Suffering: Who is the one who started the suffering that God allows? Part 3

This is Part 3 of 5 parts answering the question, “Who is the one who started the suffering that God allows?” the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Parts 4 and 5 will be posted in the next two days.

Suffering Began Because of Satan

When God created the earth in Genesis 1 and 2, everything – man, animals and plants – was very good according to Him (Gen. 1:31). But where and how did this one animal, the serpent, who deceived Eve and instigated the fall, get into the Garden? Stephen Bramer wrote,

Was this animal also Satan? All the animals God had created were good (Gen. 1:25), but this one questioned God’s word. Revelation 20:2-3 refers to this adversary of God as a deceiver of the nations, one who led the world astray—“ the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan” (v. 2; cf. Rev. 12:9). Thus a spiritual power (Satan) behind the serpent introduced evil into the world through the man and woman whom God created. God did not create evil. Evil stemmed from the desire of one of the angels, Satan, also called Lucifer, to be like God (Is. 14:13-14).2

Lucifer’s fall is recorded in Ezekiel 28. The passage is recorded by the prophet Ezekiel and is addressed to Ezekiel to take up a lamentation for the King of Tyre. Almost all conservative scholars interpret this as a reference to Satan in a Garden of Eden created by God prior to the Garden of Eden created in Genesis one. This is the passage in full,

12 “Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, `Thus says the Lord GOD: “You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created. 14 “You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. 15 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you. 16 “By the abundance of your trading You became filled with violence within, And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones. 17 “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, That they might gaze at you. 18 “You defiled your sanctuaries By the multitude of your iniquities, By the iniquity of your trading; Therefore I brought fire from your midst; It devoured you, And I turned you to ashes upon the earth In the sight of all who saw you. 19 All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you; You have become a horror, And shall be no more forever.”’” (Ezek. 28:12-19 NKJ)

Satan was described as the epitome of beauty, power and importance (Ezek. 28:12-14). He was wise, beautiful (with multiple gemstones covering him) and he had the voice of a rhythm section accompanied by a pipe organ (timbrels and pipes). He was the one who led the angels to worship the Lord! He also was the “anointed cherub who covers.” That meant God had appointed him to oversee His throne room. And he “walked back and forth in the midst of the fiery stones,” which meant he was the Provost Marshal in heaven and ensured no one approached the throne of God without going through him. He was the Chief of God’s Staff (of the angels), if you will.

2Bramer, Stephen. “Suffering in the Pentateuch,” Why, O God  (Wheaton: Crossway, 2011), p. 88

Part 4 will be posted tomorrow.

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