“He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil”. (1 John 3:8)
Does young earth creation deny evil originated from the devil?
SYNOPSIS: When were Lucifer, the universe and man created? – Rebellion against God’s authority – What is the origin of evil and suffering? – How did the Fall affect the heavenly host, man, the planet and the world? The work of the devil – Christ our Redeemer – All explained in the Bible without the need for a gap theory.
According to gap creationism, the gap theory is essential if we are to accommodate the fall of angels – and the origin of evil – into the creation account. No other explanation will suffice. Here I examine this claim for any biblical support.
From Genesis to Revelation, God has told us all we need to know about where evil came from – it originated with the rebellion of the devil and it affected both heaven and earth. And if we take the Scriptures, as they are written, we are told that God created everything perfect (“exceedingly good”) in both the spiritual and physical domains. However, Lucifer’s rebellion against God and His righteous ways was the beginning of sin, evil and condemnation in the spiritual realm (Is 14:12-17; Eze 28:13-19). As a consequence, God placed a curse on the devil, who will be thrown into the lake of fire at the appointed time (Gen 3:14; Rev 20:3, 10).
As for man’s disobedience, by listening to the serpent instead of his Creator, this brought sin and death into the physical realm (Rom 5:12; 1 Cor 15:21).
And so, the whole creation came under the spiritual and physical bondage of sin under the influence of the devil, for a time. (Refer Gen 3:17; Rom 6:6, 16; John 8:34; Is 24:5-6; Rom 8:22-24).
This explains why the physical domain has been subjected to corruption, pain, suffering and death and man has been blinded to God’s truth and is deceived by the god of this world – the prince and ruler of darkness (Gen 3:14-19; 2 Cor 4:4; Eph 6:11-12).
Not only that but, as Jesus told his disciples, sorrows will increase as the end draws near, “because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold … and unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved…” And the first being in whom iniquity was found was Lucifer (Eze 28:15).
The apostle Paul also warned that in the last days “perilous times will come, as evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim 3:1-5, 13). And all because the whole world is under the influence of the evil one – the devil (1 John 5:19; John 17:15; Matt 5:37; Matt 6:13; John 17:15; 2 Thess 3:3).
So great will this level of deception become that even some true believers will be led astray (Matt 24:24).
However, the good news (gospel message) is that the unrighteous first man Adam and his unrighteous descendants has been redeemed from the curse of breaking God’s commandments through the sacrificial blood of the righteous second man, the last Adam – Jesus Christ. And through belief in what Jesus has done for us, and our subsequent repentance, we can be forgiven and reconciled to our Creator (Mark 1:14-15; Acts 2:36-38; 1 Cor 7:23; Gal 3:13-14).
The origin of the devil
Now if we limit ourselves to Scripture and do not inject our own ideas, as the Bible instructs us in Proverbs 30:5-6, God has given us plenty of information about Satan’s origin, his rebellion (and that of his demons) and how evil and sin entered into the good creation so we can make sense of the violent world in which we live.
God created Lucifer (or whatever he was called then) before man (Job 38:7) and he was perfect in all his ways. He radiated beauty and was full of wisdom and he was gifted with supreme musical ability. He was “the anointed cherub who covered God’s throne”.
In the plain reading of Scripture, we are also told that Lucifer, in all his magnificence, “hast been in Eden the garden of God” (Eze 28:13-15).
But he corrupted his wisdom by reason of his splendor and, lifted up by pride, vanity and wickedness, he rebelled against his Creator. In a bid to exalt himself above God and the angels, the devil said in his heart “I will ascend into the heaven… I will be like the Most High” (Is 14:12-15; 1 Tim 3:6). But God cast him out of heaven to the earth (Rev 12:9).
The Bible also plainly tells us that some of the angels, who were created to be ministering spirits to those who will inherit salvation (Heb 1:13-14), “did not keep their first estate” (arche– “the first place, principality, rule, magistracy”). That is, the fallen angels rejected their God-given office and position of responsibility (Jude 1:6).
We are told all of this but with no clear indication as to exactly when it occurred. I continue:
Man and woman in Paradise
The Bible tells us the first man and woman lived in a paradise – Eden – where everything was very good. Here they were given dominion over every creature, all of which were herbivores (Gen 1:29-30). Man was also told to tend and keep the beautiful garden (Gen 1:26-31; Ps 8:6). The man and woman were given free will, to choose between trusting God and obeying His single prohibition or entertaining the devil’s contrary ideas. The devil is responsible for deceiving and tempting Eve and leading man into sin. After this act in God’s good creation, Satan was cursed and the whole physical creation was cursed along with him (Gen 3:1-15).
As a result of one man’s willingness to listen to the devil and commit sin, mankind became “children of the devil”. When God condemned and cursed man and the planet, He withdrew His sustaining hand on His exceedingly good creation, and the entire physical realm became subject to death and decay (Gen 5:29). “For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also….” (Rom 8:18-22).
After all, why should sinful man enjoy the privilege and blessing of living in a glorious, peaceful environment after he had brought sin into it and it came under the sway of the evil one? (Rom 5:12-18; Gen 3:17-18; 1 Cor 15:21; 1 John 5:19)
When man sinned, it changed the whole creation. Man became unrighteous and his relationship with his Creator was fractured (Is 64:6, 9; Rom 3:10-12; Ps 14:2-3).
The first man and woman were driven out of the Garden of Eden, thorns and thistles sprang up all over the planet, and pain and sorrow entered the now-decaying creation (Gen 3:22-24).
