Judging Satan

Q. Based on your writing I understand that it’s your belief that Satan originally had his throne on Earth and was judged before the creation. I have read other commentary believing that it happened after. Can you elaborate on why you think that Satan was judged before the creation?

A. Many scholars believe Genesis 1:2 should actually read, “But the Earth became formless and void, an uninhabitable ruin.” Combining a strict interpretation of Hebrew grammar with clarifying passages elsewhere can lead us to the conclusion that some sort of judgment took place between verses 1 and 2 that left the Earth in a shambles, an uninhabitable ruin. (In Isaiah 45:18 God said He didn’t originally create it that way.) The Biblical creation account actually begins in Genesis 1:3.

There are also other hints that can lead us to informed speculation about this. For instance, in Job 38:7 we see the angels shouting for joy at the Genesis 1 creation events. Where did they come from? And in Genesis 3 “the shining one” in the form of a serpent tempts Adam and Eve in the garden. When was he created? The angelic realm, including Satan, had to have been created some time before the Genesis account begins.

Finally, in Isaiah 14:12-20 and Ezekiel 28:11-19 we read of Satan’s rebellion and judgment even though they describe him as having previously been a high ranking official. Since we have these other hints that it most likely happened before the Genesis account and it’s not described as happening afterward there’s a pretty good circumstantial case for a judgment of Satan sometime prior to Genesis 1:3. Whatever the case, it’s clear that by Genesis 3 Satan was already God’s adversary.

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