The significant part of all of this is to understand that Satan was given a place with God as second in command, ruling the universe next to and in partnership with God. In his fall, the prophets record that he was banished from heaven and thrown down to the earth. So here is the picture….
Satan is filled with pride and fell from grace. God banished him from the universe and threw him to the earth and the earth became without form and void. Picture if you will, the violence of this powerful creature, being removed from power and being isolated from the universe to the third planet from the sun in this lowly solar system we call our own. He threshes about in anger bringing desolation to his environment – the earth.
Then God steps into the scene and in His creative genius begin a process of redeeming the planet from the catastrophe that has occurred. He speaks into existence the separation of waters, the revealing of light and the production of vegetation and animal life, and then He goes to a garden on the stage of this drama, and kneels down, picks up a hand full of dirt and molds it into a form. It doesn’t matter what form He decides upon, but he chose to make this form a physical representation of Himself, with physical and spiritual potential like unto God Himself.
Please also picture that this act of creation is not isolated from the knowledge and watchful eye of Satan who had been cast to the earth. His penalty is clear. He will be thrown to the earth and will ‘become’ but dust on the earth. It is not an event to be concluded in an instant, but it is part of the divine comedy that God is creating as a process by which Satan will be ground into insignificance and become but dust on this planet.
At the same time, in the presence of Satan, He takes from the dust of the earth, that Satan is to become, a handful of the dust and molds it into the image of Himself, breathes into it His life and then places this new life form, man, in the garden in the presence of Satan. Satan is not a surprise to God. He knew he was present on earth – He threw him here. His presence in the garden was not a surprise; it was part of the drama of God’s plan in which He is in effect saying to Satan, “Watch this! I not only will make you but dust on the earth, but I will take this insignificant material, the dust, and form a being from nothing, and give him my breath and my life and my image. I will also allow you to do your most damning work on him, tempting him to follow you. But rest assured, my purpose for this dust creature is not complete with the microcosm of the garden, for I will work on him, this dust man, and I will redeem him from his sin, and I will keep working on him and through him and he, who came from the dust that you are to become, will replace you as being next to Me in power and authority, and he – mankind, shall rule and reign with me over this planet and beyond. I shall use this insignificant hand full of dust to grind you to dust and to exact the penalty upon you that you have earned.”
You see, creation is not just a seven day period in which man is created. It is an ongoing activity of the creative nature of God. He is still creating, still working on us and for us to bring us to the rulership He promised in the creation of man. When He finished forming man and placed him in the garden, He gave him the position of rulership over the garden. It was man’s to command.
Our green movement today has it all wrong. They are fighting for human kind to take a subservient role on the planet and to fit into the natural systems of things. As nice as hugging a tree may sound and as kind as Mother Nature might seem, it is diametrically opposed to God’s plan for the planet and for humankind. The planet is fallen as is humanity. We share with nature the mark of the fall and the sting of sin. Satan, until he is brought to insignificance, is still the (little ‘g’) god of this world.
Our charge from the creator God is to be the instrument of redemption in ruling the planet, taking responsibility for the charge He gave to us in the garden and to bring the earth under the authority of the King of all Kings.
Let me stop for a minute here… I need to shout and dance a little. God’s purpose is so glorious and His love for humanity is so tremendous, that He who redeemed us from the fall is worthy of all praise and all glory. In Him we stand victorious over death, hell and the grave. In Him we rise from the dust of satanic influence and destruction to live, and more – to exact the penalty of death on he who took our birthright in the garden.
Seeing the panorama of God’s great purpose and of His grace to perform it, Martin Luther wrote:
Though devils all the world should fill,
All eager to devour us.
We tremble not, we fear no ill,
They shall not overpower us.
This world’s prince may still
Scowl fierce as he will,
He can harm us none,
He’s judged; the deed is done;
One little word can fell him.
(From A Mighty Fortress if Our God)
I was about 15 years old and walking my dog through the forest, just thinking about the greatness of God and His plans, and mentally wrestling with the concept of evil and how God or I would ever prevail. Self doubts filled my mind and I wondered if there was a chance that, just maybe, we were fighting a losing battle and that possibly all the talk of a glorious church was an illusion.
Then, it was as though God showed up. You know the feeling… It was one of those moments of transcendent shift of world view and perspective. The above picture was born in my mind and it has never left.
Though scarred by the battle and stained by the fall, I know for certain that the battle is already won at Calvary. What remains is for us to affect that victory into our world and into our experience. It is our heritage. God is not battling Satan – that war is won. It is now our challenge to take back the garden from he who stole it from us and to grind him to dust.