Note: This post is the first in my weekly series, Nonsense from the Bible. I’ll be talking about some Bible stories and how they either didn’t make sense to me or nudged me that much further toward my eventual atheism. Would love feedback – keep going with this? Ditch it? Hit me up in the comments!
Here’s something I have never understood: If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving – and if heaven is such a super-fantastic place to be – why would anyone want to leave?
The Lucifer story has never made sense to me, and trying to nail down the details has made it even more confusing. Depending on their denomination and what they choose to read into the Bible (or other holy book), believers will tell you one of several different tales:
1) Angels do not have free will, therefore Lucifer was not really an angel but some other creature who lived in heaven once upon a time. But then, for some reason (maybe he was bored? Got tired of listening to angels blabbing about how great God was all day?) he decided to gather some followers (I may be remembering it wrong, but I believe it was a third of the angels) and take over this perfect place from this perfect god, and ended up getting predictably trounced.
2) Angels DO have free will, but they (most of them, anyway) choose to use that free will to praise God every day, all day. Lucifer used his free will to gather supporters (again, a third of the angels) and try to take over. He and his merry band got predictably trounced.
The Most Ridiculous Rebellion in History
Whichever version we go with, there are some serious plot holes here. First, in either version Lucifer knows God personally. He knows God is all-powerful, and that he doesn’t stand a snowball’s-chance-in-his-new-home of actually winning that fight.
Second, if heaven is so wonderful, why would anyone want to leave it? Unless God made Lucifer a lot dimmer than he’s usually portrayed, he had to know he was giving up the ultimate paradise for a rather crap existence.
Third, he managed to get a third of the angels – all of them creatures who knew God personally; knew that he was all-powerful, etc. – to rebel with him? Dude must have been the greatest salesman of all time (shut up, Kanye).
And here’s where I’m imagining a Christian reader bouncing in her seat, waiting to correct me.
Evil Is as Evil Does
“But Satan was/is evil! He rebelled because he had a huge ego and put himself above God!”
I call bullshit.
See, there’s a helluva difference between Lucifer’s story and, for example, me deciding a government leader is a tyrant and gathering a band of rebels to fight against his tyranny. I know that this leader, while he may have huge armies at his disposal, is still just a man and therefore not so far above me that there’s not an iota of a chance of defeating him.
I and my merry band can actually have a hope (however slim) of winning.
But where is the sense in rebelling against a being that is so powerful it created you? How could you even entertain the thought of trying to take over from someone who can snap his fingers, or wink an eye, or wiggle his nose and *poof* you out of existence?
That does not take the intelligence or cunning that Satan is often credited with.
It takes pure, unadulterated lunacy. AND it takes being able to transfer your lunacy to a rather sizable number of your friends and neighbors.
Maybe if the story was that a deranged Lucifer grabbed his best buds Ray and Billy Bob, got them really drunk or high, and then stormed the heavenly castle, I’d have a little less trouble with this story.
But a third of the heavenly host thinking they could take on a being who could (I can’t stress this enough) point at them and turn them into frogs or something?
Sorry, but I’m not buying it. Either mass delusion took hold of all these creatures (in which case they weren’t the perfect creations God intended, making God not all-powerful), or God/heaven was so intolerable that a THIRD OF THE ANGELS couldn’t take it anymore.
Either way: This story makes no damn sense to me.