Question #1: What was Satan's sin and why is he not forgiven? Some of my friends are telling me that it was pride, or that it was him trying to be above God. Others have told me that forgiveness/repentance/salvation is not an option God gave to angels, so Satan cannot be forgiven. Such as 1 Peter 1:12 how the angels desire to look into salvation. Another view is that angels, and Satan, have seen God face to face. What is the truth here? Thanks in advance!
Response #1: I have a whole five part series on this question: The Satan Rebellion, with part 1: "Satan's Rebellion and Fall" more or less devoted to precisely these questions. I hate to give the issue short-shrift, but I can say that you will find most of the particulars of the devil's arrogant desire to replace God as ruler of the universe in Isaiah chapter 14 and Ezekiel chapter 28 (cf. Jn.10:44, etc., etc.). As I have argued and tried to show in the above linked study and series and elsewhere, angels are different from human beings in some important respects which greatly condition the way God deals with them - differently from the way He deals with us - and also how they respond to Him differently from the way we respond or fail to do so. We are very limited creatures in what we can know and perceive, and very limited in our time. We are also subject to material need and the pressures of sin. Angels are the same now as they were when created, can know and perceive God and many things beyond human ken, and are not subject to indwelling sin. Like human beings, angels have free will. However, because of the profound differences between them and us, they exercised it in the case of choosing for God in a different way than we must. We have to make a decision for Jesus in the short time we have on earth, and stick with that decision faithfully until death. Angels, because of the fact that they operate in complete cognizance (instead of relative ignorance) and had no time constraints or material need, were quite different. When Satan rebelled, some chose to follow him; others chose to stay loyal to God. It seems incredible to us that any creature who could actually see God and who had absolutely no pressure from material circumstances or sin would ever choose to rebel against the Sovereign of the universe! But so it is and was. If there was a single fallen angel who would have been willing to "repent" out of a true change of heart, I have no doubt but that God would have provided the means for doing so. But that is not how angels are "built". They are, however, getting quite a lesson by observing us (as you paraphrase, they "desire to look into these things", and the theme of angelic observation is an important one in scripture: in SR #1: "Angelic Observation"). God would and God could forgive Satan or any of his angels if they were willing to repent. They are not. Everything that the devil has done since his fall, and everything he continues to do, including his maniacal attempt to control the world through antichrist during the Tribulation, show that he will never change - not because of God, but because when angels once make their decisive choice they do it once and for all (in a way somewhat analogous to the fact that we human beings may vacillate but have only a short time relative to angels to make our final choice, and after death the "die is cast" forever).
In addition to the Satanic Rebellion series, please also see Bible Basics 2A: "Angelology"
In our merciful Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
This question is probably a frequent one, buy I value the wisdom of your answers. Question: Why does God allow evil?
Your friend in Jesus
Yes, this is a frequent question, not only from serious believers who are seeking the truth of God, but also on the other side of the spectrum from those who are intent on "proving" that God is not so "great". The arguments go something like this: "If God were truly a good God, truly a righteous God, and truly an omnipotent God, He would never allow anything bad to happen, certainly not anything truly and exceptionally bad or horrible!" But the people who say such things are hypocrites in the extreme. For just in the process of blaspheming their Maker like this by casting aspersions upon Him, they are essentially blaming Him for allowing them to speak such ridiculous and offensive things without being stricken down! But the fact that they are allowed to say such things - evil things - demonstrates the true situation in the world and the critical factor which explains the so-called "problem": the existence of free will. The thing is, if God were to give creatures free will, by definition some of them would inevitably misuse it - that is, were said will to be really and completely "free". He has of course given free will to two "species" of creatures, angels and mankind. Both failed to exercise this gift properly. In the case of the angels, of course, Satan led an entire third astray. In the case of mankind, all sinned "in Adam". That is to say, Adam and Eve made the wrong choice and this has affected all of us, their progeny. In the case of human beings, instead of a once-and-for-all decision taken at roughly the same time and starting from a position of perfection and perfect knowledge (as with the angels), we start out "lost" and have during the time of our individual lives the opportunity to respond to God (or not) with salvation in Jesus Christ made available to all who have ever desired a saving relationship with God.
