Timing of Satan's Fall and YEC

(Mary) #1

I listened to a very good sermon this morning about the enemy. The preacher pointed out that the fall of Satan and the demons must have been after creation began. He is a created being after all, and in Job 38:4,7, it says that ALL of the angels sang at creation. There is no mention of a rebellion and the devil was created as lead angel first. So, according to this preacher from Dallas, the rebellion happened after creation. But Satan was clearly fallen when Adam and Eve were created (Gen 3). So, it happened between the start of creation and the garden of Eden. I am aware that there may be several views on this for BioLogos adherents - depending on your view of the devil and Adam and Eve. And for most of us, the timing of all of this is not a problem or not relevant. But my question is: How do YECers explain that, in their thinking, the devil and a third of the angels fell between day 1 and day 7, yet it gets no mention in Gen 1 or 2? Surely that was a massive event? And if Gen 1 is purely historical narrative, shouldn’t the rebellion of a third of the angels be found in the text? Would this be a good question to ask them, or have I missed something in the YEC account?

(Phil) #2

It seems that a lot of the suppositions come from the Book of Enoch, which is interesting how inerrantists integrate non-canonical information to support their theological ideas at times.

(RiderOnTheClouds) #3

I have no issue with considering Enoch as canon, Jude certainly thought so, when he claims that Enoch ‘did prophesy’ a prophecy from 1 Enoch. Furthermore his statement about angels who committed sexual sin comparable to Sodom and Gomorrah appears to be derived from Enoch as well.


From Jude’s use, the most we could say is that Enoch contains some truth Jude was willing to use, much as Paul does when he quotes the pagan poets in Acts 17: [God] is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said."

There’s good reason to think that neither in Jesus’s day (nor ours) did the Jewish people consider the Apocrypha to have the authority of the canonical books. Even in the arguments between Jesus and the Jewish teachers of his day there is no evidence that they differed on the contents of OT scripture. In Luke 11, Jesus spoke of the blood of the prophets extending “from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah," meaning all the prophets from the beginning to the end of the Hebrew scriptures. 2 Chronicles is where Zechariah’s martyrdom occurs. This is one data point that, to Jesus, this is where the Hebrew Bible ends (unlike the Septuagint).


Phil, you’re right that there’s some intellectual dishonesty or theological negligence at play here. It’s analogous to the confirmation bias that many bring to science–only embracing scientific claims seem to cohere with their pre-existing, iron-clad biblical interpretation.

(Mary) #6

I’m a bit lost where Enoch fits in to the original question. Does anyone want to respond to my question about the YEC way of explaining the fall of Satan?


Sorry, guess we went off on a tangent. As you said, this isn’t an issue for most of us here. I don’t know if they have an official position but I remember being taught by a YEC in college that Satan isn’t mentioned in Gen 1 or 2 so as not to detract from the creative works of God. He appears between the state of “perfection” of Genesis 1:31 (how he interprets “behold, it was very good”) and the temptation account in Genesis 3, and only later in Jude 1:6 and 2 Peter 2:4 do we learn what happened in the insurrection and fall of Satan.

(Christy Hemphill) #8

Here’s what AIG has to say about it. Evidently there is a lot we “can’t know” from Scripture on this topic and they don’t seem as willing to speculate as they are with other things we “can’t know” about. (ETA: But according to Ussher, it was on Day 10 of the world’s existence.)

(David Heddle) #9

That is an amazing read. I have to give AiG credit in this case. They try to be consistent. So in their view Satan was created and fell within ~2 week time frame.

This reminds me that some years ago “Ah-nold” made a movie called End of Days where he fights Satan. It is a terrible movie. Don’t see it! But I did–because I read the book, which was also awful, save for one great scene. In the book (and the movie) Ah-nold fights Satan in a high-rise apartment building and tosses him out a window on the ump-teenth floor. Satan falls and crashes into a car on the street. In the movie he just gets up and walks away. The book did it way, way better. In the book when he gets up and shakes himself off a bystander says to him, “Man, that was some fall!” Whereupon Satan looks up, shrugs, and says “I’ve had worse.” Then he walks away. Perfect.

(Mary) #10

Thanks Christy for that article. It is mostly well written - though of course I would not get so bothered by which ‘day’ or the exact nature of each reference to "heavens’. The day 10 idea does seem very speculative though! And I still think my point stands - that if Satan and all his angels fell on day 10, give or take a day or two, and were then on earth trying to cause havac - surely that is a major topic to talk about before the Eden account? - given that in the eyes of YECers, this is the chief account of the important points of history. There is a limit to what you can argue from silence, but this version really doesn’t make much sense to me!

(Christy Hemphill) #11

You’d think. If it was indeed a straight history.

(Dr. Ted Davis) #12

This is actually a very important matter for any type of literalism in early Genesis, but esp for the YECs. If (a) Satan fell after “the beginning” (or, the “Big Inning,” if you hold as I do that the heavenly host were playing the divinely created game of baseball at the time) but prior to the creation of humans at the end of day 6, then it’s awfully hard to make the standard, virtually universal argument that when God pronounced it all “very good,” better than the mere “good” of previous days, God really meant “perfect.” That particular view crucially underpins their key theological tenet, that there was no animal death & suffering prior to the garden of Eden.

I hope I’ve stated this with sufficient clarity. If so, why doesn’t this just undermine the common view that Satan “fell” before Adam? What exactly am I missing?

(Mary) #13

It seems from the discussion above that the YEC view is now that Satan fell between the creation of Adam & Eve and the fall of Adam & Eve. So I guess they say Satan fell, appeared as a serpent in Eden (of all places) and then got to work immediately on Adam and Eve?

Apart from the speculation and odd historical narrative that the YEC account suggests, this doesn’t feel fair. Satan, who sees the glory of heaven, then falls without provocation, whereas the weaker Adam and Eve are tempted by Satan, who is allowed in the special garden just created, as a kind of test! This implies characteristics of God that don’t seem to fit with the rest of the Bible!

(David Heddle) #14

Just playing devil’s advocate (pun intended). Satan could have fallen (in the sense he rebelled) long before creation of our universe–existing still in the heavenly realm (perhaps under heavenly incarceration, like in the TV show Supernatural. ) And this could have been at an indefinite time in the past–whatever “past” means prior to creation. (It means something, since the bible refers to “before the foundation of the world”, as any card-carrying Calvinist knows.) After creation of the physical realm, which God declares good, then God could have exiled Satan to the physical realm, crash-landing him near Eden, just as Adam and Eve were exploring their boundaries.

I do not think that the language of Job 38:4-7 demands that, at the time creation was initiated, Satan was still in good-standing. One could plausibly argue that for the bible, with the assumption that it was meant to be read intelligently, a parenthetical clarification “(except of course for Satan and his minions!”) was simply not necessary, and/or that Satan in rebellion had lost the honorifics “morning star” and “son of God” and so was already excluded from those under discussion.

I am not saying this is what I believe. But I am suggesting that it is a view that can be used to preserve a literal view of Genesis with both the historicity and exceptionalism of Adam and Eve, be it a YEC or OEC position.

(Mary) #15

Thanks, This would make more sense to me if I was YEC, but I don’t think it is what most of them believe! They prefer to take Job 38 at its literal word.That is an approach that is more consistent with their treatment of Gen 1. Of course if they are more relaxed about Job, this may be a way in to asking them to consider being more relaxed about Genesis!