Pastor Responds to Nike’s New Celebrity Endorser: The Devil

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Rapper Lil Nas X/NBC

Lil Nas X is fully leaning into his new hellish aesthetic — teaming up with an idea to release “Satan Shoes.” This is on the heels of his polarizing music video on the same subject.

The rapper/pop star is putting out a limited release of Nike sneakers that are all about the Prince of Darkness and his kingdom — right down to the box artwork and even the shoe design itself, which features a pentagram emblem sitting on the laces.

It is most disconcerting that Nike has decided to invoke Satan as a marketing tool. Working in conjunction with rapper Lil Nas X, Nike’s new shoe designed around a motif of demonism will be limited to a production run on 666 pairs. This may sound like a clever, bold design, but it is difficult to determine who is the more deluded: Nike, for releasing this “product,” or foolish consumers flaunting their cluelessness in buying and wearing it.

May God have mercy on our rapidly dying world. May common sense lead consumers to refrain from spending their footwear dollars with a company so irresponsible as Nike.   

Believers and non-believers alike have questions about Satan and the demonic. Some youth seem especially prone to curiosity about the dark side. There is no shortage of references to Satan in pop culture to satisfy public fascination, but it is important that our opinions on such be Biblically informed.

What Scripture tells us about the demonic


The Bible has a lot to say about Satan. Scripture let’s us know that God did not create Satan as an agent of evil. Satan was an angel who (along with a large but finite number of lesser angels) freely chose to rebel against God. Angelic treason against God resulted in their ejection from heaven.

The devil hates God and all believers. Though their ultimate punishment is a certainty, Satan and his fellow fallen angels wreak whatever havoc they can.  The Bible warns that as history moves toward the point of Christ’s return, demonic activity will persist and even increase (I Timothy 4:1, II Timothy 3:1-13). Satan and all other fallen angels will forever experience punishment for their choice to launch a mutiny against the One who made them (see Ezekiel 28:15, Isaiah 14:12-14, Luke 10:18). 

Satan: someone who’s been around your whole life


People should not trivialize the reality of the demonic, but they need not have an obsessive fear of Satan, either. The powers wielded by angels (whether holy or fallen) are not equal to God’s power. Satan is subordinate to God (see Job 1:7). Jesus Christ has absolute authority over Satan and any demons (Matthew 8:29, Luke 4:34). Satan is not omniscient (he does not know all things), and cannot override God’s power.

But the Bible emphatically warns that Satan’s intent is for the spiritual destruction of all people.  Satan is called “the god of this age” (II Corinthians 4:4), and a spiritual deceiver of people (see II Corinthians 4:4, and 11:14). Revelation 12:9 says that he, “led the whole world astray.” Jesus calls Satan “the enemy,” and says that hell was made for him and the other demons (Matthew 13:39, Matthew 25:41). 

Spiritual evil and eternal darkness:  let’s not go there


Familiarity with an enemy is crucial for soldiers in war, and the Bible makes it clear that this world is embroiled in a spiritual battle.  Study of things satanic should be to a Biblically informed, cautious and prudent awareness. In C.S. Lewis’s preface to The Screwtape Letters, he observed, “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors…”

New Testament scholar Gary Habermas, PhD., says, “The Bible never says the Satan and the spirit world is not real. They are. But there is a real danger in involving oneself with this topic. The Bible tells us enough, and I encourage students not to research beyond that.  The quickest way to occult involvement is curiosity.”

Clearly, these are realities not to be trifled with. In light of the overtly malevolent nature of Satan, Habermas insists, “Scripture is basically saying, “Don’t touch this, don’t even go near it.””  

Satan is a failure, and he knows it


God has given humanity accurate, though partial information about Satan and demons.  We know that Lucifer’s coup attempt in heaven failed, and that earth is caught in the crossfire as fallen angels still try to make war against God. The panorama of Scripture is clear about Satan’s doom and destiny: God wins, Satan loses.

“But does the devil know how the story ends? Has Satan read “the back of the book?”” While a graduate student at Liberty University, a fellow classmate asked that question of Dean Harold Willmington. Dr. Willmington explained that it is a virtual certainty that Satan knows the content of God’s written Word, including the parts about what happens to, “the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41, Revelation 20:10).

“So why does Satan continue on?,” the student asked. “Since the devil is aware that God’s authority and power will prevail, why doesn’t he surrender? Satan is only working to make his ultimate punishment worse.”

The lecture hall grew silent as the professor pondered his response. Dr. Willmington explained the futility of a limited creature trying to vanquish the unlimited Creator. His closing comment was profound: “That’s the insanity of sin. Because something finite could never eclipse the infinite, to choose to follow Satan is to align yourself with the greatest cosmic loser of all time.”

The Bible makes no provision for the salvation of fallen angels.  Their insurrection will culminate in all demons finally acknowledging the Lordship of Jesus (Philippians 2:10). God does, however, redeem fallen humans. And this is the Good News. History reels under the weight of collateral damage, but Satan and his schemes are guaranteed to fail.  We are vividly reminded of this each time another person joins the victorious ranks of King Jesus.  

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Alex McFarland is author of 18 books on religion, culture, and youth. He has spent nearly three decades counseling teens and young adults and has spoken in hundreds of locations throughout all 50 states and internationally.   

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