Question: How can you say Satan was created eons before the universe? |

TBC Staff

Question: In one of your newsletters you said that before man was created, Satan had already rebelled and taken countless angels with him. You stated, “A rebellion led by Lucifer eons ago had taken place….” It sounds like you hold to some form of the “gap theory.” Creation had a beginning, and “in six days the LORD made heaven and earth…” (Ex 20:11). I believe it is clear that the angels were created as well in those six days. God said, “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them” (Gn 2:1). This “host” certainly could include angels (Neh:9:6, Ps:103:20-21, 1 Ki:22:19, et al.). God said the serpent was “made” just as the beasts of the field (Gn 3:1) and was “perfect in thy ways from the day thou wast created” (Eze:28:15). Where is the scriptural evidence that Satan rebelled “before man was created…eons ago” as you have stated? In the beginning God said “everything” that He had made was “very good” (Gn 1:31). Are you implying a special creation of the angels at a different time and place before “the beginning of the creation?”

Response: You have clearly put much thought and study into it in the spirit of a Berean. However, you make some incorrect assumptions. The statement, “the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made” (Gn 3:1) does not include Satan as a “beast of the field.” It includes the physical serpent in the garden through which Satan spoke. He is called “that old serpent,” but he is not a literal, physical snake created with the other creatures. When Satan came into existence cannot be derived from this passage.

Second, you seem to assume that the creation of “the heavens and the earth” (Gn 1:1) includes what Stephen described as “the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God” (Acts:7:56) and what Paul called “the third heaven” (2 Cor:12:2) where God dwells. The words “heaven” and “heavens” are used both for the physical “heavens” related to earth and a part of the physical universe (the atmosphere and the stars) as well as for heaven, the “Father’s house,” which has neither physical nor spatial relationship to earth. Surely the “place” where God dwells is neither physical nor part of the physical universe and must have always existed. This is also where angels dwell.

The creation spoken of in Genesis refers only to the physical universe. The heaven(s) in Genesis:2:1 refer to the stars, not to angels. In other places it is clear when “heaven/heavens” refers to the physical realm and when it refers to God’s presence; also when “host” refers to stars and when it refers to angels. You seem to assume that “host of heaven” always means angels, which is not the case. For example: “as the host of heaven cannot be numbered” (Jer:33:22). The statements—“God saw every thing that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Gn 1:31), and “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them” (2:1), as well as “from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female” (Mk 10:26)—all refer to the physical universe, which had a beginning, not to the dwelling of God and angels nor to angels themselves.

We have no biblical reason to believe that angels were created simultaneously with the physical universe and man. We are not told when they were created. Both Old and New Testaments show a close association of angels with God, and it would seem odd indeed if they did not exist until the physical universe was created. Surely the positions of power that angels manifest in the Book of Revelation seem to be of a more permanent nature than to have originated with the creation of the universe and man. One function of angels is to praise God and surround His throne. It hardly seems reasonable that there would have been no angels to worship and serve God before the physical universe (of which they are not a part) was made.

There even seems to be a hint that man’s creation came about as a result of Satan’s rebellion. Surely man plays the key role in the final defeat of Satan. We see this in the part played by Job in the controversy between God and Satan; Paul tells us that we “wrestle…against spiritual wickedness in high places [i.e., heaven]” (Eph:6:12). Man, who overcomes Satan “by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony” (Rv 12:11) even seems to be involved in the final ouster of Satan: “[T]here was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon [who]was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan…” (12:7-9). 

God has existed forever. I think it reasonable that angels have been in His presence for “eons” of time by earth’s reckoning, and also that Satan probably rebelled long before man was created.