THE REAL ANGEL WARS
According to Scripture, the origin of sin is found in free will. God gave us the power of choice, which in itself is a good thing. Tragically, human beings misuse their God-given freedom. CS Lewis wrote, “If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.”
Actually, Ken is somewhat correct in that evil originated in heaven before it did on earth. Evil was born in the pride of an archangel in the presence of God. This is a tremendous mystery, but it is, nonetheless, the essence of Christian teaching on the source of evil. Isaiah 14:12 records the fall of Lucifer, which most conservative scholars agree is Satan.
How you are fallen from heaven,
O Day Star, son of Dawn!
How you are cut down to the ground,
you who laid the nations low!
While most contemporary critical scholars believe that this passage, in context, refers to “the king of Babylon” (v. 4), biblical prophecy has a way of leaving its immediate context for a heavenly one. That is certainly the case here. Consequently, the fall of man is a repeat of the choices of Satan, who rebelled against God by a similar but primeval arrogance and disobedience. Paul interprets for us, “[An overseer] must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil” (1 Tim. 3:6). According to Revelation, other angels followed suit. A third of them rebelled with Lucifer and became his minions:
Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon.
And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated,
and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.
And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent,
who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth,
and his angels were thrown down with him.
Obviously sin was in the universe before it was in the world; So Ken is right that there was sin in heaven before there was sin on earth. But the term “original sin” is applied to humanity. According to Genesis 1–2, Adam and Eve were created with complete innocence. They had no evil in their natures or their environment. They “were not ashamed” (Gen. 2:2 ), and they were ignorant “good and evil” (Gen. 3:5). Furthermore, the very temptation to “be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5) implies they did not know evil before they fell. I hope you can see now how Ken’s theory is opposed to the very foundations of biblical theology.
Adam was free in that his actions were self-determined; God specifically said, “You are free” (Gen. 2:16). It is significant that Adam and Eve were not enticed to lie, cheat, steal, or kill. Because they were innocent as I have shown, their moral nature was uncorrupted; thus, they were simply not vulnerable to these kinds of temptations. The command not to eat the forbidden fruit was not a command to stay away from what was intrinsically evil. They weren’t tempted by overt evil. What they were vulnerable to was a test. Would they obey God simply because He said it? Satan asked, “Hath God said?” (Gen. 3:1). No evil from within or from without drew them to original sin, only their freedom. In his book The Problem of Pain CS Lewis wrote, “The lost enjoy forever the horrible freedom they have demanded.”
A NEW SPIN ON AN ANCIENT HERESY
Here’s a link to see the Anathemas Against Origen.
Here’s the teaching of Mormon founder Joseph Smith, which is again remarkably similar to Ken’s
“[T]he soul—the mind of man—the immortal spirit. Where did it come from? All learned men and doctors of divinity say that God created it in the beginning; but it is not so: the very idea lessens man in my estimation…. We say that God himself is a self-existent being…. Man does exist upon the same principles…. [The Bible] does not say in the Hebrew that God created the spirit of man. It says ‘God made man out of the earth and put into him Adam’s spirit, and so became a living body.’ The mind or the intelligence which man possesses is co-equal with God himself…. Is it logical to say that the intelligence of spirits is immortal, and yet that it had a beginning? The intelligence of spirits had not beginning, neither will it have an end. That is good logic. That which has a beginning may have an end. There never was a time when there were not spirits; for they are co-equal [co-eternal] with our Father in heaven.” ~ Joseph Smith, April 7, 1844
Norman L. Geisler, Systematic Theology, Volume Three: Sin, Salvation (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2004), 82-90.
Brigham Young University. http://byustudies.byu.edu/showTitle.aspx?title=5321 (accessed 7/02/2010).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-existence (accessed 7/02/2010).