Does Satan fear God?

Questions about God, the Bible and the Christian culture

Question: Does Satan fear God?

Answer:  Now, I hate to do this to you… but the answer is both yes and no. It depends on what you mean by fear. If by fear you mean reverence, then no. Satan doesn’t do that. Reverence is a good type of fear that everyone should have.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.” (Psalm 111:10, NIV)

“Now there was a man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people and prayed to God continually.” (Acts 10:1–2, NASB95)

Not only does Satan not fear God in this way, but he also opposes God… which is precisely its opposite.

“Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (Matthew 16:23, NIV)

“The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” (1 John 3:8, NIV)

Satan may be evil and unwise… but he’s not ignorant. He knows better than anyone else in creation who he’s up against… and so do his minions.

“You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.” (James 2:19, NLT)

“In the synagogue there was a man possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, “Let us alone! What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God! (Luke 4:33–34, NASB95)

So, if by fear you mean knowing that you are up against a superior enemy, then yes, Satan fears God in that knowledgeable kind of way. But it’s his pride that keeps him from laying down his arms, so we cannot say that Satan is brave… and that therefore, he is not afraid. It’s just that he is more prideful than he is anything else.

“Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.” (Ezekiel 28:17, NIV)

If by fear you mean that Satan cowers or shies away from a fight, then Satan does not fear God. He has direct access to God, and he’s not afraid to directly challenge him.

“One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.” (Job 1:6–12, NIV)

Satan also tempted Jesus — the Lord of glory.

“and [Jesus] was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.” (Mark 1:13, NIV)

Satan doesn’t seem to be afraid of anybody or anything, including God, so he doesn’t have fear in that respect. In fact, he has the opposite of fear — he has brass. In humans, brass can be fear disguising itself as confidence, but I don’t think that’s true of Satan.

Satan is arguably the most powerful created being. As such, he has no reason to fear anyone below him. But you asked about God… the one being who is above him. Well, Satan looked at God in the eyeball and rebelled against him. That’s foolishness… and that’s a fight he can’t win. But it shows that he has no fear… as does this final word from Isaiah.

“How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit.” (Isaiah 14:12–15, NIV)

I pray that all this helped. God bless you.

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