How did Satan or Lucifer fall from heaven? What was the cause of his fall? Was he responsible for it?
Pride and the Fall
The Bible has a lot to say about pride and it’s always not good. For example, Proverbs 16:18 says that “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.” So let’s see the order of things here; pride come first…then destruction. Just think of Nazi Germany and Hitler. He felt invincible and started a two-front war, something he had always taught against so his pride clouded his reasoning and logic. Next, a haughty (prideful) spirt comes first…and it comes just before a fall. So here’s the order; pride first and then destruction or pride first and then the fall. Truly “It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud” (Prov 16:19). God says “I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech” (Prov8:13) and normally “When pride comes, then comes disgrace” (Prov 11:2). If only Satan had read and obeyed these verses.
The Accuser or Slanderer
Jesus once said that He “beheld Satan having fallen as lightning out of heaven” (Luke 10:18) and even though this was not likely the fall of Satan in the beginning, Jesus was an eyewitness of this fall. The Devil or Satan is said to be the accuser of the brethren “The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him” (Rev 12:9). The very “accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth–the one who accuses them before our God day and night” (Rev 12:10). The Devil’s name actually means slanderer (“diabolos” in Greek) but the slanderer is finally and forever cast out of heaven but this may still not be the original fall of Satan as this could be the one that is to come when Satan and his demons will make one last attempt at a coup or overthrow of the throne of God.
Overestimating One’s Self
The Devil was one of, if not the greatest of all created creatures but then, as if speaking to himself, “You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north” (Isaiah 14:13). This means that he wanted to be above God and actually sit on God’s throne in heaven (“in the far reaches of the north”). He had the audacity to say I will be “above the stars (angels) of God” and even worse, “I will set my throne on high.” Satan has always desired worship, as when he tempted Christ in the wilderness where “the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” (Matt 4:8).
When did Satan Fall?
Paul understood that when “the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction…he will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God” (2nd Thess 2:3-4). This sounds all too familiar doesn’t it (Matt 3 and Isaiah 14)? At one time, Satan had it made. He was a most beautiful and glorious creature (Ezk 28:13-15) and maybe the epitome of God’s creation. He must have had a mirror because this beauty and glory went directly to his head and clouded his judgment. He became so irrational that he thought that he could actually take over the very throne of God, saying in effect, “I want everyone to worship me! I want to rule over all of humanity. And I will ascend unto the high heavens and I will take over the seat of the Most High; I will, I will, I will” (Isaiah 14:12-15). It was all about him and not about God. That can also happen to believers and the consequences can be tragic. Theories abound as to exactly when this fall occurred. Some theologians believe it had to happen after the fall of mankind because in the creation week, God declared everything was good and Satan was part of God’s creation but was he and the angels created before mankind and the earth? In the Book of Job God asks “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation…or who laid its cornerstone while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy” (Job 38:4, 6-7). Apparently the angels were there to shout for joy after God created the earth and were eye witnesses and we can conclude from this that Satan had already been in existence and so this fall from grace, a fall from pride occurred prior to the earth’s creation.
We read where King Belshazzar started over estimating his own wroth and “his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory” (Dan 5:20). That’s the very same thing that happened to Satan. As we have read, Satan fell from grace and he fell hard but so do others who are full of pride as the Bible is clear that just “Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor” (Prov 8:12) because “Pride brings a person low” (Prov 29:23) just as it did Satan. Besides, God is opposed to the proud and will only extend His grace to the humble (James 4:6). What do we have to be proud about anyway (Rom 3:10-12, 23)? If we humble ourselves before God, He will exalt us but if we exalt ourselves before Him and others, He will humble us (1st Pet 5:6). Can you imagine which one is more painful?
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon.