From Hebrews 2:14-15,

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death - that is, the devil - and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

I'm sure I've seen this mentioned elsewhere in scripture as well, but what I don't recall is why. Is it ever stated why Satan was given power or control over the death of humans?

  • IMHO, this is more of a hermeneutics question as you have to understand what Judaism understood of death and the devil at the time to have a complete answer. Jan 15, 2014 at 14:01

2 Answers 2


Goodness exists. Evil is not an object, it exists only as the negation of Good. Evil cannot create, it is a name for destruction. For instance, punching a stranger is bad because it would negate his happiness and his comfort (somewhat!)...but neither the fist, the motion, nor his face exist as evil objects. (Augustus felt this way- and the very great Mr CS Lewis agreed). The sum of all goodness is in God. Lucifer rebelled against God, so rebelled against goodness, so rebelled against creation. His is none-creation. His, therefore, is death. All who follow Satan follow true death because they have removed themselves from 'being'. All who follow God die to be raised in a perfected creation of goodness.

  • Would it be fair to summarize this as because death is bad, it can't belong in God's dominion as He is only good?
    – Yuck
    Jan 15, 2014 at 17:58
  • Well, death is only bad if it's 'true death'- God created our existence and He holds existence as holy; He wants us to live forever. However, our sin was rebelling against His Creation; to remove our sin's 'debt' (to weighty for us to move ourselves) God took the fall Himself by becoming a man (Jesus) and dying for our sins. Of course He died (and from that point, we died) only to be ressurected, having chosen to follow God/Good/Creation and, because our sins were removed, able to live forever.
    – Sehnsucht
    Jan 15, 2014 at 18:35
  • So death is used by God to create ultimate Good (God alone can bring creation from Darkness). Utter emptiness and nonexistence are the Devil's because he chose to rebel against Creation.
    – Sehnsucht
    Jan 15, 2014 at 18:36
  • Right, sorry, when I say death I meant the death that is association with Satan. Not earthly death followed by resurrection through Christ.
    – Yuck
    Jan 15, 2014 at 18:36
  • 1
    I would say everything is God's dominion but 'everything' exists. I suggest the term 'death' is objectifying an abstract: nothingness/lack of anything. We often do this (see death as the Grim reaper or some personification) as 'nothingness' is impossible to imagine. Even the void of 'space' exist...the colour black (my favourite) EXISTS. God created and owns existence. What He doesn't own is what ISN'T anything, because that's nothing to own. He doesn't lack it because it's not anything. Satan's all for it because he hates existence but the Devil has no dominion because he owns Nothing.
    – Sehnsucht
    Jan 15, 2014 at 18:50

By sin we make ourselves the slave of the devil, and thus of death.

Romans 6:16 (DRB) Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are whom you obey, whether it be of sin unto death, or of obedience unto [righteousness]?

Wisdom 2:23-25 (DRB) For God created man incorruptible, and to the image of his own likeness he made him. 24 But by the envy of the devil, death came into the world: 25 And they follow him that are of his side.

It's not so much that the devil has an intrinsic right to control over anyone, but that people relinquish it to him by means of their following his ways, which can only lead to hell, and away from Life.

Genesis 4:6-7 (DRB) And the Lord said to him: Why art thou angry? and why is thy countenance fallen? 7 If thou do well, shalt thou not receive? but if ill, shall not sin forthwith be present at the door? but the lust thereof shall be under thee, and thou shalt have dominion over it.

Romans 6:12 (DRB) Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, so as to obey the lusts thereof.

When one aligns themselves with sin, the devil is given power over them by none other than God, since by their sin, they have consented to his rebellion, and he has become their "father:"

John 8:33-44 (DRB) They answered him: We are the seed of Abraham, and we have never been slaves to any man: how sayest thou: you shall be free? 34 Jesus answered them: Amen, amen I say unto you: that whosoever committeth sin, is the servant of sin. 35 Now the servant abideth not in the house for ever; but the son abideth for ever. 36 If therefore the son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed. 37 I know that you are the children of Abraham: but you seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. 38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and you do the things that you have seen with your father. 39 They answered, and said to him: Abraham is our father. Jesus saith to them: If you be the children of Abraham, do the works of Abraham. 40 But now you seek to kill me, a man who have spoken the truth to you, which I have heard of God. This Abraham did not. 41 You do the works of your father. They said therefore to him: We are not born of fornication: we have one Father, even God. 42 Jesus therefore said to them: If God were your Father, you would indeed love me. For from God I proceeded, and came; for I came not of myself, but he sent me: 43 Why do you not know my speech? Because you cannot hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and he stood not in the truth; because truth is not in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof.

To sin is to be the slave of sin. And the devil is the originator of sin. If you don't love God, you will feel the hate of Satan. There is no middle ground.

Proverbs 8:36 (DRB) But he that shall sin against me, shall hurt his own soul. All that hate me love death.

To love sin, is to hate God. To hate God is to love death. To love death is to love the father of death, the devil, and so fall under his dominion, as is a fitting fate.

Death entered the world through disobedience to God, and moreover, obedience to the serpent. It is fitting that he has control over all who likewise chose death over God.

Genesis 2:16-17; 4:1-6 (DRB) 16 And he commanded him, saying: Of every tree of paradise thou shalt eat: 17 But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat. For in what day soever thou shalt eat of it, thou shalt die the death. ...

1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any of the beasts of the earth which the Lord God made. And he said to the woman: Why hath God commanded you, that you should not eat of every tree of paradise? 2 And the woman answered him, saying: Of the fruit of the trees that are in paradise we do eat: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat; and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die. 4 And the serpent said to the woman: No, you shall not die the death. 5 For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil. 6 And the woman saw that the tree was good to eat, and fair to the eyes, and delightful to behold: and she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave to her husband who did eat.

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