Lesson 6 - Chapter 6
Something was said last week in Genesis 6:13 that is going to cause us to go off on a fascinating (and certainly controversial) detour today.
CJB Genesis 6:13 God said to Noach, "The end of all living beings has come before me, for because of them the earth is filled with violence. I will destroy them along with the earth.
As we encountered this passage last week we saw exactly what it was that caused God to destroy the earth with a flood and surprisingly he said that it was all “living creatures” (all basar), that was the cause. The Lord blamed human and animal-kind for the ruination of planet earth but He did NOT blame Satan.
The Hebrew Sages say a couple of important things about evil that we don’t generally find in Christian doctrine and it is that humans have both a good and an evil inclination within us. They say that it is because of those two opposing inclinations that we have the ability to make moral choices. But an even more difficult issue to deal with is that the Holy Scriptures claims that God created both good and evil, although not necessarily in the sense that might immediately come to mind.
Could it be that the God of Israel, Creator of all things seen and unseen, also created evil? I’ve often said that humans do not, and will not ever, have a vocabulary that can accurately and fully describe things of the spirit world. We also are at a loss for words that can fully communicate the mind of God. The origin of evil (how did it get here, WHAT is it, HOW does it operate) is one of those mysterious and baffling situations.
In order to discuss this dicey yet crucial subject we need fold in several principles that on the surface don’t appear to have much to do with it. Yet without briefly exploring these principles as roadmap for our journey we can’t get there from here.
So first off I want to talk about how our Universe works because we are subject to its laws, boundaries, and limitations. God did NOT create the Universe, put us within it, and then expect us to somehow operate and have understanding as though we weren’t an integral piece of that Universe (at least we are a piece of it for a time).
Our Universe has definite attributes although at times we don’t stop to consider them. Let me tell you of a scientific finding that is so recent that you may not have yet even been exposed to it. It is that world’s body of physicists have now come to a general agreement that they have tried to avoid for decades: the Universe was created by design as opposed to a random series of chemical reactions that had a relatively happy ending. It was not that chaos accidentally achieved order. Now that’s not news for us as Believers in the God of Israel nor to the billions on this planet who adhere to some religion or another whereby a Creator (that is superior to humans) is acknowledged. But when the scientific community that for the past 2 centuries has been so diametrically opposed to even considering that there must be some overriding intelligent cosmic force or being that exists, vastly superior to man, that orders the way the universe unfolds the first thing one must ask is why? When historically agnostic physicists and mathematicians come to this same conclusion we have to ask. “What changed”? But also realize that in their minds they are in no way acknowledging God; at least they don’t think they are.
The recent discovery (in a whole series of discoveries) that caused this great shift in their thinking (a discovery that exceeds even Einstein’s world-changing work to develop his famous theory of relativity) is the discovery of undeniable evidence that there exists at least 10 dimensions, and probably 11. This discovery is part of a whole new realm of Physics and chief among these is String Theory.
What makes this notion of many dimensions a bit difficult to comprehend is that our Universe consists of only 4 of those 10 or 11 dimensions and those 4 dimensions are height, width, length, and time. Height, width, and length are measurements of space; so scientists speak of our space-time Universe. No matter how far into space our orbiting space-telescopes have peered and probed and measured those same 4 dimensions are all they can observe. So if that is the case then what about those additional 6 or 7 dimensions? First they don’t exist, per se, in our Universe. Rather they exist in some other “universe” (what these physicists call parallel universes). Not parallel universes in the sense that these other universes that exist in other dimensions are like holding a mirror up to an object and getting a reverse but parallel image. Rather it is that these parallel Universes exist simultaneously with ours; they could actually exist within our Universe (and we just have no means to observe them) or they might exist completely outside our Universe (or perhaps some combination of the two).
