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Faith & Reason Ministries

Science and Christianity: Chapter 3. Who Are God and Satan, Really?


Science and Christianity

by John D. Callahan

Third Edition

Copyright © 1985, 1986, 1998 by John D. Callahan

All Biblical quotations are from the Good News translations (3rd or 4th editions) by the American Bible Society.

ISBN 0-9615767-0-7 (2nd edition)
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 85-91519 (2nd edition)

CHAPTER 3
WHO ARE GOD AND SATAN, REALLY?

A concept of a God, or gods is one that man has had from the beginning. There is strong evidence prehistoric man worshipped the supernatural. We know today that most primitive tribes have religion, and of course in our modern world, religion is the norm rather than the exception. Americans visit churches, Arabs visit mosques, Jews visit temples, and so forth. In fact only a small percentage of the general population claims to be atheistic. The rest if they do not ascribe to some religion will claim to be agnostic, which is to say they simply don't know one way or the other. Many agnostics also doubt the possibility of ever being able to find absolute truth in the supernatural realm.

In the scientific realm we know that it is possible to run experiments, make observations, and improve upon our understanding of the universe. However, in the religious and philosophical realm is it also just as possible? Are the agnostics right in their contention that it is not? At first glance it would seem that the agnostics are right. A new religion seems to be thought up every day, and with all the established religions around the world, it appears man has agreed little on what is spiritually right or wrong. But as was mentioned in the above paragraph, man does seem to agree that there is a supernatural of some sort. The exact nature of it is what's in question.

No matter what mankind as a whole believes, however, we must come to grips with a few obvious facts. First, the fact that there may be many answers to the question does not mean that no answer is correct. Because there are so many religions and so many different answers to spiritual questions, there is often a tendency to throw one's hands up in the air and give up. This must not be done. The mere fact of confusion does not, in itself, preclude that truth exists amidst the confusion. Second, we must have courage to believe what is right, based on the evidence, no matter what other men believe. Just as in the scientific realm, if the evidence says such and so is correct, then it is, no matter what men believe. For example, if most men on Earth believed that the Earth was flat (which they did at one time) that would not make it flat. It's round, and that's that. So too spiritually if we find something to be correct based on irrefutable evidence, then it doesn't matter what men believe. The fact is still correct even if most men do not believe it. Absolute truth is independent of human belief.

How are we ever going to find spiritual truth amidst so much confusion? Well, just as in the previous chapter we will review what has been learned by observation and experimentation. Here, however, the truths we arrive at are not so universally accepted. This does not make them any less true. It only means that people are less willing to accept the truth when it comes to spiritual matters. This is not surprising since spiritual truth involves questions of right and wrong and morality.

First, man as a whole is right in his assumption that there is some kind of supernatural. The evidence is just too overwhelming to deny it. The laws of this world are transcended often. One can go to many hospitals in the country and talk to the doctors and nurses, and before long documented cases of the supernatural will arise. There are many, many cases of incurable cancer being healed, heart disease being healed, limbs being lengthened, and so on. We can also add to this the many cases of people having supernatural knowledge such as knowing the future and knowing much about another individual without ever having seen that individual. Many readers may remember the television series "One Step Beyond" and, more recently, "Unsolved Mysteries". Well these incredible programs are based on fact not fiction. Also many people have had dreams where they saw the future and then later lived it out. I personally have had this happen more than once.

If such things occur, and they do, what does it imply? Well first it means, just as in the scientific realm, that the universe is an incredible place and probably bigger and more complex than we imagine it. Now there are two possibilities for the supernatural: (1) it is not intelligent or self-aware, or (2) it is intelligent and self-aware. If the first is true, then as man increases his knowledge scientifically he should be able someday to understand all supernatural phenomena. The unknown will become theory and then fact as man devises experiments and makes observations to improve his knowledge of the universe. If the second is true then we need to ask: Is there a God or many gods? What is He or they like? How do you define god in the first place? Are there supernatural spirits that have been created by God or the gods? If so, how many are there and what are their powers? To find the answers to these questions we must still run experiments and observe our world for facts.

Now that we have defined the problem somewhat better a logical next step would be to look for evidence of God. We need to look for both evidence that He exists and for evidence which will reveal His character and relationship to man. Note that we will look for a God, not gods or spirits. We are also of course assuming that the supernatural is intelligent and self-aware. We will look for one intelligent, self-aware, supreme, and infinite supernatural being called God. This seems to be a good place to start for many reasons. One of which is that the two great religions of Christianity and Islam believe in only one God. However, we could also look for a series of gods or for the supernatural in general. The facts we find may steer us in any number of directions, and remember we are starting out with a theory: that if the supernatural is intelligent and self-aware then it contains an infinite God. If the facts we find indicate otherwise then we must change our theory. Theory must always conform to fact. We cannot try to conform fact to our theories. If our theory about one God is wrong, based on the facts, then we must change it. Eventually we will be able to collect enough facts so that the theories we have may themselves become facts. Our model may be incomplete needing further observations and experiments, just as in the scientific field. However, let us see what we can come up with.

Let us start by examining the claims of some of the great religious and philosophical leaders of recorded history, such as Zoroaster, Buddha, Socrates, Muhammad, Confucius, and Jesus. Most believed in some form of the supernatural, and all taught a system of ethics by which man may ultimately find happiness and harmony with the rest of creation. Let us concentrate on their lives and beliefs, because we are searching for God. Then on the basis of this, let us study one or all of them more closely.

Zoroaster (628-551 B.C.) was born in northwestern Iran and ministered in northeastern Iran. He was married three times during his life and had several sons and daughters. He served, in his early manhood, as a priest in the polytheistic Iranian religion. However, even as a young man he began receiving revelations from Ahura Mazda (the "Lord Wisdom"). At age 30 he was converted to the sole worship of Ahura Mazda. He began preaching and winning converts, slowly at first. Then he won over Vishtaspa, king of Chorasmia (in present-day Russia). The new religion then prospered. Zoroaster preached a religion with remarkable similarities to Christianity, such as the existence of both good and evil spirits and the judgment of human beings after death. Zoroaster was killed by invading Turanians.

Buddha (563-483 B.C.) was born in what is now present day Nepal, to the ruler of a petty kingdom. He lived a sheltered life of luxury and, when he was 19, married a beautiful princess, who bore him a son. His father wanted him to become a warrior ruler. However, Buddha showed, instead, an inclination for meditation and reflection. One day when he was 29 he encountered an old man, a sick man, a dead man, and an ascetic. Buddha was deeply struck by these scenes, and he abandoned his way of life to become a wandering monk. First he investigated Hinduism and found its caste system and asceticism futile. He continued his search for truth until, one day, he sat under a giant fig tree and determined to remain until he received wisdom. This was approximately 6 years after he left home. After 49 days under the tree, Buddha was enlightened (Buddha means "enlightened one"). He then began to preach and convert many, including his family. Buddha taught that suffering was caused by desire. Desire can be eliminated not by gratification or by self denial but by a middle path. There are four noble truths: (1) suffering exists, (2) suffering has a cause, (3) suffering can be eliminated, (4) ways to eliminate suffering. There is an Eightfold Path: (1) right views, (2) aspirations, (3) speech, (4) conduct, (5) livelihood, (6) effort, (7) mindfulness, and (8) contemplation. Buddha died at age 80 from a meal of bad pork.

Socrates (469-399 B.C.) was born in Athens to the artisan-sculptor Sophroniscus and a mid-wife, Phenarete. Socrates received the normal Athenian education in literature, music, and gymnastics. He married the notorious shrew Xanthippe, who bore him three sons. Socrates was law abiding but refrained from politics. Initially he took up the trade of his father. However, he felt an irresistible call to philosophy and the need to impart understanding to his fellow man. He believed oral argument was superior to writing and spent most of his days in the marketplace and public squares speaking with anyone who would hear him. Socrates had deep religious convictions and insisted that he was guided by an inner divine voice, the daemonion. Rather than teaching a set of doctrines, Socrates tried to get men to think for themselves, through cross examination. He believed that no one knowingly did evil; rather, evil was the result of ignorance. Knowledge was therefore virtue, and he believed in purely objective understandings of justice, love, etc. Socrates was accused and condemned to death for corrupting the youth and introducing new divinities (the inner voice). He drank hemlock and died in the presence of his friends.