This is why we are here on earth: to utilize this free will to choose for God in Jesus Christ. Everything else is secondary. As believers, we continue to make decisions which build on (at least hopefully many of them do) this most precious possession, our salvation in Jesus Christ. Unbelievers are merely bidding their time until 1) they actively reject Jesus, or 2) they reject Him de facto by refusing to desire any relationship with God through Him and their time runs out. Whatever else happens down here, that is, whatever is not directly related to our individual relationships with the Lord (or lack thereof) is essentially ONLY of consequence at all to the extent that it may affect the former. Therefore almost everything that one finds in the newspapers or the history books (and I saw this as a Classicist, historian and historiographer) is of almost no import whatsoever to the plan of God and means virtually less than nothing to God - except to the extent that we may find reflected in the course of history, as secular human beings choose to view it and report it, glimmers of the effects of the power of God in saving those who desire salvation and responding to those who are faithfully serving Him.
I dare say that without trouble, without pain, without the curse on the ground of Genesis chapter three, without a limited life span, without disease, without death, without want, without war, without tribulation . . . and without the extreme testing and universal evil the devil sponsors and encourages, life would not be much of a lesson in the first place or much of a test in the second. Without "bad/evil", if we had been left as sinners in the garden of Eden, there would be almost no motivation to seek God whatsoever. Indeed, it is the reality of our mortality - the ultimate "bad/evil" of death which alerts us to the need for someone, something greater and wiser and more powerful than ourselves, because by ourselves the grave is an inevitability. Death shows us that we need the One who can provide life. And without all the other various and sundry "bad things/evils" of this world, the firmness of our decision to choose for God in Jesus Christ could never be sufficiently tested and tried to demonstrate its true quality and worth. Anyone can make a one-time spur of the moment "decision", but the solidity, determination, resolution, and finality of our faith (or lack of it) can only be demonstrated in the crucible of life.
May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be praised,
who has in His great mercy caused us to be reborn to a hope
which lives through Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead,
and to an inheritance which will never be destroyed, defiled, or
dimmed, but which is being guarded in heaven for us, who are
ourselves also being kept safe by God's power and our faith in
Him to an ultimate deliverance ready to be unveiled at the end
of time. Rejoice in this [salvation to come], even though at
present it may for a time be your lot to suffer through various
trials so that this validation (lit., "assaying") of your faith
[which results from your successful passing of these tests] may
result in praise, glory and honor for you at the revelation of
Jesus Christ. For this [validation process] has a greater
benefit [for you] than [is true in the case of] gold, which,
while it is also proved by fire, ultimately perishes
(e.g., in contrast to the eternal rewards of faith proved
genuine through testing).
1st Peter 1:3-7
God allows evil because without doing so there would be no free will. But in the incredible wisdom of God, it is the very existence of this evil that turns us to the ultimate good, demonstrates to us the true and lasting value of it, and hardens our faith into a possession that will last for all time. This does not mean that we should "do evil so good many come" (Rom.3:8), or that God is any way whatsoever culpable for or to any degree responsible for evil in any way. Far from it! Evil comes entirely from creatures who reject His will, in whole or in part. What it does mean is that the removal of evil can only be achieved when free will ceases to be an issue, when "time" and "history" are over, and when only those who have desired God are left in the resurrection of the living. At that time, when there is no more issue of choosing for God or against Him, when all who fellowship with Him shall have chosen for Him and demonstrated the unchangeable nature of that choice in the crucible of the devil's world, only then will evil cease to exist, burnt out of the universe completely with the coming of the new heavens and the new earth.
And the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire
by that same Word (of God), preserved for the day of judgment
and the destruction of godless men. Let not this one fact escape
your attention then, beloved, namely that one day is like a
thousand years in the Lord's eyes, and a thousand years like one
day. The Lord is not delaying in the fulfillment of His promise
(as some think); rather He is exercising patience for your
sake, being unwilling for anyone to perish, but desiring all
instead to come to repentance. For the day of the Lord
will come like a thief, a day in which the heavens will depart
with a roar, the very elements will ignite and dissolve, and the
earth and everything which has been done upon it will be laid
bare [for the Lord's inspection]. Since all these things are
destined to disintegrate in this way, [consider] what sort of
[Christians] we ought to be, [devoted to] holy and godly
conduct, as we wait with eager expectation and apprehension the
advent of the day of God. For on that day the heavens will burst
into flame and dissolve, and the elements will catch fire and
melt. But we are awaiting new heavens and a new earth just as He
promised - [a world] where righteousness dwells.
