Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Satan Isn't Stupid

Satan isn’t stupid. He may be a lot of things, but he isn’t that. God created Satan as a beautiful creature, one of his angels, but Satan turned against God and was cast from heaven along with those who followed him. I’ve often wondered how a being like Satan could stand in the presence of God and still imagine himself to be God. Though I suppose it is not unlike those of us who see how amazing this world is but reject the God who created it.

Another thing I’ve often wondered about is Satan’s role in the crucifixion of Jesus. Did Satan not understand what was happening? Was Satan like many of the leaders of that time who thought Jesus was setting himself up to declare himself king of the Jews? Jesus died at the time of Passover. I can’t help but wonder if the leaders feared that Jesus would follow in the steps of Moses and attempt to lead the people out from under Roman rule at the end of Passover. But is that what Satan thought?

And what of the end of the world? We know that Satan reads the Bible, but some of what the Old Testament says about the crucifixion isn’t clear until we compare what happened on the cross to it. Even the Apostles didn’t understand until they saw how the crucifixion fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament. But the end time prophecies have Satan’s name written all over them. Don’t you think that if God told you that you would do something and fail that you would try to avoid doing that thing? Maybe try a different approach? But Satan will go through with it.

There are two possibilities that I have considered. One is that God has hidden a portion of the prophecies from Satan. I’ve pretty much rejected that idea because God spoke directly to Satan back in the garden when he prophesied about what Jesus would do to Satan. The other possibility is that Satan believes he can win. He knows what the prophesies say and he has studied them well, but he thinks he has a way to prevent them from taking place. It wouldn’t take much. If he could just get one of them to fail, that would be enough. If one thing that God says will happen doesn’t, that would make God a liar and no better than Satan. Since Satan isn’t stupid, I think this is most likely his plan.

We might ask why Satan didn’t try harder to prevent the crucifixion, since so much rests on it. Why didn’t he put a stop to Judas betraying Christ? Satan isn’t stupid, but he isn’t all-knowing either. I think Satan’s plan was to convince Jesus to come down off the cross. We see a similar tactic in the wilderness temptation. The cross is God's greatest work, but it is also when he was the most vulnerable. Jesus sweat drops of blood before he went to the cross because he didn’t want to go through it. With God at his weakest point, Satan must have thought there was a chance to defeat him.

I don’t know Satan’s plans from here on out. We’re told part of them and he hasn’t given up. It is possible he is in the mode of just trying to take as many people to hell with him as he can, but I think he still believes he can win. Following the rapture will be Satan’s best opportunity to be the god of this world. Without the Christians here to oppose him, he has the opportunity to get everyone to follow him. He knows that God is predicting his demise, but at no other time has he had such a large percentage of people who have rejected Christ. If he can turn them to his will and get them to follow him as their god, he wins. If he can bring lasting peace to the middle east, he wins. He isn’t afraid to walk in the path of prophecy because that is his best chance of winning. Satan thinks he can do it. God says otherwise. On which side do you put your trust?