How can Satan murder someone if he is a spirit? Is John 8:44 figurative or literal?
What a great and insightful question, how is Satan defined as a murderer by our Lord? I believe this scripture to be literal, Satan was and is a murderer from the beginning.
Let me provide an analogy, and then liken the analogy to scripture. Three men live in a wonderful world. All three are brothers. Two of the brother’s are born innocent (murder is not even known to them), the other brother however is not innocent, and there is no truth in him.
The brother, with no truth in him, glorifies himself, and seeks that both brothers worship him and not their Father. Over time, one brother begins to love the brother with no truth in him, while the other brother worships sincerely the Father.
The brother, without truth in him, convinces the brother who loves him, that through murder and other misdeeds he will get power and gain. This brother, who loves the brother with no truth in him, convinces him to kill his brother who worships, sincerely, the Father.
Who then, is the murderer? Was the brother with no truth in him innocent? Who then introduced murder into the heart of his brother? Who would be punished for the crime, both or just the one brother?
The three brothers are Satan, Cain, and Abel. In scripture, Cain conspired with Satan, made a pact with Satan that he would murder to get gain. Both Satan and Cain are literally murderers, more so Satan because of his knowledge, and because he introduced murder into the hearts of the children of men.
Let me further ask these additional questions? Who then murdered Abel? Who murdered the prophets? Who murdered our Lord and Savior? Who murdered the prophet Joseph Smith?
I would draw your mind to these two verses found in the Book of Mormon: Moroni 7:12, 17. Not only is Satan a murderer, and a conspirator, he is the author of evil.