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THE MORTGAGE OF THE EARTH TO SATAN

Rich Kelsey

earth in space

 

 

In the glorious days when God created the earth,

"all the angels shouted for joy.”1

The Spirit of God2 hovered over this world like a loving mother hen over her young. God saved His most precious creation for last: He made man from the dust of the earth and woman from man. He set them in a beautiful garden with no threat of anything to hurt them. The temperature didn’t get too cold at night, and instead of rain,3 heavy dew covered the ground every morning—Adam and Eve were living in Paradise. God visited them in the garden in the cool of the day. We can only imagine what a wonderful relationship they were building. 

God told Adam to

“be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it”4

—in other words, to have children and dominate the planet. But Adam was also in paradise to learn. He and his wife were there to be shaped into the image and likeness of God. Just as a man desires his wife to become of the same mind, to trust and cherish him, God was looking for such a companion in mankind.
 

The Creator had every good intention toward His children. Mankind was given an awesome opportunity. The primary rule that God laid down in paradise was

“You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Gen. 2:17).

Day by day, Adam and Eve grew in wisdom and knowledge. They were maturing, learning about life, and developing character. They grew to know and love each other. 

Satan’s Folly 

The Scriptures record this about Satan:

“You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you” (Ezek. 28:15).

The word wickedness literally means “lawlessness.” Satan violated God’s laws. Before his disobedience, he was called Lucifer. The word Lucifer has beautiful connotations; it means

“morning star” (Isa. 14:12).

Lucifer may have been in existence long before earth was created, standing in an exalted position before the courts of the Most High. One day among countless days, this unblemished entity carefully considered the order of things in heaven. He wondered about the Creator’s code of right and wrong. Curiosity began to rule in Lucifer’s mind, and he may have been thinking,

“I wonder what it would be like if only things were different?”

Lucifer was obsessed with what was happening on earth. He came to understand that God, who dispenses justice and judgment without bias,5 was to give his mature sons and daughters the reward of their own6 merit. He also came to the startling realization that one day, men and women would be exalted in position above him. 

Envision Lucifer in heaven, pacing back and forth, brainstorming, thinking about how to maintain his position at the center of God’s creation and to restrain mankind to a lower level. He began masterminding how to bring God’s children out of divine favor. Pride became a factor in his decision making. Lucifer was in heaven, in glory, yet he was never tried in the fires of temptation and tested in the day of adversity like mankind would be. He had never learned the virtues of trusting God. 

Before Lucifer's transgression, it was written of him,

“You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you” (Ezek. 28:14).

God had appointed Lucifer and all the angels7 to protect men. Angels were to watch over people to keep them out of harm’s way. The more Lucifer thought about his own standing and the ultimate position of mankind, the more obsessed he became with Adam and Eve. Since he was perfect in beauty, in his mind he was the one to be admired among God’s creation, not lowly man. The thought of Adam and Eve being exalted above him seemed unbearable. So he set a trap.

The devil, haunted by his own pride, questioned God’s supremacy. Satan in his heart said:

“I will raise my throne above the stars of God . . . I will make myself like the Most High” (Isa. 14:13,14).

Satan threw caution to the wind. This sly devil deceived many of the angels. Then he set his sights on mankind. If he could get people to display the same distrust in God that he did, this might overthrow God’s authority. Satan could then become,

“the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4). 

The Fall of Man 

Satan waited in paradise for the perfect moment to strike. Adam was away from Eve, unaware that his wife was in trouble. Eve was probably gazing at the fruit on that mysterious tree from which her husband told her not to eat when a serpent spoke to her.

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made” (Gen. 3:1).

If the devil had spoken through a seething red dragon with horns on its head,8 he probably would have alarmed Eve. But no, the devil wanted to make Eve comfortable. So he spoke to her through a beautiful serpent. He said to the woman,

“Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Gen. 3:1).

