Origin of Sin
Note:This chapter on the origin of sin represents my “best guess.” Because God is changeless, I have merged Bible facts and parallels from Christ’s life to assemble this story. Even though some aspects of this story are not included in the Bible, I believe there is enough detail in the Bible to assemble the scenario presented here. The primary purpose of this story is to contrast the humility of Jesus with the arrogance, ignorance, and self-importance of Lucifer. Lucifer’s beauty, high position, and desire for worship led him to despise Jesus and the eternal gospel. As you consider this story, do not forget that Lucifer’s campaign against the Father was very clever. Lucifer executed this deception so well that a third of the holy, intelligent angels, were deceived by his arguments and lies. The development of sin in Heaven and on Earth affirms that God will not, under any circumstances, prohibit His children from exercising their power of choice.
“Son of man, take up a lament concerning [Lucifer] the [real] king of [the evil city of] Tyre and say to him: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the Earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. All the nations who knew you are appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end and will be no more.’ ” (Ezekiel 28:12-19, insertions mine)
Before we can understand how the sin problem will be resolved to never appear again, we must start with the origin of sin. Someday, people may question God’s ways and ask the very same questions that Lucifer once asked.
The Rise of Sin
There was a time in Heaven when the angels poorly understood Jesus. The angels called (and they still call) Jesus by the name, Michael, the archangel, long before mankind called Him Jesus. The angels were delighted to worship Michael whenever and wherever they saw Him. Physically speaking, there was nothing special about His appearance. Michael looked like an ordinary angel and mingled among the angels in Heaven with the same humility that He later displayed among men on Earth. In both cases, His physical appearance did not reveal that He was in fact, the Creator of the universe.
Even though the name Michael means “One who is like God,” the angels never questioned the origin of Michael or the order of life in Heaven. They were very happy and felt safe. All of the angels were fully engaged with learning and doing new things every day. God’s universe is endless and full of ceaseless wonders. To make matters even better, Michael occasionally conducted classes in different parts of the universe and sitting at His feet was a very special treat. Michael was their favorite teacher and Lucifer served as a substitute teacher. Lucifer also served as leader of the angels when Michael was elsewhere, but Lucifer was not the archangel. For a long time, Lucifer was very close to Michael. Michael and Lucifer spent much time together and Lucifer had many leadership responsibilities. In all appearances, Lucifer was an extraordinary angel.
Lucifer held the highest position given to any created being. He stood on the left side of God’s brilliant throne and Michael stood at God’s right hand whenever convocations with the Father were held. The angels worshiped the Father on a regular basis and they also worshiped Michael whenever they saw Him. The angels always looked forward to worshiping the Father who lives in unapproachable light. The angels were always delighted to hear what the Father had to say and listen to reports of the wonderful things that He did.
The angels knew the Father was the Supreme Ruler, the Most High God of the universe. His gifts to the angels constantly renewed their love and adoration for Him. The angels also worshiped Michael whenever they saw Him because they understood by faith that He was their Creator. They also understood that Jesus was the source of life within each angel. In Him, the angels moved and had their being. Even though the angels believed these things about Michael, they had no idea how His creative powers worked.
At creation, Adam and Eve did not see Michael create the Earth because they were created last, on the sixth day of the week. In fact, Adam did not see Jesus create Eve because Jesus put Adam into a deep sleep! Similarly, the angels did not watch Jesus create the universe. Jesus created the angels after He created the universe. This fact is important to this story because the angels did not witness Michael exercising His awesome creative powers before Lucifer fell. The angels knew that Michael had created them, but they embraced this truth and worshiped Jesus on the basis of faith alone. The angels did not see Michael’s creative power in much the same way that all of Creation Week was hidden from human view.
Over time, Lucifer became jealous of Michael. His jealousy began when he coveted ‘the worship’ that was directed at the other covering cherub. The angels worshiped Michael, but they did not worship Lucifer. Michael could also enter the unapproachable light surrounding the Father, but Lucifer could not. Finally, Michael looked like an ordinary angel and Lucifer did not. Lucifer was created as a model of perfection; he was more beautiful than any other angel. Lucifer eventually became jealous of Michael because he allowed his passion for self-adoration to overrule self-control. Lucifer’s jealousy began with vanity and his desire for entitlement. He began to think more of himself than he did of Michael and he coveted the way Michael was worshiped. Lucifer nursed his envy for a long time before he made a fatal choice.