Muhammad (A.D. 570-632) was born in Mecca, to the influential tribe of Quraish. His father died before he was born, and his mother died when he was six. A grandmother and then a beloved uncle, Abu Talib, raised Muhammad after his mother's death. Muhammad was withdrawn and pensive in character, and he had outstanding abilities and moral sensitivity. In young adulthood he began to manage the business of a rich, older widow, who was so impressed that she offered him marriage. He was 25 and took no other wives until she died in 619. Then Muhammad married 9 more times before his death. All of Muhammad's sons died in infancy and only one daughter survived him. Like most of his tribesmen, Muhammad was a trader and made many trips to Syria. As he traveled, he probably heard Jews and Christians expounding their ideas. Perplexed by questions of religion, he would occasionally retire to a cave outside Mecca to meditate and pray for guidance. On one such instance, the archangel Gabriel appeared to him in a vision and proclaimed him a prophet. Muhammad then began to preach and win converts, but he was forced to leave Mecca with his followers after authorities there rejected him. Muhammad and his followers went to Medina where they fought and won a war against Mecca. After this, the Islam faith grew rapidly, as many tribes from throughout Arabia visited Muhammad. His original sayings are recorded in the Koran, where he expounds belief in one transcendent but personal God, the Last Judgment, social and economic justice, and his role as the last prophet. The Koran explicitly denies that Muhammad was divine or did any miracles. He died suddenly in Medina on June 8, 632.

Confucius (551-479 B.C.) was one of the most influential philosophers in Chinese history. He was born in the present day province of Shandong to the noble K'ung clan. His father died when Confucius was three, leaving the family in poverty. However, Confucius still received a good education. He married when he was 19 and had one son and two daughters. In his mid-twenties Confucius began a teaching career, traveling and instructing a small body of followers. He soon became highly respected for his knowledge and wisdom. He taught morality, happiness, and prosperity, in a society which was largely degenerate and feudalistic. Confucius lectured on ancient classics, and he believed highly that leaders must be good examples. He held public office only briefly, in his 50's, first as magistrate of Chung-tu and then as minister of crime of the state of Lu. He was very successful but was removed by political maneuvering. Confucius continued his travels and then spent the last years of his life in retirement, writing on ancient books.

Jesus (5 B.C.-A.D. 30) was born to the virgin Mary, who had been recently married to Joseph. Both were Jews living in the promised land of Israel, and both were descendants of king David, from whom the prophesied Jewish Messiah would come. Before the marriage, the archangel Gabriel came to Mary and announced she would bear a son conceived by the Spirit of God. His name would be Emmanuel, which means "God is with us." Gabriel also appeared to Joseph to reassure him about the marriage despite Mary's pregnancy. After the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph had natural children in addition to him. Mary survived Jesus but Joseph did not. Jesus himself never married; although this was very uncommon for a Jew of his day. We know little about Jesus' youth, but at 12 years old he conversed with the priests in the temple and showed great wisdom. He calmly stated that he was only about his father's work. Jesus was an obscure and humble carpenter until around age 30. Then he started a public ministry which lasted approximately 3 years. He traveled, preached, and instructed a group of 12 disciples. He did countless miracles of great variety, including raising the dead. He taught love for God and fellow man, and he promised eternal life to anyone who would believe in him. Jesus proclaimed Himself to be the only Son of the only God (the Father). He taught that he was one with the Father and therefore divine. The Jewish priests forced Jesus' death by crucifixion. However, Jesus predicted it far in advance and stated that he was allowing it to happen. His horrible death would be payment for all the transgressions of mankind. Jesus rose from the dead 3 days after his crucifixion. This too he predicted and so did the ancient Jewish scriptures.