Eve answered: 

"We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, But God did say “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.” (Gen. 3:2b–3) 

Then Satan brought out the hook. He said:

"You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Gen. 3:4–5) 

The devil made the false claim that Eve would be like God if only she disobeyed His command. Satan alleged that God was holding Eve back from her true glory so He could dominate her. Satan convinced Eve that the God of love did not have her best interests in mind. If Eve had thought about the serpent’s question logically, she might have had doubts. Why was this lowly creature9 instructing her? She could have answered the serpent,

“Let me talk it over with my husband first.”

After all, the tree wasn’t going anywhere. 

Instead, she got caught up by the serpent’s charm and took a drastic leap of faith in what he said.10 She took the fruit and swallowed the bait. She bought into Satan’s scheme, and her eyes were opened. The devil had approached the one with the least knowledge, and Eve got swindled. She didn’t get what Satan promised her; she lost everything! However, Satan was on his way to fulfilling his dream. 

Do you know why the devil approached Eve and not Adam? Because Adam had a stronger relationship with God than Eve did. It was Adam11 whom God instructed how to manage paradise, what fruit to eat and what not. That was secondhand information to Eve, but Adam had heard it straight from God. Eve didn’t have all her facts straight when she argued her case with the serpent. God had not told Adam he would die if he touched the fruit. 

Now came the real challenge: if Adam would also question the Creator’s laws and violate his Father’s only rule, then he, too, would disobey God’s instructions. God had told Adam to subdue and conquer the earth, to take possession of it, and to stand as ruler. Adam was the Father’s firstborn human son, and he would hold the birthright,12 the deed to the planet. This deed is what Satan was after. 

Adam, Why Did You Do It?

What possible motive would cause Adam to disobey God? The Scriptures clearly indicate,

“Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived” (1 Tim. 2:14).

Therefore, we can’t maintain that Satan or Eve deceived Adam. Why in the world would Adam eat the forbidden fruit?

The answer is in Gen. 3:12: 

“The man said, ‘The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.’”

If Eve had lied to Adam and he had believed the lie, then he would have been deceived. However, the Scripture cannot be ignored. Let’s think for a moment. We know Eve gave Adam the fruit, but if she didn’t deceive Adam, then how did she convince him to eat it? 

Envision Eve with the fruit still in her hand, the juice dripping down her chin, waiting to become like God, closing her eyes in anxious expectation only to hear the serpent’s mocking laughter. Envision Eve falling to the ground, weeping, shivering in terror as the full impact of the situation hits her. Think about the grief Eve was suffering. Let’s consider the magnitude of anguish her soul was going through. She was scared and became desperate. She knew the moment her eyes were opened that she was now different from her husband. She had a full understanding of the mess she was in. 

Picture loving Adam coming back to the garden after exploring the surrounding terrain only to find Eve in an emotional fit. Think about the grief that Adam faced when he realized God would separate the two of them. When Eve tearfully looked Adam in the face, asking him not to abandon her to God’s judgment, giving him the fruit, and begging him to eat it,13 Adam was faced with a decision. Adam chose to side with the one he loved the most. Unfortunately, Adam loved Eve more than God. 

Keep in mind that neither Satan nor the foolish angels14 nor Adam fully understood the roles they were playing. Adam played right into the devil’s scheme. He reinforced the idea that God cannot be trusted because Adam did not trust God with the fate of his wife’s soul. 

Adam Turned His Back on God

Having abandoned his faith in God’s discretion, Adam set out to keep his wife from dealing with God all by herself. He took the fruit from the woman’s hand and ate it. Suddenly his eyes were opened, and he realized the full tragedy of his situation. This was a dark moment in the history of mankind. 

Satan had put before Adam, the head of the Father’s creation, circumstances that caused him to exhibit distrust in the Creator. Satan won! Our original parents trusted the devil and his ways over those of a holy God. The devil forced open a trial when he got man to follow his lead in transgressing God’s laws, and the devil got his due. God granted an appointed time15 for Satan to govern the earth; this season is actually a great benefit in our maturing process. Now all creation understands that a world where evil is allowed is a world filled with violence, lies, anguish, sorrow, and death. What a stark contrast to the paradise God originally provided for us in which to learn! 

