Who Is the Father of Lies According to the Bible?
- Jessica Brodie Contributing Writer
- 2021 17 Feb
"You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." John 8:44
God claims many names, from Elohim, Jehovah, Yahweh, and Adonai to the far more complex. He’s been called the Great I Am (Exodus 3:13-14) to El Shaddai/Lord God Almighty (Genesis 17:1) to the Alpha and the Omega Who Is, and Who Was, and Who Is to Come (Revelation 1:8). His name is synonymous with truth, power, love, goodness, and light.
In fact, God always speaks the truth. Scripture promises us His words can be trusted completely. Titus 1:2 assures us God does not lie, while Hebrews 6:18 says God cannot lie—indeed, that it is “impossible” for God to lie. That is one reason why God makes it so clear throughout the Bible that we mean what we say and keep our oaths—if we wish to be children of God, we are to honor God by doing His will. Upholding the truth is one way we can shine God’s light in the world. Given that God epitomizes good and truth, their opposites have no place with Him. Those who do evil and who lie are not doing the will of God the Father.
In fact, Jesus tells us, those people do not have God as their Father but rather another father—the father of lies. Who is the father of lies according to the Bible? Jesus tells us unequivocally the father of lies is the devil, also known as Satan.
What Does the Bible Say about Lying?
A lying tongue is “detestable” to God (Proverbs 6:17), and it is among one of the Ten Commandments that we should not lie (Exodus 20:16). Psalm 101:7 says, “No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence” (NIV), and Colossians 3:9 reminds us, “Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices.” Lying is considered to be evil and not “of God,” who represents truth. Jesus tells us He is “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6), and telling the truth is one way we can represent Jesus in the world.
Who Is the Father of Lies according to the Bible?
God epitomizes goodness and truth, and Jesus in no uncertain terms says that He comes from God, His Father. But those who oppose Him and utter lies have a different father, Jesus says in John 8. Their father is the devil, the father of lies. In this passage, a group of Jews are opposing Jesus, yet insisting they are children of Abraham (John 8:39) and that the only father they have is God Himself (8:41). But Jesus says in return that while they might be descendants of Abraham, they are not Abraham’s children, nor are they children of God.
As Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:42-44).
Further, Jesus said, whoever belongs to God hears what God says, but “the reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God” (John 8:47). The devil is a tricky, clever evil one, hence the name “father of lies.” Not only did he deceive Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3), but when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness in Matthew 4, he used a twisted, misquoted version of Scripture to try to get Jesus to do his bidding. This Scripture-twisting is not only done by the devil but his workers on earth.
In his second letter to the early church in Corinth, the apostle Paul addresses certain “false apostles” and “deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ.”
“No wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light,” Paul writes. “It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
What Is the Danger of Lying and Why Should We Avoid It?
Lying is an act of betrayal, not love. We are commanded to love God foremost and then to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40), but when we lie, we’re not living in accordance with love. Lying leads to dissension and corruption, and Proverbs 25:18 warns that a liar is much like “a war club, or a sword, or a sharp arrow,” an instrument of hate that brings destruction and death. There are a few key reasons not to lie.
- First, God tells us not to do it (Exodus 20:1).
- Second, those who lie will eventually be found out. As it says in Luke 8:17, “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”
- Third, God will not deal kindly with liars. Punishment awaits those who deceive (Psalm 12:2-6, Proverbs 19:9, Proverbs 21:6, Revelation 21:7-8).
When we lie, we turn from God and turn toward the devil. But if we are followers of Christ, we should commit ourselves to doing good, telling the truth, and living righteously.
What about White Lies?
Of course, sometimes we might want to tell a small, seemingly trivial lie to spare someone’s feelings or avoid embarrassment. These are termed “white lies,” and some people think they don’t rate as a “real lie.” But trust is important. We trust God’s promises, and we make crucial decisions based on the truths we believe. We wouldn’t want to think God was telling us a seemingly trivial lie just to make us feel better; then how would we know which of His truths to believe?
It’s the same with God’s people. Lying is lying, whether it’s a “big” or a “small” lie. God calls us to be honest and truthful. He tells us not to lie. If we are being obedient, we will heed His commands. In a world where we cannot always trust what we see or hear, it’s a genuine comfort to know we can count on God for the truth. As His children, we must do the same and hold fast to truth.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/stevanovicigor
Jessica Brodie is an award-winning Christian novelist, journalist, editor, blogger, and writing coach and the recipient of the 2018 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award for her novel, The Memory Garden. She is also the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism. Learn more about her fiction and read her faith blog at jessicabrodie.com. She has a weekly YouTube devotional, too. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and more. She’s also produced a free eBook, A God-Centered Life: 10 Faith-Based Practices When You’re Feeling Anxious, Grumpy, or Stressed.
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