Angels and Demons: Debunking the Myths
Lesson 6Satanology: Part 1
As we reach the nearly-halfway point of our study, we mark this milestone by beginning our study of Satan, or as systematic theologians refer to it, "Satanology". Having studied angels as a general class of being, and then studying the holy or "good" angels; we now turn our full attention to God’s enemy and the chief of the fallen angels, Satan, i.e., Lucifer, as he was known before he sinned and fell from God’s grace. We begin this part of our study by looking at something referred to as "The Moral Problem"—that being the problem of understanding of how a righteous God could create an angel that He foreknew would rebel and lead so many other angels, and humans, into sin and eternal death.
The Moral Problem
This "problem" can be defined as our struggle for understanding. As Lewis Sperry Chafer defines it in his 8-volume tome, Systematic Theology: the challenge of "free moral agents confronting daily the issues of good and evil and how it came about". We want to understand this; we want to have an understanding of God and a way for our understanding of Him to include how it is that both good and evil were an original part of His creation. We are not new to this struggle; it has gone on since Satan "trafficked" his deception to the angels. The force of this conflict has climaxed in three major instances: the fall of the angels, the fall of man, and the death of Christ. The fall of a single angel led to the fall of a multitude of other angels; then the fall of the first man—and that was transmitted to entire human race. Thus, the fall of man and angels can be traced back to a single lapse in one angel. The dilemma comes in trying to understand why the first angel, the most intelligent of all of them standing in the presence of God, would chose darkness over light? How did such evil come to be born out of so much good? How can the fall of the angels have happened?
Consider the following about God: He is holy and in no way is he directly or indirectly the instigator of angelic sin. He anticipated their fall before they were created; He gave them the freedom to remain in, or depart from, that holy estate into which they were introduced by creation.
- Why did God allow this to happen? See Ephesians 2:7 .
It is interesting to note that, as opposed to mankind, the angels were created in a state where no outside influences to sin were present. Man never had that environment, i.e., in the presence of only God, with no outside influence to sin.
We must conclude that included in every creature, angelic and man, is the ability to choose—no matter how irrational making a bad choice may seem. We and the angels were both given that choice. We must also conclude that evil is not an accident nor a thing unseen by God, else he could not predict as he does its course and ultimate end. Our study will show that all evil not only exists by divine permission, but is under divine restraint.
The conflict of the ages is compressed into the few words of Genesis 3:15. Evil must run its course and make its full demonstration that it may be judged, not as a theory but as a concrete actuality.
- What do the verses below tell us about evil running its course?
- Genesis 15:16
- Matthew 13:30
- 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8
Introduction To Satanology
There is one Archangel over all the angels and one Satan over all the demons. There are 40 titles, or names, for Satan; some are proper names and others are descriptive; see Revelation 12:10, for example. He is called Lucifer (proper name), and also serpent, devil, Satan, dragon, the Prince of this world, the Prince of the power of the air, the god of this world. In Isaiah 14:12, he is referred to as the "morning star, son of the dawn!" Revelation 12:9 contains four of these in one verse: the great dragon, the ancient serpent, the devil, and Satan. Satan is an important, prominent and powerful figure in the Bible second only to the triune being of God.
- According to the verses below, what was the Jews’ name for Satan at the time of Christ?
- Matthew 12:24
- 2 Kings 1:2-3, 2 Kings 1:6, and 2 Kings 1:16
- In the verses below, cite the references to Satan, the "Deceiver;".
- Revelation 12:9
- John 8:44
- Revelation 20:2-3
- Revelation 20:7-8
- In an attempt to understand Genesis 1:2, many believe that the angelic creation, including the planets and earth, were originally dwellings of the angelic beings. Further, they believe that Satan was in authority over this realm and that the chaos referenced in Genesis 1:2 was the direct result of Satan’s sin. Why would people think this?
- Why is it reasonable to believe that salvation is not available to Satan and his followers?
In our next lesson, we will look at Satan’s "career" and his character. As we continue our study, continue to pray that Christ will protect us from the very evil we are studying; and that through this study, our understanding of what Satan can and cannot do will be evident to us. 1 John 4:4 tells us that "the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world".
Above, I mentioned Lewis Sperry Chafer’s multi-volume set of books entitled Systematic Theology. Chafer also authored a book simply entitled Satan, which also addresses and augments some of the concepts that we are covering in our study. If you would like to read the free eBook version of this text, you can access it here.
May this study strengthen your faith and your walk with Christ.