You do not need to be part of a religion for you to see that there is good and evil in the world. Where does this come from? Is there something behind it all? For the answers we will need to look at the Bible and start before the beginning of this earth.
“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,” Ezekiel 28:12-15 NKJV.
Can you guess who this describes? This Bible verse describes the angel Lucifer (meaning light bearer). This angel was the most beautiful and had the highest position of all the angels. This angel was perfect, the crown of God’s creation. Nowadays this angel is known as the devil. That´s right, the devil is not some red figure with horns, a tail and a pitchfork. The devil was a highly successful and powerful angel of God. Lucifer did something that would change the course of history, something that turned him from God’s angel to God’s adversary.
The light bearer that lost the light
There are laws that govern the material world we live in and without these natural laws the world would be chaos. In the same way, God’s moral law has always provided security and stability to the cosmos. The Bible tells us that the principles of God’s law have existed throughout eternity (Psalm 111:7-8). It is the foundation of the heavenly kingdom of love. The ten commandments are a summary of God’s character of love and portray His nature. The first four commandments describe who God is, His power, territory and authority. The last six describe what God is like. His honesty, His purity, His faithfulness. All of these things have always been true and will always be true. Jesus summarized the law as loving God with all your heart, mind and soul, and loving your neighbor as yourself. God’s law is not like today’s civil laws (a list of do’s and don’ts) but more as the laws of science – for example for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, or what goes up must come down. Just as we live life accustomed to the reality of gravity, so the angels in heaven lived their lives motivated by selfless love.
Now for the first time in eternity, Lucifer began violating these perfect principles. As Lucifer began to reflect on his own beauty and power, his heart gradually changed. He allowed the focus from being on God to shift to love for himself. The Bible shows us that Lucifer started to be jealous of the power of God and pride and resentment led him to break God’s holy law and rebel against His government. Lucifer thought if he had enough support, he could pursue his plan to be like God himself and to ‘share the power and status of God’. He started to talk with the other angels and started planting seeds of doubt and discontent regarding God’s leadership. At the same time, he would uplift his own character and ideals. He suggested that God was abusing His divine power and that the law was restricting the true freedom and happiness of His creatures. This was not just a disagreement on policy, but a frontal attack on God’s character, for God’s law is a description of His own character. Accusing the law for being bondage and unjust would make God a liar and a tyrant. Lucifer persuaded a third of the angels to abandon their loyalty to God and join Lucifer in his rebellion against God’s government.
Your national government -most likely- upholds a law that commands you to not murder someone, yet you still have the freedom to obey it or not. When you misuse that freedom to break the law and do evil, it will have consequences and you will end up being removed from society. In the same way Lucifer and the angels were made with a free will. “God desires of all His creatures the service of love -homage that springs from an intelligent appreciation of His character. He takes no pleasure in a forced allegiance, and to all He grants freedom of will, that they may render Him voluntary service.” Great Controversy, EGW. Lucifer and his followers decided to misuse their freedom and choose evil and rebellion and broke God’s perfect law of love. The Bible tells us that the punishment for sinning -breaking the law- is death. The universe exists in a way that sin leads to suffering – it is a natural consequence of living only for yourself or acting out of fear instead of faith. On the other hand – kindness, generosity, love etc. brings love, joy, peace and so on. Sin brings death – love brings life. God is not necessarily punishing our sin but that sin brings its own punishment. If God were to continue giving life to those who sin indefinitely then He would effectively be funding evil – like selling guns to terrorists. Ultimately evil would not have a place in a kingdom of love, for it would forever disrupt the order, peace, harmony and love that the kingdom is built on. The result of the spirit of rebellion grew stronger as Lucifer and his angels tried to overtake the kingdom and war broke out in heaven. The bible does not let us know how this war looked like or for how long it went on, but it resulted in that Lucifer and his angels were removed out of heaven.
