I understand that the permissive conditions in the heart before a tragic failure are pride and envy. It seems that pride and envy are the highest forms of iniquity, and nurture secret rebellion even in the presence of Almighty God. I understand this to have been the element of iniquity in the being of Lucifer before the greatest fall known to man. It was a desire to be that which he admired, worshiped, and paid service to. He was a covering angel and was the music-maker of Heaven. He was created in beauty and full of wisdom. He walked upon the holy mountains of God’s glory. Ezekiel 28:15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. This angel with majestic ability and heavenly prominence, was created perfect in all his ways. In his perfection, his heart was lifted up because of his splendid magnificence. In the midst of this high calling, within him was found a devious sin. It came from a desire formed in a secret place. The desire was to exceed his calling and what he was created for. He realized his created ability, or as the Bible calls it, “his merchandise”. His heart was lifted up because of his beauty. This perfect angel now corrupted his wisdom by his ability to reason. Ezekiel 28:17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness. How can something so perfect become so corrupt?
Now this angel had corrupted wisdom. He came to the first two perfectly created human beings in Eden. He asked questions of Eve and it tarnished her trust into reasoning. Ezekiel 28:18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick. Here we see that Lucifer had now accumulated a substantial amount of iniquities and he defiled God’s hallowed places by peddling reasonings. This is the most evil strategy of Lucifer. He desperately pursues the defilement of holy places. He seeks to stake out where God is doing marvelous works. He hates the presence of God’s Holy Spirit. Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Satan does not need a lot to cause horrific evil. He just needs a stitch of thread inside a heart to cause pride or envy. These anti-Christ insults within a heart can evaporate the love of God in a heartbeat without a dramatic sense of the presence of evil. Actually, it might seem assertively spiritual and even reasonable. It only explodes after it gains capacity in trafficking. Look at the Garden of Eden. What would the number one opponent of God want with a tree that man was told not to touch and not to eat?
When the natural man is forbidden of something, he becomes curious in his imagination. Once curious, he becomes a lucrative target for failure. This is the intensely vulnerable point of entry to the imaginary. There is only one escape for the saint in this profound yet subtle heap of temptation: it is the cross. The unwillingness to lay down our life in this susceptible state will create an open door for the grand deception of reason. The reasoning powers of the human mind now become infected with the overshadowing of Satan’s influence amid considered reasonableness.
When a spiritual picture is so clear that faith is no more needed, then we can be assured that Satan is in the details. Eve had faith to obey what God said until she was overshadowed by her reasoning of it. All Lucifer needed to do was to suggest. That single question, “has God said?”, seemed so reasonable to respond to. The response caused human reasoning against the spoken word. Satan knew that with reasonings he could control all of God’s human creation, bringing them under his authority, if Eve could be beguiled. Satan’s response to Eve was that God knows if you eat, you will be as gods. Eve said wow, rather than woe is me!
Satan hides in the things that are forbidden by God. In Eden, it was a tree of knowledge. This tree of knowledge was the inflammation of Eve’s imagination. It is within this flattered heart that lies the passion to become someone we are not. Here we want someone else’s calling, gifts, treasure, purpose. Satan wanted to sit in the seat of God. Eve wanted to be like gods.
What are the permissive conditions hidden before an epic fall? They are pride, and envy that is saturated with reason.
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: V.9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.