God’s Reaction to Satan’s Fall
This week I am going to continue my posts based on Donald Grey Barnhouse’s book the Invisible War. In the last few weeks I have summarized what is revealed about Satan’s fall (see The Invisible War – Satan’s Fall and The Five “I Wills” of Satan) and now it is time to move on and discuss what resulted from that fall.
We have a situation where Satan desired to push God aside and become the “most high.” What was God’s reaction to this? If God is truly a just God, and He is, then He could not let this pass. Here is what Pastor Barnhouse has to say about this:
The First Mouthful of Dust
When Satan rebelled and sin entered the universe, there were two courses of action open to God, since His nature would not allow Him to ignore it. The Almighty Jehovah, the most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, certainly had the power to strike down the creature whom He had brought into existence through His creative Word, and to annihilate him or put him in prison. There was no lack of power or opportunity. But if God had thus brought down the first enemy, He could never have created another mighty being like Lucifer with the freedom of choice, for there would always have been the possibility of another rebellion and the necessity for another repression. The history of heaven would then have been dotted with a series of disasters.
A Complete Trial
The other alternative open to God was the one which we know from the Bible and from observation that He chose to follow. The claims of Satan to equality or superiority in power should have their complete trial. The universe should see, once and for all, if it were possible for any creature whatsoever, of any rank, however exalted, to live for even a moment independent of God the Creator. That full trial of the possibilities of a second will in government is the nature of the duration that we call time.
But there was one matter which had to be attended to immediately. A holy God could not permit a rebellion without showing His hatred of sin. Holiness had to be manifested. He must, unless He were to violate His character of holiness, blaze forth against sin. His attitude must be declared even though He were about to permit surprising latitude to the rebel for a definite period of time. God, therefore, spoke the Word of judgment and the material world — in fact, the whole domain of Satan — was blasted to chaos with a single breath from God. There are many substantiations of this fact in both science and the Bible. This is the event which occurred between the first and the second verses of Genesis. The world, waste and empty, without form and void, was the result of this Word of judgment spoken by the Almighty God.
The Invisible War
There you have it. Pastor Barnhouse contends, and I believe, that the point of human history is for the purpose of giving Satan his chance to show that he can rule. Of course anyone who knows history or reads the newspaper can testify that Satan’s rule has been a total disaster.
Of course many Christians reject this line of thought. There are many who believe that for God to permit us free will (aka “libertarian” free will) would violate God’s sovereignty and that to believe such a thing is a blaspheme. Then there are also many Christians who find the idea that loving God would put humanity in the middle of a war like this to be appalling.
From what I have read I have come to the conclusion that Pastor Barnhouse has the correct interpretation. Some Christians believe that we relate to God through His sovereignty and others believe that we relate to God through His love. Anyone who holds to the invisible war (aka angelic conflict) will usually hold that our relationship with God, at least in time, is centered upon His justice (see God’s Point of Contact With Us is His Justice).
If you want to see a bunch of “loving” Christians get in a terrible argument just bring up this topic and things will get ugly in a hurry.