The holiness of Satan

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Divine creation

There’s so much that can be said about our God that speaks to just how amazing He is. And this is based on what we know about Him and what He’s done. But there’s so much we still don’t know about Him and what He’s done. To be honest, I’d like to think He’s saving the best for last. That great day where we get to pass from earth into His presence and we can experience Him in a new way. A way we can’t possibly fathom in our tattered clothes we call skin and bones.

Our God is perfect beyond every measure. His holiness can never be tainted. His presence is immeasurable and He cannot, no, will not be contained by anyone or anything. For all things that exist start with Him. And what of His righteousness? Our God is so excellent in all His ways and He extends a love that we can barely comprehend. A level of forgiveness and humility paired with grace that has the effect of breaking the strongest of pride and the stoniest of hearts. This is our Lord.

Our God is a supernatural being that exists within a realm we desperately seek to catch a glimpse of. A realm we typically believe must be full of holy and divine beings. And why do we believe this? Is it because our Creator is holy and divine? If a supernatural God created a supernatural thing, surely that thing must be holy and divine! Right? It’s easy to assume that if God created angels, cherubs and other creatures then surely they are holy. Well, that’s common thought. But it’s not an idea that is rooted in scripture. In fact, God Himself tells us there’s no basis for that idea.

Satan was a murderer from the beginning

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. - John 8:44 (ESV)

In the book of John, Jesus is recorded as calling Satan a murderer from the beginning and that he is the father of lies. This is an important statement that our Lord is making. There’s depth to this verse that can easily be missed if we’re not careful. While it’s easy to focus on what Jesus is saying about Satan, it’s also important to focus on what He’s notsaying in regards to Satan.

What Jesus is not saying, is that Satan is the first or only supernatural being to ever sin. But that he is the liar of all liars and that he has always been a murderer. How can this be? The common, traditional narrative states Satan was a holy being that fell. How is it possible that Satan was one of God’s greatest and holy beings if he was always a murderer? The answer to that is easy. He never was one of God’s most holy beings.

Satan - like every other creature God has ever created - has the gift of freewill. And just like all creatures whether supernatural or natural, is not a robot. There are no class of supernatural beings that were created into a holy state of existence, to be later forced to follow God simply by design. God doesn’t desire robots. God creates beings - supernatural and natural, and then gives them the autonomy to choose or reject Him.

One of the reasons I love this verse so much is because God is once again speaking to humanity in a way that cuts through all timelines and warped perceptions of how things work. It’s as if God made this statement knowing that we would have a false impression of the supernatural beings that He created. That we would look up to them, idolize them and think lofty thoughts simply because they exist in the supernatural realm. Yet here is God communicating during the time of John - but for all times - that a supernatural creature which was wonderfully made, always had iniquity in him.

Scripture does not affirm created beings are holy simply because they were created by a holy God. Nor does it affirm that beauty equal holiness. Holiness is actually a product of submission to God’s will and authority as Lord. The supernatural creatures that exist within the divine realm are just like humans in that they have the ability to follow or reject God. One just has to read about the war in Heaven (Revelation 12) to understand that this is true.

This is important to remember because it shatters the narrative that Satan was a holy angel, that somehow lost his holiness. It shatters the narrative that angels, cherubs or seraphim are holy simply because they’re supernatural beings created by God. And it helps us to see that all life has been given the same opportunity to love or reject God. And when it comes to the supernatural realm, there are those that have chosen to go their own way - just like humans - from the very beginning.

Written by Terrence Covin
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