Satan was feeling quite pleased with himself. Not long before, God had made these miserable creatures called man. They hadn’t been there long before Satan had been able to drive a wedge between them and God. It was so simple too!
Almost unbelievably, God had given these man creatures ‘Free Will’; this meant that they did not have to obey Him.
‘How pathetic!’ Satan thought.
It was so easy to trick one of the creatures, the one called woman, into making a choice directly against what God had wished; she fell and the man quickly fell with her.
Unable to contain his glee any longer, Satan decided that a gloating was in order. Yet he was a bit surprised to find God calmly going about His business, seemingly unfazed by this obvious defeat. But Satan also saw the look on God’s face when He had to turn His creation out of the garden; it was a look of unmasked sorrow.
‘Let God pretend He’s got everything under control’, Satan thought. ‘This time He has lost, and I’m not going to let Him forget it.’
“Did you see those humans?” Satan declared. “What a disaster they are. The clay had barely dried from their creation and they already have turned their backs on You.”
“I don’t see why You thought these things would amount to anything – I can’t believe you made man in order to have a relationship with You, but then granted them ‘Free Will’; as You can already see, they obviously don’t want Your help, and aren’t even very good at relationships between themselves. This is an unmitigated failure. If I had created them, I would have made them without Free Will and forced them to obey me!”
“Man is not a failure.” God replied. “I intended for man to have the ability to choose to follow and worship Me, or to reject Me for your baser ways. I want men and women to choose to follow Me in a situation in which they might have chosen you. I will allow them to test your ways and see the societies which will result from following you. Finally, the whole of Mankind will see the tragedy and suffering which is bound to result from the rejection of Me; they will also finally learn that to reject My revelation is to choose to follow you. They could never have been truly certain how evil your ways are if I had just forced them to obey Me; I want them to come and see this for themselves, because I plan for them to become the sons and daughters of God above the level of my angels – so they need this knowledge!”
“But if you are just waiting on the freewill decisions of mere men and women you must surely become powerless ” Satan retorted. “Not quite! ,” God said, “You are forgetting that I am God and that I know the end from the beginning. I know whom I will call to Me and it is millions of people. It is within my providence that they will go on to become my children, and yet their decisions to follow Me will remain their own meaningful decisions! I remain in complete control, and surrender no sovereignty. “
“Indeed,” God said, “Look! Even right now man is making sacrifices to Me in repentance for the sins he has done, just as I asked of him. He knows that although he sins, he can always come to Me for forgiveness and demonstrate that with a repentant heart and through obedience and sacrifice. I will not forsake man. He is My creation whom I love.”
“Whom you love? What a laugh.” Satan scoffed. “How long do you think it will take before I can talk man into turning even the simple act of a sacrifice against You? If I can convince them to think themselves wise enough not to need You, then I can convince them that anything but You is Divine. Those sacrifices will soon be abhorrent to Your senses. Even if a few somehow stay basically true to You, it will never be enough. In fact, the sacrifice of one sheep or even ten thousand sheep can never be enough to atone for the sin which is so abhorrent to You – You MUST know this!”
“I know that animal sacrifices aren’t enough to save mankind from themselves and their sins.” God gently said. “This is why I have planned for one special Man to be the one Supreme Sacrifice to save mankind. This Man will redeem man to Me and bridge the rift that sin has made between man and his Creator. Meanwhile, animal sacrifices can teach mankind obedience and teach them that sin always exacts a price, that it is costly and that it results in the need for spilt blood.”
“A man?” Satan exclaimed. “You’ve got to be kidding. No man can withstand sin. Because of what Adam and Eve have already done their fate is sealed. Look at them with their pride and their self-righteousness. How could a man be found worthy to stand as a sacrifice for them all? He would have to be gracious, merciful, and humble. He not only would have to live a completely sinless life, he would have to be willing to become a meek lamb. Like those poor creatures you have man sacrificing now. Why, this ‘Lamb-man’ would have to be absolutely perfect, and I don’t see any chance of that happening.”
Satan snickered. “In order to have such a perfect man save these worthless creatures, YOU YOURSELF would have to become him. There seems no other way that the sacrifice of some ‘Lamb-man’ could ever be sufficient!”
To which a smiling God replied, “Exactly.”
Satan suddenly stopped gloating. While he would continue to cause havoc wherever he could, in that very instant he knew that his ultimate defeat was sure.