In summary, then, Zoroaster preached the monotheistic worship of Ahura Mazda. Buddha, coming out of a background of polytheistic Hinduism, did not deny the existence of gods, but the religion he originally founded was one whose chief focus was on man rather than any god. Socrates did not fully subscribe to the religion and gods of his day. This is largely why he was put to death. However, he had a deep sense of the supernatural, and in Xenophon's Apology, Socrates says, "As for introducing 'new divinities,' how can I be guilty of that merely in asserting that a voice of God is made manifest to me indicating my duty?" Muhammad emphatically stressed the existence of one supreme God. Muhammad himself was deeply aware of his own imperfection and did not claim to be anything but a mortal messenger (Koran 7:188; 17:95). Confucius was a moral teacher only, but of great wisdom. Lastly, Jesus claimed to be divine and the saviour of the world. He did great supernatural feats and promised eternal life to his followers.

We have now briefly considered many of the prominent religious and moral leaders of history. None actively denied the existence of the supernatural, most believed in some form of it, but Jesus made a startling claim about himself. Jesus claimed to be God! He did not claim to be just a messenger or prophet from God, but rather he claimed to be God incarnate. Now this is very interesting and deserves further attention. For if it is true, we have only to study Jesus' life and words to discover much about who God is and his relationship to man. All other information about God will have to be interpreted in the light of what we know about Jesus. We are tempted to say, "God would never appear as a man, let alone at the time and in the form of Jesus." This is only a theory however. Let us consider objectively the historic and scientific evidence surrounding the life of Jesus Christ.

First we need to realize that the Gospels, the most detailed history we have of Jesus' life, are very authentic -- actually more so than any other writing of antiquity. We have thousands of manuscripts and some date to within only a century of the actual writings. A careful study of the manuscripts shows that they are nearly identical. These facts mean that the Gospels we have today are almost identical to what was actually written many centuries ago. The Gospel of Mark was written around 50 A.D., that of Luke, 60 A.D., that of Matthew, 70 A.D., and that of John, 80 A.D.

Concerning the internal validity of the writings, the following may be said. The Gospels were written by four different men of various backgrounds. They were not in close collaboration when they wrote, but their histories of Jesus agree on every major detail. The several other authors who contributed to the New Testament, such as Peter, Paul, and James, also all agree on Jesus. What was written has also stood the test of historical scrutiny. That is to say, archaeological evidence and concurrent secular writings strongly support the internal validity of the New Testament. Luke in particular was an excellent historian.

Given that the Gospels are authentic and valid, which they strongly seem to be, there is really very little question about Jesus' divinity. He claimed numerous times to be God's only Son, promised eternal life to His followers, did all manner of miracles, and rose from the dead as He promised. In delving deeper into these issues, let us consider who Jesus himself claimed to be. This is important, because almost no one would deny that Jesus lived and was a great man. So what did this great and noble man say about himself? Well, it has been said that anyone who can read the Gospels and not see that Jesus claimed to be more than a man can also look all over the sky on a cloudless day at high noon and not see the sun.

Jesus claimed to be God in his direct speech. Let us consider a few examples: "Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see the time of my coming; he saw it and was glad." They said to him, "You are not even fifty years old -- and you have seen Abraham?" "I am telling you the truth," Jesus replied. "Before Abraham was born, 'I Am' " [John 8:56-58]. This passage, from the Gospel of John, seems to indicate Jesus' pre-existence, but its full meaning is brought to light from the Old Testament: God answered, "I will be with you, and when you bring the people out of Egypt, you will worship me on this mountain. That will be the proof that I have sent you." But Moses replied, "When I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your ancestors sent me to you,' they will ask me, 'What is his name?' So what can I tell them?" God said, "I Am Who I Am. You must tell them: 'The one who is called I AM has sent me to you' " [Exodus 3:12-14]. In other words, Jesus claimed the name of God: I Am. Further consider these words of Jesus: "You belong to this world here below, but I come from above. You are from this world, but I am not from this world. That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. And you will die in your sins if you do not believe that 'I Am Who I Am' " (John 8:23-24).

