During the last few editions we’ve taken a much needed look at Satan and the role he played within creation. Albeit it may seem like an odd proposition - focusing a lot of our attention on Satan to come to know God - it is an absolutely critical piece in understanding the biblical narrative and the Creator.
Much has been written about Satan and the evils of our world. There are those that believe Satan is the originator or chief of all evil and there are those who believe all things supernatural are by default holy and serve God without choice simply due to their position, status or nature, with Satan being a wild exception. Many also believe evil and corruption of the earth was caused by Satan. But we’ll see in the upcoming editions that isn’t supported by scripture either.
A myth that we’re going to debunk today is the idea that harmony existed within all creation - to include the Heavens and the Earth - before Satan entered the scene in Eden.
Only One is worthy
Exodus 20:4 is one of the greatest passages in the Old Testament that I believe is underrated.
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. - Exodus 20:4 (ESV)
It’s easy to walk away from this verse with the limited perspective that God is simply commanding the people of Israel not to create any idols as God is the only One that should be worshipped. And while this is true, there’s another statement that is being implicitly made.
God wasn’t just communicating to not create any idols. He was also communicating to Israel that regardless of realm - the Earth or the Heavens - all things created are equally unworthy of the worship that belongs to Him. This includes cherubs, seraphs, angels and any other creature that is supernatural in nature.
Above or below
Previously we’ve spent a little bit of time uncovering some of the supernatural beings created by God and the roles they’ve played concerning humanity. While we know the Bible supports the existence of other supernatural beings, it also contains warnings and condemnations for creating idols out of them (Romans 1:25). This is done for a very obvious reason; these beings are not worthy of worship and they have the propensity to sin just like you and I.
In our day and age it’s easy to think the supernatural creatures that serve God are above the ability to sin. Or that sin in the supernatural realm started and stopped with Satan and the angels that followed him into war. But that isn’t a truth the Bible ever communicates.
In fact, when we think back to Eden and the guardian cherub Lucifer, a question that should arise in our mind is why did God God create guardians in the first place? The term guardian has a very distinct meaning.
A guardian can be described as one who provides protection or a defense against something. We know Satan was placed in Eden as a guardian, which should tell us that God saw fit to create supernatural beings to guard and defend against things He saw as sacred. In the case of Satan, Eden. But the way we commonly think about sin, evil and corruption, can cause our minds to trace back to Satan as the originator of sin and evil. However, scripture tells us that God had already recognized the need to put up defensive measures around things such as His throne and Eden before Satan ever tempted Adam and Eve and before the world became corrupt. But what was God guarding or protecting against if no sin had ever been committed and if all of God’s creatures were perfect in holiness?
I believe the answer is quite simple and lies at the heart of choice. God has given all created beings choice - something we’ve covered in earlier editions - and the ability to choose comes with the autonomy to sin. All beings have the propensity to sin, regardless of their realm. And it is highly probable - if not assured - that supernatural beings were sinning before Satan entered the scene to tempt Adam and Eve. Remember, scripture never claims that Satan was the first supernatural creature to sin. And if God saw fit to create beings who would serve as protectors and guardians then we can rightfully assume God expected some of His supernatural creation to reject Him from the beginning, not just Satan.
What I want you to walk away with is the understanding that sin pre-existed The Fall and supernatural beings are no better than humans. Case in point, Satan was in the act of sinning as he worked to deceive Adam and Eve. They - supernatural beings - are simply created beings that should serve God - just like us - however they have different natures and differing roles. These very same beings can and do sin, also evidenced by Satan and the angels that followed him into war.
This should help relieve us from the incorrect notion that evil and sin somehow trace back to Satan or that it has a single point of reference or origin. While it is true sin entered the world through one man (Romans 5:12), sin wasn’t invented or created by Adam. This perspective should help to broaden our view of sin and evil. This more accurate point of view will be necessary to understand for the upcoming editions, as we’ll discover the traditional biblical narrative of Satan vs. God is not a complete picture of the landscape of creation.