The idea of belief stands as one of the most universal tenets of Christianity. Every branch of Christendom requires some form of belief in an idea or trust in an idea. The writer of Hebrews explains, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6). One reading through the Bible will not find a single book that does not command or imply belief in God. However, does the Christian, therefore, have to believe in all the adjacent characters associated with God, like the Devil?
Not long ago, a young man asked, “Is it a sin to not believe in the Devil? And what about not believing in Hell, like, you just believe in heaven and that no one goes to Hell because there is no Hell?” It was an interesting question. It never ceases to amaze how the adult and developed mind may overlook some of the most basic inquiries. The world has always been focused on fighting the battle to defend the existence of God and His Word that few have asked if it is a sin to not believe in the Devil. On the surface of this question one might say, “No.” The Bible commands that disciples believe in God and His Son and obey His Word. The Bible does not directly say that one must believe in the Devil to be pleasing to God. However, consider the ramifications and effects of not believing in the Devil and Hell.
If one does not believe in the Devil or Hell, what would this imply in one’s faith? God commands all humanity to believe in Him and obey His Word (Mark 16:16; 2 Thess. 1:8). Christians must believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and that God’s message is the “perfect law of liberty,” and what God includes in the message must be the inerrant truth (1 Tim. 3:16,17; James 1:25; John 17:17). If Satan does not exist, then God has lied to the world by telling people that Satan does exist, and if God lied and His Word is not truth, then why should anyone obey God’s Word? Christ reveals that He was tempted in the desert by Satan (Matt. 4:1-11). God warns Christians that the Devil is the enemy of the faith (1 Peter 5:8; Eph. 6:11; 1 John 3:8-10). God depicts Satan as the one who tempted Adam and Eve (Gen. 3), Job (Job 1:8-9), and all those who fall from the service and admonition of the Lord. John writes, “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother” (1 John 3:10). From the beginning of time, God has been warning and preparing His children against the “wiles of the Devil” (Eph. 6:11).
If one does not believe in the Devil, then one does not believe in all that God has said, which leads to disobedience. Furthermore, if people do not believe in Satan and Hell, then by implication, they would have to believe that no matter what they did, they would not go to Hell because it does not exist. Without a belief in Satan and Hell, one falls into Universalism. In theological usage, Universalism is the doctrine that all human beings—and perhaps all intelligent or volitional beings—will come to final salvation and spend an eternity with God in heaven. Why would anyone repent of their actions if they think that no matter what they do they will go to heaven because it is the only place to go after death. God says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). God further commands, “all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30b). Why obey what God commands or give anytime to the study of His Word if the only place one can go after death is heaven? Christ says, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). Christ also states after the resurrection to the apostles, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15,16). How can people be damned if there is no Hell? Why should people convert the world from darkness if there is no Devil?
Not believing in the Devil and Hell leads to a number of disobediences to God’s Word, which is sin (1 John 3:4). Not believing in what God says, which includes the existence of Satan, is a sin.