Creation’s flawless nature is unable to last very long. The entrance of a new, crafty being into the timeline changes the story’s dynamic in the blink of an eye. With basically no introduction, the being known as the serpent slithers into the conversation with impending, disastrous results. At first glance, all that is known concerning his identity is that he is “more crafty than any other beast of the field” (Gen. 3:1).
The remaining pages of Scripture will fill in the holes of his identity. This serpent is none other than the antagonist of the big story. He is Satan – the Devil himself. Some of his nicknames include the Accuser, Beelzebub, the Enemy, Lucifer, the Tempter, and other not-so-flattering monikers. His aliases alone reveal that this is not a being to be trusted, and yet his very tactic is to get people to do that very thing.
To clarify, Satan is the antagonist, yet he is never depicted as having equal footing with the protagonist – Yahweh.
Scripture does not paint a picture of two supernatural beings locked in an epic battle in which it is unknown who will prevail in the end. Satan is the antagonist, but he is an antagonist who is aware of the end of the story before it is played out. He is fully aware that he will lose.
Before Lucifer was the Devil, he was an angel. He had staged a coup with other angels because he had convinced them that Yahweh wasn’t doing a good enough job. He wanted to ascend to the highest place in heaven and make himself like God (Isa. 14:14). He was in Eden serving as an angel as the “signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty” (Ezek. 28:12-13). Due to his great beauty, he became proud. He corrupted the gifts given to him for the sake of his own splendor (Ezek. 28:17). His desire to take over as the new landlord of heaven was snuffed out before it began, and he was evicted.
Since he was unable to become God, his strategy shifted. He knew he was outmatched if he challenged Yahweh, but not so much if he challenged Yahweh’s Creation. He was witness to Adam’s first moments. He saw the manner in which Yahweh was deliberate with every intricate detail. Lucifer observed the degree of intimacy to which Yahweh shared with this particular being of Creation as his lips actually touched this lump of dirt to breathe the breath of life into Adam’s lungs. As Adam’s chest began to pump vigorously with life, Lucifer was wise enough to know that Adam was uniquely precious to Yahweh.
Once the eviction had transpired and Satan knew that his time and power was limited, he altered the playbook. “If I can’t take God down, I will take his children down. I will turn his children away from him causing more grief to their father.” Throughout the pages of Scripture, he is caught red-handed doing just that time and time again. Whether it is Adam and Eve (Gen. 3), Job (Job 1-2), King Saul (1 Sam. 16:14), Judas (Luke 22:3), or even Jesus (Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-11), Satan’s goal is to turn those who want to please God into people who want to be God – the very thing he wanted himself.
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8).
His goal is still the same. Be careful you don’t fall prey to Satan’s schemes.