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Monday: Lucifer Deceives; Christ Prevails — 19 Comments

  1. In Maine, USA this coming Monday, we are to be in the direct path of the 100% total solar eclipse. The moon will block the face of the sun. Day will turn to night. Things will continue on as we trust the sun is there.

    Sometimes spiritually God allows things to block His glory. This becomes a test for us. When we can't see or feel His presence. Perhaps God momentarily concealed His glory from Lucifer in heaven as a way to grow Lucifer's faith? Like a parent playing peek-a-boo (for a simple visual metaphor). Or the way the sun spreads light and can also cast shadows. If this were so, it would be a lesson to us about trusting and waiting for God. Not turning to self.

  2. [A quick reminder: please keep quotes short and ensure that you explain why a quote is important to you. Moderator]

    Jealousy can lead to the Dept of death. We need to humble ourselves and count others better than ourselves

    Chapter 2—The Temptation and Fall
    Before the fall of Satan, the Father consulted his Son in regard to the formation of man. They purposed to make this world, and create beasts and living things upon it, and to make man in the image of God, to reign as a ruling monarch over every living thing which God should create. When Satan learned the purpose of God, he was envious at Christ, and jealous because the Father had not consulted him in regard to the creation of man.

  3. The arrival of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on our electronic doorsteps last year has created some interesting moral dilemmas for us. If AI can write better than us, should we use it? If it can research data better than a human should we use it? If it is better than a specialist doctor at detecting breast cancer why would we not use it? In the back of our minds, we started to realise that we have been creating machines that can do some things better than us. A car runs faster than us, a plane flies better than us, and a computer calculates quicker than us. But suddenly we realise that we have within our power the ability to create devices that can outthink us. AI just got scary and we want to put limits on what we do.

    Artificial Intelligence makes us think about God's creativity and creates a raft of dilemmas that challenge us. You see we like the idea of creating AI entities that can do things better than us but we want to keep the lid on morality. We want to restrict them to good activities. I add that the problem we face is that there are bad people who want to use AI entities for very evil outcomes and so in a sense, the horse has already bolted on moral control. (If you want to explore that theme, watch the film, "Oppenheimer". I find it interesting that this film was released at about the same time the AI ethical issue grew legs.)

    So, God did not create AI entities when he created thinking beings. He left Lucifer to make his own moral decisions. He made us free moral agents too. We are not Satan's robots either!

    I recognise that my discussion of AI does not solve the problem of the conflict's origin, but I think the fact that humams are in a very creator-like position just now, helps us to understand just a little bit what the creativity of God means.

    • I read of a church who decided to try a whole worship service run by AI....the songs chosen, the prayers offered, even the sermon, all dictated by Artificial Intelligence. Artificial. This church body's decision gave me a sick feeling; why would we choose artificial over the real thing? Jesus told Nicodemus that the Holy Spirit's movements are like the wind, unpredictable and unfathomable to the human mind. Why would we plan an hour of time with God that would exclude an openness to the Holy Spirit's in-rushing? Annie Dillard in her book "Teaching a Stone to Talk" talks about how worshipers would strap themselves into their pews if they really knew the power available from on high.

      When Peter began his sermon after the Holy Spirit fell at Pentecost, he told the crowd "let this be known to you..." (Acts 2:14). The word for "known" is not head knowledge but experiential knowledge. Peter wanted them to experience the Holy Spirit too.

      God made us in His image. To me that does not mean greater head knowledge...that is what Eve longed for at the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. And what Satan deceptively offered with his "your eyes will be opened"... Satan offers us head knowledge supposedly isolated from its impact on our spirits as living souls, but mind-body-spirit do not operate apart from each other. Just as the Father-Son-Holy Spirit do not operate separately from each other.

      AI has a place to do faster computations and to answer data-gathering questions based upon human knowledge collected and stored in online data bases to-date. I can't scan every recorded resource worldwide on a subject....even in my whole lifetime I would never get to the end of the search. But a computer can do it in moments. I use it myself for that. And it is fun to see computer-generated images and so many other creative uses for AI.

      But once we humans step into an arena where we start to think that AI performs "better" than us.... or where we lean upon AI to make choices....that is where I see danger enter. For instance, the example of AI detecting cancer. That could be a helpful use for AI....to gather all data known so far and bring it to bear in a particular case...., but for AI to replace the in-person, present-on-the-scene human doctor entirely? No. Why? Because God's Holy Spirit can move in that doctor's heart - in His timing - to deliver a healing not possible from an inanimate object. Humans were created to be vessels for our Almighty Creator, He who defies human imagination.

      “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
      Nor have entered into the heart of man
      The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

      • I am neither validating or invalidating AI as such. I want our readers to see that the issue we have dealing with the ethics of AI provides some insight into God creating intelligent life. The question that hangs over us is: Can God create Intelligent life without free choice? Some would argue that is a logical contradiction.

