How Could The Devil Fall?

Question: “If God created all things perfect, and without sin, then how could the Devil have possibly fallen?” (From S. in Roanoke)

My Answer: This question was posed to me at a small group meeting in Roanoke, Va. In clarifying the question, the issue was this: If everything was good, without evil at all, then how could it happen that a perfect, sinless being would possibly sin in the first place. Good question.

First, a simple answer… we really don’t know. It is somewhat of a mystery. Indeed, the Bible is not very explicit about the origins of sin, and of the Devil. But there are hints, glimpses in the Scriptures. Two of these glimpses are found in the Old Testament prophets. The first is Isaiah 14:12-15 and the second in Ezekiel 28:11-19. Both of these passages are directed to earthy rulers, the king of Babylon and the king of Tyre respectively. However, the language used in both passages seems to indicate a word from God dealing with the literal power behind the worldly thrones—that power being the Devil himself. Both passages use intriguing imagery and powerful poetry to describe what must be the original state and then later fall of the angelic being who would become the Devil. So what do we learn in these passages about the Devil and what caused his fall?

Both prophecies present to us a portrayal of an exalted and glorious being. However, this in itself seems to have led to his downfall. Although he had been created magnificent by God, he began to desire more than his ordained station, and at the same time he became infatuated with his own glory. In some way beyond our comprehension, he turned his gaze away from God and focused on himself. In a moment, his desire shifted from the Creator to the creature, his own being. Pride rose up in his heart, and his soul was twisted into an arrogant, self-exalting, self-willed being. It was perhaps only a momentary glance away from his Maker, but it was enough to change his heart forever.

There is a lesson for us here. Our focus must always be centered on God. If we look elsewhere, anywhere other than the divine, our gaze will automatically be too low, and will result in destruction. No wonder the Bible tells us to walk circumspectly, always on guard (Ephesians 5:15).

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