What Does God Think About Lying?
In the world, we do not always take lying very seriously. We have categories for “little white lies” and “half-truths”. We might be tempted to think it is okay to lie to protect ourselves or to not hurt someone else’s feelings. When we wrap these conditions around lying, we are saying that it is okay to lie in certain situations. Is that the same way God feels about lying? To understand lying from God’s perspective, we will take a look at several texts from the Bible.
John 8:44: “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
Jesus strongly associates lying with Satan. Jesus says there is no truth in him, that lying is in his character and he is the father of lies. This means God did not create lying. When we lie, we are doing what Satan does and honoring him by condoning something he created. The two characteristics Jesus associates with Satan are lying and murder, so He considers lying to be on the same level.
Acts 5:3-4: “But Peter said, 'Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.'”
Again, there is the correlation between lying and Satan: “…why has Satan filled your heart to lie…”. Further weight is put on the act of lying because Ananias did it to God the Holy Spirit and immediately died because of it. This shows how much God hates lying.
Hebrews 6:17-18: “So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.”
There is a contrast between God and Satan highlighted in these verses – it is impossible for God to lie. For Satan, he created it, it is a part of who he is and his character. This reiterates that God is immutable, that is, He is unchangeable. He will never be able to lie and will never be associated with it.
1 John 2:21-23: “I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.”
There is an interesting phrase in this passage where John says, “no lie is of the truth” in verse 21. It has the meaning that no lie comes from the truth or can be associated with the truth. What John is doing here is destroying the concept of telling a “half-truth.” According to God’s standard, if a statement has any falsehood in it at all, the whole statement is false. Instead of it being a half-truth, it is a whole lie.
The rest of the passage continues a strong correlation between lying and Satan. John creates a close relationship between lying and denying who Jesus is. From there he makes another strong relationship between denying who Jesus is and the antichrist, and the antichrist is always tied closely to Satan.
1 Timothy 4:1-5: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.”
Here again we can see the relationship between liars and demons and denial of God’s truth. There is a lot of contrast in these verses between demons and God, and between deceit and truth. The truth is related to God and goodness, while lying is related to demons and insincerity.
John 14:6-7: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”
The Holy Spirit – God the Spirit – is referred to as the Spirit of Truth by Jesus in this passage. This continues the message that God is truth and there is no lie in Him.
2 Thessalonians 2:9-12: “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore, God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
In this passage, Paul is talking about things of the future, but the passage cements how bad lies and deception are. It is the love of “wicked deception” that will condemn people because according to God, not believing the truth is unrighteousness.
These are just a handful of verses, but when scripture speaks of lying, it is associated with Satan and evil spirits and is often associated with judgement and destruction. Those that love deception do not have God within them and do not love or speak the truth. When we take part in deception, lying or any kind of “half-truths”, we are doing what Satan does and denying that we have a love for God or truth. God is not unclear how He feels about lying.