Q.

I was asked this question: “Since there is no sin in Heaven, how could Lucifer possibly have sinned?” I didn’t know how to answer it, except to say I didn’t know. How would you answer this question?

A.
I would have been tempted to answer it in a similar way. This question is akin to the often-asked questions of why God created Satan in the first place or why He allowed Satan, His beautiful creation, to sin. We simply have to trust in the perfect plan of God. God, of course, knew all that was going to happen with regard to Satan. But He allowed it to happen, just as He allowed man, who was created sinless, to fall into sin and allows many other incomprehensible things to happen. In it all, God will ultimately be glorified.

I need to point out that a common misconception exists concerning Satan and God. It is the idea that Satan was kicked out of God’s presence and cannot go back. But the Scriptures teach that Satan still has access to God. He is described as the “accuser of our brethren” in Revelation 12:10. We also have the event of Job (Job 1:6–12; 2:1–7). In other words, Satan goes before God day and night twenty-four hours a day to accuse believers in the Lord Jesus Christ of their sins and failures. So his actual casting out of Heaven for good is yet future. That, of course, will take place when he is cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:10; Matt. 25:41), preceded by his also being bound during the millennial reign of Christ (Rev. 20:1–6) and then loosed for a short period of time before his final doom (vv. 7–9). In fact, various Bible teachers point to the beginning of the Great Tribulation as the time Satan’s accessibility to Heaven ends.

It is important to realize the three spheres heaven has. The first heaven is the sky—the atmosphere that surrounds earth. The second heaven, or space, is where the stars and so forth are. Finally, there is the third heaven, where God Himself resides and reigns. Lucifer lived in the second heaven, but he along with the other angels had access to the presence of God. The downfall of Lucifer is described in Isaiah 14, beginning with verse 12. We pay special note of the words in verses 13 and 14:

For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

In these verses we see what Satan was after. He already had access to the presence of God, as we have seen. So he wasn’t merely wanting to see where God dwelt, out of curiosity. No, he wanted to overthrow God and sit on God’s reigning throne himself! He wanted to “ascend into heaven” for the purpose of taking over.

Lucifer, of course, was created to be subject to God. But he was created with volition, the capacity to choose. This, along with the fact that he was extremely beautiful, led to his downfall. He was filled with pride. He had an agenda of his own. Notice all the “I wills” of Isaiah 14:12–14. This in itself reveals Satan’s desire to be God Himself. The Bible warns us about pride going before a fall (Prov. 16:18), and this applied to Satan as well. “How art thou cut down to the ground” is Satan’s life story; nevertheless, it remains true that he has access to God, where he spends a great deal of his time accusing those of us who belong to Jesus Christ. But he gets nowhere doing this.

The prophet Ezekiel’s record in Ezekiel 28:11–26 reiterates the event of Satan’s creation, rebellion, and fall. Satan’s final doom is yet to come, though it was ensured (sealed) through Jesus’ victorious work on the cross, resurrection, and ascension to Heaven (Eph. 1:19–23). This is good news indeed.

Do you have feedback or a Bible question to submit? Send to nolson@garbc.org or mail to Norman A. Olson in care of the Baptist Bulletin, 1300 N. Meacham Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60173-4806.

Reprinted from the Baptist Bulletin (May 1990).
© 1990 Regular Baptist Press. All rights reserved.
Used by permission.