Scripture declares the reality of an Adversary to God’s Plan both in the heavenlies and on earth. He had failed in his attempt to depose the Sovereign God and become the object of worship but was allowed to take his declaration of war into human history.
In The Invisible War, Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse writes: “It was as though an edict had been proclaimed in heaven: “we shall give this rebellion a thorough trial. We shall permit it to run its full course. The universe shall see what a creature, though he be the highest creature ever to spring from God’s Word, can do apart from Him. We shall watch this experiment and permit the universe of creatures to watch it, during this brief interlude between past and eternity future called time” (p. 51).
Scripture does not reveal how long it was before Satan made his initial attack in the Garden of Eden. He succeeded in deceiving Eve and Adam who willfully chose to sin against God. The first man and woman found themselves in a hopeless sinful condition and hid from God. They had failed to heed the one divine prohibition… “but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it, [dying spiritually] you shall surely die [physically]” (Gen 2:17 NASB).
No longer was there rapport with God for the first man and woman were now alienated from God. The darkness of sin and evil had no compatibility with Light, the radiance of God. Once again wonderful words of grace and love were demonstrated by the Creator … “And they [Adam and Eve] heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (Gen 3:8a NASB).
The Apostle Paul reminds his readers of the thinking of the Christ … “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8 NASB). That highest of created angels had not anticipated that a lower created being would respond by faith to the message of another “tree” on which Jesus Christ would crush the power of Satan and free all mankind from the penalty of sin. Just as pictured in Eden, the offer of forgiveness would require the slaying of an innocent animal for the guilt of man. Thus the Heavenly Father would provide another “tree”, the Cross of Christ, on which the Lamb of God, through His substitutionary death on behalf of everyone, would reconcile mankind to God.
In his defense before King Agrippa, the Apostle Paul wrote of his encounter with Jesus Christ. “About noon, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.' "Then I asked, 'Who are you, Lord?' "'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,' the Lord replied. 'Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me’” (Acts 26:13-18 NIV).
The light of the gospel had reached the greatest persecutor of the Christian faith in fulfillment of Jesus’ words… “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness” (John 12:46 NIV).