When Did Satan Fall?
“Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.”
Genesis 1 does not specifically tell us when angels and other heavenly beings were created, but elsewhere, in passages such as Exodus 20:11, we learn that everything was created during that creation week, whether it is specifically named or not. And at the end of the creation week, we know that God stated that everything was very good, so by the time the Seventh Day had arrived, Satan – or whatever he might have been called at the time – had still not sinned.
Genesis 2 expands on the Sixth Day of creation because it was on that day that God made people. Genesis 2 simply gives us more details about the creation of Adam and Eve.
At the beginning of Genesis 3, Satan has become sinful. It follows that Satan’s rebellion happened between the creation week and the events of Genesis 3. So when did Genesis 3 happen? I have read some who say that there could have been hundreds of years before Genesis 3, but this is unlikely because Adam and Eve had been ordered to “fill the earth and subdue it”, so a failure to carry out that commission would, in itself, have been a sin. James Ussher, who so carefully dated history, suggested that it must be the tenth day so that it coincides with the Day of Atonement. And there was indeed atonement that day, as God gave the new sinners clothes of skin, shedding the blood of an animal, to cover, or atone for, their nakedness and sin.
Prayer: We stand in awe, Lord God, that You did not leave our first parents in sin, without a means of salvation, but provided blood atonement for their sins and the promise of a Savior to come. Amen.
Ref: Ussher, J. (1558, translated 2003), The Annals of the World (Green Forest, AR: Master Books), p. 18. Image: © Todd Elder, < http://www.zaqen.net >, used with permission.
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