Eve had never heard a lie before the father of lies showed up at her door. People were not created to die. Nothing was to be hurt on God’s holy mountain. Oh, how things have changed! Does that mean God is a victim? No, it means the devil, the foolish angels, and those who follow Satan to the pit16 are victims of their own making. In this world, we fashion ourselves either to God’s glory or after our own lusts. 

If it weren’t for Lucifer’s fall and the fall of man that followed, all creation never would have seen this grand display of evil. Wise people who can see the snare of evil lying in wait for the scornful have a wonderful opportunity. They can choose to submit to God and practice holiness in an evil world. With their faith tested by the devil, the rewards will be much greater than if Adam and Eve had never fallen. 

However, all this evil needs to come to an end. Although the end sometimes justifies the means, in this case, the means are unacceptable. Judgment must be recompensed for the righteous. A loving Father should stop this, right? Yes, but due legal process must be followed in order for this conflict to go down in the records as being won fairly. 

Satan gained

“the power of death”17

over man. He also gained the position18 Adam held. Adam forfeited his right to subdue the earth when he made the decision to follow Eve in the transgression. Now Adam was no longer the dominant one—the devil was. The devil had mankind and many foolish angels backing him19 in this insurrection; therefore the earth was delivered into his hand for a season. Forcing men and angels to comply with God’s program was out of the question. The devil won the right to rule hands down. God, being fair, is now watching from the sidelines. Yet he is not far from any one of us. 

After the fall, God drove mankind from Paradise. Satan was given great authority over this creation. With the curse in effect, death began its reign.

 

What about the Almighty Creator and His quest for children to be made into His image?

“The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed” (Rom. 8:19).

Isn’t this what earth was created for, so God could raise sons and daughters to maturity? The answer is

“yes.”

However, God is just. Instead of stopping the devil’s insurrection, He is using it to teach us.  God’s original plan—to raise men to maturity and let them trust and love Him out of free will, then to reward the good with His glory—is still being fulfilled. But it takes effort to go against the winds of adversity. Few people exert that kind of integrity. Those who do, God will not forsake. Our Father is still waiting for the harvest of His children. Therefore, God worked with fallen man and brought about a system of ordinances for the children who loved Him; these individuals would reject the devil and his ways. 

The Sacrificial Lamb 

The main ordinance our Father put into action was the lamb sacrifice. For man to escape the wrath brought about by the transgression of God’s laws, the sacrifice of a lamb was implemented. Those who laid hands on these lambs, imputing their sins to the animals in a symbolic act of faith, then offering those lambs up to God in sacrifice, were counted worthy to receive the true Lamb of God—Jesus Christ—whose offering20 would be manifest in due time.

For more on this subject: Through the Door and Into His Image

 


ENDNOTES

The Mortgage of the Earth to Satan
1 Job 38:7 NIV
2 Gen. 1:2 NIV
3 Gen. 2:5 NIV
4 Gen. 1:28 NIV
5 “. . . there is no favoritism with him” (Eph. 6:9 NIV).
6 “God “will give to each person according to what he has done” (Rom. 2:6
NIV).
7 “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inheritsalvation?” (Heb. 1:14 NIV)
8 Rev. 12:3 NIV
9 Gen. 1:28b NIV
10 “Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning” (2 Cor. 11:3 NIV).
11 Gen. 2:16a NIV
12 “(3) The eldest son succeeded to the official authority of the father” (Smith’s Bible Dictionary).
13 “. . . you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it . . .’” (Gen. 3:17 NIV).
14 2 Pet. 2:4 NIV
15 Matt. 8:29 NIV
16 Isa. 14:15 NIV
17 Heb. 2:14c NIV
18 “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession” (Ps. 2:8 NIV).
19 Jude 6 NIV
20 “his life a guilt offering” (Isa. 53:10 NIV).

rich kelsey