list of selfish attributes

The Origin of Evil

For many, the existence of sin, with the misery and death that it has brought into our world, is a great mystery. They cannot understand how a God who is loving and kind would allow something that causes so much misery and hurt to exist. And, while the Bible teaches us that “the secret things belong unto the LORD” (see Deuteronomy 29:29), the origin of sin is not one of God’s secrets. John tells us that “he who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning.” 1 John 3:8

Within the Scriptures, the curtain is drawn aside and we are given some insights, not only into the history of our world before historical records existed but of events that transpired before the dawn of human history. We are shown that while sin is confined to this earth, it is not a natural element in the universe but rather an intruder for whose existence no explanation can be given, and the problems it has caused are not limited to this earth but are rather a problem of cosmic proportions involving the entire universe.

While many of the details are lacking, enough is said that we may have a clear idea of the issues and the consequences involved in this great controversy between the government of Heaven and the great adversary, or Satan.

Lucifer, the Angel

Isaiah tells us that Satan, or the devil, was once a beautiful angel of light, whose name was Lucifer. “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations!” Isaiah 14:12. The name “Lucifer” means “light bearer.” This gives us some idea of his original glory. And, though he is now a fallen being, he does not appear to be the hideous creature he is frequently caricatured to be. He is often falsely represented as an imp with bat’s wings and cloven hoofs; but the apostle tells us that he is able to transform himself into an angel of light when it best suits his purposes. Speaking of those who pretend to be apostles but who are not, Paul says, “And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 11:14. It is part of Satan’s plan to make his work appear good—like God’s work. Thus he can deceive more people.

Ezekiel also speaks of Satan as having been a being of unsurpassed beauty. “You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering. . . . 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, till iniquity was found in you.” Ezekiel 28:13–15

The King of Tyre

Some people are confused by the fact that this text refers to the person being addressed as the king of Tyre. It continues, however, explaining that he had his beginning in Eden, the garden of God, and that he had existed there as an angel. Through the inspired writings of both Ezekiel and Isaiah, Satan is addressed as the king of an earthly empire. In both cases, these city-states were centers of trade, known for their wealth and wickedness. So we see that regardless of who the visible ruler of these great nations was, Satan was seeking to work through them to accomplish his purpose, just as he worked through the serpent in the garden of Eden. The apostle Paul confirms this when, in Ephesians 6:12, he points out, even while himself a prisoner for Jesus, that the Christian’s real enemies are not men but spiritual beings. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” The prophet goes on to tell us what it was that brought about Satan’s fall. “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor.” Ezekiel 28: 17

Though an angel of glory, Satan became lifted up in his own beauty; and in his conceit, he decided that he no longer needed to be subject to God’s rulership. “For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven; 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

Satan’s Plans

1. “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.”

2. “I will sit in the sides of the north” (where God’s throne alone was to be).

3. “I will be like the Most High.”

Dissatisfied with his position as the covering cherub, he wanted to be God.

“And war broke out in heaven: Michael and His angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Revelation 12:7–9

By his course of action, Satan showed that he would stop at nothing short of achieving his goal of equality with God; and any obstruction to the realization of this goal must be put out of the way, even God Himself.

Though defeated in heaven, Satan was not then destroyed. For God to have destroyed him would not have answered the charges he had made against God. No, Satan had to be given an opportunity to show the whole universe all that was involved in rebellion against God and just what type of government he would establish. The security of the entire universe depended upon this demonstration and its final outcome.

It was pride that led Satan to desire equality with God, and this same desire he now sought to foster in man. Approaching Eve, he tempted her to believe that equality with God was an obtainable goal, reached only through disobedience fence.

“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made And he said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said. “You shall not eat of every tree of the garden”?’ And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said. “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.” ’ Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you wild be like God, knowing good and evil.’ ” Genesis 3:1–5

As soon as she followed his suggestion to disobey God, Eve was in harmony with the enemy of God; and she became Satan’s agent to bring about the fall of Adam.

Man, created to be a reflection of God (see Genesis 1:26-27), came under the control of a power that was in opposition to God’s rule and authority once in harmony with his Creator, he was now rebel, antagonistic to God’s rule and authority. “Be cause the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.” Romans 8:7

God might have destroyed man because of his rebellion; but instead, He sent Jesus to die for us When Jesus came to this earth, He came as our teacher. As our Teacher, He lived a life of unselfish obedience, setting us an example of what: we may become. By His obedient life, He showed that it is possible for us to be obedient. In doing this, He showed that there is no reason for us to continue to sin. “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth.” 1 Peter 2:21–22

Satan Unmasked

When Christ died on the cross, Satan stood unmasked before the universe; he had demonstrated himself to be a liar and a murderer and that under his government everything good and honorable would be swept away. He had forever removed himself from the sympathy of the onlooking universe and had made certain his own destruction. By allowing the principles of sin to be fully worked out, God has given every being in the universe the opportunity to see just what sin leads to. Having seen sin’s awful results, each being in God’s universe can now make an intelligent decision as to whether or not he will obey God.

Speaking of Satan, Jesus told His listeners, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” John 8:44. Satan was not only a liar right from the beginning but a murderer, too. While he was in heaven seeking to establish a different order of things, sin’s end results were not apparent. Not even Satan realized, at first, the full fruit of his rebellion against the government of heaven. God saw what created beings could not—He saw to what extent selfishness (all sin is selfishness) would lead. In putting Christ to death, Satan revealed that which was inherent in sin all the time. Calvary was the revelation of sin fully manifested. Sin is not just something we do. It is a state of mind, and our actions are but a reflection of the rebellion inside. While we would deny a hatred of God in our small matters of disobedience, all sin has in it the seed of Calvary.

Not only was Satan filled with hatred for Chris but also for all who would choose to follow Him. It was true that Jesus, as man, had overcome Satan; but if he could keep the followers of Jesus from making His victory a reality in their own lives, all might not yet be lost. “And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8. While he is pictured as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, does he always roar?—No; when it serves his purpose, he sinks his voice to the softest whisper and, wrapped in garments of light, appears as an angel from heaven. We must remember that though they have lost their first estate, the fallen angels are wise above the wisdom of earth; for they have been in the councils of heaven. And though he may disguise his voice, his story is always the same: Somehow God is advantaged at our expense by our obedience, and there is something to be gained by disobedience. When we submit ourselves to Christ, He unites our heart with His heart; according to His promise, our will is then merged in His will; our mind becomes one with His. “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Hebrews 8:10

By this process, even our thoughts are brought into captivity to Him, allowing us to live His life. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3–5

The salvation Jesus came to bring us is not a salvation in disobedience but a deliverance from the power of sin in our lives, that by the power of Jesus we can live lives of obedience.

“And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.”
Hebrews 5:9

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