This may sound a bit far out for us but really it shouldn’t. If you’ll read the writings of the ancient Hebrew sages you’ll find that some of them described multiple dimensions. And believe it or not these sages (some of whom lived well before Christ) implied that the Scriptures reveal 10 dimensions, plus 1 more, the 11th dimension, which is God. And now modern physicists tell us that from a mathematical standpoint, and because of the otherwise unexplainable way in which energy and matter behave, that there is necessarily more dimensions that exist than the 4 we can observe in our Universe. They say that there must be 10 or 11 dimensions.
To help us get a mental picture this concept all we have to do is think of Heaven as described in the Bible; Heaven obviously doesn’t obey the laws of Physics of our Universe. Perhaps the clearest indication that Heaven is not a place within our Universe is that Heaven exists outside of time. The Word says that God’s Heaven is eternal. Eternal means time-less; eternity is a state of existence that is without time. Stay with me because this is both informative and comforting for worshippers of the God of Israel. Unlike how it is often portrayed, eternity is not an expression of a really, really, really long time; rather eternity is an expression of the existence of a realm in which the dimension of time (the 4th dimension in our Universe) does not even exist.
The Scriptures do not imply or purport that Heaven is part of our Universe. After all how did God live in our Universe BEFORE He even created our Universe? It is self-evident that He didn’t in our Universe, He lived somewhere else. And that “somewhere else” is in one or more of those other dimensions that is beyond our 4 dimensions. Bottom line: Heaven does not reside within our 4 dimensional Universe. I don’t think most of us believed that it did; my purpose for saying this is to build a context for the next step of our discussion about the creation of evil. Now stay alert; believe me this is a key ingredient that will explain an awful lot about our main subject of evil.
The dilemma then is how to detect things or examine things or even comprehend things that are outside of the 4 dimensions of our Universe. And of more immediate concern is how to visualize things (how to draw a mental picture of things) that are from outside of our 4 dimensions? The reality is that we can’t very well. And the primary reason for that is that our physical bodies are restricted to detecting things that our sensory organs can detect. Our physical eyes detect light of certain wave lengths, our physical ears detect the movement of air waves of certain frequencies, our physical sense of touch detects heat, cold, hard and soft surfaces and so on. All of our human sensory organs sense the physical things that make up our Universe. So the only means we have to observe those additional dimensions is through mathematical proofs, or through the discovery of strange behaviors of physical objects. It is by these means that we now know that some other force is at play than ones that are common to our 4 dimensional Universe. For instance we can notice these anomalies in the way that sub-atomic particles behave and how the expansion of our Universe behaves. But we can also observe this extra-dimensionality by means of experiencing the Red Sea piling up to let the Israelites pass to safety, for instance.
Some of you may be saying, “Well I understand that of those 4 dimensions, 3 indeed make up the physical: length, width, and depth. But, is time actually physical? How do I reach out and touch time? Do we have sensory organs that can detect time?”
Time is an integral part of the physical nature of our Universe. We first measured time on earth by the movement of the heavenly bodies and connected this with the changing of seasons. God set-up this dynamic when He readied planet Earth for life; we measure a year of time by observing our Sun, the position of the stars, and the regular cycle of seasons on Earth. We measure a month by observing the phases of the moon. We measure a day and (until the last couple of hundred years) even hours and minutes by the movement of the Sun across the sky.
But what is it that we are actually measuring when we say we are measuring time? The answer lies (at least partially) in the method used to calculate time in the most accurate clocks known to man: atomic clocks. Atomic clocks use the near-perfect steady decay of radioactive materials as their standard. The key word here is decay. Just as meters or inches are the measurements of space (the 3 dimensions of height, width, and depth) time is the measurement of the decay of the physical stuff that makes up our Universe (you, me, rocks, metals, concrete, space dust, the noble gases, all matter). Time is how we describe and measure the process of everything that makes up our Universe getting old, deteriorating, and eventually dying. Everything in our Universe is deteriorating. Did you know that? That is not a philosophical or religious belief it’s just a scientific fact that is THE underlying principle for all of our physics. And the Bible is explicit on that matter as well.
