In The Beginning
From the beginning, Satan’s goal was to absolutely prevent the glorification of humanity. God had created man “for a little while lower than the angels” but would one day crown him with “glory and honor”, exalting him to rule the world and even putting the holy angels under his feet. This is what distinguishes the “heavens” from the “earth” of Genesis 1:1.
The heavens are created complete, instantly mature, and do not develop. The wills of the angels are fixed as soon as they choose good or evil. The “earth”, however, is “without form, and void.” Throughout the six days, God speaks into the world and shapes it, molding it into the likeness of its heavenly model.
At the climax of the six-day creation, God made man in His own image, forming Adam as the “generations of the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 2:4), the son of the Spirit of Life and the dust of the ground. The creation is feminine as the receptive and reciprocal partner in God’s purpose, and the Spirit who breathes life into that dust is the masculine partner.
As the son of heaven and earth, Adam was called to knit them together, integrating them into one, which is what we see in Ephesians 1, accomplished by the work of the Last Adam, Jesus Christ. God created Adam and then planted a garden before his eyes, showing him how it’s done. Adam was to follow the rivers out and mold and shape the world according to God’s own pattern. He would thus grow up into the likeness of God and one day be exalted over the angels.
The Fall of Angels / The Fall of Man
The fundamental sin of both man and angel is refusal to accept the terms of God’s purpose. For man, it was the attempt to seize his crown of glory too soon — the tree of the “knowledge of good and evil” refers to kingship. King Solomon will later have the wisdom to “discern between good and evil” (1 Kings 3:9). To discern good and evil means to understand the inner nature of created things and manage them wisely on that account. Through knowledge of creation, man glorifies creation. Both man and angels are created with particular ends intrinsic to their natures, and the realization of those ends hinged on whether they submitted to the will of God who fashioned them with their natures. Man sinned by attempting to seize his inheritance ahead of time.
Likewise, the demons sinned when they attempted to make permanent what was to be a temporary post. The angelic hosts were called to rejoice in their role in developing the human family in its history of growing up into the likeness of God, knowing that the whole chorus of the Heavenly Host would be all the more beautiful when men were incorporated into it.
Yet Satan rebelled against this purpose. It appears to me that the fall of Satan, like that of Adam, is in Genesis 3 — that is why the prophecy of the Serpent’s destruction is in the same context. Originally, as the chief of God’s host, Lucifer was the chief angelic tutor for the infant human family. When he falls, the Angel of the Lord — the Preincarnate Son — assumes this role, just as He assumes the role of true Man in the incarnation.
The first question the serpent asks asks Eve is not a sin. Like the Lord does in Job 38-42, putting questions to man helps him to grow up in wisdom. Moses learns the fidelity signified in the divine name in his “debate” with God in Exodus 33-34. This is the revelation of the Name of the Lord, and in the process of seeking to show why God must be faithful to fallen Israel, Moses deepens his knowledge of the faithfulness signified by that Name.
Likewise here, when Lucifer asks Eve, “Shall you not eat of any tree of the garden?”, he provokes her by this question to meditate on the commandment, its purpose, and thus to grow up in wisdom. The Pentateuch is largely dictated by God, but after five centuries of meditation, the wisdom literature is sung out by those who have “meditated on it day and night” and thus been able to derive implications from it.
Then what provokes Lucifer to sin by outright lying to her? Some commentators have suggested that it is Eve’s comment, “neither shall you touch it.” Contrary to those who think this is illegitimate, this is actually natural. In the Pentateuch, unclean foods are unclean to the touch as well. If a woman is not your wife and God has commanded abstention from conjugal relations, it would be deeply unwise to get handsy with her — and most Christians would say that this prohibition is implied in the commandment!
Eve, thus, has taken her first step in growing up into wisdom. Man is protological and woman is eschatological. Revelation begins with the Bridegroom and ends with the Bride. This is why glorified, eschatological wisdom, signifying maturity in development, is symbolized by the Divine Bride, Sophia. When Lucifer sees the Woman beginning her journey towards that glorification, the reality that he will one day be superseded by glorified men becomes concrete, and he chooses to attempt to thwart this process.
Mary — Proof of Satan’s Defeat
From the beginning, the whole purpose of Satan’s project had been to ensure the failure of God’s project, keeping mankind from being glorified, thereby preserving their own positions in perpetuity. Mary’s glorification concretely manifests their utter failure. This is why the Mother of God is despair for the demonic hosts. She is the proof of what the incarnate Lord has done.
The Lord Jesus Christ bears a true human nature, and has secured deification in assuming it. Yet the Eternal Son was always superior to angels. He secured all the benefits of glory for us. And the Blessed Virgin Mary, by participating in every respect (except identity of essence) in the glory of her Son, shows that the divine economy has worked.
She signifies what the whole Church shall attain. With her Son, she crushes the head of the Serpent. The Hebrew text is of ambiguous gender, showing that both the Woman and the Seed crush the serpent’s head. David crushes the head of Goliath, and Jael crushes the head of Sisera. The serpent’s head is crushed by both the Woman and her Seed.
David says that man was “for a little while lower than the angels”, but that he will be “crowned with glory and honor.” The Mother of God is thus “more honorable than the cherubim” and “more glorious beyo
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