        • Thanks for clarifying Maurice…. I knew you weren’t talking about AI as a topic on its own and meant to say that….just your post gave me some thoughts. For example, I live with somebody who says he is now basing all of his decisions on AI… How to vote, how to plan for the future, everything. So I was just thinking about that, and those other things. Your bringing AI into this discussion is interesting and thank you for it.

          To your question… I guess my response would be that AI is not intelligent in itself, just a robot based upon human intelligence. And yes, God could have created intelligent life without free choice… But we can’t have love without free choice.

      • Thank you, Esther, for this thoughtful comment that goes beyond the distinction that the lesson author points out:

        When God created humanity, He embedded deep within our brains the ability to think, to reason, and to choose. The essence of our humanness is our ability to make moral choices.

        Before AI, this distinction between head knowledge and experiential knowledge that involves intellect, emotions as well as a spiritual connection with our Creator was not so easily recognized.

        Your conclusion is worth pondering:

        But once we humans step into an arena where we start to think that AI performs "better" than us.... or where we lean upon AI to make choices....that is where I see danger enter. For instance, the example of AI detecting cancer. That could be a helpful use for AI....to gather all data known so far and bring it to bear in a particular case...., but for AI to replace the in-person, present-on-the-scene human doctor entirely? No. Why? Because God's Holy Spirit can move in that doctor's heart - in His timing - to deliver a healing not possible from an inanimate object. Humans were created to be vessels for our Almighty Creator, He who defies human imagination.

        “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
        Nor have entered into the heart of man
        The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

        Thank you!

      • I wouldn't worry too much, Esther, at least right now. I've read some AI generated sermons and prayers and they are about as blah as can be. They don't say anything wrong, but they have no life in them. I would never attend a church that used them. A computer can't replicate the things that make a sermon powerful (at least not yet).

        However, reading AI prayers made me realize how rote and formulaic our own prayers can be. In a sense we're to blame for AI prayers because of our tendency to just say the same things.

        • Arthur C Clarke made the statement in the 1970s that, "Any teacher who can be replaced by a computer, should be!" And seeing that I started teaching around that time, that statement has hung like Damocles' Sword over my teaching efforts. In teaching, I have always had to ask myself the question, what do I bring to the table. There are textbooks and videos and in those days OHP slides and audio tapes and so on that do a great job of providing information and structure for students to learn. So I think that ultimately my contribution to the learning process was that I loved the disciplines I was teaching and the students. It was not what I knew but my relationships that were important.

          I taught computer programming for about 30 years. Much of that is redundant now. Artificial Intelligence knows all the algorithms and can write crack code on command. But I also taught problem-solving skills and persistence that goes far beyond the mere production of code. Those skills are still in demand even outside the programming area.

          That teaching experience informs me about the importance of our human relationships in our spiritual lives. And I have to agree with Christina that sometimes our worship, prayer and singing and preaching has a mundane woodenness about it that needs to be replaced by the power of relationships.

          When Jesus came to this earth he didn't come to give us a set of doctrines. He came to build relationships.

          Listen to this prayer:

          My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
          And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
          I and my Father are one. John 10:27-30KJV

          And the religious leaders of the day moved to stone him!

  4. Joel 3 verse 14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decisions: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decisions.
    It all boils down to one thing decision, we have to decide to decide sadly most people don't. They mke a choice without them thinking clearly of the path taken until it is too late.The devils infiltration of our minds slowly results into choices we never thought we would make sadly at the brink of eternal loss

  5. Thy Word is a Lamp unto my feet and a Light unto my path.
    Being freed from sin, and committing our life to the Lord, which then, allows us, to receive the Holy Ghost,
    and to be taught by Him, is greatest education that we can ever have and need.

  6. I think if we look at how a coup starts, we can get an understanding of what Satan did in Heaven. The person (usually an army general) is unhappy with the what is going on and believes he can do better. He then spreads his ideas amount the people and uses those who have a sympathetic ear to mount his challenge. As the number of the sympathetic ears grow, his pride is bolstered and blossoms into an open attack on the existing government. Because he has the backing of the military, he may be successful. But in Satan's case, he went up against his Creator, who knew his very thoughts and tried to help him to change his trajectory.

    Here we see how we can exercise the power of choice to the detriment of our own good.

    As I study the Scriptures, I realise the depth of the deception that the first family was under, because as I go through the word I see that God always wanted the best for His creation so He extended His character to them so that they would desire to live by His precepts. This, today, is the choice we have to make. If we look at what's sin has done to us and our planet, why won't we yearn for God's character to be in us? As millions die because of disease, war, greed, famine etc., every day, my heart yearns for a better way and I find it in God's precepts, in His word.

    Could we imagine what it would be like if we would use the money we spend to make war and to develop implements to kill one another, to better each other's lot, what a vast difference we would have. That's just part of God's precepts, love your neighbor as yourself. Help others to have the same opportunities that you have. If I can help you and someone else helps me and so on, Satan would not have the foothold he has now. All God desired for His whole creation was its happiness, but we chose death disguised as happiness and everyday as we go on, we are buying into the delusion that we can make it better by our sinful efforts. How deceived we are to think we can achieve this utopia without our Creator's involvement. Let us choose Christ daily, minutely, secondly in our lives.

