Why Sin Was Permitted | Conflict Of The Ages

11 min

Isaiah 29:15 Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?

The Origin Of Evil A Mystery

The angels had been created full of goodness and love. They loved one another impartially and their God supremely, and they were prompted by this love to do His pleasure. The law of God was not a grievous yoke to them, but it was their delight to do His commandments, to hearken unto the voice of His Word. But in this state of peace and purity, sin originated with him who had been perfect in all his ways. The prophet writes of him: “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty; thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness.” Sin is a mysterious, unexplainable thing. There was no reason for its existence; to seek to explain it is to seek to give a reason for it, and that would be to justify it.Sin appeared in a perfect universe, a thing that was shown to be inexcusable.—The Signs of the Times, April 28, 1890. The Truth About Angels 30.1

God had a knowledge of the events of the future, even before the creation of the world. He did not make His purposes to fit circumstances, but He allowed matters to develop and work out. He did not work to bring about a certain condition of things, but He knew that such a condition would exist. The plan that should be carried out upon the defection of any of the high intelligences of heaven—this is the secret, the mystery which has been hid from ages. And an offering was prepared in the eternal purposes to do the very work which God has done for fallen humanity.—The Signs of the Times, March 25, 1897. TA 30.2

The entrance of sin into heaven cannot be explained. If it were explainable, it would show that there was some reason for sin. But as there was not the least excuse for it, its origin will ever remain shrouded in mystery.—The Review and Herald, March 9, 1886. TA 31.1

God did not create evil. He only made the good, which was like Himself…. Evil, sin, and death … are the result of disobedience, which originated in Satan.—The Review and Herald, August 4, 1910. TA 31.

The First Inklings of Evil

There was a time when Satan was in harmony with God, and it was his joy to execute the divine commands.His heart was filled with love and joy in serving his Creator, until he began to think that his wisdom was not derived from God, but was inherent in himself, and that he was as worthy as was God to receive honor and power.—The Signs of the Times, September 18, 1893. TA 31.3

Though God had created Lucifer noble and beautiful, and had exalted him to high honor among the angelic host, yet He had not placed him beyond the possibility of evil. It was in Satan’s power, did he choose to do so, to pervert these gifts. He might have remained in favor with God, beloved and honored by all the angelic throng, presiding in his exalted position with generous, unselfish care, exercising his noble powers to bless others and to glorify his Maker. But, little by little, he began to seek his own honor, and to employ his powers to attract attention and win praise to himself.He also gradually led the angels over whom he ruled to do him service, instead of devoting all their powers to the service of their Creator.—The Spirit of Prophecy 4:317. TA 31.4

Little by little, Lucifer came to indulge the desire for self-exaltation…. Though all his glory was from God, this mighty angel came to regard it as pertaining to himself.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 35. TA 32.1

Lucifer, Now Satan

Satan … began his work of rebellion with the angels under his command, seeking to diffuse among them the spirit of discontent. And he worked in so deceptive a way that many of the angels were won to his allegiance before his purposes were fully known.—The Review and Herald, January 28, 1909. The Truth About Angels 34.2

Satan … had been ambitious for the more exalted honors which God had bestowed upon His Son. He became envious of Christ, and represented to the angels who honored him as covering cherub that he had not the honor conferred upon him which his position demanded.—The Review and Herald, February 24, 1874. TA 34.3

By sly insinuations, by which he made it appear that Christ had assumed the place that belonged to himself, Lucifer sowed the seeds of doubt in the minds of many of the angels.—The Educational Messenger, September 11, 1908, par.1. TA 34.4

His [Lucifer’s] work of deception was done in so great secrecy that the angels in less exalted positions supposed that he was the Ruler of heaven.—This Day With God, 256. TA 35.1

Angels that were loyal and true sought to reconcile this mighty, rebellious angel to the will of his Creator. They justified the act of God in conferring honor upon Jesus Christ, and with forcible reasoning sought to convince Satan that no less honor was his now than before the Father had proclaimed the honor which He had conferred upon His Son. They clearly set forth that Jesus was the Son of God, existing with Him before the angels were created; and that He had ever stood at the right hand of God, and His mild, loving authority had not heretofore been questioned; and that He had given no commands but what it was joy for the heavenly host to execute. They urged that Christ’s receiving special honor from the Father, in the presence of the angels, did not detract from the honor that he [Satan] had heretofore received.—The Spirit of Prophecy 1:19. TA 35.2

He [Lucifer] gained the sympathy of some of his associates by suggesting thoughts of criticism regarding the government of God.This evil seed was scattered in a most seducing manner; and after it had sprung up and taken root in the minds of many, he gathered the ideas that he himself had first implanted in the minds of others, and brought them before the highest order of angels as the thoughts of other minds against the government of God.—The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 4:1143. TA 35.3

Lucifer … at first so conducted his temptations that he himself stood uncommitted. The angels whom he could not bring fully to his side, he accused of indifference to the interests of heavenly beings. The very work which he himself was doing, he charged upon the loyal angels. It was his policy to perplex with subtle arguments concerning the purposes of God. Everything that was simple he shrouded in mystery, and by artful perversion cast doubt upon the plainest statements of Jehovah. And his high position, so closely connected with the divine government, gave greater force to his representations.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 41. TA 36.1

