by Jack Hoehn

These comments are on the current Sabbath School lessons on Origins Lesson 6 and attempt to open the conversation to a broader Adventist understanding of Creation.  Should Adventists have any trouble accepting an Intelligent Destroyer as well as an Intelligent Designer?

 Memory Text: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15, NIV).

It’s good to have a Sabbath School Lesson, for it lets us re-read familiar texts and think about them again.  I have always understood Genesis 3:15 to say to the Snake, “Jesus will crush your head.”   I’ve seen Mel Gibson’s riveting Passion of the Christ movie, watching the slithering viper approach Jesus bare feet in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the deadly exchange of a strike and blow to the snake’s head. 
But the Enmity promised is not between the woman’s offspring and the Snake.  It is between the woman’s offspring, and the Snake’s offspring.
Woman will have children.  Snake will have children.  What are Satan’s offspring?  Women create children.  What does Satan create?  Does this verse remind us that Satan is a procreator like Woman?  Does it show Satan will be involved in reproduction of creatures in his image?  Can we begin to explain the pain, disease, and monstrosities of creation as Satan’s offspring?
It is not only Christians who recognize a satanic influence in the history of life on earth.  Howard Bloom published  a book called,  “The Lucifer Principle” subtitled “A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History” from a completely secular viewpoint suggesting that all creation and all history has a principle interwoven into every page best characterized as satanic, (although he considers Lucifer a metaphor not a person).
Sunday February 3:  The Serpent Was More Cunning   
Who created the snake?  Were snakes created deceitful by the Creator?  Doesn’t this story show us a Biblical example of satanic power over God’s creation before the fall of man?    Genesis 2 shows that the Devil could make a beautiful, wise, created flying reptile do something it had never done before.  Satan made the flying serpent not only talk and but also talk lies.
How could an unfallen animal like the serpent, before Eve sinned, be manipulated by Satan, if animals were first subjected to satanic power only after the fall of man?   How many other animals and plants were mutated, transformed, amalgamated into something more pleasing to Satan’s plans during the creation events before the fall?    According to the abundant records preserved in the geologic sediments of earth, there was indeed a controversy going on during pre-human history.   Jesus said Satan was active on earth not from the fall of man, but from “the beginning.”  John 8:44 says not only lying, but murdering (death of creatures) was happening on earth, from “the beginning,” thanks to Satan and his minions.
This suggests that the Great Controversy was going on between Christ and Satan, during the creation of this earth.  That each Creation Day, starts in darkness, and then by God’s power ends in light.  Each day is a recurrent conflict of darkness (Satan) with light (Christ).
The geologic record of creation shows not only an Intelligent Designer, but also evidence of an Intelligent Destroyer.  The devil and his substantial crew of angelic beings could work with God’s tools but pervert them to selfish, harsh, cruel ways and means. Genesis’ creation record can be understood as a record of God’s interventions into chaos, of Light shining into the darkness at each successive stage of creation.  Geology then can be not only a record of the Great Controversy after the fall of man, but it could also be a record of the Great Controversy before the fall of man but after the fall of Satan. 
Present day examples of this Great Controversy can be found in most of creation.

There are mosquitoes who suck plant juices/ there are mosquitoes who suck blood.
There are stingless bees who make honey/ there are bees that sting.
There are things about a Lion that make it an analogy for Christ the Lion of the Tribe of Judah/ there are things about a Lion that makes it an analogy for Satan who seeks whom he can devour.
There are faithful dogs who are man’s best friend/ there are hyenas who are no one’s friend.
There are rodents like beavers who are pond makers and river tamers/ there are rodents like Norway Rats who carry bubonic plague.
There are fruits which are sweet and nourishing/ there are fruits which are toxic and hallucinatory.
There are roses/ there are thorns.
There are bacteria that serve our bodies as essential organisms keeping us alive and healthy/ there are bacteria that would invade and kill us given any chance.
There is pure grape juice ( and have great varietal juices–  the Pinot Noir from Navarro and  Early Muscat  from Draper Valley are exceptional)/ and then there is “Two Buck Chuck” and many other dangerous fermented beverages.

Young Earth Creationists think all this happened after the fall of Adam just 6,000 years ago and have only 2,000 years for a very clever and energetic Satan to corrupt all of God’s creation in time for the fossils to be formed in the flood. 
While I respect angelic capability, I would not put Satan on par with the Creator.  The satanic influence on creation is to modify and adjust God’s creation, within the limits of intelligently designed life.  Satan can breed a hyena from a fruit-eating civet and evolve a wolf and then humans can evolve dogs from an ur-dog created by God, but only if he has a God-created mammal to start with. 
So rather than seeing Satan mutate much of creation into evil in a very short period of  time,  this possibility of an Intelligent Destroyer makes more sense to me to see him working and learning how to mutate and deform God’s progressive creation, over the long time line science gives for creation events.   If Satan was a liar and murderer from “the beginning” not just after Adam’s fall, I can understand the Great Controversy in creation recorded in the fossils before the creation of man.
This is an interpretation.  But a theology of Satan helps me understand the existence of evil in the creation both before and after the fall of man.  I cannot accept that God created HIV.  I can understand that Satan mutated DNA into a dreadful virus.  Just as soon as God began his creative work in the world, Satan began his corrupting work.  Creation was God’s continuing attempt to redeem a Satan-blighted planet.  Or put the other way around geology record’s Satan’s attempts to corrupt God’s good creation.
If this is true, then we will not be surprised to see evidence of pain, suffering, and death existing in the world before Adam and Eve, since Satan was active from the beginning.

“Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say.  You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from The Beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.”    John 8:43, 44