The Origins of Satan, Sin, and System
Text: Genesis 3
Proposition: In Genesis 3 we are introduced to Satan, Sin and the Systemic fall of man and the creation he has been given to have dominion over.
Introduction: At some point before the creation of the universe, before Day 1 of creation, God created angelic beings. Job 38:4-7 describes not only the creation of the world but also the way that the angels shouted for joy at creation. Psalm 148: 2-5 describes the way that God not only created the heavens but also the angels, “for He commanded and they were created, He also established them forever and ever.” Angels were created one at a time by God, they don’t reproduce as human beings do. One of the highest ranking angels was Satan who in his position of privilege and power chose to take for himself that which only belonged to God. He wanted the adoration and worship and glory that was due to God alone. There are passages like Ezekiel 28:13-17 that describe the fall of Satan into sin, the violence in his character that marked that fall and the way that he influenced many other angels to also follow after him. Isaiah 14:12-15 describes the five “I will” statements of Lucifer, the last of which is, “I will be like the Most High”.
The fall of Satan and the beginning of sin in him causes us to have to consider the problem of the existence of evil for it involved angels but also mankind and to some degree even God Himself as Jesus had imputed Him the sin of mankind at the cross. So we are faced with the problem of the existence of evil in the presence of an Almighty God. You’ll hear this problem rephrased time and again in terms like, “If God is so loving why is there so much suffering in the world; if God is all powerful, why does He allow such injustice, such wickedness.” However it’s stated, it really amounts to the problem of the existence of evil, or sin, in the presence of an Almighty God. I’m going to borrow from C.F. Dickason’s book, “Angels Elect and Evil” to begin to address this problem. To answer an unknown begin with the known truths or constants.
1. The Character of God. We know that the same Scripture that introduces us to the origins of evil also presents before us the character of God as being Holy, loving, gracious, merciful, patient and perfect in all His ways. In God’s eyes sin is wicked and corrosive to all that is righteous. God in no way condones or causes sin. God neither tempts any man nor can He be tempted.
2. The Control of God. Since God is omnipotent and sovereign over all things He has no potential rival. Nothing has occurred that has ever surprised God or overpowered God, therefore we could also say that evil did not rise up apart from His control.
3. The Choice of God. In the perfect reason and wisdom of God He allowed evil to come into being. That God has a plan and that it is executed without flaw is what prophecy proclaims to us again and again. We can speculate as to what God’s plan was in permitting evil to enter into Satan and then to see its effects spread to all creation. Perhaps sin was the consequence of failing the probationary test of beauty, wisdom, power and will. Perhaps it was to show the grace of God in preserving most of the angelic host in faithfulness, in demonstrating grace in the redemption of man. Perhaps it was to proclaim in concrete terms His hatred and judgment towards sin itself.
4. The Choice of Angels. This points not only to their ability or free will but also to their responsibility. Knowing the goodness of God they chose for themselves and are accountable for their sin. They are without excuse as in all mankind.
5. The Confinement of God. When God did allow sin into the universe He did not allow it to run without control. It was allowed for a finite duration between two aspects of eternity, that is in the time of creation.
6. The Condemnation of Sin by God. God condemns sin and the evil it generates and has put a price upon its eradication. That price was greater than any creature could ever have imagined, it was the price of perfect holiness bearing the penalty of total depravity. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, very God Himself, the Second Person of the Trinity, would Himself bear the wrath of the Father against all sin. He would be the Redeemer of the universe and will make all things new.
So we could say that permissively God has allowed sin to enter creation but only for that which ultimately glorifies Him, or reveals more of the truth of Who He is.
The origin of Satan and of sin are what set the stage for what we are about to read in Genesis 3. Let’s read the first 5 verses as we see the introduction of sin from the realm of spirit creatures to the realm of mankind in the earth. Turn to Genesis 3.
In the first 5 verses of Genesis 3 there is a strategy of temptation that has become systemic in the way sin works in all of us. When I use the term System in this detailing of the origins of Satan, Sin and System, the system refers to the systematic way that sin has impacted the world. Wikipedia defines Systemic as, “something that is spread throughout, system-wide, affecting a group or system such as a body, economy, market or society as a whole.” This is how sin spreads or how it is systemic: (adapted from Paul F. Taylor’s book ‘The Six days of Genesis)
1. Doubting God’s Word. If we make the presumption that God is and that what He declares is truth then to doubt His word is to doubt truth itself. That’s exactly what Satan seeks to do with Eve, “Has God indeed said…” To doubt seems to be an innocent enough action, but to linger on that doubt invites the next step.
2. Misquoting God’s Word. “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’ The misquote implies that God has not been specific, it opens the way for a variety of self serving interpretations. You’ll hear people misquote Scripture in things like, “God helps those who help themselves” or the “Money is the root of all evil”. Neither of these are accurate quotes from the Scripture and are used to justify ourselves in our actions that are self serving.
3. Contradicting God’s Word. Eve tells the Serpent that God has said they should not eat nor touch the fruit of the tree in the midst of the garden for if they do, they will die. Satan contradicts God’s word saying, “You will not surely die.” From doubt to misquoting to contradicting the word of God, in essence to contradict the word of God is to call Him a liar. It implies that God is trying to manipulate or deceive. In contradicting the word of God the character of God is slandered.
4. Being Jealous of God. To be jealous means that you want what belongs to another, Satan tempts Eve with the idea that she can be like God, knowing good and evil and never experiencing death. To know good and evil implies that it be an experiential knowledge of it. How will you know good and evil unless you disobey and do what you should not do? Satan tempted Eve with the very thing that had tempted him, the desire to be like God in having absolute freedom and absolute sovereignty. What He didn’t see was that God was also absolutely Holy, an attribute that controlled the freedom and sovereignty. To be jealous of God, to want what only belongs to Him, this is where sin conceives and then gives birth and when it gives birth to an action the ultimate result is that it brings forth death. (James 1:14,15)
These are the origins of Satan, Sin and System, it is for these that Jesus Christ came, to destroy the works of the Devil, to put an end to sin, to complete the system of man revealing its fatal flaws and to make all things new. Let’s continue this next week as we see the immediate effects upon Adam and Eve as they die.