We received a letter from a gentleman (C. S.) who is on board with our message at Answers in Genesis but disagreed on a few points in my book entitled The Fall of Satan. He gave me permission to reply to his main points online. We do this in hopes that others will dig into the Scriptures and seek these things out in God’s Word. As colleagues and brothers in the Lord, we hope this will advance the message of Christ.
C. S. raised these objections in Christian love. His comments are interspersed.
1. I do believe that Satan is real and that God created him sometime in the past.
We agree here.
2. Though Satan may be some form of an angel, I cannot find any proof of that in the word of God.
We also agree here. This is why I do not suggest calling him a fallen angel in the book (although I’m not too hard on people who do since theologians generally classify all created spiritual beings as angels). There is the issue of Satan possibly being alluded to as the “anointed cherub,” (Ezekiel 28:14), but this raises the question, “What exactly is a cherub?” Others say he masquerades as an “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14), but that passage does not necessarily say he is or was an angel. These are some reasons why I would not suggest calling Satan an angel.
3. I do not believe that Satan was ever in Heaven, therefore he, Satan, was never kicked out of heaven. Evil cannot be in Heaven, cannot happen in Heaven or dwell in heaven.
Where in the Bible do you find reference Satan’s creation being somewhere other than heaven?
Furthermore, I am not aware of any biblical mandate that says evil could not have happened in heaven. This is an idea that comes from the minds of men. Remember, this world was originally perfect but was ruined due to the sin of the first man, Adam, so a perfect environment does not negate the possibility of sin.
The book of Revelation provides sufficient evidence of Satan’s presence in heaven.
And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.(Revelation 12:7–12, emphasis added)
As long as the terms “Satan,” “the great dragon,” the “serpent of old,” and “the Devil,” actually refer to Satan, then the text affirms Satan’s presence in heaven prior to this war in heaven.
Many well-meaning Christians have put forth the notion that God is so holy that He cannot even be in the presence of sin. While it is true that God is holy (set apart from sin), this does not preclude that He can be in the presence of sin. In fact, since God is omnipresent, then, in one sense, all sin is committed in His presence. Also, when Jesus was on earth, He was continually in the presence of sinners, and He even allowed the Satan-possessed Judas to betray Him with a kiss (Matthew 26:49; John 13:27).
One may respond with the question, “If angels can sin while in God’s presence, do you believe that people or angels will sin in the future heaven?” No, I don’t. Isaiah 65:17, 2 Peter 3:13, and Revelation 21:1 refer to a new heavens and a new earth. This present creation is broken (Romans 8), ultimately due to sin in Genesis 3. This is why we need a new heavens and a new earth. Upon the consummate form of the new heavens and new earth, sin will not be possible; otherwise, the eternal life spoken of so often by Jesus would be moot.
4. I cannot find any dogmatic proof
This is the key to our disagreement. In kindness, the issue isn’t that “you” are the judge on the topic (e.g., the way you look at things isn’t the standard for absolute truth, nor are my ideas for that matter). The issue is what the Bible says. In other words, there is a difference between proof and persuasion. Many times people are not persuaded by an argument, but that is not a basis for objectively provable truth. For example, if I were to say in a base 10 numbering system two plus two equals four, someone could respond this way: “I cannot find any dogmatic proof of this and conclude that this is not the case.” Does this mean it is not true? By no means.
of the following scriptures that prove Satan was created perfect, Genesis 1:31,
So do you believe sin is “very good”?
Agreed, if verses 12–15 are truly about him, which I believe they are, they do not say he was created perfect. They are useful for other aspects though.
In the lament over the King of Tyre, Ezekiel says:
Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created.
“You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.
“By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones.
“Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, that they might gaze at you.
“You defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities, by the iniquity of your trading; therefore I brought fire from your midst; it devoured you, and I turned you to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all who saw you. All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you; you have become a horror, and shall be no more forever.”’”(Ezekiel 28:11–19)
Clearly, the King of Tyre was not directly created, nor was he in Eden (which was destroyed by the Flood), nor is he a cherub, nor was he perfect (the only humans outside of Christ who were perfect—at least until sin—were Adam and Eve). This is clearly in reference to someone else: Satan, who was influencing the King of Tyre. So this passage does indicate Satan’s perfection, until sin.
Agreed. Luke 10:18 does not say Satan was created perfect. This passage is useful for other aspects of this discussion though.
As shown above, how could John describe a war in heaven in which Satan is kicked out of heaven if Satan was never in heaven?
Jude 6, 7, Peter etc.
Once again, we agree that these verses do not say he was created perfect. However, there is a powerful theological argument about this subject. You have agreed that Satan was created by God in the past. Yet every work of God is perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4). So Satan, being created by a perfect God, was indeed created perfect.
But the point is, if one views himself as the authority to say these verses in question are not convincing, then that is an issue between that person and God, not between that person and me.
5. I believe that these arguments from the above scriptures create more questions than answers.
We need to keep in mind that God need not answer every question to us regarding Satan, angels, and so on. The Bible is sufficient, but not exhaustive. We need to read it in the styles and contexts they are given and let Scripture interpret Scripture. Neither you nor I are the ultimate authority on the subject, but God is. If God had not revealed information about Satan and his fallen nature in the Bible, then we could know very little about him. And I’m sure you agree here.
I do want to encourage you to study the Bible and what it teaches on this subject. As you know, the world has attacked the reality of Satan, the nature of his work, and even the nature of hell. At the same time, please remember there is a danger in focusing too much attention on Satan and his devices rather than on our Creator and Savior. Many people have become so enthralled or fascinated with the work of the devil that they neglect to worship God. Keep in mind the words of Jesus in Luke 10.
Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And He[Jesus]said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”(Luke 10:17–19)
Although we agree on most points in the book, we obviously disagree on only a handful of points. So please keep up the good work for the cause of Christ.