We live in a spiritual war zone. Paul makes this clear in Ephesians 6:12-13 where he says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground….”
What many Christians fail to recognize is that we haven’t just fallen into this spiritual battle. We were created for it. While the opening chapters of Genesis do not recount the creation of the angels or Satan’s rebellion, several facts within the story indicate that it must have happened prior to the creation of humanity.
For one thing, in Eden there was a tree of the knowledge of both good and evil. How could that be possible unless evil had already come into existence?
For another, when Adam and Eve were driven out of the garden after choosing to eat the forbidden fruit, God posted an angel with a flaming sword to prevent their return. Why would God dispatch a threatening, heavily armed angel unless a) He’d already created the angels and b) the heavenly realms had already been plunged into spiritual war by the rebellion of Satan and his followers?
Even before the fall of man, Satan had already declared his independence from God, and thus kicked off the cosmic struggle between good and evil. Originally, Adam and Eve’s allegiance had been to their Creator. Through their sin, they joined forces with His sworn enemy. The earth, which God had entrusted to humanity, fell completely under the power of the evil one. When Adam and Eve fell, they didn’t really start the spiritual battle. Instead, they changed sides in a war that was already in progress, and surrendered their dominion in the process.
We were created to serve as allies to Jehovah Sabaoth, the Lord of Hosts, the God of angel armies. We won’t clearly understand the world we live in or our purpose here until we recognize that this is true. We also won’t be aware of how well-equipped we, as His redeemed followers, can become to combat the enemy.
If we think we were created to merely enjoy paradise, then when we encounter spiritual opposition, we will act like civilians caught in the cross fire. We’ll tend to regard spiritual warfare as an irritating intrusion on the “good life.” Once we understand that we were created to be warriors for God, we will be much more willing to suffer hardship for His cause, and far better prepared to, “…put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13)