“What Caused Lucifer (Satan) to Fall?”

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What caused Lucifer to sin? He didn’t eat of any tree so he would inherit sin nature or knowledge of evil. Did Lucifer have knowledge of good and evil when God created him, unlike Adam who got the knowledge after eating the fruit? And one more thing: Did Adam sin after eating the fruit or by eating the fruit?

Thanks for your letter. The question about what caused the fall of Satan is a difficult one. In 1 Tim. 3:6, Paul seems to indicate that the sin of the devil was pride or conceit. Although the passage is debated, some conservative scholars believe that Ezekiel 28:11-19 may describe the fall of the devil. The section is addressed to the “king” of Tyre. Notice some of the things which are said in this passage. This “king” is said to have been “in Eden” (v. 13). He is called a “cherub” (a type of angel) in vv. 14, 16. He is described as “blameless” from the day of his creation, until he sinned (vv. 15-16). His sin seems to have been that of pride or conceit (v. 17). All of these descriptions are consistent with the “king” being Satan.

However, other scholars believe that Ezekiel is just using hyperbolic language to describe the arrogance of the human ruler of Tyre. Everyone agrees that the human ruler is in view in vv. 1-10. The question concerns the referent in vv. 11-19.

We are simply not told whether Satan had any knowledge of good and evil before his fall into sin. However, until his sin, he could not have had any experiential knowledge of evil because he was created perfect and holy.

God’s prohibition against eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil occurs in Genesis 2:16-17. There Adam is told “in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die” (v. 17). As we read chapter 3, the sin seems to take place upon eating from the tree. It is this act which violated God’s prohibition. This seems clear to me from verses like 3:7, 11, 17.

Hope this is helpful.

Shalom in Christ,

Michael Gleghorn

© 2008 Probe Ministries

Dr. Michael Gleghorn

Dr. Michael Gleghorn is a research associate with Probe Ministries. He earned a B.A. in psychology from Baylor University, a Th.M. in systematic theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Theological Studies (also from Dallas Theological Seminary). Before coming on staff with Probe, Michael taught history and theology at Christway Academy in Duncanville, Texas. Michael and his wife Hannah have two children: Arianna and Josiah. As a family, they attend Frisco Bible Church, where Michael and Hannah are involved in various ministries. His personal website is michaelgleghorn.com.

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