Jesus was put to death for being Who He was; let us consider an excerpt from His trial: "Again the High Priest questioned him, 'Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed God?' 'I am,' answered Jesus, 'and you will all see the Son of Man seated at the right side of the Almighty and coming with the clouds of heaven!' " (Mark 14:61,62).

Besides His direct claims to deity, Jesus also implicitly claimed to be God in His life and words. Jesus accepted worship as God in the stories of the man born blind (John 9) and the leper who thanked Him after being healed (Luke 17). Jesus praises Peter after Peter's proclamation: "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God" (Matt. 16:16). Similarly, Jesus accepts Thomas' words to Him: "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28). Note that Thomas directly calls Jesus God. We might also note here that every New Testament writer accepted Jesus' divinity. For Paul's explanation see Colossians 1:15-19.

Another way Jesus showed his divinity was to promise eternal life to his followers. The average man or prophet just doesn't do this. Only God has the power to give eternal life. Consider Jesus' words: "Whoever drinks this water will get thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring which will provide him with life-giving water and give him eternal life" (John 4:13,14). "For what my Father wants is that all who see the Son and believe in him should have eternal life. And I will raise them to life on the last day" (John 6:40). "I am telling you the truth: he who believes has eternal life" (John 6:47). "I am telling you the truth: whoever obeys my teaching will never die" (John 8:51). "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25,26). In His description of judging all mankind at a latter date in time Jesus makes this statement: "These, then, will be sent off to eternal punishment, but the righteous will go to eternal life" (Matt. 25:46). Also from Matthew we read "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake, will receive a hundred times more and will be given eternal life" (Matt. 19:29).

Remember, now, these are the words of a man who almost everyone would agree was one of, if not the most, noble and good who ever lived. The typical man on the street if he is not a believer in Jesus would at least say Jesus was a great and good man. The Muslims consider Jesus to be a great prophet, and Buddhists often praise Him. If Jesus is so great and good, would He lie about such things as His identity or His ability to grant eternal life? Of course not!

Next let us consider Jesus' power to perform miracles. Just as with His claims to deity, Jesus' miracles leap off almost every page of the Gospels. He had power over nature, sickness, and even death. Jesus turns water into wine (John 2), calms a storm at sea (Matt. 8; Mark 4; Luke 8), walks on water (Matt. 14; Mark 6; John 6), and multiplies food in an instant (Matt. 15; Mark 8; Matt. 14; Luke 9; John 6; Mark 6). Jesus healed many, many people. All of the accounts are not given for we read "Jesus healed them all." However, just to mention a few of the healings for which we have details, consider the man with a dreaded skin disease (Matt. 8:1-4; Mark 1:40-45; Luke 5:12-16), the paralyzed man (Matt. 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26), the woman who touched Jesus' cloak (Matt. 9:18-22; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:40-56), the two blind men (Matt. 9:27-31), and the man with a withered hand (Matt. 12:9-14; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 6:6-11).

As if these feats of healing weren't enough, we also have three accounts of Jesus raising people from the dead. They are the raising of Jairus' 12-year-old daughter (Matt. 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:40-56), the raising of the widow's son (Luke 7:11-17), and the raising of Lazarus (John 11:1-44). The reader should really take the time to read these incredible accounts. In addition, Jesus Himself rose from the dead, and not only this He calmly predicted it and gave many details on several occasions. This fact is thoroughly supported by the Gospels (John 2:18-22; John 12:27-33; Luke 9:22; Matt. 16:21; Mark 8:31; Matt. 20:17-19; Mark 10:32-34; Luke 18:31-34).

Besides all this evidence, even secular history confirms that Jesus lived, was crucified, and that His body was never found. It also confirms that He has been worshipped as God by millions upon millions of people for the past 2,000 years. Again, no other great religious leader ever claimed to be God, and no one who ever lived has convinced a large portion of the population that he was God -- except Jesus Christ. Of all great men, only Jesus predicted His own resurrection from the dead and then calmly proceeded to do so. Only Jesus' tomb is empty. Of the many documented, undeniable miracles which are still performed today, the vast majority are done in the name of Jesus Christ.

