Known by many names, Satan is a central player in the Bible. He stands at a pivotal spot in salvation history. It is a truism that if there were no Satan, there would be no cross. There would be no need for Jesus to give his precious blood. All of God’s creation would be beautifully pristine. Sadly; Satan is real. We may try to push him from our minds and deny his existence, but he is as real as Jesus.
Since Satan is our enemy or adversary (1 Peter 5:8), we must learn as much about him and his ways as we can. As Sun Tzu, the famed Chinese general once said: “know thy enemy.” By knowing our enemy, we are better prepared to meet his attacks. Paul reminded the brothers in Corinth that “we are not ignorant of his designs.” Understanding the origin of Satan will help us to glorify God and will prevent us from making serious biblical errors.
The first we ever hear of Satan is in Genesis 3:1. Here, he has entered the Garden of Eden and is trying to spoil God’s new creation. It is a serpent that speaks to her, but that serpent is animated by Satan. However, Satan existed long before Genesis 3.
Satan Before Creation
There is little question that Satan existed before the creation of the earth. The real question is whether or not God created Satan; if he did, did God create him as an evil being. Let us begin by observing some important attributes of God.
God is love (Psalm 86:5, 15; 1 John 4:8, 16). His love is a sacrificial love that cost him dearly. Because of sin, the Father gave “his only begotten son” (John 3:16) for our sins. This gift is the evidence of His love (Romans 5:8).
God is true and only speaks the truth (2 Samuel 7:28; Psalm 12:6; 119:160; John 17:17; Ephesians 4:21). God cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18; Titus 1:2). His words are always true and never shaded with deceit
God is always faithful to his promises and covenants (Deuteronomy 7:9; 2 Chronicles 6:14; Nehemiah 1:5). God has never made a promise that he did not honor. There are no promises upon which he will renege.
If God is love, and if God is true, and if God is faithful, then how is it is that a loving, true, and faithful God could create an evil Satan? This is a bit of a conundrum unless we understand that Satan was not created as evil but as good. Clearly, there was a time when Satan inhabited heaven. Jesus declares, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18). Some connect this passage with a similarly sounding passage from Isaiah 14:12. However, the Isaiah passage seems to refer to the King of Babylon. Nevertheless, Revelation 12:9, suggests that Satan was in heaven, became rebellious, and waged war against God’s fateful Angels. Not surprisingly, God won, and cast Satan out of heaven.
Our conclusion then is that a good and loving God created Satan as a good Angel. But, Satan was unsatisfied with his position in heaven and sought to supplant God as the ruler of heaven and earth. Having rebelled against God, there was no place for the evil Satan in heaven. Satan, along with his angels, was cast out of heaven. Therefore, God did not create an evil Satan. Just as God did not create an evil Adam and Eve, he did not create an evil Satan. But when each sinned, he was cast out of his original abode.
So with this simple, biblical, explanation, we have defended God against the charge that he created evil. Satan and his angels, like men today, must accept the consequences of their choices,
Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at preachersstudyblog.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @J_Bryant_Evans.