The very first effort of Satan to overthrow God’s law—undertaken among the sinless inhabitants of heaven—seemed for a time to be crowned with success. A vast number of the angels were seduced.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 331. TA 36.2

God’s government included not only the inhabitants of heaven but of all the created worlds; and Satan thought that if he could carry the intelligences of heaven with him in rebellion, he could also carry with him the other worlds.—The Review and Herald, March 9, 1886. TA 36.3

Here, for a time, Satan had the advantage; and he exulted in his arrogated superiority, in this one respect, to the angels of heaven, and even to God himself…. [Lucifer] had disguised himself in a cloak of falsehood, and for a time it was impossible to tear off the covering, so that the hideous deformity of his character could be seen. He must be left to reveal himself in his cruel, artful, wicked works.—The Spirit of Prophecy 4:319. TA 36.4

Lucifer Is Given Time to Develop His Principles

God in His wisdom did not immediately thrust Satan out of heaven. This act would not have changed his principles, and would only have strengthened his rebellion, for it would have created sympathy for him as one unjustly dealt with; and he would have carried a much larger number with him. He must be displaced, and have time to more fully develop his principles.—The Review and Herald, March 9, 1886. TA 37.1

Satan complained of the supposed defects in the management of heavenly things, and sought to fill the minds of the angels with his disaffection. Because he was not supreme, he sowed seeds of doubt and unbelief. Because he was not as God, he strove to instill into the minds of the angels his own envy and dissatisfaction. Thus the seeds of alienation were planted, afterward to be drawn out and presented before the heavenly courts as originating, not with Satan, but with the angels.So the deceiver would show that the angels thought as he did…. TA 37.2

That which Satan had instilled into the minds of the angels—a word here and a word there—opened the way for a long list of suppositions. In his artful way he drew expressions of doubt from them. Then, when he was interviewed, he accused those whom he had educated. He laid all the disaffection on the ones he had led.—The Review and Herald, September 7, 1897. TA 37.3

He [Lucifer] began to insinuate doubts concerning the laws that governed heavenly beings, intimating that though laws might be necessary for the inhabitants of the worlds, angels, being more exalted, needed no such restraint, for their own wisdom was sufficient guide.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 37. TA 38.1

Lucifer … sought to abolish the law of God. He claimed that the unfallen intelligences of holy heaven had no need of law, but were capable of governing themselves and of preserving unspotted integrity.—The Signs of the Times, April 28, 1890. TA 38.2

Even the loyal angels did not fully discern his [Satan’s] character. This was why God did not at once destroy Satan. Had He done so, the holy angels would not have perceived the justice and love of God. A doubt of God’s goodness would have been as evil seed that would yield the bitter fruit of sin and woe. Therefore the author of evil was spared, fully to develop his character.—Christ’s Object Lessons, 72. TA 38.3

The Angels Debate the Issues

While some of the angels joined Satan in his rebellion, others reasoned with him to dissuade him from his purposes, contending for the honor and wisdom of God in giving authority to His Son. Satan urged, for what reason was Christ endowed with unlimited power and such high command above himself!—Spiritual Gifts 3:37. TA 38.4

Satan refused to listen. And then he turned from the loyal and true angels, denouncing them as slaves.These angels, true to God, stood in amazement as they saw that Satan was successful in his efforts to excite rebellion. He promised them a new and better government than they then had, in which all would be freedom. Great numbers signified their purpose to accept Satan as their leader and chief commander. As he saw his advances were met with success, he flattered himself that he should yet have all the angels on his side, and that he would be equal with God Himself, and his voice of authority would be heard in commanding the entire host of heaven. TA 39.1

Again the loyal angels warned Satan and assured him what must be the consequence if he persisted; that He who could create the angels, could by His power overturn all their authority and terrible rebellion. To think that an angel should resist the law of God which was as sacred as Himself! They warned the rebellious to close their ears to Satan’s deceptive reasonings, and advised Satan, and all who had been affected by him, to go to God and confess their wrong for even admitting a thought of questioning His authority.—The Spirit of Prophecy 1:20. TA 39.2

Satan was artful in presenting his side of the question. As soon as he found that one position was seen in its true character, he changed it for another. Not so with God. He could work with only one class of weapons—truth and righteousness. Satan could use what God could not—crookedness and deceit.—The Review and Herald, March 9, 1886. TA 39.3

The underworking [of Satan] was so subtle that it could not be made to appear before the heavenly host as the thing that it really was …. This condition of things had existed a long period of time before Satan was unmasked.—The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 4:1143. TA 40.1

God in His great mercy bore long with Lucifer. He was not immediately degraded from his exalted station when he first indulged the spirit of discontent, not even when he began to present his false claims before the loyal angels. Long was he retained in heaven. Again and again he was offered pardon on condition of repentance and submission.—The Great Controversy, 495, 496. TA 40.2

