Pelagius (ca. 354 – ca. 420/440) was an ascetic monk and reformer who denied the doctrine of Original Sin from Adam and was declared a heretic by the Roman Catholic Church.
Perhaps you’ve heard of “the original sin”. What does it mean? Is it true? If not, what is the original, that is the first, sin ever committed?
Original sin is a Catholic doctrine. Like many such things, Protestants get this doctrine from the Catholics because they have never shaken off the shackles that the Catholic Church placed upon them. For this reason, the Catholic Church is indeed a “Mother of Harlots” (Rev 17:5), and it is simply a continuation of the same paganistic worship rituals that began in Babylon so long ago.
I want to stress this, as this is the reason for quoting from the Catholic Encyclopedia in order to define what “Original Sin” is:
Original sin may be taken to mean: (1) the sin that Adam committed; (2) a consequence of this first sin, the hereditary stain with which we are born on account of our origin or descent from Adam.
To their credit, the Catholic Encyclopedia makes no bones about there being adversaries to this doctrine, either. For this, Pelagius receives special mention, and yet even Pelagious seemed to have shifted his arguments over time.
The key text that they cite is Ro 5:12, which is the same verse that is severely abused by those that hold the nonsensical notion that through Adam death entered into the world to mean that no one or nothing ever died until Adam and Eve sinned. They say this so they can “prove” their fallacy of a young earth and further claim that dinosaurs and the like did not predate man because there was no death. Tell that to the plants that Adam and Eve ate!
However, we are speaking of “original sin” here, so let’s look at the verse:
12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
~ Ro 5:12
Of course, the main point should not be lost here that through one man sin came into our existence, bringing us death, but by the death of the “last Adam” we made alive (cf. 1Co 15:45). Without that understanding, it is easy to get lost in the weeds.
It is also important to understand Genesis in its total context. After all, when is the beginning not the beginning?
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
~ Ge 1:1
This is probably the most well-known verse in the Bible just after the much abused “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”
It is easy to gloss over things when we read. There is a difference between reading the Bible and studying the Bible. One might read it, not understand it, not think about it and not have it change their lives one bit. However, to study it is to dig in and try to understand the writing, the context of the writing and dig into what it could mean.
If I were to stand up in the middle of a crowd and announce, “In the beginning!” and sit back down, what would you think? OK, you would probably think I had a screw loose, but what else? Wouldn’t you wonder what it meant? After all, that’s hardly a complete sentence! You would probably ask, “The beginning of what?”
It should be obvious from the context that Genesis 1:1 is referring to the beginning of creation. Specifically, it sets the tone for God interacting with the physical universe. When God created the earth, we know it wasn’t the beginning of all of His creation!
4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Here, God reveals to Job that the angels already existed before the earth was created! This means that Heaven was created first and populated with angels. Similar to many Messianic passages where the first and second comings of Christ are interwoven throughout, Genesis 1:1 reduces down a span of time that we probably cannot comprehend!
We then understand that Genesis 1:1 is the beginning of the physical creation, even as the Old Covenant was physical and the OT a record of God dealing with a physical people!
So, when we read:
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
~ Jn 1:1
It then become more obvious that this is the spiritual beginning and is John’s way of introducing Christ, not only as God, but as dealing with a spiritual people with a spiritual covenant!
Now, I should stress that Christians are under the New Covenant, which has been “established upon better promises” (Heb 8:6). So, when I talk about a “spiritual covenant” do not misunderstand me that I am somehow “spiritualizing away” the stipulations of the New Covenant. I don’t want to get off into the weeds in explaining something unrelated, though.
It should be evident that “the beginning” of John 1:1 is before the beginning of Genesis 1:1. “The Word was with God”, and we know this being became Jesus as a man (Jn 1:14). Since everything that was created through Jesus Christ (Jn 1:3), He existed before anything including the angels and Heaven itself was created, everything that can be seen and everything that is invisible (Col 1:16).
It should be evident at minimum that there was a span of time, perhaps millions or billions of years, between the creation of Heaven and the angels, the invisible world, and the world we know, the one we can see. All of this was done to prepare for the creation of the universe and the earth, not to mention the crown of creation created in the image of God, mankind.
It was during this time that a “covering cherub” fell. This was before the creation of man!
11 Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
This comes after a prophecy against the prince of Tyre. It is an important transition taking place here. It is now turning from the prophecy against a man to someone who symbolizes something else. We can tell by the wording and the context.
12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.
Here, we see someone who sealed up the sum of wisdom and beauty. In fact, what human can be called perfect in beauty? This is a very different being!
13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God…
Again, who was in Eden? Well, there was Adam and Eve. There was God. There were some animals. Oh, yeah! There was the serpent, wasn’t there?
On a side note, a “serpent” is not necessarily a snake. In fact, it could have been a very large lizard, and since he apparently walked around, it would seem that would have been more fitting. Perhaps it even was the a dragon?