The plan to uproot all evil
As God is all-knowing, He already foresaw the terrible consequences of one breaking His perfect law, yet He did not destroy Lucifer. As only service of love is acceptable to God, it is essential that the loyalty of His creatures rests upon a conviction of His justice and goodness. The inhabitants of heaven and other worlds, not understanding the nature or consequences of sin, would not have seen the justice and mercy of God in the immediate destruction of the devil. Had the devil immediately been blotted from existence, their lack of insight into the nature and consequences of sin would have left them without explanation concerning this mighty angels’ destruction. This would only raise more questions and doubt and their service to God would no longer be based on voluntary love, but fear. The seeds of doubt that the devil had planted would not have fully been destroyed, nor would the spirit of rebellion have been completely eradicated. That is why it is necessary for evil to come to maturity. For the good of the entire universe through eternity, the devil needed to develop his principles and ideology, so that the charges against the divine government would be seen in their true light by all created beings. When all creatures could see it for themselves and understand God’s judgement, the justice and mercy of God and the unchangeability of His law would forever be placed beyond question. All would agree that God’s decision to destroy all traces of evil are based on justice and mercy. As the motivation of the rebellion was God’s character and law, it could not be changed and therefore no compromise could be made. To then forever be in the presence of a perfect God in a kingdom of love, would be an eternal punishment for those who chose not to be part of it. God loves His creatures and does not want them to suffer, thus He would respect their free will and spare them to spend eternity suffering from the terrible consequences of sin. Through punishing those who transgress the law, justice is maintained and peace, order, harmony and love are restored to all His creatures.
The rebellion of the devil was to be a lesson to the universe through all coming ages, an everlasting testimony to the nature and terrible results of sin. The development of the devil’s ideology, its effects upon God’s creatures, would show what happens when setting aside the divine authority. It would testify that the existence of God’s government and His law, would ensure the well-being of all the creatures He has made. The history of this terrible experiment of rebellion was to be a timeless reminder to all holy intelligences, to save them from committing sin and suffering its punishments.
The lesson of Eden
This is where the book of Genesis comes in. A new world where it would become visible for the whole universe what it would look like if the devil´s ideals were to rule and so could be judged by its consequences. In six days God created a perfect world and made Adam and Eve. Just like all the created beings, they were created with free choice. One tree in the middle of the garden of Eden that God commanded them to not eat of. This tree was to be a sign of either their love and loyalty to God, or a sign for their disobedience.
Most of us have heard the story and know that Adam and Eve ended up disobeying God and ate from the tree. But this was not simply because they forgot His commandment or that the fruit looked better than on other trees. It was an act of rebellion, inspired by the devil. In Satan’s attack on God’s government, he accused God of keeping the power to Himself and withholding it from the angels through His law. This is the lie he used to persuade the angels to join his cause and it is the same lie he used to deceive Adam and Eve. In acting on their new belief that God could not be trusted, they forsook their loyalty to God and put their trust in the cunning words of the devil. They chose to love themselves more than their creator. By this act of disobedience, Adam and Eve chose to live life outside of the divine law and with all the consequences.
“Man was originally endowed with noble powers and a well-balanced mind. He was perfect in his being, and in harmony with God. His thoughts were pure, his aims holy. But through disobedience, his powers were perverted, and selfishness took the place of love. His nature became so weakened through transgression that it was impossible for him, in his own strength, to resist the power of evil. He was made captive by Satan, and would have remained so forever”. Steps to Christ- EGW
The reality today
The divine law of God is as much valid today as it has ever been and all are going to be judged according to it. Breaking His law is still called sin and it has consequences. Now when you read these ten commandments, you will have realized that you have broken some of them and are under its consequences. The Bible even tells us that all humans have sinned (Romans 3:23).
“It is impossible for us, of ourselves, to escape from the pit of sin in which we are sunken. Our hearts are evil, and we cannot change them. “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.” “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Job 14:4; Romans 8:7. Education, culture, the exercise of the will, human effort, all have their proper sphere, but here they are powerless. They may produce an outward correctness of behavior, but they cannot change the heart; they cannot purify the springs of life.” Steps to Christ – EGW
The fact that you have read this text so far tells me you are looking for more. You have for yourself experienced the principles of the devil at work in your own life and those around you: pride, selfishness, anger, hate, depression, just to name a few. You have been made a prisoner to the rule of the devil and you are bound in chains. The situation seems hopeless. All have sinned, all have fallen short of the glory of God and are deserving the punishment of death. There is nothing you can do about it in your own strength, by your own works to make up for the sins committed. But I am here to tell you today, there is good news for you! The devil’s agenda was to ruin this world and blame it on God. In the next post you will discover what God’s agenda has been, is and always will be; pure love.