Satan’s heavenly rebellion against God triggered an avalanche of suffering that continues today. Our personal rebellion against him adds to the slide.
It is easy to understand why we rebel against God.
We behold a mere reflection of his excellence. We know him only through his natural handiwork, his Biblical revelation, the experiences of others, and our conscience.
Suffering distorts our perception of God’s goodness. Therefore, we must often exercise faith to believe he truly is who he claims to be.
In addition, we are born with a sinful nature that compels us to think and act selfishly, independent of God. We live in a world of immorality that leads us astray.
These factors explain our rebellion against God, but why did Satan rebel against him?
Satan was flawless upon his creation. He lived in a perfect environment that was devoid of immorality and affliction. He had no unmet needs.
Satan basked in the glory of God. He constantly saw new facets of his excellence. He did not have to exercise faith to believe in his goodness.
Moreover, Satan had prestige and authority. He enjoyed a high rank among the angels. He was endowed with wisdom and splendor.
Why did Satan throw all of this away?
We must wait until heaven for a detailed explanation, but the Bible provides a general answer.
Satan became enamored with the same allure he used to entice Adam and Eve. He wanted to be like God.
Satan knew he could never replace God in the heavenly hierarchy. He knew he could never be omniscient, omnipotent, or omnipresent like him.
But he could formulate his own moral code. He could reject God’s moral values and determine right and wrong for himself.
Nobody tempted Satan to devise a new version of morality. On the contrary, he conceived and acted on this idea without prompting.
We rebel when we proudly think we know better than those in authority over us. Thinking that we know better than God is the consummate expression of pride.
Whatever his specific motivation, Satan’s rebellion was preceded by pride. Our pride similarly prompts us to defy God.
That God did not step in to prevent Satan’s rebellion evidences his respect for the moral autonomy of the will.
However, after Satan misused his volitional freedom, God condemned him to eternal torment for his defiance.
God likewise respects our volitional freedom. He never forces us to abide by his moral code. He never demands that we comply with his salvation plan.
But those of us who misuse our moral autonomy to defy God will incur the same punishment he has reserved for Satan unless we choose to be reborn spiritually.