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The Role of Satan

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This kind of spawns from the "Can Satan do Good" thread, but I thought it would make an interesting discussion on its own.

Why did Satan tempt Adam & Eve with the fruit?

I've heard it said that he simply didn't know that he was playing into God's hands in doing so. I have trouble with this explanation, though. This is a being who led 1/3 of the hosts of heaven in rebellion against the Father. He is obviously very intelligent. He proposed his own plan of salvation. It therefore seems naive to suppose that he didn't thoroughly understand the Father's plan. In addition, we have good reason to believe that the events of the Garden of Eden on this world wasn't the first time such a thing had been done -- and that Satan knew this, and understood what had happened before.

I have a great deal of trouble believing that Satan didn't know what he was doing. I also have trouble believing that he wasn't trying to deliberately sabotage the Father's plan in some way. I've heard it taught that Eve, in choosing between partaking of the fruit or not, was choosing between "two good commandments". My problem with this is that the Father does not sound as though He is pleased with her, Adam, or the serpent in any of the accounts. In fact, He comes across as quite miffed.

I'd be interested in different takes on this. Especially, but not limited to, LDS points of view.

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My take is that he knew what the long term consequences would be.

He also knew that God's Will will reign supreme no matter what he does.

He works simply to cause as much misery and suffering to God by leading his children astray as possible. He knows it's a losing position, but it doesn't matter. He's in it for revenge.

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My take, it is his only option available. He had already lost the battle, tempt or not tempt is his only options, for any kind of power he must tempt or he will have no bodily dominion at the resurrection, while at the same time being used in the plan to test those whom will be exalted.

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Thanks for the responses.

Cal & Tetra:

I agree that Satan probably understands that he's on the losing end and is trying to do what damage he can. But that is the problem in my mind. Why would he then help advance the plan of salvation in the Garden?


I'm more inclined to side with the first part of your post than the last. I'm more comfortable thinking of Satan as "independent" of the plan of salvation rather than as a necessary part of it. If his role is necessary, I think it would only be to the extent that with his influence the trials of earth life could be more severe, which may have been necessary. I also strongly agree that the current accounts of the Garden of Eden are dumbed down quite a bit and that there must be more to the story that we are missing.

My real problem is why did Satan do what he did in the Garden? What did he think it would accomplish? I can accept that "he knew not the mind of God," but that doesn't seem to go far enough. I have a hard time believing that he didn't know what he was doing, or that he really hadn't thought it through.

I notice that each account makes it clear that death was not an automatic consequence of eating the forbidden fruit. In all accounts, the Father deliberately takes steps to prevent Adam & Eve from taking of the Tree of Life, thus preventing them from living forever. It seems to me that God didn't want Adam & Eve to live forever once they had a knowledge of good & evil. Once they understand good & evil, sin becomes possible. If they sin while being immortal, does that mean there could have been no repentance? That would suggest some kind of connection between death and repentance. I'm not opposed to this notion (in fact, I think it could explain quite a bit), but I haven't heard it taught, so I'm still tossing it around in my head.

That idea would certainly, though, explain what Satan was doing in the Garden. He was trying to get Adam & Eve to partake of both the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and of the Tree of Life, so that they would live forever in a sinful state. In which case, he wasn't really playing into the Father's hands at all. He was trying to sabotage the plan so that it wouldn't work.

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I think this quotation, from yourself, will demonstrate why Satan does what he does:

This is a being who led 1/3 of the hosts of heaven in rebellion against the Father. He is obviously very intelligent.

If it is intelligent to lead people against the most benevolent, good, kind, loving, wise, powerful, knowing being in all eternity (no matter how many you can convince to come with you) then it seems just as likely that it's intelligent to try and get as many people to join you in hell as you can. :P

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I agree. But I'm not really wondering why Satan does what he does (that is just the turn this thread has happened to take). I'm wondering why he did what he did in the Garden.

Thanks, though.

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My opinion is the following: Satan wants power over others. If he had left Adam and Eve alone he might temporarily not accomplish God's plan, but he would have gained no power over others. And it isn't like God wouldn't have found some other spirit to take the devils place if need be. God needed opposition for Adam and Eve, and He knew Satan would tempt them because of his desire to have power over others.

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Zeta -

My opinion is the following: Satan wants power over others

The original role of Ha-satan is that of accuser. The accusation has to be made by someone in order for justice to be served. Justice would never happen if accusations and trials and all that happened. The Judaic concept of "the satan" (the accuser) is telling in that regard.

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I notice that each account makes it clear that death was not an automatic consequence of eating the forbidden fruit.

Moses 3:17

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee; but, remember that I forbid it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

I think Adam and Eve knew what was going to happen if they ate of that fruit. I don

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Their roles are complimentary, just opposites of the coin, but they are both part of that coin. You cannot have a full, legitimate coin with only a heads side on it.

