lin and Paula for responding.  I think you both will find my next post very interesting.

    Any other thoughts?  My further question would be, if Satan distorts the truth so that part of the statement is true and part a twist, can anyone see where the twist is?

    If Jesus was simply using common Hebrew hyperbole when he said there was no truth in Satan, wouldn’t that make Jesus to be a liar?  I think we can agree that quoting scripture is not Satan’s words so that wouldn’t qualify.  What Satan does in twisting God’s word is “helicopter” the verse out of its context and in that way he twists God’s word.  But when he speaks of God not as a quote but of his own words is it possible for this to be truth since Jesus said there is no truth in him?

    Again, I am trying to push people to think through this one for themselves before I give my answer.  Thinking caps on for this one 🙂

  4. ‘What does it mean when it says that there is “no truth in him”?  Does this mean that Satan is incapable of telling the truth?’ 

    No, it does not mean that he is incapable of speaking the truth. He spoke quoted scripture to Jesus.

    ‘If Satan is incapable of telling the truth is Genesis 3:5 a lie?’

    Genesis 3:5  “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”’

    Their eyes did open. 3:7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked.’

    ‘We have God telling us in Genesis 3:22

    Genesis 3:22 Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; …”

    Is there any difference between what Satan said and what God said?’

    Um, I’m not sure. Does the Holy Spirit know good and evil? That doesn’t sound right. Now you’ve got me thinking. It appears that there is a difference between ‘you will be like God’ from ‘has become like one of Us.’ Was Jesus born knowing good and evil because he put on the flesh? Yes, I think so. The sin nature from what I understand (which Jesus did not have) is different from knowing good and evil because they both sinned but the sin nature is passed on through the man, Adam. At the time God spoke here in Genesis Jesus had not put on the flesh yet. Did the man become like the Word? Did the man become like God (Trinity, One), or did the man become like the Holy Spirit? ‘Like one of Us’. What does that mean?

    I wish I had all the answers! I am uncomfortable not knowing the answers or being unable to understand.

    ‘Before I tell you what I think, I would like to know what you think.  How do you reconcile Jesus’ words that say that there is no truth in Satan and the words in Genesis 3:5 compared to Genesis 3:22?’
    John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

    The devil’s desires are linked to being a murderer, not standing in the truth because there is no truth in him. Therefore he desires NOT to speak the truth when it leaves his lips like when he quoted scripture to Jesus, so if truth leaves his mouth it’s because of his desire to murder, not stand in the truth. So when he speaks it is not out of desire for telling the truth.

    Can’t wait to get a better understanding!

  5. ‘I think we can agree that quoting scripture is not Satan’s words so that wouldn’t qualify. ‘

    Whoa! Uh, I’m floored! Excellent!

  6.  What Satan does in twisting God’s word is “helicopter” the verse out of its context and in that way he twists God’s word. 

    Yes, what I fogot to also say in my first post was that he put some of the truth in a context that is not the truth.

    And we cannot say that he quoted scripture there in Gen 3!

  7. Pinklight,

    I am very impressed!  You are working on thinking through this passage and reasoning from other scriptures as well.  You are right in that Satan was not quoting scripture in Genesis 3.  You have come a long way in your desire to understand scripture and to work hard to push through for understanding.  I am proud of you.

    I am proud of all of you too who read this blog and persist in studying to show yourself approved a workman that needeth not to be ashamed.  Good going.  I am so glad I decided to post this one before I gave the answer.  It is encouraging me to see people trying to think this one through.

  8. I have been reading your last post 1 sentence at a time and then responding.

    ‘But when he speaks of God not as a quote but of his own words is it possible for this to be truth since Jesus said there is no truth in him?’

    Not possible. The only time the truth can leave his mouth is when he is quoting scripture. Whoa!

  9. I know not to trust satan and my non-trust extends to not thinking he needs to be consistent with my understanding of logic. 

    There are logic puzzles where an island is inhabited by 2 types of people, those that always tell the truth and those that always lie, one can ask a tricky question such as “If I were to ask you about this, what would you say?”  The truth teller tells the truth and the liar lies about the lie he would say and so tells the truth in the puzzle.  But I do not think satan is limited in this way.

    Another way to think of it is the evidence of satan is to be ignored, one cannot rely on it one way or the other.

  10. Don,
    A very good comment about the evidence of satan is to be ignored.  It certainly cannot be relied on. 

    I also think that we can learn from satan’s lies to see where Eve was deceived.  His evidence of course disqualifies him from being any kind of truthful witness, but his evidence will help us to see Eve’s temptation and her ultimate fall as she was deceived by his words.  The bible says that we are not unaware of his schemes.  We need to be aware of how he works and how he twists so that we recognize the “signature of satan” whenever we see the twists and lies.  Those who practice this sin (not those who sin and then repent) are following after the father of lies.

  11. First, a look at context from an interlinear, and it shows me a chiasm:

    A. You cannot hear my word
    X. You are like your father, Satan, the liar
    A’. You do not believe me because I speak truth.

    The literal rendering of 8:44 in Greek:

    you out of the father the slanderer are, and the desires of the father of you you are willing to do; that one murderer was from beginning, and in the truth not stands, that not is truth in him; whenever he may speak the lie out of the own he speaks, that liar he is and the father of it

    [the word “nature” isn’t there; just had to tease you about that, Cheryl! ]

    While we have to extrapolate what “truth is not in him” entails, we should also contrast it with Jesus being Truth itself.

    And another question is: Does God really “know evil”? If Jesus is Truth, can he “know” lies? In other words, did the serpent really say a truth when he said “like God, knowing good and evil“?

    Certainly God is omniscient, but in what sense did the serpent mean “to know”? Knowledge about, or an experience within?

  12. On the specific question, one needs to know what is meant by “knowing good and evil” and there are various answers I have seen.
    1. The Law tells us how to know what is good and what is evil.
    2. Everything is either good or evil, so this is a reference to knowing everything.
    There are other possibilities.

  13. There is a difference between truth and correct facts. Satan has correct facts, but he does not possess the truth. Truth is deeper than words.

    To me, it seems like splitting hairs and being too literal-minded. The Bible is full of seeming contradictions, but i really don’t think this is one of them. Especially since the original language and translation factors are not being considered.

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