The Origin of Sin

This entry is part 18 of 368 in the series Inquiring Minds
Image by Phillip Black from Pixabay

Lucifer was cast out of heaven along with other fallen angels, but heaven is a perfect, sinless place. Where did the sin of pride that grew in Lucifer come from? What about the other angels that fell? Were they condemned for the same thing?

In several places throughout Scripture we are told about the fallen angels that became demons and the devil. I have described in another question our understanding of how the devil fell from heaven. But has the number of angels and demons changed?

Revelation tells us that one third of the angels were swept out of heaven with the Dragon, Satan, the ancient serpent, or the devil (Revelation 12:9, 4). This leaves God with the majority of angels who have not rebelled with Satan.

The prophecy in Ezekiel 28 seems to go beyond the human king of Tyre to a celestial being.

“Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord God: “You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you. In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you. By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade you profaned your sanctuaries; so I brought fire out from your midst; it consumed you, and I turned you to ashes on the earth in the sight of all who saw you. All who know you among the peoples are appalled at you; you have come to a dreadful end and shall be no more forever.”” (Ezekiel 28:11–19, ESV)

Some of the parts that seem to describe Satan are:

  1. Signet of perfection, perfect in beauty, full of wisdom, precious stones for his covering,
  2. In Eden, the garden of God, on God’s holy mountain, profaned your sanctuaries,
  3. Anointed guardian cherub, cast out of the mountain of God,
  4. Unrighteousness found in his heart, filled with violence, sinned, proud heart, corrupted wisdom, multitude of iniquities,

Jesus also confirms that he saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning (Luke 10:18). In Job 1-2 Satan is roaming the earth because he has been kicked out of heaven. He is only allowed to visit there to present himself before the Lord like all of the other angels.

Descriptions of Heaven

The Bible describes heaven with the very best vivid imagery from poetry and prophecy that we can muster. In one way, this falls short of giving us definitive descriptions of heaven. But in another way, if God explained heaven to us, we probably would never understand it until we saw it for ourselves.

The Bible describes heaven as a wonderful place. If it is anything like the Garden of Eden before humans fell, heaven is a beautiful place, like the most beautiful garden you have ever seen. Innocence is one of the chief qualities of the people there (Genesis 2:25).

Revelation 7:9-17 gives us one of the greatest descriptions of heaven. People will get along with one another no matter what their background was (Revelation 7:9). They wear white robes as a symbol of purity (Revelation 7:9).

We will worship the Lord for the rest of eternity (Revelation 7:9b-11), as symbolized by the palm branches that remind us of the Triumphal Entry. These robes will be washed in the blood of the Lamb, showing that Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice on the cross makes us pure and holy (Revelation 7:13-14).

John quotes from the book of Isaiah to show that God will protect us from any harm (Revelation 7:15c). We won’t have the same desires we have on earth like hunger and thirst (Revelation 7:16) because God provides all that we need (Revelation 7:16a-b).

He will even wipe away the tears from our eyes (Revelation 7:16c). And Isaiah elsewhere tells us that even the animals will get along in peace (Isaiah 11:6). I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get there.

Where Did Sin Come from?

This is one of those questions that Scripture never answers. We are not given a definitive understanding of the origin of sin. Pride and rebellion seem to be the top two first sins. Satan demonstrated pride and fell from heaven. Adam and Eve rebelled against God by disobeying the one command he gave them in the entire garden and creation.

Sin may originate from the ability to not choose God or to listen to him, human free will. This is the method Adam and Eve used in the garden of Eden to turn against God and willfully choose a different path than the one he designed for them. They wanted to make their own decisions about right and wrong (Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil).

But this raises an interesting question, philosophical in nature, that none of us can possibly answer. Did God create angels with a free will like humans? I have thought about this question often and still have no idea.

If pride was able to surface in the heart of Lucifer in the midst of such a glorious place like heaven, and I am correct about free will be the engine to allow sin to emerge, then I would suspect that angels had free will in heaven.

But do they still have free will, or was one of the punishments of rebelling against God the loss of their free will? I only ask this because it doesn’t seem that angels and demons can switch sides after Satan and demons were cast out of heaven.

The lines seem to be eternally drawn. Also, angels serve God and do not seem to demonstrate any willful choice not to. This is the best I can infer from Scripture and from my own thoughts.

What Were the Other Angels Condemned for?

They may not have had the sin of pride that brought them down, but the other Angels, now demons, decided to rebel and fight on the side of Satan. For this rebellion against God, also known as sin, they were also cast out with him. Perhaps they were coming to the defense of a fellow angel. But the moment they raised their hands against the God of heaven, their fate was sealed.

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