The content below is based on The Handbook for Spiritual Warfare by Dr. Ed Murphy.
Chapter 4: Rebellion in the Heavenlies and on Earth
“To create us in His image, God gave us free will. To have done otherwise would have been to make us puppets or hollow mannequins. Yet to give us free will God had to forswear the use of force against us. We do not have free will when there is a gun at our back…In agony He must stand by and let us be."
- Dr. Scott Peck, People of the Lie
How could sin arise in a sinless world? How is this even possible?
First, let’s look at who and what God is. The Bible gives no explanation for God; it just says, “In the beginning, God created…” It just assumes that He existed before all things. He is the only non-created entity in all of the universe. God is perfect in all He does and is—perfect will, mind, emotions. As a perfect God, it is utterly and completely impossible for Him to choose evil. He is incapable of sin.
Tracking so far? We have a holy and perfect God in Genesis 1 who is about to create everything we know. Shouldn’t this also be perfect? Not so fast, my friend.
God cannot create God—it goes against the whole “non-created” thing. Everything that was created is imperfect. The creature can’t equal the Creator. But men and women have a significance not found in the rocks, trees, mountains, and animals.
Heady stuff, but stick with me. God alone is perfect, and whatever He created is not-God, and so imperfect. The payoff is coming up that’s going to make everything make sense.
We alone are created in the image of God. Like Him, we have a will. We have a mind. We have emotions. Just like our Creator Father. He gave us the capacity to think, feel, and choose. And not just the capacity, but the freedom. We can’t be in His image, while also preprogrammed to follow His will. It’s incompatible.
Because we are created in His image, we have freedom to choose “not-God.” In order to have that freedom, we must also have the opportunity to choose between obedience to God and disobedience. We see the impact of that first opportunity in Genesis 3.
But before that, the angels were also provided a chance to choose. Those who chose not to follow Lucifer were confirmed in their holiness forever. The others who followed the rebellion led by Satan were established in their evil. And, unlike men, God made no plan for their redemption. And with that, the cosmic rebellion began and war waged through the heavens.
Soon after man’s creation, the war between the angels came to earth, and has frustrated our existence ever since. That collision is described in Genesis 3, and Adam’s decision brought about major consequences:
All of God’s creation is defiled.
The angelic war spilled onto the earth. Mankind joined the fallen angels in rebellion against God, and nothing will be the same.
Humanity became the central person around whom the conflict revolves. Adam handed authority over to Satan, but Jesus came to take it back.
The battle revolves around us. Satan and his forces resist God’s redemption and oppose the spread of the gospel. The enemy fights to keep us in bondage to his lies, while the offer of God is freedom and life in response to God’s redeeming love.
Dr. Murphy considers Genesis 3 to be the most important passage on spiritual warfare in the Old Testament. Next week we will look at some of the lessons we can learn from this pivotal interaction.
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread through all men, because all sinned.
- Romans 5:12
Bible verses to explore:
Read Genesis 1:1-2; Romans 8:19-23; John 12:31; Luke 4:5-6; Ephesians 2:1-3
Walking the Path
What do you think about the assertion that "everything that was created is imperfect?
What does it mean to be created in the image of God?
Read Genesis 1-2. What does the story of creation say to you about the qualities of the Creator?