2nd Peter 3:7-13
Notice in this passage that a large part of the equation as Peter describes it is the "patience" of God: for He is waiting until all who have been ordained to come into the world have the full and proper chance He has predetermined for them to choose for rather than against Him in the Person of Jesus Christ. That is what life is really about, and all of the disasters and "evils" we see are inevitable results of a world run by the devil and inhabited by sinful human beings. The silver lining is that in every disaster, in every holocaust, in every horrible and unexpected loss and tragedy, there are some who take note and realize how much they need the Lord, and that it is not in this life that we are to place our hope - for all we see is just so much dust and rust and lust - but in the one to come where we who have drawn the lesson we are meant to draw and have embraced the Son of God as the only Way to eternal life will enjoy a universe where there is no trace of evil for all eternity.
Please see also the following links:
Our will and God's WILL
How could a loving God . . .
Do Recent disasters have a divine origin?
The image and likeness of God (in BB 3A)
In the One who is our all and everything, our reason for living and eternal hope, dear Lord Jesus Christ.
I have a question about James 4:7: "Submit yourselves therefore unto God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." Does submitting to God mean that we have more power to resist the devil than when we are not submitted?
The KJV leaves out an important word here (no doubt for stylistic reasons). Preceding "resist" there ought to be an "and". That would make it clear that the two clauses in the second half of verse seven stand alone as separate ideas (though not unrelated to the context of course). The devil will not waste his time with those who are resisting his machinations. He has limited resources and roams about like a lion looking for someone to devour - something he can't do to believers who are walking closely with their God (v.8) because they are not spiritually vulnerable. Also, if we are not subject to discipline, we can expect to be completely protected by the Lord, with the only exception being His occasional allowance of different tests for our spiritual growth.
In the context, all of James' advice here in 4:4-7 is directed towards a good and proper walk with the Lord: repentance, proper orientation towards eternity rather than the world, reminding us that the Spirit dwells in us in part for the purpose of resisting the sin nature, reminding us that God's grace comes to those who live in humility rather than arrogance, and telling us to stop fighting God and respond to Him instead. Such things are consistent with a close walk with the Lord, and all who are so walking are in much better position to resist the devil and handle whatever fiery darts he is allowed to send our way.
In the One upon whom we cast all our care, for He cares for us, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
How can Satan (being evil) present himself before God as accuser, and to tempt Job? Can God be in the presence of sin and evil?
The devil and his followers constitute a special case. The Lord judged the universe after Satan's rebellion, but instead of plunging Satan and his minions into hell immediately, re-created the earth and created mankind upon it both as a replacement for what was lost and as a demonstration or proof of God's justice and the devil's complete lack of grounds for what he had done. God did not have to do this, but as is always the case He acts in overwhelming mercy. As I have posited in the Satanic Rebellion series (in part 3, "God's Last Olive Branch"), part of our Lord's motivation in doing so was to offer the devil one last chance, but of course Satan snubbed God as willfully as one could ever imagine by tempting Eve and Adam in an attempt to destroy them. But the second part of the rationale, the demonstration to all creatures, fallen and elect, of the justness and brilliance of all of our God's actions, is still being accomplished. So because human history is a post-script to the judgment of the evil one already determined before the world began, Satan is allowed to enter the court of heaven as part of that final process of judicial review (a demonstration of the correctness of the verdict), and will be allowed to keep doing so until the return of our Lord at the second advent (all the while accusing believers in a vile and unfair way like a completely unscrupulous attorney). Note that his appearing in the presence of God in these instances is not for the purpose of fellowship (something holiness could not allow), but rather for the purpose of participating in what amounts to judicial proceedings where God is functioning in His capacity of the Righteous Judge. Unbelievers too will appear in the presence of the Lord at the Last Judgment. So Holiness cannot have fellowship with sin and evil, but Holiness can judge sin and evil. In this particular instance, the process of final dispensation of the judgment has been going on for several thousand years, but as we know that is a small amount of time for God (Ps.90:4).
The Satanic Rebellion series (please see the link) serves as an attempt to answer this and related questions as necessary prolegomena to understanding the Coming Tribulation.