Lucifer found a clever way to exalt himself above Michael without raising the suspicions of the other angels. Lucifer began by using his perfect beauty and exalted position as a covering cherub as a way to elevate himself into equality with Jesus among the angels that were his closest friends. Over time, Lucifer argued to be fair, the angels really should worship both covering cherubs. Lucifer’s angel friends did not suspect that Lucifer had an evil intent. They had sinless natures (no knowledge of good and evil), loved Lucifer, and deeply respected his caring leadership. As a result, some angels did not see anything inherently wrong with worshiping ‘the other covering cherub.’ However, there was something about this that did not seem right to most of the angels. As time went by, Lucifer gained followers because he promoted those who worshiped him to higher positions and with this, the concept of politics began in Heaven. Suddenly, two parties existed in Heaven; angels loyal to Lucifer and angels loyal to Jesus. Happiness and innocence began to evaporate. Tensions displaced happiness. Attitudes and allegiances began to go in different directions and this became very unsettling.
Lucifer avoided direct conflict with Michael and he presented his arguments in secret meetings with the angels, using the excuse that his endeavor was all about fairness. One of his favorite arguments went like this: “How can it be fair of God to permit the angels to worship one covering cherub and not the other?” Many angels sided with Lucifer and concluded that Lucifer was right – God was unfair. Angels loyal to Lucifer said he was just as important as Michael because he was the other chief prince! As disaffection for the Father and Michael grew, the devil twisted everything that Michael said. He made right appear wrong. He made Michael’s actions appear self-serving and ultimately harmful to the angel’s welfare, although nothing harmful ever happened. Lucifer raised many questions and doubts about God’s government which God had not addressed. Lucifer also presented clever arguments which ultimately caused one-third of the angels to doubt that the Father was fair and Michael was actually the Creator of the universe. Remember, no angel had seen Michael create anything at that time, so Lucifer’s arguments gained some traction with sympathizers.
Lucifer’s campaign against the Father went on for a long time. The campaign undermined the joy of Heaven and Lucifer’s disdain for Michael became widely known. Of course, the Father knew everything that was going on all along. Time after time, the Father and Michael kindly addressed Lucifer’s undertow, but Lucifer and his followers would not relent. God warned them repeatedly that their disaffection would bring about their destruction, but they mistook God’s patience as indecisiveness and His threat of destruction as evidence of tyranny.
Lucifer told his followers, “The Father cannot tolerate a challenge and Michael cannot tolerate the possibility of competition. The Father is not a God of love and I can prove it! You have heard Him say that it is His way or sudden death.” Remember, there is a divine law that requires immediate death for anyone who sins. God’s law was also imposed on Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, but this law will not be implemented until the knowledge of good and evil has matured. After the drama of sin is completed, if someone defies the testimony of ex-sinners and the urging of the Holy Spirit, God will destroy that sinner the day he sins. This is to prevent the spread of sin’s curse and everyone will understand that God is both righteous and fair. Before He created Earth, only God had the knowledge of Good and Evil. In the future, if someone chooses to sin defiantly, God’s children will not question the sudden destruction of that sinner because everyone will understand what sin does. The Father will not permit a third instance of sin. Sin and its curse will not permeate God’s universe again.
Lucifer’s controversy with the Father came to a head at a special convocation which the Father organized. As usual, Lucifer called the meeting to order. The angels gathered around God’s throne and typically, before the Father’s glorious presence filled the temple with brilliant light, Michael arrived and took His position on the right side of the throne. When Michael took His position on that day, one-third of Heaven’s angels refused to bow down before Him. This had never happened before. Suddenly, the Father’s glorious presence filled the temple. His presence was unusually brilliant and of course, the service stopped.
The Father spoke and commanded everyone to stand up and carefully consider His words. He began by describing Lucifer’s self-promotion and jealousy of Michael and his subsequent campaign to gain the adoration and worship of the angels. The Father’s words were specific and highly embarrassing. He revealed incidents and conversations that were not common knowledge. He also exposed many lies about Jesus which Lucifer had made up. In short, the Father exposed the controversy that Lucifer had with Jesus and Himself. Then, the Father said, “Let everyone hear and understand this eternal truth: Fear Michael who, like myself, is Almighty God. Give Michael the honor and glory that God is due. Worship Michael your Creator as you worship me, because He made you and the Heavens and all that is in them. In Him, you move and have your being. The hour of your judgment has come. Bow down and worship Him or you will be removed from Heaven!”
