God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.
– Genesis 1:31
Popular culture paints the devil as a slick-talking rascal in a red suit, sporting horns and a pointy tail.
He supposedly lives in hell and relishes each new addition to his cauldron of boiling souls. In movies he perches on the shoulder of the hero, whispering evil into his ear as an angel on the opposite shoulder argues for him to do the right thing.
The monster behind the caricature is a much more frightening and complicated creature.
The Bible tells us God was pleased with His work at the end of the creation week. This creation included not only the earth and its inhabitants, but the universe itself and its hosts. The existence of orders of angels are well-documented in the Scriptures. Ephesians 6:12 speaks of “principalities and powers” in the spiritual realm. The books of Revelation, Ezekiel, and Isaiah describe strange angelic beings.
The Bible indicates that Satan was originally the crowning glory of the angelic beings.
In the book of Ezekiel, God speaks to the “king of Tyre,” possibly a king, but seemingly someone of much greater stature. He says to this being:
You had the seal of perfection,
Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
You were in Eden, the garden of God;
Every precious stone was your covering:
The ruby, the topaz and the diamond;
The beryl, the onyx and the jasper;
The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald;
And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets,
Was in you.
On the day that you were created
They were prepared.
You were the anointed cherub who covers,
And I placed you there.
You were on the holy mountain of God;
You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.
You were blameless in your ways
From the day you were created
Until unrighteousness was found in you.
– Ezekiel 28:12-15
It seems unlikely a snake could bedazzle Eve enough to betray God. But an anointed angel with the cunning of a serpent certainly could.
Next week: Part 3