In our dear Lord Jesus.
How can Satan stand in God's presence?
This seems to be a concern which for some reason or other is "making the rounds" out there in Christian circles. The short answer is that human history, the seven thousand years that begin following the re-creation of Genesis 1:2, are essentially designed by God to refute the devil and restore completeness to the family of God. The third heaven is thus from time to time a place of continuing judgment - or more precisely of reaffirmation of the judgment God has already rendered. Clearly, even unsaved human beings who are going to be condemned will stand before the Lord long enough to be shown their guilt and responsibility in rejecting God and His Son. So when the devil does occasionally come into the presence of the Lord it is more in the nature of a defendant coming into the presence of a judge in the process of an appeal rather than for any sort of "fellowship".
Please see the following:
Why does the devil have access to God while man cannot stand in His presence?
In our dear Lord Jesus,
Good stuff on the angelic conflict. I would appreciate your thoughts on the following: Did Satan want Christ to be crucified and if not why did he motivate Judas to betray Christ? What do you think Satan's attitude toward the crucifixion and sin-bearing of Christ before it took place?
This is a very interesting question. I'm afraid I can't offer much more than some informed speculation because as far as I know scripture doesn't address this question directly. There is quite a bit of theorizing on this sort of thing in the Church Fathers. One fellow (I think it was Origen, but don't hold me to that) described Christ as "bait" dangled by God to get the devil to "bite" and so only hook himself. I prefer to say that people generally give Satan more credit for omniscience and strategy than they should. Despite his talents and vast organization, he is just a creature. As I have outlined the history of the Satanic Rebellion from what scripture does say, it seems to me that the devil has been strategically surprised at every step along the way. When your opponent is God, that is surely understandable. Also, it is certainly true that arrogance blinds. How could a person who had suffered so much at the hands of God as Pharaoh did, seeing so much of the awesome power of God face to face, actually pursue the Israelites even into a supernaturally parted sea and think to do so with impunity? Likewise, it often seems to us as if the devil should just give up or at least realize that he is going to lose; maybe he does, but that doesn't seem to change his m.o. one bit (cf. Rev.12:12). So as to the cross, I would imagine he was hoping that Christ would fail (cf. his tempting of Christ - in the hopes Christ would succumb). After all, what Jesus went through just to get to the cross in the gauntlet He ran during His last hours on earth defy any expectation that someone who was truly human could have held up - but of course He did. And in those three hours in the darkness on the cross, He gave Himself up to be judged for all the sins of every human being who would ever live, forsaken and made to face the flames of hell in our place! There is no way we can come close to imagining the smallest part of the pain and horror of His sacrifice, His "blood", but I am sure that Satan had some idea, and, skeptic that he is, was probably cherishing some hope that Jesus would fail, that He would say "enough", come down, and destroy His enemies (or at least stop the pain). In this, praise God, he was disappointed and we were blessed for all eternity.
The devil has been fighting a crazy fight the entire way, crazy because you cannot fight God. But if Satan had truly appreciated that in wisdom, he never would have dared to rebel against God in the first place, logic that brings us back to the principle that arrogance blinds, and, in Satan's case, completely so. Here are a couple of prior responses that also deal with aspects of this question:
"The Devil's Madness"
"Learning from the devil's revolt."
"The Cross, Sin, and the Devil in God's Plan."
In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
I want to begin by saying you have a wonderful web site. You seem to know what you are talking about. I still have many hours of reading and studying of your web site. I have only been awake for about a month now so I am still asking many questions. In this world of inequalities we have different abilities and limits to our intelligence and our understanding. However, I believe we all have the ability to be awakening to the truth. You need begin by being humble "Humility" throughout your search for the truth and your awakening. Remove the ego and arrogance and you can the see the truth.
I am not sure what to believe because there is so much confusion (Confusion=Evil). Triangle of Evil (Confusion, Ignorance (Willful), Apathy) leads to selfishness. However, I have 100% faith in God but I question everything around me because I am still trying to understand what is going on in this world and how evil is infiltrating this planet we live in. It is clear something is really wrong and the world events clearly show that. I use common sense and if I can not make a determination I "shelve it" for future examination. ("..when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.." Sherlock Homes 1890).
