Book: Why Were You Born?

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To millions of people today, the devil is but a fairy-tale character—a blood-red grotesque creature with horns, a pointed tail, and dragon-like wings. As such, he is viewed as the mythical embodiment of evil. Few, however, take the idea of a real devil seriously.

But the Bible teaches that Satan the devil is very real, and very dangerous. But where did Satan come from? What is his purpose? Is he actively involved with humanity? Did God create him? If so, why?

Satan loves the popular view that he is but a mythical creature, because this keeps people unaware of the reality that he is the “god” of this present age (II Cor. 4:4). The Bible shows Satan—the name means enemy or adversary—to be a powerful spirit being with a great deal of influence over humanity. In fact, Satan is actively “deceiving the whole world” (Rev. 12:9).

The apostle Peter warns Christians that the devil is prowling around looking for someone to spiritually devour (I Pet. 5:8). Indeed, Satan—along with his demon cohorts—is mentioned numerous times in Scripture. To understand his origins, we must look to the beginning—even before the universe was created.


Satan the Devil—A Fallen Archangel

We know from Scripture that God must have created the angels first— for they all shouted for joy when God laid the foundations of the earth (Job 38:4-7). The earth was created as a jewel adorning the heavens—a spectacular planet that inspired awe in the angels.

But in Genesis we read that the earth was “without form and void”— with only darkness covering the planet (Gen. 1:2; KJV). The Hebrew words used here refer to something that is waste, vain, in absolute chaos. Did God create the earth is this manner? No—for God is “not the author of confusion” (I Cor. 14:33). The angels shouted for joy because it was a perfect creation.

A proper rendering helps us to understand: “And the earth became without form and void...” (Gen. 1:2). Thus, the earth was created perfect—but was later defiled, becoming a vast wasteland, void, chaotic. Indeed, in Isaiah 45:18, God declares that He did not create the earth in vain (the Hebrew word used here is one of the same words used in Genesis 1:2).

But how did this happen? If God did not create the earth as a wasteland, how did it come to be in that condition?

Scripture shows that God created three archangels—Gabriel, Michael, and Lucifer (see Luke 1:19; Jude 9; Dan. 10:13; 12:1; Rev. 12:7). These archangels had special positions at God’s throne in heaven (see Ezek. 28:14, 16:).

Apparently, Lucifer was eventually assigned to oversee the earth, a position he later came to resent. Referring to the spirit power behind Tyrus, a wicked Phoenician king, the prophet Ezekiel writes: “You seal up the measure of perfection, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. You have been 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 sapphire, the turquoise, and the emerald, and gold. The workmanship of your settings and of your sockets was prepared in you in the day that you were created” (Ezek. 28:12-13). Notice that this cannot literally refer to Tyrus, as this being was perfect, had been in the Garden of Eden, and was “created.” Humans are not created, as such, but produced through procreation. What Ezekiel is doing is demonstrating the spirit power behind wicked Tyrus. The following verses make this clear: “You [Lucifer, not Tyrus] were the anointed cherub that covers [God’s throne], and I set you so; you were upon the holy mountain of God; you have walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire [in heaven]. You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, until iniquity was found in you” (verses 14-15).

This archangel not only once “covered” God’s throne—just as the Temple “mercy seat,” a type of God’s throne in heaven, was covered by two angels’ wings—he also later appeared in the Garden of Eden as a seducing serpent. This being was extraordinary, perfect, until iniquity was found in him; pride corrupted his wisdom, and his heart became filled with vanity (verse 17).

In a similar passage, the prophet Isaiah adds that Lucifer, in his vanity, said, “I will ascend into the heavens [from earth], I will exalt my throne”— this shows that Lucifer had a dominion, a responsibility, on earth—“above the stars [angels, Rev. 1:20] of God; I will also sit upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north [the location of God’s throne]. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High” (Isa. 14:13-14). Lucifer apparently attempted to exalt himself above God—to take control of heaven. As Revelation brings out, this resulted in a war in heaven in which Lucifer—now called the Enemy, or Satan—and his angels (now demons) were cast out: “And there was war in heaven; Michael and his angels warred against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels warred. But they did not prevail, neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, the ancient serpent who is called the Devil and Satan, who is deceiving the whole world; he was cast down to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him” (Rev. 12:7-9).

Jude 6 proves that these rebellious angels had abandoned their original assignment on earth. “And the angels who did not keep their own original domain, but deserted their habitation, He [God] is holding in eternal bonds under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” Peter, writing of God’s judgment for sin, notes that God “did not spare the angels who sinned, but, having cast them into Tartarus [a condition of restraint], delivered them into chains of darkness to be kept for the judgment [of the great day]” (II Pet. 2:4).