Yet beyond the physical nature of things there is also some mysterious “thing” that exists within our Universe that is not part of those 4 dimensions; something that cannot be explained or measured by those 4 dimensions nor can it be detected by any way man has devised or ever will. And that mysterious thing is what we call spirit. How do I know spirit exists? Because in addition to the fact that the Bible says it does if have experience it in my life. My own life experiences with God have proven it to me. This Spirit exists in us (it actually sustains our very lives because when it leaves us our existence ceases). How did this Spirit get into us? God put it there. WHERE does it reside within us? Well the Bible says it’s in our hearts but in fact it is not specific place. In this context the term heart needs to be taken as a figure of speech.
And astoundingly, if we trust God, He’ll even put His own Spirit (His Holy Spirit) in us. The Holy Spirit is yet another kind of spiritual substance that is somehow different than the kind of Spirit (I call it the Life Spirit) that is the basic life force in all living beings (human and animal). Both of these kinds of Spirit, the kind that animates all organic animal life and the Holy kind that permits communion between humans and God, are in no way connected to our 4 dimensional Universe, created by our 4 dimensional Universe, or subject to its laws. Yet there they are. A good way to think of Spirit is as a 5th dimension that is present IN our Universe, but it is not FROM our Universe.
Part of the reason that we have so much trouble with the concept of Spirit is because it is not detectable or knowable by our rational senses. God made man and animals out of the physical stuff of our Universe: in man’s case it was dirt. But in addition He brought something from OUTSIDE the confines of our Universe, through the Universe, and put it into His living creatures; that thing is called life, or, better, the spirit of life. Even more The Lord put another aspect of Himself into humans (but not animals) and that is the ability to know Him and to commune with him. This is what the Bible calls the human spirit.
When God made our Universe our Universe’s natural state (at least it was this way on planet Earth) was darkness.
NAS Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. 3 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.
Everything was dark and then from somewhere outside of our Universe God brought light to this darkness. Now this light of Gen.1:3 was not “light” as in the sense of what comes from a light bulb or a lamp (although He eventually brought that as well by means of light emitting objects in the sky) but rather it was light in the sense of spiritual enlightenment (in Hebrew “owr”, which means truth, goodness…..a spirit of truth and goodness). This is critical for our understanding because the Hebrew word used for the darkness of the original state of the Universe was choshek, which means obscurity, falsehood, blindness. Choshek is a spirit of wickedness; a lack of spiritual enlightenment. It does NOT mean darkness like in nighttime.
So what God created FIRST was a spirit of truth and of good that in Hebrew is called owr.
OK, let’s add another piece to the puzzle: where did good and evil come from? Because of the strict way our Universe operates (generally reflected in the laws of Physics) everything in it must and DOES have an opposite. In electro-magnetics if there is a positive charge then a negative charge must also exist because they are in relation to one another. Let me put that in another way; in our Universe if there is a far there is necessarily a near. If there is an up there must be a down. If there is a short there necessarily is tall. If there is a front there is always a back. If a coin has a head it must also have a tails (by that I mean a coin must have two sides) because it is impossible in our Universe for anything to exist that does not have an opposite side. If there is a future there MUST be a past and a present because that’s the way that time, the 4th dimension, operates. And to operate in the CURRENT way our Universe operates, if there is life there must be death. No matter what phenomenon you can think of there is an opposing phenomenon in the make-up of the 4 dimensional Universe in which we live. Why is that? Does it HAVE to be that way? Yes, because that’s how God designed it. He did it that way as the mechanism He will use to accomplish all He has purposed. Could God have done it differently? Apparently so as the existence of other dimensions is evidence that there were other choices.
