Satan’s Twofold Objective

I think the quote below by Pastor Barnhouse makes a wonderful point. Because of the fall of man not only is mankind at war with God Himself but also with Satan and other men. This goes a long way toward explaining why the world is such a mess.

Many Christians love to profess how we fallen mankind need to be constantly thanking God for saving us (which we do need to do) and that we are debauched sinners (which we are). However, they seem to shy away from the idea that we all, in our fallen state, are not just passively evil but are actively evil. I have read many Christians who say things like “I lust” or “I have neglected my obligations before God” but these are often written in a passive manner where the writer presents it as if he has merely forgotten God. I do believe that the concept of a fallen mankind having a true free will (aka libertarian free will) is frightening to many because it states that we are not passively evil but actively evil. We seek to assert our will above God’s in an active, knowing sense. Not a good thing and certainly something that makes all Christians a little nervous since we still disobey the will of God at times.

Here is Pastor Barnhouse:

So the enemy’s objective in the battle of the garden of Eden was twofold. He wished to detach man from God, but he also wished to attach man to himself. Man is dependent upon God and if that dependence is destroyed something must take its place; the devil hoped that it would be a dependence upon himself. It may be wondered whether he had anticipated that man would not only desire independence of God, but that he would aspire to be self-sufficient. Even the angels who had followed him in the fall must, by now, have known many of the difficulties of independence. That man, created lower than the angels, should presume to rely upon himself alone, might not even have occurred to the lowest of the angels. Lucifer had underestimated the arrogance of willfulness, though he himself possessed it in its highest degree. Willfulness does not have the wingspread to carry the weight of a creature; nevertheless the creature would launch out from its high place no matter where the fall might take it.

The devil was to succeed in detaching man from God. But, although he led man away from the place of divine blessing, he did not lead him into his own camp either as a subject or ally. On the contrary, man was moved to the third point of a triangle, and the tensions that would be established along the lines between these opposing focal centers of will would ultimately set the stage for Satan’s destruction. The Serpent led man away from God, but he led himself into a trap. Man away from God, but also away from Satan, was to be the channel of Satan’s overthrow. Pyrrhus defeated the Romans at a cost so staggering to himself that his appraisal of the victory has become the standard measurement of certain costly defeats: “Another such victory and Pyrrhus will be destroyed.” So at the very best, in Satan’s accounting, the fall of man was a defeat for God’s enemy.

The Invisible War
p 53

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