We read in the Book of Job that the Devil received permission from God to torment Job, and that God obliged the Devil to spare his life.

The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life." (Job 2:6)

According to Catholicism is it at all possible for the Devil to kill someone? If yes are there any historical examples of this being done, either directly or indirectly as through an exorcism or diabolic possession?

  • It happens all the time when someone commits a murder. Satan blinds human's intellect to commit any kind of sin that can lead to someone else's death.
    – Grasper
    Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 18:14
  • rationalwiki.org/wiki/…
    – 007
    Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 14:46
  • Didn't Satan arrange for Job's children to be killed? Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 19:38

2 Answers 2


Matthew 10:28, New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE), says:

"Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell."

Incidentally, Mark 5:11–13 narrates an incident where the devil kills animals after possessing them:

"Now there on the hillside a great herd of swine was feeding; and the unclean spirits begged him, “Send us into the swine; let us enter them.” So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and were drowned in the sea."

It is only natural that the devil is able to do similar thing to human beings. Whether he needs to obtain permission from the Lord of Life for doing such an action, as is mentioned in the case of Job, and even in the case of swines, is a matter of further discussion.


According to Catholicism, is it possible for the Devil to kill someone?

Yes! But Satan and his demons after receiving the severe punishment in the Garden of Eden would never dare do it again.

We see from the accounts of the Fall of Man, Satan had caused the death of Adam and Eve spiritually on that instant or on that day as the Lord said it to Adam.

Not only that, immortality was lost and physical death enters humanity.

Did Satan celebrated his victory in the Garden? No! Because as we all knew Adam represents the whole of humanity and his punishment was inherited by all men. How about the demons? Satan represents all the demons too in the Garden of Eden. After the Fall of Angels from rebellion. We can see their arrogance is at it's peak and their PRIDE is all over their head, meaning their intellect was darkened and their actions was fired furiously with rage.This was the first condition when Satan enters the Garden full of pride & rebellion. Satan envied Adam and Eve and with full of hatred declares blatant opposition to God's plan.

We can conclude that Satan is out in the Garden of Eden doesn't want to be restricted although His actions is permitted we knew that God permissive WILL is in control. But, the question is, is Satan willing to submit to God Permissive Will? Let's take a look.

We see from Exekiel 28:13 that Lucifer although cast out from Heavenly realms retain it's God given perfection & gifts. The splendor of beauty intact.

"You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, Was in you. On the day that you were created They were prepared. "

According to Church Father belief that angels who rebels is not punish by God to set an example to the rest of the Angels to serve God not out of fear but LOVE and not to compel them to serve God out of fear.

What is the punishment of Satan in the Garden of Eden? Genesis 3:14

"The Lord God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat all the days of your life;"

We can see from passages Satan received not only severe punishment but cursed, while Adam although disobey God's command was not cursed but merited only punishment and the Mercy of God was shown by giving their coverings.

What does this imply?

Satan committed an "excessive act" contrary to what God had prescribed him to do in testing the obedience of Adam and Eve. As God implied clearly by His Words "because you have done this"

I already tried to expound this on other thread to show that the Serpent had beguiled Eve in "touching the fruit first".And so Eve tried to defend herself from the allurement by saying the excess words out of defense "even touching is forbidden". Just to emphasize the scene in imagery of Blessed Duns Scotus mystical approach to reflections.

The CURSED of the SERPENT clearly indicates an IMPAIRMENT on the perfection of beauty and lessening of the POWERS by Satan or freedom to act powerfully. And Satan as the representative of demons imparted the punishment to all the rebel angels and their angelic beauty turns into horror.

This can be further attested in the Book of Job as the verse you qouted above implied a cautious and Tamed Serpent in the person of Satan, not anymore willing to go beyond the limits again.And so he clearly follows what God had set.

The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life." (Job 2:6)

As St. Augustine states " If God has not restricted the actions of the devils, no man will be alive"...

As CCC states Satan is the "ape of God", He must do and follows God bidding only, and so we rest in peace knowing that everything that it's thrown against us is under God's Permissive Will and had a corresponding Fruits or Good Promise in Romans 8:28 King James Version (KJV)

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

  • 1
    Can you demonstrate that this is actually the view of Roman Catholicism, and not just your own interpretation of these texts? Commented Apr 23, 2018 at 19:41
  • @Nathaniel which particular part of the answer you want me to support?I used Blessed John Duns Scotus way in contemplating bible narratives.As the "WILL is primary over the intellect" pondering the Word of God and bible events in the heart is Mama Mary's way of contemplating.That's fill-in the gap in bible narratives when there is silent in my humble opinion and experience.Godbless Commented Apr 24, 2018 at 16:32
  • I think the difference is that it would be more helpful to actually quote Duns Scotus or Aquinas or the Catholic Catechism where they specifically say "yes, it is possible for the devil to kill someone." Maybe such a quote is difficult or impossible to find, but the closer we can get to that, the more helpful the answer is. It's harder to make a convincing case that Duns Scotus would have said something or that it's consistent with his thought, than it is to actually quote him. Commented Apr 24, 2018 at 16:59

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