If Satan lived in God's presence, how could he think he could defeat God? The clear biblical answer is pride. Pride can cause a person to view situations in an unrealistic manner, as was the case with Satan: "You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High'" (Isaiah 14:13-14).
Ezekiel 28:15-16 speak about Satan's fall as well: "You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you. In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned." These verses note Satan's fall included unrighteousness, violence, and sin. In his pride, Satan chose evil, sought to overthrow God from His throne, and sinned in the process.
Another reason Satan may have thought he could defeat God was because of his own greatness. Ezekiel 28:12-14 offer the following description of Satan prior to his fall: "You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked."
The New Testament also clearly notes the great power Satan has. Jude 1:9 states the archangel Michael did not want to oppose him: "But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, 'The Lord rebuke you.'" John 12:31 calls Satan the "ruler of this world."
In addition to his power, Satan is also intelligent. He was deceptive enough to deceive Eve in the Garden of Eden. However, his intelligence to oppose humans is limited by God's permissive will. For example, God allowed Satan to tempt Job, but placed limitations on what Satan could do (Job 1:7-12). Satan also tempts believers today, even tempting Jesus for 40 days in the desert, though unsuccessfully.
Of course, the ultimate reason for Satan's rebellion is evil. He holds the power of death (Hebrews 2:14-15) and harms God's people (2 Corinthians 12:7). His end, however, is one of doom. The Bible clearly predicts Satan's final defeat (Luke 10:18; John 12:31), with his reign ending in the lake of fire with eternal torment apart from God (Revelation 20:10).
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