If you could please answer the three questions below:
1. What kind of personality would you say Satan would have? Please be specific if you can.
2. How would Satan appear on this earth?
3. How would God appear on this earth?
Thank you in advance,
Thank you for your encouraging words and kind comments about this ministry. As to your three questions, on the devil's personality, everything I have to say about this matter I have said in the Satanic Rebellion series, especially part 1, "Satan's Rebellion and Fall". Beyond stating that he was made to be an exceptional creature, the most exceptional of all angelic kind as a matter of fact, and that in spite of his many gifts and high position he chose to give in to his equally exceptional vanity and arrogance and rebelled against God, there is not much to say. What scripture does relate are details about his deceptive machinations, organization, methods and plans (e.g., he "a liar from the beginning and the father of it"). In terms of personality proper, we can only guess and hypothesize from these. Paul reminds us that the devil "masquerades as an angel of light", and we can surely conclude from his effectiveness in suborning an entire third of angelic kind to his cause that he must be persuasive in the extreme; that is to say, Satan no doubt appears to be "quite a nice fellow, and an incredibly reasonable sounding and attractive one at that". Given the success that his son, antichrist, will have in leading even a third of believers astray from Christ during the Tribulation (please see the link: Antichrist and his kingdom), we may say that these are essential characteristics. The details are not known, and in the case of your second question, what appearances he has made (with the exception of his tempting of our Lord) have all been deliberately veiled (possibly this comes as the result of the "ground rules" under which God allows him to operate on earth at all, since we can be certain that he is definitely not holding anything back out of "consideration" for us). As to what God looks like, we have seen the Truth in the face of Jesus Christ (Jn.14:9; cf. Jn.1:14; 1Jn.1:1-3), and although so far His visible glory has been veiled from worldly human flesh, the entire world will see the Son of God when He returns at the Tribulation's end to rule over His millennial kingdom. Seeing God as He is with glory entirely unveiled is an impossibility for corruptible human beings now, but in heaven, and afterwards in resurrection, we will see Him and be with Him forever (Rev.21-22).
See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us to
[actually] be called children of God! And [that is just what] we
are! For this reason the world does not understand us because it
has not understood Him. Beloved, we are already the children of
God, but what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that
when He[, our Lord Jesus Christ,] is revealed [to us at the
resurrection], we will be [exactly] like Him, and so will
see Him exactly like He is (i.e., at the resurrection,
we will have new bodies exactly like our Lord's and know Him as
we are known by Him: cf. 1Cor.13:12).
1st John 3:1-2
In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Questions in Genesis:
#1. Did Adam and Eve know who Satan was?
#2 Satan spoke through a serpent audibly I presume; did she not know that animals can not talk?
#3 How did Satan go from talking audibly to infiltrating our thoughts?
Thank you my friend
Most of what I have to say on these issues is in the basics series (specifically, 3A: Anthropology), but I will do my best to give you a synopsis here.
1) Even if they knew, it's pretty clear that they didn't "know". That is to say, even with the benefit of the great amount of information contained in scripture, I dare say that most Christians do not know nearly what they should know about the adversary. I also think that it is safe to say that there is also much we do not know at this point because it would not be helpful for us to know (although, clearly, we know enough to stay clear of him and also how to interpret the opposition we do face from the devil and his subordinates). It seems probable to me, based upon the description in Genesis, that Adam and Eve's knowledge about many things was somewhat limited because more information would not only have been unnecessary but possibly also harmful - and that is a lesson that we can put to work in the case of our areas of ignorance as well (when these result from the Bible's silence rather than our lethargy, that is). Adam and Eve certainly "knew" enough to stay away from eating of "the tree of knowing good and evil", since that act was specifically and categorically prohibited by the Lord and was in fact the only thing they couldn't do - and therefore the only place where the devil could attack.
2) Whether animals could talk in Eden or not is debatable; they manifested different characteristics in the garden as can be seen from the fact that the serpent didn't originally crawl, and that there were apparently no problems with aggressive and predatory animal behaviors (and that certainly changed with the fall). But whether or not some animals could speak or just the serpent or none at all, it is very clear that the nature of the serpent's conversation should have been alarming to Eve. I certainly think that we can dispense with the idea that Adam and Eve were somehow unintelligent or untalented or so terribly naive that they could hardly cope. My own opinion is that people get smarter the farther back one goes in time. We are not smarter today. We are just more arrogant to an incredible degree. Given that Genesis records highly developed civilizations springing up out of nowhere starting with Cain, it's safe to say that the deception played out upon Eve had more to do with the cleverness of the attack than any mental or informational deficiency on her part (on which see the link: "The Temptation").
