| THE STORY OF MAN
By John Wootton
A long time ago, how long, we do not know, before there were any men on this earth, perhaps before there even was an earth, God was lonely. Therefore, He decided to create some company. Because He is so perfect and had so much love, He also decided that He would create His company to love him. He then created a large number (we do not know how many) of special beings to love Him, to honor Him and to keep Him company. He made them perfect. We know these beings as angels.
He made one of these angels better than all the rest. This angel was more beautiful, smarter, more powerful and had more wisdom than all the others. He was put in charge of the other angels. This angel was so special that he was called the "Angel of Light". He also had one other special talent, he could make the most beautiful music ever. He was to use this talent to create music to glorify God, because God loves beautiful music. Of course God gave him all these abilities to take care of God's business and to help the other angels to glorify God.
All of this story is in the Bible. When the Bible was first translated from the Hebrew and Greek, it was translated into Latin by the Catholic Church. That bible was called the Vulgate. In Latin 'angel of light" translates loosely to Lucifer. (In Latin the base word for light, is lux). Now you know how he got his name, or at least one of them.
One day Lucifer was looking around heaven and noticed that he was in charge of all the angels, that he was very special, very powerful and very smart. That was a very bad mistake. Because he then thought (slippery slope) "why do I need God?" He then started talking to the other angels to get together and turn against God, kick God out of heaven, then take over for themselves, of course Lucifer was going to be the boss.
What is really amazing about this is that he actually got some of the angels to agree with him. Again, we don't know how many there are, but he got a full one third of all the angels to agree with him and to join him.
Ha! Did he think God was so foolish as to make something stronger than He was? Not likely! So when these angels turned against God, He got them all together and kicked them out of heaven.
He then decided that they should be punished. So he told them that he was going to make a great lake of fire and that He would throw all of them into the lake of fire where they would burn for ever and ever. Except they would no be consumed (would not burn up), they would just burn and suffer, forever.
However, God decided that they should learn a lesson about humility first. He told them that He would not start their punishment until they learned just how insignificant they really were. He said "I will create the weakest thing I can make, and that thing will defeat you, then I will cast you into the lake of fire".
THEN GOD CREATED MAN!
Man is weak because he cannot resist temptation. To defeat Lucifer (Satan) he would have to be strong. How could this happen?
God knew the most powerful thing in the universe was His love. Remember, God had created the angels so they would have to love Him and some of them rebelled against that. So when He created man He put in us a desire to love Him, but we don't have to, it has to be our decision. Once we love Him we also receive His love, and with that love we become more powerful than Satan.
Well, Satan immediately recognized how weak man really was and that man's weakness was the inability to resist temptation. So the first chance he got he tempted man, and sure enough man fell to that temptation. You know the story about Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit? Well that was the first temptation, the first disobedience and therefore the first sin.
There is a very significant meaning to what just happened, so permit me to digress for a moment.
Jesus said "he is our master, whom we choose to obey." When God made the earth and then made man, He gave man dominion over all the earth and all that was on the earth. Dominion (from another Latin word, dominus) means having the power to rule over. When man chose to obey Satan by succumbing to his temptation, Satan became man's master, and he then received dominion over the earth and all that was on it.
We know this is true, because when Satan was tempting Jesus, he told Jesus that if He would bow down and worship Satan, that Satan would give Jesus all the kingdoms of the earth. Jesus did not tell Satan that those kingdoms were not his to give, because Jesus knew that it was true. Jesus instead quoted the scripture stating that "we were to worship only God", the very first commandment. Now back to the story.
Disobeying God is sin. Period. God is so righteous and perfect that if sin comes into His presence, sin dies. God does not want us to die, so he will not let us come into His presence when we are in a state of sin. If we cannot be in His presence, then we cannot love Him. That is a real problem. That messes up His plan about defeating Satan. Never to worry however, He does have a 'whole' plan and you haven't heard it all yet.
Let me talk about sin for a moment. God did not make an arbitrary list of things (rules) for us to do or not do that He decided to call "sin" just to trap us. Each thing that God requires of us, or which He forbids, has a very special significance for us. Each thing He requires, is good for us, will give us joy, happiness, long life and make us a better person. Each thing that he forbids is something that leads to pain, suffering, failure, unhappiness and eventually death. These results are not the punishment for doing those things, they are the consequences. That is why He doesn't want us doing them, because he loves us and does not want us to suffer. The fact that He has forbidden them, then if we go ahead and do them anyway, is disobedience. The disobedience is the sin, and that is what is punishable. God doesn't want us to be punished for the disobedience. Therefore His plan includes a way around all of this. But, just like loving Him is optional, so is getting around sin, in fact the two are intertwined.
