Where did evil come from since it already had potential in heaven before Satan rebelled?

Hi Jose. Thanks for being on the hot seat this week.
I have been a Christian for a long time, but have recently started studying with the RZIM Academy and sharing on Connect. Currently, I am taking the class, Why Suffering. Since we are only in the first week, my question might be addressed in it, but pondering The Problem of Evil, I find myself going beyond questioning why evil exists. It is because of sin’s effect at the fall, I know. But, I’m wondering where evil was sourced in the first place? Evil did exist prior to Adam and Eve because Satan’s reasoning with Eve was that God knew if she touched or ate of the tree in the center of the garden she and Adam would become like God, knowing good and evil. Later, God cast Adam and Eve out of the garden stating that they had become like “one of us” (meaning the Trinity), knowing good and evil.
Satan and his angels were cast from heaven because of Satan’s desire to be God. They were given that choice to rebel. So, it was evil that made Satan and his angels rebel. That brings me back to "Where did evil come from since it already had potential in heaven before Satan rebelled? We can’t say God created evil because God can only be Holy. Any thoughts?

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Hi Jose. I was researching my own question to you and believe I have come up with a possible answer. I’m sure it is a lot more complicated than I have reduced it to. But I would like to see what you think.
Satan and the angels are created beings just as man is. If man is created in God’s image, than we carry characteristics that God has. Ps. 8:5 declares that man has been made a little lower than the angels. I am surmising, therefore, that implies that the angels also have been given characteristics of God. One of those characteristics is jealousy. Also, both the angels and man were given free will.
Ezekiel 28 describes the perfection and beauty of Satan who became proud of his beauty and position. Isaiah 14:13-14 describes Satan’s aspiring to be above God. He used his free will to make that decision and war between God and Satan began and is still continuing. (Eph.6:12)
One of the sources I was researching stated that Satan was jealous of God and wanted to usurp God’s position.
That is what clicked with me. If one of God’s characteristics is jealousy, then the angels, specifically Satan, and we humans have that same characteristic. Satan took his jealousy and let it control him through his exercise of free will, thus birthing all the evil that he now is and freely distributes. Whereas, God, while having a jealous nature, controls that nature, but warns man of the consequences of provoking that jealousy. (Ex. 20:5; Deut. 32:16, 21; 1Cor.10:22, etc…
Satan, most likely, used the same tactics on the 1/3rd of the angels that he used on Eve. He created doubt concerning the truthfulness of God and His goodness, accusing God of holding back from them and Eve all of God’s essence, which they could possess .
So, while we know Satan is the father of lies and all that is evil, I believe it was birthed in heaven out of the portion of the character of God given to the angels as well as to man. Satan twisted it for evil. God withholds and controls His jealousy for good.

Hello Sharon,
Thank you for your question and the diligence with which you search the scriptures. Awesome!

Just a couple of things here, one a corrective and the second some pointers.

First, the English translations of Ps 8:5 renders the Hebrew loosely as a little lower than ‘angels’ or heavenly beings. However, in the Hebrew it is is a little lower than ‘Elohim’ - God himself. To be clear, the biblical worldview holds to the notion that only humans are created in the image of God. In other words, humans are uniquely like God, a privilege no other creature is given.

Second, when we look at the sources of evil we are compelled to consider the fact, that, given that only God is uncreated and self-existent and everything else is created, then in one sense God is the ultimate source of all things. Now, before we conclude that he, therefore, is the author of evil, we must remember that Evil, in the biblical worldview, is not presented as something that has an independent existence. It is seen as a perversion or absence of good. In other words, this is a good world gone bad. If that is is the case, then, it is reasonable to conclude that intrinsic in what makes good possible is also what makes evil possible. One more point. While the bible uses ‘rebellion’ to describe the fall of Satan (and the Angels) and human beings, we should be careful not to equate the two as they are not described as the same. In human beings case it is a severing of a love relational. In Satan’s case it is a functional breakdown, and the bible does not elaborate on this any further. It focuses on human rebellion and the evil, pain and suffering we experience as a consequence of that. And restoration in Jesus Christ.

I have found John Feinberg’s book ‘Many Faces of Evil’ and OS Guinness’ ‘Unspeakable’ helpful in appreciating the sources of evil, and the uniqueness relationship between evil and humanity.

Hope this helps.
every blessing,
Jose

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