This powerful spirit entity—accompanied by a third of the angels— decided to challenge God for control of the universe! Looking again at Isaiah 14, the prophet writes, “How you are fallen from the heavens, O shining star [the meaning of Lucifer], son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who [then] weakened the nations!” (verse 12).

It was this great “war in heaven” that resulted in the earth becoming a vast wasteland! When Satan and his demons were cast out of heaven—cast down to the earth—one of two things happened that resulted in the destruction of the surface of the earth: 1) the earth was devastated by the war itself; or, 2) Satan, in his intense anger, purposely inflicted massive damage on the earth. Either way, the earth became “without form and void.”

Lucifer had been a beautiful, immensely talented spirit being with tremendous authority and responsibility in God’s angelic order. Through sin— jealousy, envy, pride, which quickly led to hatred and deceit—this powerful being turned against God. He became Satan—the Adversary of God and man. He hates God and His plan for man—and will stop at nothing to defeat God and ruin His plan for humanity.

Thus, God did not create the devil. He created a wonderful, perfect angel who—of his own choosing—became Satan the devil. He is a liar and deceiver, a slanderer and accuser—dedicated to destruction.


Satan—The “god” of this Present Age/World

Genesis 1:2 shows that the formerly perfect earth had been subjected to a great cataclysm of some kind—some event that left it “without form and void.” That event was Satan’s great rebellion. The remainder of Genesis two describes a recreation—a preparing of the earth to be the home for man. The surface of the moon was not restored, and its massive craters remain as evidence of that ancient cosmic battle.

Satan wasted no time in attempting to thwart God’s plan—immediately going after Eve, using cunning guile to deceive her into disobeying God. 

Remember, Ezekiel says Lucifer had been in Eden. Genesis two and three show that the only ones who were in the Garden of Eden were God, Adam and Eve and Satan the devil. This shows that Ezekiel 28 is referring to the covering cherub who became Satan the devil. (However, Satan had possessed the king of Tyre. It was the king who was destroyed, not Satan the devil.) Then when Satan came into the Garden of Eden apparently assumed the form of a cunning serpent in order to lie and deceive—to wreak havoc on God’s plan. Revelation 12:9 says he continues to actively deceive the whole world! Indeed, the Bible makes it clear that all human civilizations, from Adam and Eve until Jesus’ return, Satan has been and will continue to be broadly influenced by Satan. The apostle John writes that “the whole world lies in the power of the wicked one” (I John 5:19).

Satan is the “prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now working within the children of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2). As the “god” of this present evil age (II Cor. 4:4; Gal. 1:4), Satan is the primary cause behind the wickedness that dominates human life—the cause of all the suffering and tragic circumstances that afflict so many.

But Satan is primarily the foe of God’s chosen people—Israel and the Church. Thus, as Christians we struggle “against principalities and against powers, against the world rulers of the darkness of this age, against the spiritual power of wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12). Satan is especially deceitful in the area of religion, and few realize just how deeply Satan’s deceptions have infiltrated even Christianity! He has the entire world duped as to the identity of the true God and how to rightly follow and worship Him. He even has his own ministers that look and sound like true ministers of God—but they are counterfeits (II Cor. 11:13-15). As God’s elect, we must be diligent to “put on the whole amour of God” in order to “stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:11). If we diligently resist Satan, he will flee from us! (James 4:7).

Jesus spoke of the devil as a real being, one with great power—but also one who could be defeated. Jesus Himself faced and defeated Satan (Matt. 4:1-11). Notice in verse nine that Satan offered Jesus a chance to rule the world under him. Such authority was Satan’s to give, because God has, for now, allowed Satan to have dominion over this word, during this age.

But not for long! Jesus said “all power” in heaven and earth has now been given to Him (Matt. 28:18). Satan will be removed by Christ shortly after His coming (Rev. 20:1-3, 10), and rulership of this world will be given to the saints (Rev. 5:10; 20:4, 6). Meanwhile, we must fight the good fight and overcome Satan. It is difficult—but with God all things are possible (Matt. 19:26; Mark 9:23; 10:27; Luke 18:27). John writes these words of great comfort and encouragement: “I am writing to you, fathers, because you have known Him Who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one. I am writing to you, little children, because you have known the Father. I wrote to you, fathers, because you have known Him Who is from the beginning. I wrote to you, young men, because you are strong, and the Word of God is dwelling in you, and you have overcome the wicked one” (I John 2:13-14).

The key to overcoming Satan is to have the Word of God—Jesus the Messiah, as the living embodiment of God’s inspired Word—actively living in us! Indeed, without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5; Gal. 2:20).