I disagree. Saying that Satan is the antithesis of God artificially elevates Satan. He's not even close. I wouldn't even call him the antithesis of Christ. I think maybe I could consider him the antithesis of Michael, but even that is stretching it.

Evil (and agency) must have existed before Satan became evil. How else would he have chosen to be evil?


Great thoughts. Thank you.

I notice that each account makes it clear that death was not an automatic consequence of eating the forbidden fruit.


Moses 3:17...

Yes, all accounts make it clear that it would happen. But they also make it clear that the consequence was not automatic. In other words, God had to deliberately alter things to make it happen.

It is not the death and repentance have the connection, it is that Adam and Eve had transgressed the law and so they had fallen.

But if there is no connection, then why could an immortal Adam not have repented? This is what I don't understand.

Actually if Adam and Eve would have just taken of the tree of life in the first place they would have lived forever in the Garden of Eden.

I'm not sure about this. The forbidden fruit caused the Fall. Prior to that, they were already immortal, so I'm not sure what effect the Tree of Life would have had.

This is why I think Satan knew for him to gain any

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But if there is no connection, then why could an immortal Adam not have repented? This is what I don't understand.

I don

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Tubaloth -

do we know where the root words of Satan, and Devil come from? Like are the Hebrew or Greek?

Yes we do. Here is some partial research I have done on this............

The idea of Satan as a being in opposition to God is a recent interpretation

of scripture. It was not until perhaps two hundred years after Christ's

death that the idea of Satan as evil incarnate became accepted. Princeton's

renowned historian of religion, Elaine Pagels, suggests that the idea of

Satan as a literal being was not in the mindset of early biblical writers.

In the Hebrew Bible, the writers did not imagine Satan as a being out to

thwart God's plan. She writes, "In the Hebrew Bible, as in mainstream

Judaism to this day, Satan never appears as Western Christendom has come to

know him, as the leader of an "evil empire," an army of hostile spirits who

make war of God and humankind alike. As he first appears in the Hebrew

Bible, Satan is not necessarily evil, much less opposed to God. On the

contrary, he appears in the book of Numbers and in Job as one of God's

obedient servants - a messenger, or angel, a word that translates the Hebrew

term for messenger (malak) into Greek (angelos). In Hebrew, the angel were

often called "sons of God" (bene elohim), and were envisioned as the

hierarchical ranks of a great army, or the staff of a royal court."3

Harper's Bible Dictionary states in the Old Testament, "Satan is depicted as

a member of God's court whose basic duty it was to accuse human beings

before God. He is clearly not at this point an enemy of God and the leader

of the demonic forces of evil, as he becomes later. In the Hebrew text,

there is no definite article with the noun 'Satan,' and the word is probably

best translated simply as the adversary.4

Anthony Mercatante writes, "In the Old Testament there is no concept of

demons in the sense of preternatural powers that can intervene in man's

life; the Old Testament attributes all man's misfortunes to God, not to

demons. God sends his angels as messengers to do his will, either for Good

or for Evil."5 Russell notes a "coherent historical development" with the

understanding of the devil which has pre-biblical roots in Hebrew. "The

essential point of this tradition is that the Devil is a satan, an

'obstructor' of the will of the good Lord.6

Several verses in the Old Testament provide clear examples demonstrating God

is the author of all events and situations, whether they be good or evil.

In Isaiah 45:7, we read, "I form the light, and create darkness: I make

peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things."7

The statement, "I make peace, and create evil," `

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I might also add that a friend of mine asked me once - Interestingly enough here in Numbers we also find the OT's first "Son of Man" mention, as well as the first mention of "Shatan" the angel of the Lord (as obstructing/opposing agent).

I replied:

This is interesting...... when we read

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I can see where your coming from. But I think you have to understand the difference between a SIN, and a Transgression.

I understand the difference, I'm fairly confident. My problem isn't that they disobeyed. My problem is that God doesn't seem to say "Well, yes I expected this..." or "I'm glad you realized that this was necessary...." He says, essentially, "Oooo! You really stepped in it now..."

I don't doubt that God, in His omniscience, foresaw and planned for the events as they occurred. But at the same time I'm not entirely convinced that the events as they occurred were part of the original plan of salvation. In fact, I'm beginning to suspect that the original plan may have called for the forbidden fruit being introduced at some point, but under more controlled circumstances. Satan, in his effort to sabotage things, caused Adam & Eve to jump the gun.

Dunno. Just my musings on it. I'm still tossing it around.

I still think that the fact that immortal = no repentance implies that death and repentance are somehow connected. I have some more thoughts on this, but no time to go into that now...

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Interesting that MUEAGLE hasnt posted on this topic, heard him and Lucifer are pretty good friends. Why don't you enlighten us on this topic MU?

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