Introduction: How many people have trouble believing in a
good and all-powerful God because terrible evil exists? How
many individuals reject God because of an awful thing that
happened to a friend or family member? When I visited a
church in California and taught the Sabbath lesson, a member
asked me to come to lunch to talk about God with some
friends who had questions. Their story was that their
parents and children were all killed in a car crash. What
did I have to say about that? Let’s dive into our study to
see what the Bible has to teach us about the origin of evil!

I. War

A. Read Revelation 12:7-9. Who is the “dragon?”
(These verses identify him as Satan.)

1. How completely was Satan defeated? (He not
only lost the battle, but he and his allied
angels were thrown out of heaven.)

2. Why was there no longer “any place” for Satan
and his angels in heaven?

B. Read Revelation 12:3-4. Is this the same dragon
that is referred to in Revelation 12:7? (It must
be because it is a “great” dragon. Only the color
red is added to the description.)

1. Why do you think Satan is referred to as
“red?” (Read John 8:44. Satan is referred to
as a “murderer.” The color red is the color of

2. What percentage of the angels in heaven did
Satan persuade to join him against God? (One

C. Read Psalms 8:3-6. Does this mean that we are
inferior to angels? (Yes.)

1. Contemplate this for a little bit. Perfect
angels, who are a superior creation to us,
were persuaded in large numbers to follow
Satan. What hope do you have to stand alone
against Satan?

2. Many people believe that it is acceptable to
be involved in the occult, or watch movies
about demons. What does this evidence of
Satan’s deception skills teach us about
dabbling in the occult? (We should run away
from it!)

II. What Caused War?

A. Read Ezekiel 28:13-16. These verses seem to have a
dual reference. One to an earthly king, and the
other to an angelic being who was anointed as
“guardian cherub” who was “on the holy mountain of
God.” What earthly king was also an angel and
lived on the holy mountain in heaven? (This could
not refer to a human. On the other hand, this fits
the description of Satan who was cast to the

B. Read Ezekiel 28:17. How did sin arise in a perfect
being in a perfect setting? (Pride. Pride about
his beauty and splendor. Satan “corrupted [his]
wisdom to increase his splendor.”)

1. If you are handsome or beautiful, do you
understand this? Do you understand the
temptation to pride?

2. If you are not handsome or beautiful, do you
see these traits in very good-looking people?
Do they use their looks to increase their

a. Is there anything wrong with increasing
your splendor? Becoming even better
looking? (Ezekiel 28:16 refers to the use
of “violence” and Ezekiel 28:17 refers to
“corrupt[ing]” wisdom to advance splendor.
The problem is not the splendor, the
problem is the methods Satan used to
advance his splendor.)

3. Does this show how “perfect” can create

C. Read Isaiah 14:12-14. What was the goal of Satan’s
splendor? (To be like God. He wanted to be God.)

D. Read Genesis 3:2-6. Study verse five carefully.
What is the basis for this temptation to be
disloyal to God? (“You will be like God.”)

E. Read Genesis 1:31. Consider the parallels. Heaven
is perfect. Adam and Eve are created perfect in a
perfect world. What caused the introduction of sin
in both perfect places? (An ambition to be like
God. Satan used his beauty and power to persuade
others to rebel against God so that he could be
like God.)

1. Do you think Satan and his allies use that
same temptation against you?

2. Think about the premise for idol worship.
Something made with your hands takes on god-
like properties. Is idol worship (worship of
what you have done) a version of the original

III. Two Trees

A. Read Genesis 2:15-17 and Genesis 3:3-4. Where is
the tree of the knowledge of good and evil located?
(It is in the “midst” (middle) of the garden of
Eden. I looked at how Strong’s says this word
should be translated and he uses words that refer
to geometry – something in the middle or center.
Something that bisects a line.)

B. Read Genesis 3:22-24. What other special tree do we
find in the garden of Eden? (The tree of life.)

C. We have two trees. One brings life and the other
brings death. Why would God have a death tree in
center of His perfect creation?

1. Because of the importance of the tree of life,
I think it likely that the two special trees
were near each other in the center of the
garden. Why would God do that? Why allow that?
(The narrative in Genesis 1-3 is that God
created a perfect world with perfect people.
Part of that perfection was giving them free
choice. If they were sophisticated robots,
they would not be perfect and not be created
in the image of God as rulers. See
Genesis 1:27-28.)

2. Why would God specifically arrange for the
possibility of rebellion and sin?

a. Does this look like an agreed-upon test
between God and Satan? (That is exactly
what I think is going on.)

b. Why would God agree to it? (He would not
want Satan constantly tempting and
harassing Adam and Eve in the same way he
attacked Jesus.)

IV. The Argument of Love

A. Imagine that you are an outside observer of what we
have just studied. Imagine that immediately after
the fall of humans you are asked about the conflict
between God and Satan. How would you rate God’s
ability to win the debate between good and evil?
(God won the debate in the minds of most of the
angels. He lost the debate with humans – even
though God had theoretically unlimited contact with
Adam and Eve, and Satan had only the contact
permitted by the rules of engagement.)

B. Read 1 Peter 3:18-22 and Hebrews 2:9-10. How did
Jesus win us back? (He died for us! The winning
approach was not debate, not superior force, but
rather self-sacrificing love.)

C. Recall the introduction where I asked why evil
exists when we have an all-powerful God? Recall
the challenge for me to explain how a loving God
would allow a couple’s parents and children to be
killed in a car accident? What is the answer? (The
answer is that God gave us free choice. We chose

1. With the passage of time, is the choice
between God and Satan easier to make? (The
vector of evil is now clear. We see the
results of sin. The terrible things that
happen on earth are all the result of choosing

2. If the choice is now so obvious, why are so
many people seemingly making the wrong choice?
(Go back to the temptation that caused Satan
and Eve to fail. Pride. Pride of appearance
and power.)

D. Read Hebrews 4:14-16 and Hebrews 7:24-28. Because
of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, what is He currently
doing? (He is working as our intercessor in the
heavenly sanctuary!)

E. Friend, Jesus defeated Satan through love! He gave
up Himself for us. He suffered the worst at the
hands of Satan. What a compelling argument for
choosing God. The fact that Jesus’ sacrifice allows
us to have eternal life is just that much better!
Will you choose good over evil, Jesus over Satan?
Why not make that choice right now?

V. Next week: The Central Issue: Love or Selfishness?

Copr. 2024, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are
from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard
Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within
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Holy Spirit as you study.