I have always supposed that the great fall of Satan, his wicked rebellion against God, happened in eternity past. I assumed it occurred eons before God created the Earth.
But, what if it didn’t?
When we meet him, just a few pages into the book of Genesis, Satan is in full and glad rebellion against the Creator. Did Satan already have a long record of defiance? Or, was this his first offense?
Cyprian, a church father who was born in the year 200, proposed a theory for Satan’s fall: “When he saw human beings made in the image of God, he broke forth into jealousy and malevolent envy” and determined to rebel. In other words, the great sin for which Satan and his demons were banished from God’s presence was the pride that made him intent on dragging Adam and Eve into his insurrection.
Can I say, for sure, that it happened this way. No. The Bible doesn’t specify. But, it sure does make you think.
Why does this matter?
There has been so much upheaval surrounding marriage. Who should be able to marry? Who shouldn’t? And, who gets to decide? The government? The Supreme Court? The States? Who’s agenda wins the day? All the discussion and debate has widened the gap between people who take opposing views. Each side has succeeded in demonizing the other. And, it’s all a mess.
Christians, are we missing the point? Is it possible that we are fighting the wrong enemy?
Marriage has a greater enemy
Who’s the enemy?
On the one hand, the liberal media isn’t the enemy. Gay-rights activists aren’t the enemy. Hollywood isn’t the enemy. Neither the Constitution nor the Supreme Court is the enemy. On the other hand, the religious right isn’t the solution. Evangelical leaders aren’t the solution. A majority of Republicans in Government, the courts, and the White House isn’t the solution. Christian media and movies aren’t the solution.
God help us. We’ve boiled the issue into simple dichotomies. But, it’s not “us” against “them.”
If Satan’s defining rebellion—the cataclysmic act for which he and a third of the angels were eternally expelled from God’s presence—was the original attack on marriage in the Garden, then shouldn’t we focus our energy on opposing him, his accusations, and his schemes?
And, shouldn’t our counter-rebellion begin in our own homes?
Curses and blessings
All sin has consequences. For Eve, painful childbirth and conflict regarding her role. For Adam, ceaseless toil, diminished returns, and death. The struggle continues today. We still experience the result of the Garden’s curses. But, we can also know the blessings of obedience to Christ in our marriages, even in the midst of a fallen world inhabited by a very real enemy.
Satan still does all he can to divide us. He knows that his success in wrecking marriages accomplishes profound collateral damage. But, we have a choice. We can choose not to perpetuate the evil that Satan plots by cultivating marriages that will last. We can build our marriages on mutual submission, respect, and sacrificial love. And, we can choose to love unconditionally. That is the path that leads to blessing.
Marriage has a greater hero
Satan’s rebellion seals his fate. God makes it unequivocally clear to Satan that his destiny is Hell. Eve’s offspring, Jesus, would one day crush Satan’s head (but not without himself suffering from the Serpent’s poison). Because of Jesus’ victory over Satan, he took the penalty of our rebellion and made it possible for us to again be united to one another and, most importantly, to our heavenly Father.
Satan will do all he can to tempt, accuse, and divide our marriages. It’s his rebellion’s original strategy. But, we have a Savior who has made it possible for us to resist his temptations, deflect his accusations, and remain united.
Let’s fight for our marriages. But, let’s make sure we’re fighting the right enemy.