3) I don't find any evidence of the devil being able to read our minds. In fact, the whole tone and tenor of scripture seems to suggest to me that a necessary part of our free will is to have the thought process that goes on in our hearts private between us and God. That said, the devil is not stupid. If any human being were in a position to observe all of the actions and hear all of the words of any particular person for a considerable period of time, I dare say that such an individual could make a pretty informed guess about the thought processes behind them. Satan has had a lot of experience in this sort of thing, and a large army of dedicated followers to do the leg work. If he knows our thoughts, it is only because we are very good at "tipping our hands" (apart from demon possession of unbelievers, of course). And on the other side of things, he knows from experience and observation just the sort of things to have those who have given themselves over to him do and say to create particular reactions from us - but he is not able to directly affect our thoughts. We bare the whole responsibility for everything we think and emote (from which our words and deeds proceed). More about this: "Satan's World System: Tactical Methodology"
In our Savior Jesus Christ,
Hello Brother Bob,
When Lucifer was thrown out of Heaven, was this before the creation of the world, before the creation of man, or while man was in fellowship with God in the garden?
Thanks for your help
The Satanic Rebellion series was conceived and written to answer just these and their related questions as a necessary fund of information prior to studying the Coming Tribulation (see the links).
Satan's fall took place after the creation of the world as described in Genesis 1:1, but before the seven day re-creation of the world described in Genesis 1:2ff.
This is all explained in detail in "Angelic Pre-History" (in SR #1) and The Genesis Gap (SR #2).
The devil's appearance in the garden post-dates his fall by perhaps eons, and his behavior in attempting to destroy Adam and Eve certainly demonstrates his malevolence at this point.
Mankind was created as a sort of "response" to the devil and his accusations against the Lord (although by "response" we have to understand that the Lord anticipated absolutely everything in every detail long before He created time and space). Through our free will response to the Lord, we demonstrate that the devil's accusations are lies, and that God is indeed merciful and loving at the same time that He is entirely just and righteous. These points are explained in "The Purpose of Man" (in SR #3) and "The Creation of Man" (also in SR #3).
Do let me know if you have any questions about any of these studies.
Hello Dr. Luginbill,
I came upon your website while trying to answer the question of a friend of mine (a rather new Christian) who I'm in a Bible study with.
His question was, "When Satan rebelled and fell from heaven along with one-third of the angels, where did Satan's temptation come from?" That is, it would seem that at some point the concept of rebelling against God entered Satan's mind, but where did this thought/temptation come from? If Satan is the source of our temptation, what was the source of his temptation?
While it may not have much, if any, direct impact on our salvation, I thought this was a pretty good theological question.
Also, may I ask what the tenets of your belief and religious background are? I hope you don't mind my asking, but more than once I've found someone's perspective on a given topic to be intriguing only to discover that they have some (you'll pardon the phrase), "whacked out beliefs."
Finally, we are graduates of the same alma mater! I graduated from UIC in 1988 with a degree in communications. Are you originally from Chicago?
Thanks, Dr. Luginbill, and God's blessings to you.
In His Grip,
Good to make your acquaintance. Yes, I got my first B.A. at UIC (even went back there for a quarter after the USMC, so it was the place I officially started my Greek and Hebrew education). My c.v. is posted on-line at Ichthys. See the links: About the Author and About the Ichthys Ministry. Biographical and other such information can be had at the links in the FAQ section. See the links: #4 Affiliation; #13 Origins; #14 Biography.
As to your question, here is how I translate the relevant passages:
(13) For you said in your heart, 'I will ascend heavenward. I
will set my throne above the stars of God. And I will take my
seat on the mount of assembly on the sides of the north. (14) I
will ascend above the heights of the clouds. I will be like the
Most High God'.