Because of the principle of opposites (which is a God-ordained law for our Universe) in order for good to exist in some form in our Universe then it’s opposite, evil, also must necessarily exist. Let me state that again: because our Universe requires an opposite then along with good there is evil. You cannot have one without the other. They are connected. It’s simply the way our 4 dimensional Universe operates. However outside of our Universe (like in Heaven or in some other dimension) that is not necessarily true. And in the new universe that God will create (the new heavens and earth that we read about at the end of the book of Revelation) at the end of the period known as the Millennial Kingdom, there will be only good and evil will not be present because the laws that govern our current Universe (as we know them) will be abolished. Things operating in those other 6 or 7 dimensions that are outside of our 4 dimension are NOT necessarily subject to the rules of opposites; and apparently in Heaven, no opposite is required, although we do have to account for Satan and those fallen angels in some way.
Now for a really big and gut wrenching question: who or what causes evil to happen? Or even better, who or what is the creator of evil?
Let’s look at Isaiah 45:7. NAS Isaiah 45:7 The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these.
That sounds OK to most of us; it really doesn’t bother us much that the Lord who created light and darkness also causes well-being and creates calamity. As much as we might wish Scripture didn’t say that God creates calamity (something that might affect us personally) we accept that rather readily. Oh if were only that simple and straightforward.
The verse we just read is from the New American Standard Bible; it employs a translation method that is called “dynamic translation”. Look now at that same verse in a more literal, direct, word for word, translation: JPS Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I am the LORD, that doeth all these things. Now THIS one DOES hurt our sensibilities. It says bluntly that the Lord creates Evil. Is that possible? Look even at the KJV: KJV Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
There are 4 key Hebrew words in this verse: owr, choshek, shalom and rah. So by mixing in the Hebrew with the English words the verse reads: “I form the “owr” and create “choshek”; I make shalom and create rah.” We’ve studied the words owr and choshek and so we know that they are words denoting two opposite categories of spiritual nature: good and evil. Shalom is a very interesting Hebrew word that we could take up the whole session talking about but for today just know that its very nature is describing a sense of well-being, peace, good, godliness, prosperity and grace that comes from the hand of God; it is a divine (and therefore spiritual) source that produces shalom. The Hebrew word rah has a similar but opposite sense. Rah means evil or bad. Remember the principle of opposites we’ve talked about; the principle that in our Universe everything that exists has an opposite (no exceptions). So as this verse and many others will tell us, if God forms light then darkness also is created. If the Lord creates shalom then evil is also created. God is behind it all, and controls it all, and uses it all for His divine purposes.
It is ONLY with our more modern Bible translations that we even find the word “evil” replaced with words like disaster and calamity and woe. The Hebrew word “rah” means evil. Now calamity and disaster and woe can result from evil, and so those terms can be used in a dynamic way to explain a resulting action, but rah directly refers to the spiritual sense of evil and that is because rah is the opposite of shalom. Don’t think this is some isolated verse concerning evil; this phrase directly showing the Lord causing evil to exist and to happen is scattered throughout the OT.
JPS Amos 3:6 Shall the horn be blown in a city, and the people not tremble? Shall evil befall a city, and the LORD hath not done it?
JPS Lamentations 3:38 Out of the mouth of the Most High proceedeth not evil and good?
So why does evil exist in our Universe? Because God designed our universe as a universe of opposites; thus when God created good evil came into existence as good’s natural opposite. Here comes a key concept in our lesson today; God did not create evil in the sense of God manufacturing evil. God didn’t turn to His right and create a mound of good and then turn back to His left and create a mound of evil. Rather evil was a result of His creating good, and of placing that spirit of good into our 4 dimensional Universe (a Universe where everything MUST have an opposite). One easier way to think about this is when we can envision that evil is everything that God does not command or instruct. Evil is the opposite of what is called “good” by God. Allow me to draw an admittedly imperfect (but I think reasonable) analogy for you. It’s like when we go into a room and turn on a light; we flip a switch, electricity flows to a filament in a light bulb, it glows, and presto, we ADD light to the room. But when we turn the switch the other to direction to OFF and the room goes dark did we ADD darkness to the room? Did the current in the light bulb reverse itself and now it sucked the light out of the room? Or was the darkness manufactured in the same way that the light was manufactured? No; because darkness is simply the opposite of light. If light is not produced and present then the condition remains darkness. Darkness is not something that is made per se; it is but the absence of light. In the same way evil is but the absence of good.
