Many puzzle with these questions: If Satan was created holy, how did sin enter his heart? And if he was created evil, how could God have created an evil being?
The question is quite an easy one; the reason it SEEMS difficult is that there are a few very popular misconceptions in play. First the answer, then the misconceptions:
The truth is that all sentient beings (including angels and humans) are created with a free will—the ability to make choices for themselves. They are neither built with a necessity for sin/evil nor for righteousness; they are free to chose moment by moment. Satan chose poorly.
Ezekiel 28:15 You were blameless in your ways
from the day you were created
till wickedness was found in you.
This demonstrates that God did not create an “evil” being, but a blameless one. Satan, however, chose not to keep his own house clean—his own mind. Rather than to maintain REALITY, he chose to indulge in irrational (unreality) thoughts as if he were greater than God. It was Satan’s choice and Satan’s fault. No one “made” him do it. No “thing” overcame him from without. No inner “nature” forced or necessitated this choice. His case as an angel was no different in nature to the situation of humans as per James:
James 4:1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? DON’T THEY COME FROM YOUR DESIRES that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight……..7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you DOUBLE-MINDED.
James had previously mentioned the same thing here:
James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by HIS OWN DESIRES and enticed.
The double mindedness described here is the attempt to entertain both reality and unreality in the mind at the same time. It is the failure of the human mind to correct itself from errant notions. It is the failure of wisdom and prudence. This is our most fundamental error and dysfunction in life.
Satan’s case is quite simple. He erred in his thoughts and did not correct himself from them, but continued to pursue them. It’s that simple.
As simple as all this is, there are some common misconceptions that may make it otherwise difficult to see. When we get the facts about the universe wrong, it is naturally hard to understand what we see right before our eyes. Some erroneously believe that sentient beings (such as humans and angels) do not have free will, even though this is demonstrably obvious. Secondly, some believe that sin/evil is a “thing” of sorts, that comes upon man from without. Thirdly, some believe that every human, by nature of merely being born, inherits some manner of “fallen” nature, thrust upon him because Adam and Eve’s sin somehow changed the DNA of the human race. And interestingly, though the second and third of these beliefs present contradictory models, some hold to both at the same time!
These three misconceptions are exceedingly popular, and yet are unprovable from the Bible. Furthermore, they are demonstrably false by way of a very SMALL effort in Bible study. They are themselves a stellar example of double-mindedness. That is, so very many people believe these things even though reality consistently argues against them. But they choose to believe them anyway, against the evidence. This naturally produces cognitive dissonance, which many do not take as an impetus to solve the puzzle, but rather, to find a way to drown out the dissonance, calling the whole exercise “faith”. Such a “faith”, however, is by its very nature unauthentic as it holds to unreality. No pure mind can cling at once to both reality and unreality.
Ironically, therefore, when we wonder in spite of the plain evidence how Satan came up with his evil, we show that we are employers of the same double mindedness that he was apparently the first in the cosmos to employ. Satan chose evil thoughts just as humans do. Indeed, even Calvinists who believe that they have the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit and that God’s grace to them is irresistible and that they have been cleansed and born again, manage quite routinely to overcome all that power on a daily basis as they exercise their own free wills to sin. Thus do they prove the grace, as well as the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, to be quite resistible, yet they continue in these errant doctrinal notions anyway. Further, they insist in blaming it on either Satan (though scriptures blames it on their own desires), or on the inherited evil nature of Adam and Eve (though scripture says no such thing and though no reasonable model of such a genetic transmission has ever been offered up into the ongoing debate).
The question of the origin of Satan’s evil is a good example of this:
Proverbs 17:24 Wisdom is before him that has understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.
When we find ourselves reaching to the ends of the earth for an “answer” to a puzzle, it is oftentimes (though not always) because we do not have a proper understanding of what is right before us. Consider these facts:
1. Ezekiel 28:15 says that Satan was created flawless.
2. No other passage disagrees with this.
3. James places the origin of sin in humans as the DESIRES of the human—not as a curse from without or a defect in the DNA.
Though it will upset Calvin, it is obvious that Satan chose evil, just as do humans. There is no Super-Satan who prevailed upon Satan from without to sin. Rather, he chose for himself an existence of double mindedness, ruling out the natural act of self correction and rejecting the reality into which all things were created—for which God apparently holds every sentient being accountable.
It is all about whether a person chooses to keep his own thoughts pure, or whether he finds unreality enticing. Only the pure of mind will inherit eternal life.