Evil: Where Did It Originate?
Author : Tom Graneau
If God, whom most people believe is good in every way, was the only being existed before the universe was created, where did evil begin?
Previously, I established that God was the first and only being in the universe before the formation of what is known as the cosmic world: The Origin of God—The Master of the Universe and A Heaven for a Solitary God. Based on these renditions, he existed in a dark void of nothingness called space. Later, he decided to create heaven and earth, including the rest of the astronomical environment.
Biblically, nothing in the formation of the universe suggests anything evil or malevolent at the time of creation. In fact, God was well pleased with his work on the sixth day after assessing his entire development, including the creation of human beings (Genesis 1:31).
So, where did evil originate? Since both God and man were pure and righteous, who started the vileness that has resulted in corruption, hate, destruction, heinousness, and other immoral behavior that have permeated the environment of mankind?
Is evil real? Have you seen it? Can you describe it? Then who is ultimately responsible for its existence?
From Angel to Devil
As you think about the appropriate response to these questions, the name Devil or Satan may come to mind as the responsible character, and you would be right. But who is the Devil? Where did he come from? Did he suddenly appear in the universe from nothing? Does he exist? Was he brought to life by the creator of the universe? Surely, God would not give birth to such an evil personality, or did he? If he did, what would be the purpose? Among other things, these questions are intriguing. They are inquisitively probing, searching for answers that are not readily available.
Initially, the Bible provides a brief portrayal of Satan. Essentially, he is an intruder who meddles in God’s affairs. However, a closer examination of biblical context reveals that he was a created being who originally resided in heaven. He was an angel who went awry. To understand the transformation from good to evil, we must revisit some of the texts that tell about his past.
Originally, the creation of heaven involved more than a place of residence for God. It included the creation of angelic beings, structure, job assignments, administrative oversight, and other responsibilities that would ensure the effective functioning of God’s kingdom. Much of that was established before God reconvened the task of forming the rest of the universe, including earth.
It was during this period that God ran into some problems in heaven. His authority was challenged by one of the occupants known as Lucifer, an angel of the highest order. He was an anointed cherub with trusted responsibilities, including the management of key functions within God’s kingdom. Apart from his prestigious position, he had access to God’s holy mountain, a place that seemed to be isolated from every other being in heaven, except for him and God. Furthermore, the Bible specifies that he was more handsome than all the other angels in heaven and possessed a great deal more perception and wisdom than the rest. For these reasons, God seemed to have liked him above the others, so much so that he was trusted intimately (Ezekiel 28:12-14).
A Major Conflict in heaven
Lucifer’s privileges led to problems. During his day-to-day operation, he conceived the thought of possibly dethroning God and taking over the establishment of heaven. Apparently, he liked the recognition that came with his position and wanted more of it. The following biblical text gives us some insight into his attitude prior to moving forward with his plan: “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:13-14). The expression sounds deeply aspirational, the strong-minded type that is bent on achieving a specific goal regardless of the cost. In this case, however, it happened to be the most distinguished seat in the universe—God’s throne. He considered the possibility of a coup.
It’s not clear how long Lucifer conspired to overthrow God. Coups usually take place suddenly, but not without a great deal of planning and preparation, which means that he must have had all the necessary time to plan and stage the attack. Then suddenly, war broke out in heaven involving multitudes of angels on both sides of the fence (Revelation 12:7).
At this point, you might be wondering: Since God is aware of all things, how could such an event develop in his kingdom without his knowledge? The question is reasonable and deserves consideration. In response, we must assume that he knew of Lucifer’s clandestine activity from the beginning. If that’s the case, why did he permit the conspiracy to continue to the stage of war? It’s hard to say, except to fall back on God’s general disposition. Because he is longsuffering and retains the power of judgment and mercy, he permits some things to develop before interfering though they may be harmful or evil. The hope is that the people who are involved will learn from their mistakes and possibly repent from their ways.
The Tower of Babel is a good example in this case. After the great flood that covered the entire earth and destroyed every living thing except Noah, his family, and the other inhabitants of the Ark, the descendants of Noah decided to prevent a similar catastrophe in the future by building a tower that would reach heaven. In addition to providing safety, it would also identify them as a people of purpose and establish their name on the earth forever (Genesis 11:3-4).
The assumption is that God had knowledge of the project early but allowed it to continue even though it appeared to be a fruitless endeavor. After the flood, for instance, he wanted humanity to spread all over the earth and explore its goodness. On the other hand, people wanted to stay close for safety and security, and the situation posed a direct hindrance to God’s plan. Even so, he was in no hurry to disrupt their project, not until he noticed that the people had become more and more determined to finish it. It was then that he decided to impose his influence on the people by confounding their language. He made it impossible to communicate, which hindered the progress of the project. The people had no choice but to disperse in bands of small groups and venture into unknown territories for settlement (Genesis 11:5-9).
Lucifer must have been given the same opportunity to reconsider his coup attempt on God but declined the offer. His pride got in the way. Since he had already convinced a multitude of angels to join his cause, any gesture of backing down would be interpreted as weakness or indecision. Besides, he might have thought that he would win the battle, which meant getting exactly what he wanted—an opportunity to reign in heaven as the almighty Lucifer. The chance to succeed was too good to ignore.
Lucifer is condemned
According to the Bible, the time of the inevitable conflict eventually arrived. On that day, God’s army confronted the dragon (Lucifer) in battle (Revelation 12:7-8). At the end of the engagement, Lucifer, and his accomplices were found guilty of treason and were cast out from God’s immediate domain into a medium between heaven and earth called hell (Revelation 12:9; 2 Peter 2:4). Granted, he could have had a different ending. God could have destroyed him completely, bringing an end to evil and its insidious nature forever. Instead, he was permitted to live, for reasons we may never fully understand, and was given access to the world of man.
Today, the kingdom of man (earth) is afflicted with evil because of Satan’s original transgression. The same insidious nature that he possesses was transferred to mankind in the garden of Eden, hence the Fall of man (1 John 3:8; Romans 5:12). To make matters worse, he is relentless in his attempt to destroy every human being on the face of the earth while he still resides in hell.
To learn more about how the Devil continues to influence humanity in our world, especially people who profess to be born-again Christians, consider reading The Devil in Modern Eden.
What are your thoughts on the matter?
Do you see and feel the Devil’s influence in our world today? How is Satan affecting people today? Will there be an end to evil? If so, how will it happen?
If you believe that the Devil is only a symbol of evil…think again.
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