Short Essay on Satanology
Most people today commonly accept the concept of good vs. evil. This concept is known as Ethical Dualism, and is accredited to an ancient Persian religion called Zoroastrianism. Unfortunately the idea of two equal opposing forces locked in an eternal struggle for supremacy has been misapplied to Christianity, in the concept of God vs. Satan.
The Bible teaches that God is supreme. In Isaiah 44:6, God states that He is the first and the last, and besides Him there is no God. Again in Isaiah 45:5 God states: “I am the LORD, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me.” Beginning in Genesis, God is called “God Most High.” He is “the Creator of heaven and earth, and all that are in them.” God is supreme and the Creator of all things, Satan, His created being, cannot be His equal in person or opposition.
The Bible also teaches that Satan is a created angel, and inferior to God. According to Isaiah 14:12-17 and Ezekiel 28:12-15 we learn that Satan, originally named Lucifer or “Bearer of Light” was created by God as an anointed angel in the order of the cherubim, a special group of angels attached to the throne of God who guard the holiness of God. We read that Satan was “the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.” And according to the Genesis account of creation, everything that God created, including Satan, was originally good.
So how did Satan become evil if he wasn’t created evil? The answer is found in the following verses: “You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you… for you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God… I will be like the Most High God.’” It impossible for God, who is Holy and good, and in whom there is no evil or shadow of turning, to create evil. Therefore it is reasonable to conclude that Satan, who was originally created by God as good, corrupted himself and become evil through his own choice in turning inward, away from God.
There are some who object to the verses found in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 as not referring to Satan, but only to the King of Babylon and the King of Tyre. This limited interpretation of the text does not account for the following statements. First, in Isaiah 14:12, God states that the person He is speaking of is Lucifer, and that he is fallen from heaven. It doesn’t make sense for God to make that statement about the King of Babylon, whose name was not Lucifer, and who had never been in heaven. Second, in Ezekiel 28:13, God states that the person He is speaking of was in Eden, was covered with every precious stone, and was the anointed cherub who covers, on the Holy mountain of God. Since it is impossible for God to lie, the person he is speaking of cannot simply be a human king, but the principality behind that king, Satan himself.
What I find encouraging in all this is that while Satan is a powerful and very cunning adversary to mankind, God is far superior to Satan in power, wisdom, and presence. Satan is a created being who has limited power, limited resources, limited knowledge, and can only be in one place at a time. In fact, we discover when reading the book of Job, that God has complete authority over Satan’s actions, and that Satan can’t do anything without God’s sovereign permission. So by faith in Jesus Christ, obedience to God and His Word, and by the indwelling Holy Spirit, Christians have ultimate victory over Satan and his followers.
Finally, based on what the Bible teaches about God’s supremacy and Satan’s inferiority, the idea of Ethical Dualism cannot apply to Biblical Christianity. God is and always has been the victor, and Satan’s futile attempts to overthrow God will be silenced once and for all when he, by the power of the victorious Lamb of God, Jesus Christ will be cast into the lake of fire along with all his companions and followers, never to be seen or heard from again.
Elwell, Walter A., Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House Company, 2001.
The Holy Bible, New King James Version. Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1982.
Towns, Elmer L., Theology for Today. Mason, Ohio: Cengage Learning, 2008.