When we considered the marvels of creation which point to an all-wise and all-powerful Creator, we called these evidences “The Footprints of God”.
But what about the “footprints’ with which the world abounds? Fear, pain, poverty, waste, filth, ugliness, cruelty, accidents, hatred, war, disease, death…
Are these footprints of God? If not, whose footprints are they and why are they present in a world that is supposed to be governed by a wise and loving God?
The Bible certainly sheds light on these questions, and explains how evil began, why God permitted evil, and how it will end.
Matthew 13:28 – “An enemy hath done this.”
Matthew 13:39 – “The enemy is the devil!”
1. The History of Satan
Lucifer created perfect – Ezekiel 28:12-15
Lucifer’s heart lifted up – Ezekiel 28:17
Coveted the throne of God – Isaiah 14:12-14
Lied about God. Deceived angels – John 8:44
War in Heaven and Lucifer is cast out – Revelation 12:7-9
Invaded this world. Usurped man’s kingdom – Genesis 3:1-6; 1 John 5:19
Final Victory over evil promised – Genesis 3:15
Satan’s doom sealed at Calvary (Christ’s death) – John 12:31
Great wrath in last days before Jesus’ return, knowing he has just a short time – Revelation 12:12
Arrested and chained for 1,000 years – Revelation 20:1-3
Destroyed in the lake of fire – Revelation 20:10
2. The Mystery of Satan
a) How could a perfect, sinless angel become a devil?
Lucifer made himself into a devil by the wrong use of his freewill. There was no tempter. Honoured and loved by God and his companions, with every incentive to do right and with no excuse for sinning, Lucifer chose to withdraw his affections from God and focus on himself. By allowing these selfish thoughts and selfish actions to be repeated, little by little he became infatuated with himself, becoming self-centred instead of God-centred.-
Thus, by a long succession of selfish choices, Lucifer, the Archangel, debased himself into Satan, the Devil.
b) Why didn’t God make Lucifer without freewill, so that he could not sin?
God could have made Lucifer without freewill-like a robot or a puppet. In this case, Lucifer would have been incapable of choosing evil, but likewise would have been incapable of choosing good. Voluntary worship and obedience, and the development of character would have been impossible. God didn’t want mechanical angels nor does he want mechanical children; but rather He wants beings who could give Him spontaneous, chosen love and affection-only achievable among creatures endowed with freewill.
c) Why didn’t God kill Lucifer at the very beginning of his sin?
If God had done this, He would have nipped Lucifer’s sin on the bud, but He would have been misunderstood by the other angels. No satisfying explanation of sin and its consequences could have been given to them at such an early stage. They loved and trusted Lucifer, and his sudden and unexplained disappearance would have given rise to uneasiness, suspicion and alarm. Other angels might have asked “Who will be next to disappear without explanation?” God would have killed one rebel, aggravating the spirit of distrust and discontent. So He chose wiser-allowing to sin to develop, like a seed, and produce its own harvest which would expose Lucifer’s true character, condemning himself.
d) When Satan is finally destroyed, can we be sure that sin will never rise up again?
Yes, absolutely. At the final judgement day, when Satan is about to be cast into the lake of fire described in Revelation, the universe will be in a totally different position from the beginning. Back then, sin was a masked intruder-dark, inscrutable mystery-and even God could not fully explain its nature or consequences to us. But at that final judgement day, the universe will have seen sin develop, mature and produce its fearful harvest.
Every question concerning the love and justice of God will have been finally answered. Every false accusation of Satan’s will have been successfully met. Every shadow of suspicion will have been allayed. Every doubt will have been dispelled. Sin will have given birth to its own antidote – Christ’s sacrifice, and it will have proven the monstrous cruelty of Satan, on the one hand, and the boundless love of God on the other.
Because of this, public demonstration of the true nature of sin, in stark contrast the true and loving nature of God, the universe will be forever secure.
3. The Mastery of Satan
What about US? Has God left us to fight the battle with Satan single-handed?
We have been born without option into a world where Satan is master. But thank God we are not without hope against such a crafty and super-human foe.
God has provided a supernatural armour which makes us impregnable against the assaults of Satan:
Ephesians 6:10-17 – “The whole armour of God”
Luke 10:19 – “Over all the power of the enemy”
1 John 4:4 – “Greater is He that is in you”
No Christian author has written more wisely or positively on this subject of personal victory over Satan than Ellen G. White, in her well-known book ‘The Desire of Ages’
“There are Christians who think and speak altogether too much about the power of Satan. They think of their adversary, they pray about him, they talk about him, and he looms up greater and greater in their imagination. It is true that Satan is a powerful being; but thank God, we have a mighty Saviour, who cast out the evil one from heaven. Satan is pleased when we magnify his power. Why not talk of Jesus? Why not magnify His power and His love?” – Page 493
Do you have on your mighty armour? Have we availed ourselves to the full of God’s provision on this journey?