Does Satan have the ability or authority to read our minds and plant evil thoughts?
Well, I know that we have free will and that we allow ourselves to make bad choices but the question is: does the Devil have this ability? No, I don't believe so. At one time, Satan certainly had such power even to the point of having demons possess individuals against their own free will. However today, Satan has been bound by Christ and no longer exercises the same kind of power he once had. The Hebrew writer said, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;” (Heb. 2:14) Through Christ's death, he bound the power of the Devil. Consider if you will that John wrote, “And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,” (Rev. 20:2). Satan's direct power over the mind of man has been removed. Otherwise, we could say before God at judgment that it was not me that sinned, it was the Devil: “He made me do it.” Now with these things said, this does not mean that Satan has no influence on men today. Peter advised us to, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (1 Pet. 5:8). Thus, we are to resist him and his influences on our lives. Now today, we are tempted by means of our own lusts. For, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (Jam. 1:13-15) This rises from within ourselves. Satan certainly can place things in our path that he knows will tempt us, but those temptations come from desires and thoughts that we originate. Remember, Jesus said that it was out of the human heart that evil comes in our lives ( Matthew 15:18-20). This is where we need to focus our efforts, not upon worrying whether or not Satan can directly put evil thoughts into our minds. Robert Notgrass