Essays toward a Theology of Beauty Part II: Satan Is Ugly -- By: F. Duane Lindsey

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 131:523 (Jul 1974)
Article: Essays toward a Theology of Beauty Part II: Satan Is Ugly
Author: F. Duane Lindsey

Essays toward a Theology of Beauty
Part II:
Satan Is Ugly

F. Duane Lindsey

[F. Duane Lindsey, Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary.]

“Satan is alive and well…” in the Protestant church. In fact, Satan could easily be mistaken for an orthodox believer! Satan believes in the inspiration and inerrancy of Holy Scripture. He knows about the sovereign person and purpose of the triune God. He accepts the reality and activity of supernatural beings—both good and evil. Further, Satan recognizes the sinfulness and folly of creatures called man, and he is aware of the possibility of man’s transferral from the kingdom of darkness to God’s kingdom of light through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Satan acknowledges the reality of the church, the body of Christ (which is a special object of his deceptive attack). Finally, though he tries to deny it, he recognizes the ultimate overthrow of his program to usurp the Messianic kingdom.

Do you still question that Satan holds orthodox beliefs? If the demons are monotheists (James 2:19 indicates that they believe in one God and tremble), then what is so shocking to view Satan as a Bible believer?

However, on the other hand, Satan is not at all like a true Bible believer, for he has failed to act upon what he knows; his belief has not affected his behavior. In fact, the great deceptiveness which characterizes Satan’s behavior seems to have backfired to the extent that the greatest deception of Satan is that which he has put over on himself, having convinced himself that in some way he might actually thwart the purpose and plan of God.

Thus, appearances are deceiving: though Satan may believe like even an evangelical Christian, he does not at all behave like one.

Appearances can be deceiving in another way, too, for though Satan was beautiful by creation, and can still even in his fallen state manifest himself as an angel of light, all glorious and beautiful, so that all too many tend to be deceived into thinking that “Satan is beautiful,” the opposite is really true: “Satan is ugly!” He is hideous! Rather than being characterized by the wholeness or integrity, the balanced proportion, and the glorious splendor of beauty,1 he is characterized by the deceptiveness, distortion, and despicability of ugliness.

Satan is ugly! He is ugly not because he is a red monster with two horns, a pronged tail and a pitchfork, nor because he may have had the contents of Martin Luther’s proverbial inkwell splattered all over him! Satan is...

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