Nearly every ancient culture has stories and legends of some evil that has corrupted mankind. We tell ourselves that these myths are merely scapegoats for our human failings, but the bible dismisses that notion, professing to lay out the truth of what this thing really is. He is a fallen cherub of God, branded Satan, “the adversary”. In his doomed rebellion, Satan’s choice to defy God grew into a lust for the almighty’s holy place and he was transformed from a servant of sublime beauty and light into a cursed creature of deep hatred and darkness. He fell to the earth and, in disdain for His Creator, shared a poisonous taste for sedition with a newly born humanity. In doing so, sin spread through our shared family lines, soaking history with the blood of countless murders and conquest. In our divinely made creative hands, perversion and depravity learned new ways to offend the Father and the fallen cherub became, as Christ calls Him, “the prince of this world.”
What does that mean? Is Satan stronger than God? Not at all, as the book of Job shows us that he still reports to the Lord (Job 1:6-7). Yet, because of God’s unwillingness to force His perfect will on us, Satan has become a “god” to all of those who live under the veil of his deception. This deception, our enemy’s motive, may be one of the most misunderstood things in the world today, but not for the early church. The Apostle Paul’s second letter to the Christians in Corinth reads:
“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake..” -2 Corinthians 4:4-5
Satan’s primary objective is to make dead certain that humans don’t realize that the gate of sin has been closed and a new one, that of life, has been unlocked. This gate swings wide open to reveal the radiant, forgiving face of God in His Son, Jesus of Nazareth. This is the One who paid the ransom for our souls with His own broken body, resulting in a free gift of salvation. Free, not won by a quota of our own good deeds or outdated animal sacrifice, but provided out of loving, heart-breaking sacrifice of our God as He lay exposed on a shameful instrument of torture, then joyously resurrected to new honor and glory. Jesus promises to share this renewed connection to God with anyone who would just believe and follow Him. Tragically, the secular world that Satan has flooded with sin traps those who continue to miss this light, and they slosh around knee-deep in darkness, in fear of the death that it will inevitably bring.
How can we say any of this with certainty? Well again, the bible declares that its scriptures are the divine truth of our past, and I wholeheartedly believe that. Starting from the fall to earth, our enemy and his angel army, now demons, invade mankind, but not in the clearly oppressive ways of a conqueror. In light of his aim to separate us from God, he instead sowed his own philosophy, ideology and understanding of the divine that led away from grace and into a maze of pride, self-promotion and vanity. Attempting to win favor with whom ever may be watching from above by good works, mankind latched onto these ideas that appeal to our own limited standards of “right and wrong” rather than Gods’.
In essence, humanity at our worst reflects Satan’s very character. Jealousy grew in the heart of Cain, only the second generation of man, and he murdered his own brother. Just as Satan came from heaven and turned against his own, he incited the same heart in Cain and it only deepened through our bloodline. His descendant, Lamech, celebrated his murder of a young man who offended him (Genesis 4:23-24). The fallen angels began to seduce human women, spawning perverse creatures that even further melded the fallen cherub’s nature with our own and before long a sense that ‘something was not right with the world’ began to emerge (Genesis 6:1-5) Though the memory of Eden must have seemed like a hazy dream by then, early man nevertheless began to call out to some higher being in desperation (Genesis 4:26)
Yet, the early civilizations that were to dawn centuries later; the Sumerians, Babylonians, and on to tribes like the Moabites, did their calling in ways that once again resembled the voice of the fallen one. We will talk in greater detail of how Satan reveals his character and motives through human nature as we conclude this mini-series in January. In the mean time, get ready to shine some light in the darkness next month as the holidays approach. Keep on diggin!