  7. A Barna study asked Christian’s if God was real and the all powerful ruler of the world. 78% of Christian’s agreed. When asked if Satan was real 40% disagreed! These were Christian’s responses!

    How and why was Satan able to be successful in heaven AND the garden of Eden, I haven’t the slightest idea. What I am acutely aware of is unlike the angels and Adam and Eve, I was born with the predilection for and to sin, Satan has an easier time tempting me then he did the angels in heaven.

    The Bible is replete with directions on how to withstand Satan attacks. Ephesians 6:10 - 13 comes to mind. While I believe in the power of the God head, as the study found too many doubt or deny the power and ability Satan has. God is not the weak link, I am.

  8. Sinning was a free act by Lucifer, who deliberately chose to become Satan, the adversary of God (Eze. 28:12-17; Isa. 14:12-14). Ellen White points out that: "It is impossible to explain the origin of sin so as to give a reason for its existence" (The Great Controversy, 492-493). Furthermore, she said: "We should beware of treating sin as a light thing. Terrible is its power over the wrong-doer" (Education, 291).

    Genesis 3:7-10 illustrates how no one is quite the same after sinning with knowledge. Nobody had to tell Adam and Eve that they had done wrong - they knew. Hence they looked at things differently than they had before; a sense of wrong rushed in on them immediately. They felt guilt and fear, and it seemed as if every creature in the Garden had witnessed their act and condemned them. Their clothing of light (a symbol of their righteousness) departed from them immediately, and the virtue of their innocence lost its luster.

    Now, contemplate what Lucifer, the once "Covering Cherub" has become as well as the works of his hands, both in heaven and on earth; and you will understand and tremble at the heinousness of sin and the abyss of degradation to which it drags one. Thus, Lucifer deceives because he decided to choose darkness and unbelief rather than the invincible light and truth - God. He chose to separate himself from God and His divine purpose. And without God, it is impossible for him to be moral and righteous. Similarly, it is impossible for anyone who aligns himself/herself with Lucifer to be moral and righteous in accordance with God's holy standards (Eph. 4:18, NLT).

    However, thank God that we do not have to choose darkness. Because of the incarnation, the perfect sinless life of Christ, and His atoning death on the cruel cross, that invincible light and truth shines in the darkness that has enveloped planet Earth, and the darkness cannot overcome that light and truth. God is the ultimate standard of what is true and false, and in His limitless love and amazing grace He has given the human race hope. We can choose light and truth rather than darkness and error. Rather, we must choose light and truth and remain walking with the light and truth (John 3:21; 1 Thess. 5:5-6; 1 John 1:7), so that we will not be deceived by Lucifer's deceptions. Yes, Christ prevails - He cannot loose! Hallelujah!!

  9. If we are not based on the Love of God for us, we are lost already. The safest choice is to plead for God's mercy to save us from ourselves.

  10. We don’t know the details, but the conflict was physical enough that Satan and his angels eventually were “cast out,” and a place was not “found for them in heaven any longer”

    How do we know it was physical? Was it an exchange of blows, wrestling etc? I found the above quote from the lesson troubling my understanding

    • Vincent, the author was clear in saying, "We don't know the details." But the rebellious angels were no longer to be allowed in heaven. He deduced there must have been something physical involved. That is all.

      How would you interpret "cast out"?

  11. When someone as part of a powerful agency expresses disloyalty to the cause the agency promotes, they cannot remain part of the agency's efforts. They either form their own agency or recant, refrain from undermining the efforts of the agency they once were part of and swore allegiance to.

    It appears to me that Lucifer and his followers chose to form a new agency/alliance and were cast out of heaven to the earth when Jesus Christ ascended to heaven to take His Place – Rev. 12:4. Lucifer and his followers lost their positions and privileges in heaven, but they did not necessarily loose their powers which are now employed to ‘deceive the nations on earth’, enticing them to turn against Jesus Christ and His Plan for the Salvation of mankind - Rev.20:1-3; Rev.20:7-10.

    Now even more so as it was at the Beginning, Lucifer wants to lure man into his camp by promissing them to ‘opening the eyes of the flesh’ for to discover the “knowledge of good and evil’. Ever since the Fall, instigated by this powerful angel of light, man has been deceived by listening to the council of his own flesh and not the council of the Spirit of God.

    Man's motivating force became the 'satisfaction of the desires of his flesh'; battling against the desire for allegiance and fellowship with the Creator – 1 Kings 18:20-21. Lucifer's agenda was to first deceive God's children, and then turn around to accuse them of sinning against their Maker for judgement – Rev.12:10-12.
    Now, cast to earth, he continues in his wicked work but his days are numbered. He finds the Ekklesia protected by the Holy Spirit’s working, the Counselor send by God's Son, to reveal to the heart and mind of man the Truth of God - that we are kept save from the deceptions of Lucifer in Christ Jesus.


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