Who Jesus was is not a matter of religion. It is not even a matter of opinion. It is a matter of fact. Jesus was God, period. I have only given a brief overview of the vast evidence. If the reader would like to study the matter further he may wish to consult the many books written on the subject. In particular I recommend Josh McDowell's excellent work Evidence That Demands A Verdict. Before moving on, it need be stated that no one who sincerely and objectively considers the evidence can come to any other conclusion about Jesus than that He was exactly who He claimed to be -- The Son of Almighty God, and as such God in the flesh.

The Bible is flawed, and there are probably errors even in the passages just quoted. However, one thing is clear: Jesus was God. This theme is repeated directly or indirectly in almost every page of the Gospels. In the earlier example of the flawed book about JFK's inauguration, the fact that he was inaugurated would not be questioned; there's just too much evidence. In the same way, while the Bible may be flawed it is still nonetheless a valuable historical document, and Jesus' divinity cannot be questioned; there's just too much evidence. To cut out Jesus' divinity one would have to throw away most of the New Testament -- the most popular book in all of history and the most authentic book of antiquity.

This then is truly amazing. We have found God! Not only this but a careful study of the Bible gives us much information about God's nature, man's nature, and the relationship between God and man. This is true because the Bible gives many, many quotes of Jesus along with other information about His life, along with the writings of several men who knew God. It is found among other things that true belief in Jesus brings eternal life to the believer (this will be discussed in the final chapter). This is again amazing, and what more does a human being want than eternal life in heaven with God? However, most people do not accept Jesus as both God and personal savior. Why is this? To help us in our understanding we now look at another aspect of the universe.

A study of the Bible and other evidence reveals that before man was created, God created supernatural beings called angels. They are spirits like God and intelligent. Almost everyone has heard of this concept of angels. However, we really don't know exactly how many God created, or when, or how powerful they really are. I will here propose theories, based on what we already know, to try and answer these questions.

We know from science that the laws which govern this existence have not changed significantly over the lifetime of the universe. We also know that from these laws we developed on this planet to live in a world where evil is common. This implies that evil has existed a long time and that it is a fundamental part of the universe. Now Jesus said about the Devil, "From the very beginning he was a murderer and has never been on the side of truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he is only doing what is natural to him, because he is a liar and the father of all lies" (John 8:44). In the scripture just quoted, note the words "very beginning" and "father of all lies." God must have created a great order of very powerful supernatural spirits before any of this material world we see today existed, and many of them turned against God to pervert the entire universe. They were created at least 10 billion years ago, because the universe is at least that old. As to the number He created, we can only roughly speculate. But if there are just 10 angels for every star we see today in the universe, then there would be something like 100 billion trillion angels. Remember our Galaxy, the Milky Way, is composed of roughly 100 billion stars. Ten times this is a trillion, and we know of at least 100 billion other galaxies.

The angels were created to be eternal, and also they were very powerful. They were created to assist God in His further creation. This is only logical, because we were created by God -- the source of all life -- and have been given by Him powers to participate and create. We write songs, build houses, gain knowledge, land men on the moon, and so forth. We, of course, even participate in the creation of new human beings, and we may in hundreds of years be able to make robots as intelligent as humans. Now if we can do all this, imagine what the angels must be capable of! They were created far superior to us and were intended to participate to a much greater degree. When the apostles were concerned about Jesus' safety in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said, "Don't you know that I could call on my Father for help, and at once he would send me more than twelve armies of angels?" (Matt. 26:53).

God did not create all the angels exactly alike just as all humans are not alike. Some were gifted in different areas and so forth. Also, not all the angels had the same degree of power. Of the exact nature of the hierarchy, again, it is hard to speculate. However, God seems to have created a handful of, next to Him, the most powerful beings in the universe. We know of at least three of them. They are the archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Lucifer. These may be the most powerful beings ever created by God in the entire universe. Since we now know something about the size and age of the universe, that is really saying something.

