Back in college I read a book called “I, Lucifer” and it floored me. In it, God gives Lucifer a chance to live a mortal life and if he can go a month without committing a mortal sin, it’s a very Catholic take, then God will allow Lucifer a chance to become an angel again and gain entrance back into heaven.
I loved the book for numerous reasons, but mostly because it was challenging to me as a Christian. It’s not a book about apologetics for Satan nor is it a book glorifying him. It’s just a very well thought out book that threw logic in my face in ways I’d yet to experience as a believer. One section stuck with me in particular where Lucifer struggles immensely with not knowing whether he’s ever been in control of himself. Did God make him with the purpose to eventually become Satan? To be the bad guy. Was that always the plan? Or did he act of his own volition to become the Lucifer believers all love to hate?
Another very interesting section was where Lucifer and his demons tried to save Jesus from being crucified because he knew that if Jesus was crucified, he’d lose the overall war against God.
Head scratching stuff for me at the time.
It wasn’t until a few years later, while deep in a crisis of faith, that the thought occurred to me that we actually owe our ability to think critically to Satan. This was a thought I didn’t dare to raise to anyone. It boiled down to where I couldn’t decide who I blamed more for Adam and Eve eating from the tree. God for allowing it to happen or Satan for tricking them.
Maddening though, I couldn’t find a way out of that line of thinking. God kept Adam and Eve in a state of naivety and impaired thinking. Sure, they were “free” to do what they wanted, but with impaired decision making abilities due to withheld information, what chance did Adam and Eve stand against Satan? With virtually no knowledge of deceit or dishonesty, why would they have any reason to think the serpent was anything other than truthful?
If a parent kept a sippy cup full of Drano in the middle of their toddler’s playroom and told them not to drink from it because it’s icky, would any sane person hold the toddler responsible for eventually drinking it? Especially if done so under the duress of another person? I’m pretty sure any jury would find the guardian of the child to be responsible for neglect and endangerment. Yet God get’s a pass?
It reminds me of something I still kid my brother for. When we were young we were both heavily into baseball cards. We’d pour over them and study them and one time Jason asked to trade me cards. He’d give me 2 cards for my 1. I agreed and immediately upon ending the transaction he waved the card in my face and sang, “Blackjack no trade backs! This is a rookie card!” I was stunned. Not only had I been duped, but he’d pulled the sacred no trade backs line on me. I was maybe 5 years old at that time and I vividly remember the lesson he unknowingly taught me. Know your stuff and trust no one.
I feel like that’s how ill equipped Adam and Eve would’ve been, but probably even less so than I was. God had their backs, right? After all, he knew everything and would’ve created the serpent, so it couldn’t possibly be bad. Also, God would’ve known that the serpent was there and what it was up to. Instead of properly equipping his creation or not letting the serpent undertake it’s task, he let them flounder and fall and he’s still making us pay for it. Real classy.
So, the next time you’re in a hot debate with someone or are arguing for the moral relevance of your deity, take a moment and remember that it’s because of Satan that you can ironically hold that discussion in the first place. It was he that tricked Adam and Eve into eating from the tree and with that successful trickery came the full potential of thinking we currently possess.
Without Satan, in the worldview of Christianity, we’d all be mindless husks walking around with dopey grins on our faces and drool running out of our mouths. Or maybe we’d never have been born at all.
Remember that the next time your birthday rolls around and throw a thanks to the man downstairs. It’s hot as hell down there and he could use the encouragement.