Thursday, August 11, 2011

Is Satan Intelligent?

I love to read books that make me think.  One of the books I was reading last week (yes, I read more than one at a time!),  said something that has really made me ponder.  The author claims that God created two things - things to act and things to be acted upon (2 Ne 2:14).  He then states that the ability to act of one's own free will is also called intelligence.  And things that are acted upon are called inanimate matter. (He further states that only intelligence and matter have existed for all eternity (DC 93:33)).  He believes that Satan does not have the power to act, but only the power to react.  And because he cannot act of his own accord, he therefore has no intelligence.  In DC 93:29 it says that intelligence is the light of truth.  Since Satan has no light (he is the prince of darkness) or truth (he is the father of lies), then he cannot have intelligence.
Do I agree???  Hmm... It is interesting, but I'm not sure.  First, can Satan really only react?  I know that he doesn't have the power to create.  For example, when Moses performed the miracles before Pharaoh, Satan only copied the miracles.  He didn't perform anything original. If he had the power to create, why wouldn't he have done some stunning new miracle to show his power?  When he tempted Eve in the garden, it was only after God had given the commandment not to eat.  So is that an action or reaction (Satan reacting in opposition to God's commandment)?  The scriptures teach that there must be opposition in all things.  So we know that Satan is the opposition to God, but as the opposition does Satan have the power to act of his own accord?
Then there is the question of intelligence itself.  What is intelligence?  Is it only the ability to act for oneself?  According to the dictionary Intelligence = understanding; skill.  Intelligence also means a spiritual being.  Satan is a spiritual being, so therefore he would be an intelligence.  But is he an intelligent intelligence?  I think Satan does have understanding and skill.  He is able to think and reason.  I think he is intelligent.
So according to the author Satan is nothing more than matter. (If there are only two things intelligence and matter and he is not intelligence, then he must be matter.)  But matter doesn't have the ability to think or reason.  Matter doesn't have understanding or skill.
Therefore I have to say I disagree.  If Satan can only react, how could he then be held accountable for his actions?  How could God justly punish him in the end?  God never forces any of His children to do anything.  I do not believe Satan is forced to behave as he does.  And if he can act then he would have intelligence.
Now if we only go with the definition of intelligence from D&C, that intelligence is the light of truth.  Then I would agree.  Satan does not have the light of truth (or the light of Christ) in him and would therefore not be intelligent.
I guess it depends on the definition.  What do you think?


  1. VERY interesting thoughts! I think my head hurts, and I think I want to know what you're reading. :-)

  2. I agree with you Toni. Satan is intelligent and chose not to keep his first estate. Question, what book were you reading? Just curious.

  3. I was reading Hiding in Plain Sight by Ken Bowers. It is about the secret combinations that exist today. It is very interesting, and I think most of what he says is true, but I did disagree with this one particular point.