Can Satan the Devil Read (Know) the Thoughts of the Human Mind?

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Edward D. Andrews
EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored ninety-two books. Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).

Of course, we cannot be dogmatic about this, but we can infer from the Scriptures and draw a conclusion based on reason and logic that neither Satan nor his demon rebels can read our thoughts.

Take a moment and consider the descriptive names ascribed to Satan. He is called [Heb. sa·tan; Gr. sa·ta·nas] translated Satan meaning (Resister), [Gr. di·abo·los] translated Devil meaning (Slanderer), [Heb., na·chash; Gr., ophis] translated Serpent, which is synonymous with (Deceiver), [Gr. peirazō)] translated Tempter meaning to test, and [pseustes] translated Liar meaning a person who repeatedly conveys false or deceptive information. (Job 1:6; Matt. 4:3; John 8:44; 2 Cor. 11:3; Rev. 12:9) None of these descriptive names indicate or suggest that Satan has the powers to read our minds.

Then, we look to our heavenly Father Jehovah and his Son, Jesus Christ. In the Hebrew Old Testament, the Father is described as one who “tests hearts” (Prov. 17:3; 1 Chron. 29:17), which means he examines the heart, with the heart being used figuratively as the center of a person’s thoughts (mind). Again, it says of the Father that he “looks on the heart” (1 Sam 16:7), which also informs us that Jehovah sees what is in our hearts, namely, in our thoughts (mind). “And there is no creature hidden from his [the Father’s] sight,” declares Hebrews 4:13, “but all things are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must give an account.” Few Christians would be surprised that the Father has the ability to examine hearts, that is read (know) the thoughts of the human mind. The Son, Jesus also has the ability to read (know) the thoughts of the human mind. he resurrected Jesus declared: “I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.” – Revelation 2:23.

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There is no Scripture in the entirety of the Bible that says Satan the Devil has the ability to examine human hearts and read or know human thoughts (mind). Bible critics would say that we are using the fallacy of arguing from silence, (Latin: argumentum ex silentio), where one expresses a conclusion that is based on the absence of statements in historical documents (the Bible in our case), rather than their presence. The Bible critic would partially correct if that were our only evidence, but we are told by the inspired apostle Paul, who is reassuring us that Christians “are not ignorant of [Satan’s] designs.” (2 Cor. 2:11) Thus, we can infer from Paul’s words that if Satan has the ability to know our thoughts, a very serious power indeed, we would have been made aware of this. In Scripture, we were made aware of the rebel angels having the ability to materialize in human form before the flood, a power that they lost after the flood. We were made aware of demon possession. Certainly, a power such as the ability to know what humans are thinking would be made known to us since God by way of Paul says that we “are not ignorant of [Satan’s] designs.”

Now, we are not to say that Satan does not have the ability to discern our weaknesses and vulnerabilities, as he does. Humans live a lifespan of 80-90-years and Satan has been observing human behavior for well over 6,000 years, along with his tens of millions of his demon rebel angels. Each faithful human can be watched individually throughout their lives. While reading minds would be better, watching every second of our pattern of behavior is a close second. He knows the entertainment we prefer when in public and when in private. He knows exactly how long we look at something. He sees every single facial expression we make about every single action and interaction, which largely conveys what we are thinking. If Google, Amazon, and Facebook track our every move to market to us exactly what we desire by watching us from a distance, imagine a demon watching you up close and personal.

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Satan is of far higher intelligence than all imperfect humans that have ever lived. Just as he used his craftiness in the Garden of Eden with Eve, lies, deception, and misinformation, he has been using it all along with us. (Gen. 3:1-5) Google is the most powerful internet entity in the world because 67.6 percent of all searches are done on Google. They can easily influence how we think by using algorithms to put before us certain information. While Satan cannot read minds, Christians need to be concerned about what thoughts Satan is putting into their minds. (1 Tim. 6:5) The Deceiver wants Christians to be “men [and women] of depraved mind and deprived of the truth.  (1 Tim. 6:5) Satan’s world is inundated with morally corrupt information and entertainment. If Christians are to survive the air of deception and the moral decay that surrounds them, they must not “be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Christians must “think so as to have a sound mind.” (Rom. 12:2-3) Sound in Mind: (Gr. sophroneo) This means to be of sound mind or in one’s right mind, i.e., to have understanding about practical matters and thus be able to act sensibly, ‘to have sound judgment, to be sensible, to use good sense, sound judgment.’–Acts 26:25; Romans 12:3; 2 Timothy 1:7; Titus 2:6; 1 Peter 4:7

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Christians also must protect their minds with “the helmet of salvation.” (Eph. 6:17) The helmet of salvation pictures the Roman soldier’s metal protective headgear. It does not refer to our salvation in Christ. First Thessalonians speaks of the helmet of the “hope of salvation,” which is probably a parallel idea. That being the case, taking the helmet of salvation could be understood as resting our hope in the future and living in this world according to the value system of the next.

While Satan is a very powerful enemy with tens of millions of demonic rebel angels, we need not have a morbid fear of him and his henchmen. James 4:7 assures us: “Oppose the Devil, and he will flee from you.” If Christians pay attention to this counsel, they too will be able to declare, like Jesus, that Satan has no hold on us.​ – John 14:30.

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