The content below is based on The Handbook for Spiritual Warfare by Dr. Ed Murphy.
Chapter 3: Cosmic Rebellion: The problem of evil
Philosophers and theologians have wrestled with the problem of evil since the beginning. “Where does evil comes from? And why doesn’t God wipe evil off the face of the earth? Why would a good and loving God allow evil to occur?”
The Old Testament provides some insight into the source of evil, generally referred to as Satan (references listed below). From those verses, we identify the enemy’s pattern of operation.
Main Strategy: Deception
The enemy plants seeds of evil thoughts and imaginations, which intensify the desires of the flesh already present in our lives. Satan uses deception as the door to get into our lives.
Main Target: Leaders
The greater the influence, the more people are affected by the results and consequences of sin, and the greater the fall.
Main Purpose: Dishonor God
Satan’s greatest desire is to bring shame to God and injure His people.
“Satan is a deceiver who seeks to seduce the leaders of God’s people into actions of disobedience to God. (pg. 20)”
As we dig further into this subject, four questions arise (pg. 21):
Where did these evil, supernatural, created cosmic beings come from? God declared creation to be good, so these creatures became bad as part of a cosmic rebellion.
Why are they always revealed to be God’s (and especially God’s people’s) enemies?
Why do they seek to resist God’s purposes, corrupt His creation, defile and ensnare His people, and destroy mankind? What is their purpose in authoring such evil?
How is it that, while being God’s enemies, at the same time they are ultimately subject to God’s will? How is that that God uses them to defeat themselves and enhance God’s sovereign purposes?
We look to the Bible for the answers. While the Old Testament merely suggests these supernatural beings are fallen angels (led in rebellion by Satan before the creation of men and women), when we get to the New Testament, we find cosmic rebellion to be a fact. Jesus declared He came to bind Satan, break his power, and release those he holds hostage. Spiritual warfare is present in throughout the New Testament. If Jesus dealt with the presence of evil, why do we think we will be immune?
We see that sin originated with Satan, who deceived some angels to rebel against God and now rules over this demon army as they battle against God and His people today. God uses the battle to further the Kingdom, as well as for our growth and learning. Our responsibility is to believe He knows what’s going on, even if (especially when) we don’t understand.
Next week we will look at how this kingdom of evil intersected with humanity here on earth.
"’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord."
Bible verses to explore:
Satan is specifically mentioned in 1 Chronicles 21:1, Job 1 and 2, Psalm 109:6 and Zechariah 3:1-2. Jesus dealt with demons in Mark 1:12-39, and declares the origin of evil in John 8:44. The final conflict is discussed in Revelation 12:3-17.
Walking the Path
Where have you heard others (or perhaps yourself) say, “How could God allow this to happen?”
What is your response to the idea of a kingdom of demons?
What do the Old Testament verses reveal about Satan? What do you see in the verses from Mark and John? What does Revelation 12 reveal about the cosmic rebellion?