Remember, this story began because God wanted someone to love Him and keep Him company, and to do so because the want to. We have to keep that in the back of our minds at all times, because that is what makes everything work.
God knew that men would disobey Him, remember, He had a purpose for making us so weak, so part of His plan was to provide a way for man to get his sins wiped out. How we were to do this was we were to get a perfect animal and to sacrifice it. The shedding of the blood of that sacrifice would blot out our sin, then we would appear perfect to God, and we could then love Him, and He could love us. Also we could then talk to Him, and be His friend just the way He planned in the beginning. Unfortunately, only a very few people decided that they wanted to love Him. At one point it got so bad and so few people wanted to love Him that He decided to destroy everybody. Fortunately there was one family that loved Him, that was Noah, you remember that story.
Anyway, He did not destroy everyone, and His plan still had a chance.
Again, unfortunately, man almost blew it the second time. He corrupted the sacrifice by not being sincere about it. We (the Jews) started selling animals especially for people to sacrifice (a business) and to make the profit larger many of the animals were not really perfect. Also people got to the point they really did not feel sorry for disobeying God in their hearts, they figured as long as they could buy a sacrifice, they could just go on doing anything they wanted to.
Then, being weak (they were weak because they did not have God's love which they did not have because they did not love Him anymore) they fell to another type of temptation, they started worshipping some of Satan's god's also. Boy! Did they ever mess up, again.
Finally God said, I've had enough. I'm going to fix this so you can't cheat. I will send my Son down to you. He will teach you how to live and how I want things done. However, you will not like Him and you will kill him.
Sure enough, God sent His Son, and sure enough, we killed Him. Satan really thought he had won now. Our last chance, and we killed Him!
However, God's plan was not finished. After we killed His son, God raised Him from the dead. Satan finally recognized he was finished. For once we had killed (sacrificed) the "perfect Lamb", Jesus, His blood would forgive sin without any possibility of corruption, because the repentance and forgiveness was totally within our hearts, not an external act, nor did it require the involvement of anybody else (priests) who could corrupt the process. And the entire process was based on love, the most powerful thing in the universe.
Anybody can have that love and be God's friend, be close to God an know that God hears us when we talk to Him, just by having all our disobedience forgiven by asking Jesus to forgive us. To be our Lord and guide and teach us how God wants us to be. Remember, that is why God sent Him to this earth to begin with.
It is important that we know that He doesn't require us to be good or to be perfect to begin with. If we could do that, then we wouldn't need Him. God made us weak and failures deliberately, so we would recognize that we needed Him and would lean on Him, always. Once we recognize Jesus and ask Him to help, He will change our corrupt hearts to want to do what is right and give us the strength to do so. However, it is an ongoing process, because in our weakness we continually disobey God, so we must continually have Jesus forgive us. He requires of us to forgive others 70 times 7, or 490 times, if He requires that of us who are human and weak, than how many more times will He, who is perfect, forgive us. There is no end to the number.
There is, however, an end to this story. Jesus said that when God's message was delivered throughout all the world (and it has, at this time) that He would come back. At that time He would do battle with Satan's armies and defeat them, and that Satan and all the people who chose to worship him (choosing to worship Satan is automatic when we reject Jesus, remember, we gave him dominion over us when we disobeyed God) would be judged and cast into that lake of fire that God had created for Satan. God did not create the lake of fire for man, but for Satan, man will only be placed there if he chooses to reject Jesus. Jesus will then take all those who chose to be made perfect with His sacrifice, to heaven with Him, to physically be with God and love Him and be loved by Him forever. THAT is a never-ending story!
If you want to choose God's love, you must do it on your own. It is a decision you make in your heart and an act that you perform of your own free will. Jesus said "anyone who calls on my name, I will in no wise cast out." So if you decide you want forgiveness and to be made acceptable to God, you must recognize that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died for your sins, that God raised Him from the dead thereby defeating death and Satan.
Then, ask Jesus to forgive you and be your Lord. The words are "Jesus, I am a sinner, forgive me and be my Lord". It's really that easy.
I deliberately did not quote scripture in this narrative as the context of the information comes from a composite of verses from the Bible. I seriously doubt that God and Satan had the above conversations, however I believe that the basic thread contained here reflects our position in the milieu of our spiritual history.