So let’s briefly sum this up before we head to a conclusion:
- We live in a Universe that consists of 4 dimensions: length, width, height and time.
- But we now know with near-certainty that there are MORE dimensions than 4. However apparently those other dimensions are NOT part of the fabric of our Universe. Therefore there are other universes that employ those other dimensions as their attributes.
- Spirit can be thought of as a dimension that is not OF our Universe…a 5th dimension….. but nonetheless it exists in living beings. We can’t see it or directly observe it because it is something outside of those 4 dimensions. The Bible tells us that Spirit was brought from somewhere else and put into us by God.
- The Principle of Opposites is a key foundational law of how our Universe operates; that principle says that everything MUST have an opposite (no exceptions).
- Due to the principle of opposites evil exists BECAUSE good exists.
- Evil was not created by Yehoveh in the sense of it being manufactured; rather evil is the result of God defining and creating good. All that is not defined BY GOD as good is evil.
When God created man He gave humans a will. From mankind’s first breath we had a will. There was never a time when we didn’t have a will. If humans did NOT have a will we simply would have been flesh and blood robots pre-programmed to a certain behavior pattern, literal slaves to our Creator.
So what is the purpose and use for a will? What does a will DO? A will enables moral choices. Our wills are that part of man which gives us the knowledge that there ARE choices to be made, and that we CAN make those choices. How was the ability to have choice created in the first place? By God creating a Universe in which the overriding rule is that everything has an opposite; that is the very nature of a choice, isn’t it?
Let’s not trivialize the purpose of the will that God gave us by saying it is about “preferences”. Preference is but an act of our intellect. A will is an act directed by our spirits. In other words a will is not that part of man that prefers strawberries over bananas, or chocolate over vanilla, or blue over red. Our will is that part of us that makes MORAL choices; choices of the conscience not of the ego. More than anything else a will gives us the choice to love God or not to love God and this is expressed by our CHOOSING the ways of God or NOT.
So by the mere fact that God gave humankind a will (meaning that God gave man the ability to make moral choices) then a will by default gave man the so-called yetser harah….the evil inclination. If man had an inclination to do good (yetser hatov), to obey and love God, then because we live in this God-prepared universe of opposites man also HAD to have an inclination and therefore an ability to do evil, to NOT obey and love God. WHY? If there were NO MORAL CHOICES (if somehow there was nothing but good available to us).then having a will would be totally meaningless. It would be a lot like a Cuban election; you can vote for Castro or you can vote for Castro. You can’t even choose NOT to vote. What meaning is there to the concept of “election” if there are no choices? It is the same for the human will; without moral choice the will is made null and void.
This principle is evident in the facts surrounding the Fall of Man, that fateful moment when Adam and Eve disobeyed the Lord and ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. An interesting scenario unfolds: God creates Adam and later Eve, complete with wills (remember that God made mankind in HIS image and God obviously has a will). From all the information given to us, God puts nothing OFF limits to the first couple; all is available to them. Translation: there IS no way to go against God. Nothing they can do is immoral. They can’t break rules because there are no rules to break. They can’t make a bad choice because there are no choices (again we’re NOT talking about preferences). Ah, but there was ONE thing about which they could make a moral choice; one rule they could break and it revolved around the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The rule was they were not to eat from it. In other words without the existence of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the divine restriction against eating its fruit, there were no moral choices for Adam and Eve to make. Without the existence of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and without God telling them that they could NOT partake of it, there would have been no reason for Adam and Eve to even have a will.
Question: did Adam and Eve have ANY concept of good and evil before the Fall? It would appear not. Did they have any concept of morality? It would appear not. Things just were as they were; they weren’t required to consider obedience versus disobedience because there were no laws or rules. However when God set the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil before them, and told them not to eat of it NOW they had an opportunity to exercise their wills (so far as we know it was the first opportunity to do so). Now, finally, they COULD make a moral judgment. Even more, by choosing to disobey God they indeed DID gain a knowledge of good and evil that they had never before encountered.
