Bible Q&A: If Satan Could Choose To Sin, Can Angels Choose To Sin?

If the devil had the ability to choose sin, do angels still have the ability to choose sin?

There is much we don’t know about the devil’s origins.  We know he was created by God because the Bible says that God created all things, whether they be visible or invisible like the devil (Col. 1:16).  He might have been an angel created during the week described in Genesis 1; if so he would have been among the “sons of God” or the angels mentioned in Job 38:7.  If he was created during creation week, then originally he was “very good” like everything else God created (Gen. 1:31).

Some call Satan “Lucifer” due to the King James Version’s rendering of Isaiah 14:12:  “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!…”  Yet the context of Isaiah 14:12 shows that Isaiah is actually talking about the king of Babylon and is making a prophecy about him.  In like manner, some view Ezekiel 28:16-17 as the origin of Satan.  Yet contextually Ezekiel is actually talking about the king of Tyre.  Thus, any application of Isaiah 14:12 and Ezekiel 28:16-17 to the origin of Satan would be figurative at best.

All we know for certain is that Satan was condemned because of pride (1 Tim. 3:6).  We also know that God gave free will to human beings whom he created (Josh. 24:15), and God tempts no one to do evil (James 1:13).  Thus, the only logical conclusion we can make based on the little information we have is that Satan also had free will to choose obey or disobey God.  He chose to sin due to pride and was cast down.  Obviously he still continues to choose to stand against God.

We also know from Peter that angels at some point in the past had “sinned” and were cast by God “into hell” (literally, prison in the Greek) and were “committed…to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment (2 Pet. 2:4).  Jude likewise speaks of angels “who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling” and thus are “kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6).  Both Peter and Jude speak of these events as happening in the past tense, with no indication that similar circumstances still occur.  Thus, there is no way of knowing whether angels still sin.  It seems that God gives those whom he creates the ability to choose whether to sin.  We know for certain through observation and inference that humanity and Satan have always had the ability to choose.  We know that in the past angels must have had the ability to choose.  So it stands to reason that they would still have the ability to choose whether to obey God.  Yet as far as I am aware, there is no biblical data to suggest for certain that they do have that ability presently or, having it, choose presently to disobey God.

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