The spirit of discontent and disaffection had never before been known in heaven. It was a new element, strange, mysterious, unaccountable. Lucifer himself had not at first been acquainted with the real nature of his feelings; for a time he had feared to express the workings and imaginings of his mind; yet he did not dismiss them. He did not see whither he was drifting. But such efforts as infinite love and wisdom only could devise, were made to convince him of his error.His disaffection was proved to be without cause, and he was made to see what would be the result of persisting in revolt. Lucifer was convinced that he was in the wrong.He saw that the divine statutes are just, and that he ought to acknowledge them as such before all heaven. TA 40.3

Had he done this, he might have saved himself and many angels. He had not at that time fully cast off his allegiance to God. Though he had left his position as covering cherub, yet if he had been willing to return to God, acknowledging the Creator’s wisdom, and satisfied to fill the place appointed him in God’s great plan, he would have been reinstated in his office. The time had come for a final decision; he must fully yield to the divine sovereignty or place himself in open rebellion. He nearly reached the decision to return, but pride forbade him.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 39. TA 40.4

God Meets Satan’s Challenge

In the councils of heaven it was decided that principles must be acted upon that would not at once destroy Satan’s power; for it was God’s purpose to place things upon an eternal basis of security. Time must be given for Satan to develop the principles which were the foundation of his government. The heavenly universe must see worked out the principles which Satan declared to be superior to God’s principles. God’s order must be contrasted with Satan’s order. The corrupting principles of Satan’s rule must be revealed. The principles of righteousness expressed in God’s law must be demonstrated as unchangeable, perfect, eternal.—The Review and Herald, September 7, 1897. TA 41.1

The loyal angels hasten speedily to the Son of God and acquaint Him with what is taking place among the angels. They find the Father in conference with His beloved Son, to determine the means by which, for the best good of the loyal angels, the assumed authority of Satan could be forever put down. The great God could at once have hurled this arch deceiver from heaven; but this was not His purpose. He would give the rebellious an equal chance to measure strength and might with His own Son and His loyal angels. In this battle every angel would choose his own side, and be manifested to all.—The Spirit of Prophecy 1:21. TA 41.2

Lucifer Becomes Satan

Satan … determined to make himself a center of influence. If he could not be the highest authority in heaven, he would be the highest authority in rebellion against the government of heaven. Head he would be, to control, not to be controlled.—The Review and Herald, April 16, 1901. TA 42.1

Many of Satan’s sympathizers were inclined to heed the counsel of the loyal angels, and repent of their dissatisfaction, and be again received to the confidence of the Father and his dear Son. The mighty revolter then declared that he was acquainted with God’s law, and if he should submit to servile obedience, his honor would be taken from him. No more would he be intrusted with his exalted mission. He told them that himself and they also had now gone too far to go back, and he would brave the consequences; for to bow in servile worship to the Son of God he never would; that God would not forgive, and now they must assert their liberty and gain by force the position and authority which was not willingly accorded them.—The Spirit of Prophecy 1:20, 21. TA 42.2

So far as Satan himself was concerned, it was true that he had now gone too far to return. But not so with those who had been blinded by his deceptions. To them the counsel and entreaties of the loyal angels opened a door of hope; and had they heeded the warning, they might have broken away from the snare of Satan.But pride, love for their leader, and the desire for unrestricted freedom were permitted to bear sway, and the pleadings of divine love and mercy were finally rejected.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 41. TA 42.3

The Angels Appear Before the Father

All the heavenly host were summoned to appear before the Father, to have each case determined.Satan unblushingly made known his dissatisfaction that Christ should be preferred before him. He stood up proudly and urged that he should be equal with God, and should be taken into conference with the Father and understand His purposes. God informed Satan that to His Son alone He would reveal His secret purposes, and He required all the family in heaven, even Satan, to yield Him implicit, unquestioned obedience; but that he had proved himself unworthy a place in heaven. Then Satan exultingly pointed to his sympathizers, comprising nearly one half of all the angels, and exclaimed, These are with me! Will you expel these also, and make such a void in heaven? He then declared that he was prepared to resist the authority of Christ, and to defend his place in heaven by force and might, strength against strength.—The Spirit of Prophecy 1:22. TA 43.1

Fallen Angels
Satan And The Fallen Angels

To the very close of the controversy in heaven, the great usurper continued to justify himself. When it was announced that with all his sympathizers he must be expelled from the abodes of bliss, then the rebel leader boldly avowed his contempt for the Creator’s law. He reiterated his claim that angels needed no control, but should be left to follow their own will, which would ever guide them right. He denounced the divine statutes as a restriction of their liberty, and declared that it was his purpose to secure the abolition of law; that, freed from this restraint, the hosts of heaven might enter upon a more exalted, more glorious state of existence. TA 43.2

With one accord, Satan and his host threw the blame of their rebellion wholly upon Christ, declaring that if they had not been reproved, they would never have rebelled.—The Great Controversy, 499, 500. TA 44.1

The knowledge which Satan, as well as the angels who fell with him, had of the character of God, of His goodness, His mercy, wisdom, and excellent glory, made their guilt unpardonable.—The Review and Herald, February 24, 1874. TA 44.2


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