In all your ways you were perfect from the day of your
creation until unrighteousness was found in you. In your
extensive conspiring, you were filled with wickedness, and you
sinned. So I cast you from the mountain of God as one profaned,
and I blotted out [your memory] from among the stones of fire, O
covering cherub. Your heart became haughty because of your
beauty, [and so] you destroyed your wisdom on account of your
splendor. So I cast you to the earth, and I made a spectacle of
you before kings. In the abundance of your iniquity, in the
unrighteousness of your conspiring, you profaned the sacred
places entrusted to you, so I made fire come out of your midst
which devoured you, and I made you like the dust of the earth in
the eyes of all who beheld you.
Now it is clear from these passages that the devil of his own will rebelled against God, and we know of a certainty that "God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone" (Jas.1:13 NIV). God does, however, allow us to exercise free will. If He did not, neither we nor the angels would be anything more than automatons. But the Lord desires worshipers who will worship Him of their own free will "in Spirit and in truth" rather than out of necessity (Jn.4:21-25). The fact is, having a choice to do what is right (free will) of necessity includes the possibility of refusing to do so. As those born in sin, born with a body infected by the sin nature, it is easy for us to understand temptation, but difficult to comprehend what it would be like not to have this inner source ever trying to lead us astray. But we have to remember that Adam and Eve had no such sin nature when they ate of the fruit of the tree of knowing good and evil, and while Eve was deceived, Adam knew what he was doing (1Tim.2:13-14; see the link in BB 3A: "The Fall of Man").
I would say that the ultimate source of all temptation is the heart of the person in question. Eve saw the tree as a source of intelligence, and she wanted to be smart (although perfectly created by the hand of God she was probably the most intelligent woman who ever lived before she ate the forbidden fruit). Adam saw a fallen perfect spouse, and didn't want to lose Eve (although he of all people should have realized that the God who had made Eve for him could have provided a solution for this problem without his self-willed intervention). Satan saw an all-powerful divinity, and wanted to replace God (although as the most honored creature in the universe before his fall and with a better appreciation of who God really is from being continually in His presence, he should have realized that he could only lose by pursuing his fantasy). The fact that for us as things stand now we find ourselves enticed by the love of the world coming at us in all directions and in all its multifarious aspects, "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life" (the three examples of Adam, Eve, and the devil respectively in 1Jn.2:16), should never cause us to lose sight of the fact that we ourselves are completely and totally responsible for the sins we commit. We respond in our heart to inner temptation which is stoked by external factors. That the sin nature eagerly participates, that the world we live in is full of things that attract us, and that the devil is on the prowl to corrupt us, does not change the reality of our own culpability and of the origin of all our sins with our own will, rejecting consciously or unconsciously, wittingly or unwittingly, foolishly or arrogantly, the first best will of God for our lives.
The main point here is that God is not responsible for Satan's sin just because He gave the devil free will. Paul destroys that sort of argument very effectively in his use of the potter analogy in Romans chapter nine. God knew that Satan would abuse his free will to rebel against his own Creator, but that fact does not relieve the devil of his personal responsibility for doing so.
This is a pretty involved question, when you get right down to it, and is best answered by a study of the whole series, The Satanic Rebellion, which was written to answer this and related questions. On personal sin and sin in general see also the following link: Bible Basics 3B: Hamartiology: The Study of Sin.
In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Are you familiar with the site "Yada Yahweh"? They seem to be making use of your materials.
Thanks for the link. I was unaware of this site or these materials. As far as their eschatology is concerned, there are such eerie similarities to the specific details of the positions advanced in my work that they do seem to have borrowed heavily from it, especially from the Satanic Rebellion series. That series was copyrighted in April of 2001, which seems to be before they got started, best as I can tell (and SR was in on-line publication beginning from about five years previous to that date). If so, since there is no attribution of Ichthys.com, this does violate my usage policies, but that is something I leave between them and the Lord. To the extent that they have borrowed correctly, I am happy to have God's truth out there and made as widely available as possible. However, I would feel much better about it if their borrowing had been more extensive and verbatim. As it is, I certainly cannot endorse most of what they say that is their own (again, if what I read is representative). The changes they have made to the material, along with their dressing things up with half-understood Greek and Hebrew phrases and transliterations, seem to represent mostly speculative departures from scripture, pseudo-science, and "dreamy theosophy" (to borrow a phrase).
Still, it's good to know that this is out there, and I thank you again for the information.
In our Lord Jesus,