Every angel was caught by surprise. The angels were forced to make a decision that would affect their eternal destiny. There was a rustle of movement in the temple as the loyal angels quickly bowed before Michael, but Lucifer, sensing this would be his last day in Heaven, broke the awkward silence with his commanding voice. He spoke defiantly, “I will not worship Michael.” Then, Lucifer pointed to his followers who were still standing and said, “We do not think the Father is fair. You claim to be a God of love, but you give us no choice! You say, ‘obey and live, disobey and die!’ How loving is this? Is it fair that the Father requires us to worship and honor Michael while ignoring the exalted position of the other covering cherub? You say that Michael is the Creator, but we have not seen any evidence of His creative powers! Many of us think that your government is based on arbitrary whim and it is secured through your mighty powers. You and your tattletale, Michael, have conspired to keep us as your slaves and if we rebel, you threaten to kill us. This is not right, this is not fair, this is not love and we will not bow down and worship Michael.”
Lucifer’s defiant response to the Father was shocking. The silence that followed was unbearable. Heaven had never experienced anything like this! Lucifer and his followers remained standing before the Father. One-third of the angels had disobeyed a direct order! They had been warned of the consequences of rebellion and still, they openly defied the clearest evidences of the Father’s will. They refused to bow down before Michael, who we now know is an Almighty God, who lives in the form of an angel. Suddenly there was a frightening sound like the sizzle and searing crackle of nearby lightning. A tremendous burst of light blinded the angel’s eyes and immediately, a deafening crash of thunder followed. The ground trembled and a great crevice opened up. Lucifer and his angels were thrown into the crevice and instantly, the crevice was closed. Lucifer and his angels were cast out of Heaven at the speed of lightning. The drama was so overwhelming and it happened so fast that the remaining angels remained prostrate on their faces until the Father spoke again. He said kindly, “My children, today your faith in Christ has saved you. Stand up and behold your Creator!”
This dramatic event defined Michael in a new way that the angels had not considered. Prior to Lucifer’s expulsion, they were innocent and naive. They lived in a sinless universe and had sinless natures. The angels naturally loved each other and were delighted to serve the Father, the Archangel, and Lucifer. The angels had not seen sin or rebellion, so they could not understand the malignant effects that sin produces. The knowledge of good and evil began to unfold for the angels on that day.
The Angels See Creation
After Lucifer and his followers were expelled from Heaven, the angels witnessed for the first time, Michael’s awesome creative power. They watched in awe as He created the Earth and all that is in it. “For He spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.” After watching the creation of Earth and millions of life forms in six twenty-four-hour days, the angels shouted for joy (Job 38:7) and worshiped Michael as though He was a new Deity in Heaven! It was so exciting. Suddenly, the Michael they had known was so much more than the archangel. He was so humble in appearance, yet His creative powers were awesome and divine! Later, when the heavenly angels saw Jesus die on the cross, they gained a perspective on the depth of God’s love that words cannot convey. On that day, the angels knew that Jesus was not an angel and He was not a man. He is the Alpha and The Omega; He is Almighty God, just like the Father. Jesus lived as an angel so that He could show the angels how the Father would live if He were an angel. Jesus also lived as an angel so that He could tell the Father about the perspectives of the angels. What amazing love!
One last point. The angels did not see Jesus create Earth until their faith in Him as their Creator had been tested. In other words, after Lucifer and his angels were cast out of Heaven, the angels saw Michael create something for the first time. Similarly, the saints will not see Jesus create until their faith in Him has been tested. At the end of the 1,000 years, Jesus will destroy Lucifer and all the wicked. Then, the saints will observe Jesus exercising His creative power. He will create a new Heaven and a new Earth! Whether in Heaven or on Earth, Jesus’ creative powers and other facts about Him are hidden for a time, because faith in Christ is always and forever the key to eternal life.
God Allowed Lucifer to Live
I hope you can see that there was a time when the angels did not understand who Michael/Jesus was. This knowledge was not revealed until their faith in Him was tested. The angels could not know what sin was all about until sin occurred, but a bittersweet thing has happened because of sin. The Father permitted Lucifer and his angels to live for a while so that the nature, scope, and the universe could clearly understand the consequences of sin. The Father’s decision to allow sin to mature has produced an enormous amount of suffering and death, but this enormous suffering has been offset by two wonderful developments.
