Question and Answer

How could Lucifer sin?


My question has to do with Satan. How could he have been an angel of God and then became prideful and fall from heaven? I know through the Word of God that one cannot lose his salvation, but I am trying to grasp or understand how Satan, who was in heaven and in our perfect God’s presence, could develop pride and be driven out. Please shed any insight you have to help me understand.


Thank you very much for writing. You ask: “How could he (Satan) have been an angel of God and then become prideful and fall from heaven?”

First, we need to make certain that you accept the Bible as the inerrant and infallible word of God. I assume you do. Therefore, whatever the Bible states is true and should be accepted was God’s word. Long ago I came to the position that the Bible is true, whether I understand it or not, and that it is my job to learn and believe whatever it teaches. God is God, and I am not God. I had a lot of questions about things the Bible said, that I could not figure out. I suppose that is why I decided to get myself trained as a theologian. There are still questions I cannot figure out! I came to the position where I realized it was my job to learn what the Bible says and make certain it said what I thought it said and to believe it because it is the word of God. God cannot and does not lie, so all the Bible says is true. Since the Bible is the Word of God, it sets forth what God says and not what men say, although God used men to communicate the Bible to us.

Second, when I came to this kind of a position it led me into Calvinism and into the OPC. There are many teachings in the Bible that must simply be accepted, even though we may not be able to explain how it all works together. One of my friends recently asked me, “How can God create sin (Isa. 45:7 KJV) and still hold us responsible for it?” He could have said, “How can God predestine sin … ?” Even aside from this passage, we have the problem that all that happens is predestined by God, including our sinning, and yet he holds us responsible for committing the sin. Also, this is the same kind of question as asking, how can there be one God but three divine persons? The answer is, what does the Bible teach? Is it the Word of God? Do I believe it? Do I understand that it sets before me the mind of God, and do I think my mind is equal in ability with the divine mind? Are we not in the position of children who ask questions beyond their ability to grasp the answer?

So, third, my response to your question is, does the Bible teach Satan was in heaven before he fell, and was God sovereign and omniscient when this happened? Did Satan develop pride not only when God knew this was going to happen, but even caused it to happen? The answer to these questions is yes. God knew it and predestined it, but he was not the one who committed the sin—Satan did. The same thing is true when we sin. God may predestine it, but he holds us responsible for doing it. Does the Bible teach this? I believe it does. Perhaps there is more that can be said on this topic, but we can never get to the point where we can fully understand these deeper things, i.e., we can never get to the point where our minds are the same in ability as the mind of God. After all, is not this lack of full and complete understanding why we do not call ourselves gods?

Please feel free to write again if this response is inadequate or if you have further questions.

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"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

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