Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Why Did Satan Sin?

            Satan’s sin was the very first sin in the universe. It occurred before the sin of Adam and Eve (possibly even before the creation of Adam & Eve). But the Bible does not explicitly offer an answer as to why Satan sinned. Hence we are called to speculate, albeit responsibly. 

            Satan, an angel, was created as a good being. However, Satan and some of his fellow angels sinned against God.

            Did God give Satan the desire to sin? No, it cannot be, since God is not the author of sin. HE does not even tempt us to sin (James 1:13).

            From the perspective of God and human beings, the Bible categorically excludes God as a causal agent of sin. But the Bible teaches that man sins because of his own desire, “…each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (James 1: 14-15, ESV).

            We could apply the same principle to angelic beings. God created angels as good beings, but with the freedom to either accept or reject HIM. While God allows HIS creation, namely humans and angels, to sin, HE does not give them the desire to sin. That desire to sin is owned by humans and/or angels.

            The Christian apologetics website, 'Answers In Genesis,' cites Satan’s desire as the reason for his sin against God:1

From what we can tell from studying the Bible, Satan was the first to sin. He sinned before the woman sinned, and before Adam sinned. Some claim that we sin because Satan enters us and causes us to sin, but the Bible doesn’t teach this. We sin whether Satan enters us or not. Satan was influencing the serpent when the woman sinned and when Adam sinned; they sinned on their own accord without being able to claim, “Satan made me do it.”
But what causes this initial sin; why did Satan sin in the first place?
Death is the punishment for sin. Sin originates in desire—one’s own desire. James 1:14 hints that evil comes from one’s own desire. It was by Satan’s own desire that his pride in his own beauty and abilities overtook him.
In the “very good” original creation, it seems likely that Satan and mankind had the power of contrite choice.1 In the Garden of Eden, the woman was convinced by her own desire (the tree was desirable to make one wise—Genesis 3:6). Satan had not entered her; she was enticed by her own desire.
God is not the author of sin; our desires are. God did not trick or deceive Satan into becoming full of pride. God hates pride (Proverbs 8:13), and it would not be in His character to cause one to become prideful. Nor was He the one who deceived Eve. Deception and lies go hand in hand (Psalm 78:36; Proverbs 12:17), yet God does not lie or deceive (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18).
Note that since Satan’s own desires caused his pride, the blame for evil’s entrance into creation cannot be God’s. To clarify, this doesn’t mean God was unaware this would happen, but God permitted it to happen. God is sovereign and acted justly by casting Satan out of heaven after he rebelled against the Creator.
Therefore, when God incarnate came to destroy evil and the work of the devil (1 John 3:8), it was truly an act of love, not a gimmick to correct what He “messed up.” He was glorified in His plan for redemption.
            Pastor John Piper thinks that God concealed HIS glory from Satan insofar that the Satan sinned, “I am not saying this is a foolproof explanation of sin, but somehow God cloaked his glory from Lucifer and in the cloaking of his glory somehow, still inexplicable to me, there rises a preference in Lucifer’s heart for himself over God — who has cloaked his glory.

            I don’t know how that happens, but this is a pointer that something like that might have been going on. I am simply saying this is worth pondering that God may be able to govern the presence and absence of sin, not by direct active agency, but by concealing himself.”2

            Similarly, Christian philosopher, William Lane Craig explains the first sin by citing the “Hiddenness of God,” “God has created us at an “epistemic distance,” so to speak, which allows us the freedom to rebel against Him and separate ourselves from Him. This world is a vale of decision-making during which we decide whether we want to live with God forever or reject Him and so irrevocably separate ourselves from Him. As discussions of the so-called “Hiddenness of God” have emphasized, God could have made His existence overwhelmingly obvious, had He wanted to. During this life, we “see in a glass darkly,” as St. Paul put it; but someday we shall see “face to face” (I Cor. 13.12). Medieval theologians liked to talk of the “Beatific Vision” which the blessed in heaven will receive. There the veil will be removed, and we shall see Christ in all of His loveliness and majesty. The vision of Christ, the source of infinite goodness and love, will be so overwhelming as to remove all freedom to sin. I like to think of it like iron filings in the presence of an enormously powerful electromagnet. They would be so powerfully attracted to the magnet that there is simply no possibility of their falling away. So with the blessed in heaven.

            Something like this may have already occurred with angelic beings. Originally created “at arm’s length” from God epistemically, they had a time to choose either for or against God. Those who chose for God were then sealed with the Beatific Vision, so that no further fall is possible. Fallen angels are Satan and his minions.”3

            So to conclude, Satan sinned because he had the desire to sin. This desire was not given to him by God, but God merely created him to be a free creature. Satan’s first sin could also be attributed to ‘God’s Hiddenness’ or ‘God cloaking HIS glory’ or God creating Satan at an ‘epistemic distance’ from HIMSELF insofar as Satan had an opportunity to either accept or reject God.




Websites last accessed on 26th March 2019.

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