Now that man had rejected God as his authority, sinned and become a lawless being (1 John 3:4), God subjected him to a life of bondage on a corrupted planet under a godless and evil system ruled by the devil (John 12:31; John 14:30), who (for a time) holds the power of death (Heb 2:14-15).
The roles of man and woman had altered, too, and demon-inspired selfishness, unrighteousness and division ruled mankind’s hearts and relationships (Jas 3:14-16; Rom 3:10-12; 1 Cor 1:10). Life would now be dangerous and hard work, man would never be satisfied whatever he did, and he would experience anguish and agony and eventually die, returning to the dust of the ground from whence he came (Gen 3:16-19; Rom 5:12; Rom 8:20-23).
As time progressed, the evil of man filled the earth and God judged, condemned and destroyed it, saving only Noah and his family to start afresh (Gen 6:5-8).
Nevertheless, sinful man was now doomed to fail and die in an evil world.
God came to earth as the man Jesus, born of a virgin. He was sinless, resisted the devil’s temptations and willingly became the perfect sacrifice to take our place (Matt 4:1-11; John 10:18; Heb 10:14). Jesus was crucified on the cross for our sins and thus He conquered the devil, who is the prince of this world (Col 2:14-15; John 16:11). In this way, Christ redeemed mankind and opened the way for God’s forgiveness (1 Cor 15:55-57; 1 Thess 4:16-17).
Christ gave himself for our sins to rescue us from this present evil world and to destroy the works of the devil, the enemy of all righteousness (Gal 1:4; 1 John 3:8; Acts 13:10).
“He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose, the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8)
Through Jesus’ righteous death on the cross, he gained victory over sin and death, and will restore the whole creation (Rom 8:21; 1 Cor 15:54-57). But until Christ returns, the devil remains the god of the evil systems of this world, the father of lies, a counterfeiter who deceives the inhabitants of the whole world (2 Cor 4:4; Job 1:6-12; Rev 12:9).
The devil, who fell from heaven, is the prince of the power of the air, the serpent of old who disguises himself as an angel of light and leads the world into disobedience (Luke 10:18; Eph 2:2; 2 Cor 11:14). He is the destroyer, the wicked and evil one and our adversary (Ps 17:4; John 17:15; Matt 13:19, 39).
Warnings about the devil
We are warned against giving place to the devil, because he is the enemy of righteousness who tries to ensnare us, and we are instructed to be sober and vigilant and to resist him (Eph 4:27; Acts 13:9-10; Jas 4:7; 1 Tim 3:7).
This is because our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against powers of this dark world and spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places (Eph 6:12-16). The devil tries to destroy God’s work (Matt 13); he was a murderer from the beginning and our sworn enemy (John 8:44; Luke 10:19). A roaring lion who seeks to devour us, he tempts us to sin (1 Pet 5:8; Matt 4:3; 1 Thess 3:5).
Just prior to Christ’s return, Satan will have seduced all the peoples of earth to worship him (Rev 13:14-16).
During this time, the devil will try to annihilate every one of God’s people and bring about the destruction of the earth, as he will gather the armies of the world together to fight against Christ at His return. But he will not prevail (Rev 12:9; Dan 2:44; Rev 16:14; Rev 19:11-16; 2 Thess 2:9-12; 2 Cor 11:3; Rev 13:7).
Man owed a debt he could not pay. Jesus voluntarily paid a debt he did not owe!
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” (John 10:17-18)
“For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” (2 Cor 5:14-15)
When Christ returns in great glory, as the Prince of Peace, King of kings and Lord of lords, the whole world will know he is our Lord Creator who reigns (Zech 14:1-21).
He will chain Satan for 1000 years, usher in world peace and restore the entire creation (Is 11:6-9; Is 65:25; Hos 2:18; Matt 24:30). After that time, the devil will be thrown into the lake of fire (Rev 20:10).
Then the old creation will pass away and there will be a new earth and a new heaven, and the New Jerusalem will be established.
There will be no more tears, no more mourning and no more death, for the old evil order of things will have passed away (Rev 21 and Rev 22).
(Note: I know there are three main beliefs regarding Bible prophesy – amillennialism, premillennialism and postmillennialism – and gap creationists and young earth creationists would vary on their views on this matter. I also understand that matters of eschatology are not salvation issues, because we will never have a full knowledge in this lifetime. But as a premillennialist myself, this is the view I have taken in this exploration.)
And here is my point
All of this and much, much more is not dependent on the questionable and controversial re-interpretation of five words in Gen 1:1-2,7 (hayah, tohuw and bohuw, bara and asah) which has been used, by a small number of people, to justify the insertion of a “backstory” into the creation account – where there is not one mention of the devil, evil or sin!
The idea that gap creation is essential in order to understand the devil’s rebellion and the existence and development of evil in our world is an invalid argument. It is based on a preference for secondary sources and an unwillingness to accept what the Scriptures actually say. Thus it is a composition of unbiblical reasoning (as I have shown above).
The origin, nature and work of the devil are not secrets that require special interpretation. God’s people have understood this for millennia, because it is all in the Bible– from Genesis to Revelation – which must always be our primary source over anyone’s “special” interpretation of it.
Images: iStock.com/CrossEyedPhotography; IgorZh/Shutterstock.com; Kenny Goh Wei Kiat/Shutterstock.com; mpaniti/Shutterstock.com; Pexels; Pixabay.
“For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine.” (Ps 50:10-11)