I think it’s fair to say they had never even considered the possibility of disobeying God or did they have any idea that by doing so, evil would result. Why? Because they had no knowledge of the DIFFERENCE between Good and Evil…..the concept was non-existent to them. But by means of Satan’s deception and temptation and at the decision and exercise of their own wills, they chose to go against God’s ONE moral rule: not to eat of that tree. Thus the first transgression against God occurred and from this Adam and Eve learned that there was such a thing as evil. We call a transgression against God, sin. Sin now entered the world and what is sin but an ACT of evil.
Do you see this? Without choice there can be no sin. This has a direct correlation to a much later time in Scripture when Moses is given the Torah on Mt. Sinai. Listen to what Paul says, and as you do, think about the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
NAS Romans 4:15 for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, neither is there violation.
Remember that in the NT the word Law usually means the Torah. Where there is no Torah (instructions from God) there cannot be violations against God. Now please catch this: the Torah Law was to Israel what the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was to Adam and Eve. The primary difference is that Adam and Eve only had one regulation in their Torah: don’t eat that fruit! The Torah Law given to Israel on Mt. Sinai had many more regulations but with exactly the same effect. By means of those rules and commands Israel gained a much more intimate knowledge of good and evil.
Listen now to Paul as he further explains this phenomenon about moral choice in the next chapter of Romans: NAS Romans 5:13 for until the Law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
In other words Paul says that certainly sin and evil existed before the Law, the Torah, was given to Moses on Mt. Sinai. But until God announced His regulations for Israel there were no regulations to break. In a manner of speaking, for a time Israel lived as Adam and Eve did; they were created with wills so now they needed choices set before them that they might use their wills. Once God set down His rules, His Law, His Torah, this now gave them a concrete set of moral choices that governed all phases of life from relationships between men, to relationships between men and God. And they could choose whether to love Him by means of obedience to His Torah or they could choose NOT to love Him by means of disobeying His Torah.
All of which causes Paul to conclude this: NAS Galatians 3:19 Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed should come to whom the promise had been made.
This verse is often stated to mean “Why the Law, then? It was added to create transgressions……” And in a sense that is so; if man has a will he must have moral choices. The Law is what provides for those choices and if we have choices, due to our evil inclinations and fallen natures, there WILL be transgressions.
Let’s go full circle now, back to Genesis 6:13 and Noah and apply what we’ve learned. God didn’t blame Satan for ruining the earth with evil; He blamed men and all living creatures. Were these men that He blamed 100% evil? No. No more than Noah and His sons were 100% good. This is good way to see OUR condition. It is an utter misreading of the Bible texts to say that men are 100% evil. We do have good in us (good in the sense of the yetser hatov) the good inclination. But without the Holy Spirit in us to direct the use of that good, then even our motives will be impure and wrong, our application will be misdirected and whatever good we possess can easily be turned into evil. How does that happen? By using our good intentions in a manner that is NOT God’s will. And that which is not God’s will is by definition evil.
Let’s talk about Satan for a couple of minutes, and discover what his role is in all this. I’ve heard too many well-meaning pastors and Christian leaders say something to the effect of, ‘why would we glorify Satan by talking about him’. Well that’s like a general saying, ‘I don’t want to glorify my enemy by discussing his tactics and strategy’. Noble, perhaps, but foolish.
First, there really isn’t as much explained in the Bible about Satan as some might have you believe. A lot of what we think we know about Satan is Christian and Jewish legend and tradition and denominational doctrine. In a nutshell here’s a summary of what we do know about Satan directly from Scripture:
- He began as a heavenly being. Now the common term is that Satan is a fallen angel. My only quibble with that is that not all heavenly beings are angels. Angel is a very specific Hebrew word: malach and the Bible speak of several kinds of heavenly beings other than angels like Seraphim and Cherubim. We don’t know very much about any of these creatures but they were created and placed into a hierarchy of power and authority and access to God, and it appears that just below God were the Cherubim who were NOT malachim, angels. Listen to Ezekiel 28:12, which is well understood by Hebrew and Christian scholars alike as one of the more direct referrals to Satan in all the Bible: NAS Ezekiel 28:12 "Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord God, "You had the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 "You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz, and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx, and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise, and the emerald; And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, Was in you. On the day that you were created They were prepared. 14 "You were the anointed cherub who covers, And I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.
