“. . . when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:7)
A common question that arises from time to time is, “When did God make the angels?” A corollary question to that is “Was there enough time for pride to grow in Satan and for the war in Heaven to occur within the first few days?”
In the Job passage quoted above, God is telling Job that the angels were there at the time when He formed the earth. As to whether there was sufficient time for Satan’s pride to grow, we must ask, “How much time does it take for pride to grow?” In our own experience, does it take a long time to develop pride, or does it just seem to flare up unexpectedly? I would say the latter. Pride is one of the most basic sins. Human beings are naturally selfish and self-centered. Recall that very shortly after Creation, Satan was able to tempt Eve with “the pride of life” (1 John 2:16): “ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). It does not take a great amount of time for pride to grow.
The angels probably were created on the first day of the creation week. We cannot be dogmatic about this. The Bible does not specify when the angels were created, but the above passage in Job indicates that they were at least around to see the creation taking place. The angels, therefore, were created before man. Perhaps the reason for not focusing more attention on angels is that the Bible focuses mainly on the relationship between God and man. Angels play a part, but they are not central to God’s redemptive plan. But what does God say about man? “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:26, emphasis added). Did God say that about the angels? Did God give dominion over His creation to the angels? Can you see anything there that would give rise to pride and jealousy?
It would not have taken a long time for Satan’s pride to grow. Having been created first and then given lower status than man, Satan said, “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:13-14, emphasis added). Satan hates man because God has bestowed upon man greater status than the angels. “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet” (Psalm 8:4-6, emphasis added). The English phrase “a little lower than the angels” is not an accurate translation. “Angels” is the Hebrew ‘ĕlôhîym referring to God rather than the normal word for angels mal’âkîm. This is a messianic passage describing the condescension of Christ in taking human form, but this also has a secondary meaning as applied to man. Having been created in the image of his Maker, man holds a higher status than the angels, and this infuriates Satan.
This being the case, Satan most likely rebelled on Day Six of creation or very shortly thereafter. Seeing that man was God’s prized creation, Satan turned his ire toward destroying man. Knowing that man was created in the image of God, he employed that fact to cause man’s demise: “ye shall be as gods” (Genesis 3:5). If one analyses the source of any sin, it all goes back to pride – man wants to be his own god. This has been true from the beginning when Satan witnessed the creation of man, and since the fall of man in the Garden (Genesis 3). It really takes no time for pride to develop. It is nothing that requires any nurturing. On the contrary, it is something must actively be suppressed, and this cannot be done through human strength. It requires the supernatural power that only comes from God through the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised, “ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you” (Acts 1:8), and it is in that power alone that pride can be conquered.