ORIGIN OF SATAN AND SIN
How could evil arise in a perfect being? Most of God’s creation, the rocks, the plants, and even most animals do not have true freedom to choose, but simply exist and behave as they are “programmed.” But at least two classes of beings, humans and angels, have been created with true freedom of choice, including the freedom to choose evil.
We should not assume that God created both evil and good to choose from. Everything that God created was good, including angels and humans, with their ability to think creatively and to make choices. But creative beings can creatively choose to take good things God has created and combine them in ways that were never intended. When something good is used in an incomplete or unintended manner, evil can be the result— even in paradise God declared one aspect of His creation “not good” until it was completed. When Adam had been created but Eve was still in the future, “God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18). God designed that man would be in unity with woman, and until that unity was accomplished with the creation of Eve the situation was “not good”, even though the man was good. Finally, when everything was complete God declared His creation “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
Creative humans and angels with their free wills have the ability to “undo” the completeness of God’s creation, creating for themselves a “not good” condition of incompleteness, and this can result in evil. For example, sexual intimacy within the context of a permanent, exclusive relationship (marriage) was designed by God and is good. But the sexual organs can be creatively used in very incomplete, destructive ways, as is evidenced by the tragedies of rape, abuse and gross immorality. “God is Love”, and His “very good” creation was totally in harmony with the law of love. But when angels or humans choose attitudes and behaviors that have elements of good but which do not include the complete principles of love, evil is the result.
In practice, choosing evil means disregarding God’s law (“sin is the transgression of the law” 1 John 3:4). For example, worship is good, but if the object of worship is anything or anyone besides God it is a transgression of the first and second commandments, not because God selfishly covets worship only for Himself, but because worship of anyone but God leads to grief. Desiring, using and enjoying things is good, but not if they belong to someone else— then it is coveting and stealing, transgression of the 10th and 8th commandments. When sin is finally eradicated, we will understand the wisdom of God in creating both humans and angels with true freedom, including the freedom to transgress His law. But until then we suffer from the results of the activities of Satan, the first sinner, who, although created “perfect in [his] ways,” was “found” to have “Iniquity in [him]” (Ezekiel 28:15).
How did Satan fall? In Ezekiel 28:16 the Lord says to “the king of Tyre,” “By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within and you sinned”. The essence of trading is that I evaluate what I have compare it with what you have, and try to convince you of the value of mine in comparison with yours—in other words, a focus on self in comparison with others. Trading involves intercommunication, interactions and transactions. All of these take place on a “horizontal” level of peers, not in vertical relationships—masters do not trade with their servants; people on the same level trade with one another. Apparently Lucifer, rather than focusing on the vertical relationship with his Creator, began to excessively focus on comparative relationships with his fellow angels, and this led to pride: “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor” (v.17).
This pride actually led Lucifer to aspire to the position of his Creator. “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!…For you have said in your heart: I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;… I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:12-14).
The idea of being like God while not being subject to Him is the same theme that Satan used to tempt Eve in the Garden of Eden. In His instructions to Adam and Eve, God had emphasized His lavish liberality, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat,” while still emphasizing that they were beings with freedom of choice: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat” (Genesis 2:16,17). Satan slyly twisted God's words: “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” This confusing question did not make it clear if the serpent was implying that they were not allowed to eat of any tree or of every tree, but what it did do was to change the focus from God's liberal allowance to His restriction, thus totally misrepresenting His character. When Eve repeated God’s warning, that if she ate of the tree of knowledge she would die, Satan essentially called God a liar: “You will not surely die”. He held out the promise of a more exalted state—“your eyes will be opened…knowing good and evil.” Finally, he zealously tried to convert Eve to his own sinful ambition: “You will be like God” (Genesis 3:1-5).
Here we see the issues of the great controversy between God and one of the brightest of His created beings. Satan claims that God is restrictive, that He is a liar, that He has a high position that he wants to selfishly retain exclusively for Himself and that He does not have the best interests of His creatures at heart. He asserts that we don’t need God to tell us what is good, but can judge for ourselves. He claims that we can have a better life independent from God, that being wise is more important than being righteous (obedient), and that through disobedience God’s creatures can elevate themselves to the exalted position of being “like the Most High”.
 Tyre was a fitting symbol because the Phoenicians of Tyre were the world’s foremost traders, traveling even as far as Africa and all through the known world of the Mediterranean..
 Satan’s shrewd trading abilities are revealed in his interaction with Jesus in the Wilderness. The world and everything in it belong to Christ, since “all things were created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16). God gave its stewardship to Adam (Genesis 1:28), but through deceit Satan stole it from him and then had the audacity to try to trade it back to Jesus if He would worship him! (Matthew 4:9).
 We can understand other issues in the great controversy from Jesus’ encounter with Satan in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). Satan said, “Command that these stones become bread” (v. 3)— in other words, you should exercise personal spiritual power independent of the Creator. “Throw yourself down, for…He [God] shall give His angels charge over you” (v.6)—manipulate the Creator rather than obeying Him. “The devil said…‘fall down and worship me” (v.9)—this is the ultimate desire of Satan, to have worship directed to himself. All of these characteristics are seen in the false religions of the world.