…every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
By saying these things were his “covering” meant he wore these things. However, the “workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee” seems like odd working. Even more that this being did not create them but God, as it was “in the day that thous wast created”. These musical gifts apparently were built in from the beginning rather than acquired, trained or created by the being. I don’t claim to know how this works, but I don’t see any other reasonable explanation, and again this means this being was not a normal human being.
However, it departs even further from the realm of humanity.
14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth…
We need to depart from Ezekiel for a moment to dig deep into this one. We need to look at the instructions for creating the Ark of the Covenant. On the top lid was something called the “mercy seat”.
17 And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof.
18 And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat.
19 And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof.
20 And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be.
21 And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee.
Notice how the wings of the cherubim cover the Mercy Seat! Without a doubt, here is an image of two cherubim that covereth! Indications are that there were once three!
What does the Mercy Seat symbolize?
2 And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.
~ Lev 16:2
Who is more merciful than God Himself? No one!
Why do I say there might have been three? Very few times are we told of any archangels in the Bible. We are specifically told Michael is one (Jude 1:9). While Gabriel is not specifically called on in the Bible, it is evident he is high ranking. He is called “an angel of the Lord” in Luke.
11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
~ Lk 1:11
This incense altar was close enough to cause a cloud over the Mercy Seat (Lev 16:12-13). Obviously, this is symbolic of the closeness of Gabriel to the Mercy Seat, albeit the real one in Heaven!
Many Jews have believed he is an archangel as well. Gabriel is actually called on in the Book of Enoch, although we need to remember that is not a book of the canon.
It is interesting that the Catholics believe in another archangel called Raphael, who is only mentioned in the Apocrypha. In fact, all three are “venerated” by the Catholic Church! There are several implications to this outside the realm of this article, I believe, but it is an acknowledgment of three archangels.
However, the King of Tyre in Ezekiel not only sounds like an archangel, but he was once part of the Kingdom of Heaven.
14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
A mountain is symbolic of a kingdom (cf Da 2:34-35, 44-45). This being, which if you haven’t guessed by now, is Lucifer!
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
Notice how he was “fallen” (cf Lk 10:18 and wanted to sit upon the “mount” in the north! This mountain to the north is symbolic of God’s throne. Zion was symbolic of where God dwells (Ps 9:11; cf Ps 48:2 , and it lies in the north part of Jerusalem.
Lucifer, after he rebelled, was kicked out of Heaven and cast to earth.
9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
~ Rev 12:9
Revelation tells us of the future, but Jesus said it happened before in the passage in Luke 10 cited already.
It should be clear: Mankind did not fall; Lucifer did! Mankind was never high enough to fall. Mankind was given dominion over the earth, and mankind still has control of the earth as long as he does not listen to the evil one. Lucifer, however, was about as highly ranked as it gets, and he did fall, both literally and figuratively.
Not only he, but his followers, apparently one-third of the angels, were cast out with him!
3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
Remember I suggested that “serpent” can mean dragon? Here we explicitly see Satan being called a dragon! Putting the pieces together are not hard after this.
Back to Ezekiel 28:
15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
Again, “perfect” is not normally applied to human beings. Not only that, we are not born perfect. Adam and Eve were created with God’s (Jesus’) own hands, so they were created perfectly but physically. Jesus Christ was the only One born perfect, and His Father was God, so it stands to reason. Lucifer was created, and he was created perfectly.
16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
Violence characterized the first death of a human. Violence filled the earth in the days of Noah. Violence is the norm today. Is there any doubt under whom this earth is influenced?
Why? What was the cause?
17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
Again, we see him being cast to the ground (earth). He was corrupted by his pride! He became vain and self-centered (“thy brightness”).
However, “pride” is a about as narrow as a sledge hammer. Sometimes, people take exception to the admonition to take pride in something. Sometimes, people take exception to “don’t you have any pride?” However, that’s a very different type of pride.
Yes, a very different type of pride. Pride was only the start of Lucifer’s problem. The issue was that instead of feeling good about what God gave him, he began to believe in his own goodness. He began to believe his righteousness and goodness was caused from himself. He began to believe … well, he began to believe he was the center of the universe. He began to believe he was more powerful, more righteous and more just than even God Himself!
No, that’s not really pride. Pride was just the start. Pride became the cause and not the result. Pride became arrogance. Then, it became something else even far worse.
Far worse than arrogance? You bet! You didn’t know there was something worse? Stay tuned! It is important to recognize the spirit of the evil one and his devices.
I read this comment online from an atheist: God cannot be “a being of love. After all, who created Satan, all-knowingly?” Your thoughts?
Lucifer created Satan. God did not. Atheists like to have it both ways. A living God would not allow evil, but only an evil one would restrict free will. You cannot have it both ways.