How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! (Isaiah 14:12)
God deniers often challenge believers with the question of evil in the world. “If God is so good, why is there so much evil in the world?” Another closely linked question is “Why did God create Satan?” and “When did God create Satan?” My attempt to answer these questions follows.
God created Satan (his name is Lucifer) when He created the other angels. Angels were created early on during the week of creation (Genesis 1) – probably Day One or Day Two of creation. We get this from God’s response to Job’s questioning concerning the calamity that had befallen him. God asks Job:
Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? … When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:4, 7, emphasis added)
“The morning stars” is used synonymously with “the sons of God” – Hebrew bene Elohim, which is used only in regard to angels in the Old Testament. From this we gather that the angels witnessed creation. Satan is included with “the sons of God.”
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. (Job 1:6, emphasis added)
Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. (Job 2:1, emphasis added)
Apparently by this time Satan, which means “accuser,” had already fallen, and he was actively attacking man. However, notice Who still has the final say – Satan still needed to get permission from God to attack Job. But when did Satan Fall? The Bible does not provide specific answers to this question, but we can at least conclude that it happened after creation was completed because we have God’s assessment of His finished product:
And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. (Genesis 1:31, emphasis added).
God’s creation would not have been “very good,” if there were rebellion in the camp, and to suppose that perhaps God was unaware of a rebellion would be to deny God’s omniscience. So, sometime between God’s conclusion of creation and the Fall of man (Genesis 3), Satan rebelled against God. That brings up the question: Why would Satan rebel against God? We are given some hints in the books of Isaiah and Ezekiel.
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, 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 14:12-14, emphasis added)
Thou [“king of Tyrus,” i.e., Satan] hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. (Ezekiel 28:13-17, emphasis added)
From this, especially from the Ezekiel passage, we can infer that Lucifer (“the king of Tyrus” i.e., Satan) was a high ranking angel – very likely an archangel. He was obviously very beautiful as his “covering” is described as beautiful gem stones. His name, Lucifer, means “shining one” or “day star,” therefore he must have been quite dazzling – very unlike the images of Satan we see depicted today. Notice also that his “sin” was the same sin with which he tempted Eve in the Garden: “ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5).
Only three angels are named in the Bible: Lucifer, Michael, and Gabriel. Since these are the only three named, it is quite possible that these are the only archangels that God created. I arrive at this conclusion from what we read of the fall of Satan (the “old dragon”) found in Revelation 12:
And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. (Revelation 12:3-4, emphasis added)
As noted in the Job passages above, angels are sometimes referred to as “stars.” That Satan drew “the third part of the stars of heaven” along with him indicates to me that these were the angels that were under his command, leaving the remaining two-thirds under the command of Michael and Gabriel.
It is conjecture on my part, but I believe the reason Satan rebelled was because he became jealous of man who was created in the image of God and given dominion over God’s creation.
And God said, 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. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:26-28, emphasis added)
Angels were not created in the image of God, nor were they given charge over God’s creation. That distinction was given to man; therefore Satan became jealous and plotted to cause man to fall. He thought “of himself more highly than he ought to think” (Romans 12:3) as described in the Isaiah and Ezekiel passages above. His sin was not in his thought, but in acting upon his thought and carrying out his plan to cause man to sin. This is probably where Satan fell.
There is evil in the world because of sin – rebellion – which was first birthed in the mind of Satan and brought to full fruition through man’s disobedience. Some may object that God should not have given man occasion to disobey by placing the tree of the knowledge good and evil in the garden, but love is a choice. God also provided another tree on a hill called Calvary. From that tree we are free to partake, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Love is a choice.