Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Question: What was Satan up to in Heaven?

What did Lucifer mean by saying to God, "I will be your son," when asking God to use him to be savior of mankind? Why didn’t he just say, "here am I, your son" or did I just misinterpret the verse?

I appreciate that this question was asked. I have thought about this question before and felt like I understood the “what” before, but I never really thought about the “why,” as I have when reflecting on your question.
First, let’s talk about what Lucifer meant by “I will be your son.”

“That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.’
‘2 But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.” -Moses 4:1-2

This question requires a basic understanding of what happened in the pre-mortal realms regarding this earth. Heavenly Father presented a plan to his spirit children that offered them (us) an opportunity to experience life, with all its hardships and trials, and also it’s beauties and joys. In this life we would learn, grow, and become more like Heavenly Father. Because would be away from the presence of God and act independently, there would obviously be many sins committed, everyone would fall “short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Hence, the plan called for a savior.

Our eldest brother, Jesus Christ (Jehovah as we knew him), was all-wise and knew that this role would require the ultimate sacrifice and suffering. Because of his great love for our Father and us, he volunteered to fill the role that was his to fill.

Lucifer also volunteered to fill this role, but with a few addendum. He too knew that the plan called for Father to send an “only begotten son” to the earth. This is what Lucifer meant when he said “I will be thy son.” All of us are spirit sons and daughters of God, but there was ONE who was to be the only begotten of the Father “after the manner of the flesh” (1 Nephi 11:18).

This answers “what” Lucifer wanted to be, but let’s talk about “why” he wanted to do the things he did. Keep in mind, the following is the philosophy of Rusty Curtis (except for quoted scripture). It is strictly speculative and probably won’t mean one iota to someone’s salvation. It is interesting however.

Let’s start with what we know about his pre-mortal motives as found in the passage we’ve been discussing:
1) Satan declared “I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost….” –Moses 4:1
2) He then said, “I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.” –Moses 4:1
3) Father told us that Satan sought that “I should give unto him
mine own power….” –Moses 4:3

It is not hard to see at that Satan is audacious in his proposal. But, it was not stupid. If we have learned anything through our own life experiences and our personal war against the adversary, we know that he is not stupid. He is not wise, but he is clever. He knew how much Father cared about all of His children and sought to tempt Him by promising to return all Father's children to Him (Satan is the great tempter).

Let’s give the adversary the benefit of the doubt (for this seemingly simple plot), because it is always better to overestimate an opponent rather than underestimate.

I believe this offer was double edged. He was trying to trap Heavenly Father. Guess who else was there when Satan made his offer? Heavenly Father’s children, meaning US. Satan positioned himself as somewhat "altruistic" to Father’s children by promising that they would all return to Father after mortal life and that he would "bear the burden" to make this possible. He knew our great love for our Heavenly Father. With this move Satan drove a wedge in the Heavens. He manipulated the deepest, profound affection and love that Father had for children, and that children had for Father.

Father was then in a position where he either accepted Satan’s plan (which of course he would not do) and gave up his power and glory to an unworthy son, or rejected his plan and effectively told many of his children that he did not love them enough to do what could save them (as Satan positioned it). Do you see how Satan manipulated the situation? Satan thought he set himself up with two ways to get what he wanted.

Satan’s bargaining chip of “returning all of Father’s children to him” was a decoy. Of course Heavenly Father knew what Satan was doing and chose Jehovah (Jesus Christ) to fulfill the plan.

Many of us have wondered how it would be possible for Satan to be so persuasive that he could convince a third of the hosts of heaven (Revelations 13:4) to rebel against Father and actually commence a war against him. Yes, he had to be persuasive, charismatic, and authoritative, but what leverage did he have to be so persuasive? I think he played off the emotions of Father’s children and convinced many of them that Father did not love them enough to save them. By rallying support from those he persuaded, he thought to enforce his way. A war is not fought usually unless both sides think they can win. He had a third of the hosts of heaven so persuaded that they actually fought against the God of Heaven thinking they can win. There would have to be very powerful motivation to do this.

What is even more audacious about Satan’s offered addendums to Father’s plan was how he tried to pull an unbelievable “sleight of hand.” He wanted to attain godhood (however he could) with no sacrifice on his part. He not only tried to usurp the role that was Christ’s to fill, but alter it in a manner that he would not have had to experience anything unpleasant. If his desires had been granted, man’s agency would have been abolished (Moses 4:3). Hence, there would be no sin, hence, Satan would not have to sacrifice anything to return Father’s children to him and would claim the throne of God. Satan tried to pull the ultimate fast one. Either Father granted Satan His throne with no sacrifice on his part by accepting Satan’s proposal, or Satan would commit mutiny in Heaven and seek to seize Father’s thrown by manipulating His children to war against him.

Satan thought he was cleverer than the eternities and cared only for himself. This one individual (as far as we know) initiated the tearing apart of the heavens and the family of our Heavenly Father in the pursuit of his own desires and lusts. He cared not for us then, and cares not for us now, and he still tries to enslave those who did not side with him in heaven.

I think it's important to have an idea of just how subtle the adversary is. We must be wise and not underestimate the enemy of our souls.

Best Wishes,

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