The universe was a spectacular, beautiful place filled with glorious, intelligent spiritual beings. There was no evil or suffering of any kind. However, for life to have real meaning, God created the angels with a free will. They were not robots but free moral agents. Now God, being the creator and also being perfect and infinite in His wisdom and judgment, has the right to ask submission and obedience to His will. Lucifer, one of the archangels and greatest beings ever created by God in the entire universe, didn't like this idea. Since there were only a few beings as great or greater than himself, Lucifer decided to exalt himself above God's will, and he claimed the right to rule the universe instead of God. He was egotistic, proud, and wrong.

Many lesser angels aligned themselves with Lucifer and worshipped him instead of God. Exactly how many, again, it is hard to speculate. Whatever the number, it was probably a significant fraction. There was a war in heaven, but since God is infinite He could not lose. He judged Lucifer and the rebellious angels by taking away much of their power and glory. They were to remain in the universe as perverted and fallen beings. Lucifer is referred to as Satan, and the fallen angels, who serve him, as demons. Why God did not simply end their existence or influence completely is not known. However, God does not go back on His word, and in a sense He is bound by it. When He created the angels He created them with certain rights and privileges which even He would not violate. The situation is probably a little like crime is today. What society can do to criminals, to bind and limit them, is governed by laws, and only so much can be done.

How God created the angels is not known. Whether they developed in some sense as humans do is not known. How long the magnificent spiritual universe existed before the fall is also not known. However, it probably was not very long, for, again, think of Jesus' remark: "You are the children of your father, the Devil, and you want to follow your father's desires. From the very beginning he was a murderer and has never been on the side of truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he is only doing what is natural to him, because he is a liar and the father of all lies" (John 8:44).

The fall was a catastrophic (to say the least) event and brought evil into the universe for the first time. From henceforth, Satan and the powers of darkness would oppose God and the powers of good as God further created. Again, God continued creation and His plans, despite Satan, due to the laws under which He initially created the universe. God would continue His plans under the present conditions for a certain time. Then this present age and order will come to an end on the "last day," which Jesus often referred to. For instance, consider Jesus' words: "For what my Father wants is that all who see the Son and believe in him should have eternal life. And I will raise them to life on the last day" (John 6:40). God will judge all beings and separate the good from the bad forever. The good will live with Him in heaven in perfection, while the bad will cease to exist or spend eternity in hell in suffering. The conflict between good and evil will end. God will most likely stop creating new beings, but the beings that do exist in heaven will continue to develop.

Remember that the angels were great beings and fundamental parts of God's creation. They were to have a very significant part in God's further creation. After the fall, God created the material universe we see. It started with a "Big Bang" approximately 10-20 billion years ago. Then the galaxies formed, life developed, and so forth. However, due to the influence of Satan and demon powers, the entire universe is perverted. The apostle Paul seems to have understood this, for we read him say, "Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil's evil tricks. For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age" (Eph. 6:11,12). Also see Colossians 2:8,20 and 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 ("god of this world"). The apostle John, in 1 John 5:19, states, "We know that we belong to God even though the whole world is under the rule of the Evil One." Also, Jesus referred to the Devil as not just an evil spirit but "the ruler of this world" (John 14:30), implying that the Devil's influence over the Earth is profound indeed.

The universe is not perverted on a superficial, easy to understand level, but the very laws which govern subatomic particles may be affected. In other words the perversion is deep, and we are caught almost, as it were, as pawns in a titanic spiritual struggle between good and evil. The conflict rages all across the universe -- in one galaxy and in another billions of light-years away. God and angels (perhaps myriads) serving Him are being opposed by Satan and demons (perhaps myriads), as God attempts to create and do good across the universe.

This explains our seemingly bizarre existence of birth, death, suffering, misunderstanding, and war. It also explains chaos in the universe, suffering in the animal kingdom and our development from these lower forms of life. But yet we struggle to understand, love, and do what is right. Let us now look at our origins, to better understand our position in the universe.

END OF CHAPTER 3

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  • Introduction & Chapter 1. Is the Bible Perfect?

  • Chapter 2. A Lesson in Astronomy

  • Chapter 3. Who Are God and Satan, Really?

  • Chapter 4. A Lesson in Life Upon the Earth

  • Chapter 5. Who is Man, Really?

  • Summary & About the Author

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