You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies.

Is this a reference to an action or specific results of his work of deception?

  • Reference to Cain (from "Bereishit" - the Beginning) Jan 4 '21 at 11:53

There may be biblical warrant for saying Jesus referred both to an action of the devil, and specific results of his work of deception. Further, that the deceiver had to do something first, before what he did resulted in actual murder. I take the meaning of murder to be premeditated action that leads to the death of another, who otherwise would not have lost their life. The desire to kill had to arise first.

There is a saying, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” The deceiver formed a plot, and it could be that such a plot began to be spun in his heart and mind long before he enacted it. Perhaps, when Jesus said, “in the beginning” he (being the Son of God) knew exactly when that spirit creature first began to desire something evil, which is what led to murder.

As the apostle James said, the starting point for death is actually an evil lust (desire) that tempts and draws forth the sin which, when finished, brings forth death. (James 1:13-15) Jesus said that looking lustfully on a woman was to commit adultery with her in that person’s heart. (Matthew 5:28) He also said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” (Matthew 15:19) Therefore, the beginning of the first murder of the deceiver could be traced back to an evil thought, an evil desire, that would lead to action entailing lies, death and murder.

The first mention of his action entailing lies and death, then murder, is in Genesis chapter 3. The tangled web that resulted from his first, subtle lies in Eden soon stretched out to trap the whole human race. But prior to that, there had to be evil desires and thoughts, for the death the deceiver was responsible for was no crime of passion, carried out in the heat of the moment. In order to elevate himself to challenge the sovereignty of God and attempt a coup, the devil planned to bring death to the whole human race who would come from the first couple. Now, that’s what I call Genocide, with a capital ‘G’. Murder does not get any worse than such Genocide.


The Serpent approached the woman, without authorisation. This was not an angelic messenger sent from God. This was an unwarranted approach to someone not under his direct authority. God instructed the man regarding a warning of that which was inherent in creation (the matter of a certain kind of knowledge which existed but which was not the way that humanity was to live).

And God left the man to instruct the woman, for the man had precedence, being created first and woman being taken out of man.

The serpent confused the issue by obfuscation, asking a question about the trees of the garden and mixing that with the issue of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (which is not stated to be part of the providential provision of God towards humanity, as it is not stated - as are the other trees - to be 'in the garden').

He further lied about the consequences, outrageously contradicting God almighty, the Creator, who had faithfully warned humanity of the fatal consequences of partaking of that type of knowledge as a means of life. Thus also distracting and detracting from the true way of life for mankind : the Tree of Life in the midst of the garden.

The result was the death of the man and the woman.

Without the interference of the Serpent, those deaths would not have occurred.

This is the crime of homicide.

He was a liar and a murderer from the very beginning.

  • Good answer +1. We could add to this initial list by including the many other murders the devil inspired starting with Abel and a host of others.
    – Dottard
    Jan 2 '21 at 20:28
  • Ty, pls enlarge on the 2nd bracket.
    – steveowen
    Jan 3 '21 at 20:23
  • @user48152 Not stated to be in the garden, therefore not stated to be part of the provisionn of God to humanity. Not much more I can say about that. The text says no more.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 3 '21 at 20:33

He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44

It is the Devil who introduced the groundwork for sin to corrupt the new beginning of Adam and Eve. Not just them, but the whole of creation was included in this death that resulted from sin. (As Paul puts it, groans and suffers... Rom 8:22)

God said, that sin/rebellion/pride/self-centred living would bring death.

from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for on the day that you eat from it you will certainly die.” Gen 2:17

This is not a physical death God warns about, but a spiritual death - a separation from Him and His love and wisdom. Adam didn't die because of sin - he died of old age of 930 years! But he did die in a spiritual sense when he ate. He lost a wisdom and godly mind that knew good and chose to do it. Not him only, but his descendants too.

This is why the serpent, the devil, is called a murderer. He brought about a death that resulted from sin - solely because of his temptation of Eve and the willing Adam.

Al of humanity is sentenced to death in Adam. All life on earth has suffered a death because of the initial sin. We don't call flora and fauna life taken murder, but the effect covers everything - the whole planet and probably beyond.

in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 1 Cor 15:22

God holds the Devil responsible for sin and the consequences because of his lies and deception. But as God put him in the garden, God is ultimately responsible - and this is attended to in Christ, His son.

God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their wrongdoings against them 2 Cor 5:19

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