Satan was not angel but probably one of the Cherubim. He was the anointed Cherub; a very high and trusted position. He was so high that he was allowed the closest access to God Himself. He was beautiful, he was powerful, and he was of the highest rank and order.
2) Satan fought against God and was cast to earth along with some angels over whom he was in charge and apparently they took his side against God. NAS Revelation 12:7 And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. And the dragon and his angels waged war, 8 and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
Here we see Satan and the angels that took sides with him in open rebellion against God kicked out of Heaven and sent down to planet earth. That fabulous Cherub and his angel followers were not STRONG enough to overcome Michael and the angels under him so they lost the war and the right to reside in Heaven. So not only is Satan not as strong as God he’s not even as strong as another Cherub named Michael so let’s not OVER estimate Satan’s power.
3) As we see in the Revelation 9 Satan was a deceiver. Yet he was, and is, under God’s control. God has a purpose for Satan; it is to deceive and tempt people to do evil (which means that God has a purpose for evil). What is that purpose? To give people a moral choice. Without the actual and real opportunity to choose evil we have NO moral choice.
4) Satan is an unholy spirit. Now consider this from all I’ve told you: in our Universe, everything MUST have an opposite. If there is a Holy Spirit present in our Universe then there must be an Unholy Spirit operating alongside of it. Satan is the Unholy Spirit. Just as the Holy Spirit is the embodiment of the purest good (and only good) and is in fact God, Satan is the embodiment of purest evil (and only evil) and is in fact the anti-God. Just as God is real, Satan is real.
Let us also remember that though we have come to use Satan as a name for that prince of all evil in fact Satan is really a title. Satan is the Hebrew word for “adversary”.
Further we need to get out of the habit of blaming Satan for every evil thought we have or wrong thing that we do. Satan does NOT control our thoughts. We have will and we have the means to obtain a thorough understanding of what is good. It’s by means of our will, and through disregarding or willfully refusing to learn what God says is good and evil, that we often choose evil but declare it to be good. This is just as prevalent in the Church as it is in secular society.
As an aside: I think that at least one purpose for Satan being locked away during the entire time of the coming 1000 year reign of Christ is to teach us by means of Bible prophecy, and to demonstrate to those who will be living during that 1000 year period, that as long as a 4 dimensional Universe exists, and for as long as we live in this 4 Dimensional universe, we will have an inclination within us to choose evil as well as good; and it is NOT Satan who causes that evil inclination. Think about it: Christ comes a 2nd time as a warrior king, He defeats all who fight against God and Satan is then barred from human contact; he is locked away into the Abyss where he cannot deceive or tempt or interact with man in any way. Every last human on planet earth is now a Believer and Christ sits visibly on the throne. The world as at peace. Nothing but good is happening.
But at the end of that 1000 year reign, after many generations of men, that evil inclination that remains in humanity begins to stir again. Satan is released from where he’s been imprisoned and now is given permission to entice men to follow him and rebellion breaks out. Man STILL has the remnants of that evil inclination within him; Satan offers them a moral choice and they take it. Here is PROOF that while Satan is certainly the spirit of Evil, it is not all his doing that man has evil in him and that man makes evil choices. Satan is indeed a deceiver and a tempter but man is not a robot that must oblige him. Man chooses.
Now I know this upsets some Christian denominational doctrines concerning evil, and we’ve also gone into a lot more depth on the topic of evil that you probably expected to, so I think that’s enough for today. Next week we’ll finish up Noah and Genesis 6.