First, God wants everyone on Earth to understand that He has provided a plan of salvation from sin. He has given His subjects the power of choice. Human beings have free will. Sin exists in the universe today because Lucifer and his followers chose to sin and rebel. At the end of the 1,000 years, Jesus will destroy Lucifer and his followers – not because He dislikes them or they offended Him. In fact, Jesus loves the wicked angels, but He must destroy Lucifer and his followers because sin produces predators. Lucifer was moved by selfishness and jealousy to prey upon innocent angels. After Lucifer was banished from heaven, his hatred for Jesus caused him to prey on Eve. Cain was moved by jealousy to kill Abel. Throughout the ages, history has revealed that the wicked are predators and they always prey on the innocent and the righteous. The curse of sin always exploits the innocent. This is why God destroyed the world with a flood in Noah’s day. This is why Sodom and Gomorrah were burned to the ground. Sin results in predatory behavior and this is why sin and those who love it must be destroyed. On the other hand, the Father and Jesus have made redemption possible. If a person wants to know God and live a better life, God will give him the power to do so. Surrender to God’s will is the beginning of eternal life. Each born-again believer gets to taste the joy and peace of eternal life which will occur in due time. Strength and grace from God enable sinners to overcome passion and the power of sin!
Second, by allowing Lucifer to live and flourish for a time, God chose the curse of sin to reveal the depths of His love for His creation. Because of sin, the plan of salvation has revealed much about the Father and Jesus that would have remained obscure for billions of years! The Father wisely permitted sin to exist for a period of time so that once it is destroyed, everyone will know why sin is not permitted in the universe again. No one who has been freed from sin’s curse will ever want to repeat the drama of sin.
The Father made lemonade out of a lemon! Entry of sin into the universe has disclosed our Creator, Jesus Christ! We know much more about Him than ever before. He is the Creator of Heaven and Earth, He is also Almighty God. He is the only antidote for sin. The Creator is the Savior of mankind and a mirror of the Father’s character. It is ironic that God created Lucifer and his angels with sinless natures, yet they chose to rebel. On the other hand, the offspring of Adam and Eve were born with rebellious natures, but many sinners will be saved. Even though the saints were born in a naturally rebellious state, they chose to submit to the urging of the Holy Spirit. Christ’s atonement will save these people and, one day, the redeemed of Earth will repopulate Heaven! The Father will restore Heaven to three-thirds and this time, it will be better than before, because one-third of God’s house will include beings that have conquered rebellion! They lived in sin and overcame it through Christ’s power.
Obedience or Faith
On the surface, the eternal gospel appears to boil down to Lucifer’s argument, “Obey and live, disobey and die.” This choice appears to produce salvation through obedience rather than faith. Here is the way faith in Christ and the eternal gospel mixes together.
Before Lucifer was expelled from Heaven, He became a liar. He was a master at misrepresenting the Father and Jesus. He skillfully made them appear to be evil and one-third of Heaven’s holy angels, very intelligent beings, believed his lies! Lucifer’s cunning and sophistry are beyond measure. If the demands of the eternal gospel were placed before the people of Earth at any other time than during the great tribulation, one could argue that the eternal gospel boils down to “obey and live, disobey and die!” However, to be a testing truth based on faith, the eternal gospel requires a special setting, a context where God Himself clearly presents His will and each person understands the consequences of his decision. This is the way it happened in Heaven and this is the way it must happen on Earth! Notice the requirements:
Because sin has physically separated human beings from God’s presence, the eternal gospel must include unimpeachable evidence to prove that worshiping Jesus is the Father’s will. This requires shattering the religious paradigms of the world so that Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Catholics, Atheists, Protestants, and all others can make an informed decision. Jesus will speak through the lips of the 144,000 and they will perform signs and wonders as often as needed. Jesus is eager to save the honest in heart within all religious systems. Jesus is no respecter of persons and He is the Creator of all mankind. Therefore, to be fair and impartial to all religious backgrounds, the eternal gospel has to be presented with the clearest evidence that the eternal gospel is the Father’s will. This is why God will empower His two witness for 1,260 days.
The eternal gospel must be presented by inspired people having inspired words. Human argument will not be sufficient. Spiritual things are spiritually understood. Consider the current religious gridlock on Earth. One religious man cannot prove the superiority of his religious beliefs to another religious man. More people have been killed on Earth because of religion than for any other reason. Therefore, the Holy Spirit will give the 144,000 a testimony that will penetrate through the confusion with great power. Jesus will speak through the mouths of the 144,000. The honest in heart will be troubled at first by the demand of the eternal gospel, but they will be moved by the testimony of Jesus to obey His commands.
Worshiping the Creator will come with consequences, but defiance will also come with consequences. Everyone will be forced by circumstances to take a side in the conflict. Jesus will ensure that His gospel will reach the entire world. The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. The eternal gospel will convict the honest in heart that defiance is sin. They will worship Jesus as the Creator because it is the righteous thing to do (God’s will). Finally, everyone will be judged according to their decision. If a person rejects the eternal gospel, he will defy the Holy Spirit and defying the Holy Spirit leads to the unpardonable sin.