The dictionary defines a terrorist as “a person who uses unlawful violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.” Therefore, Satan – the Devil, the Adversary, Lucifer – is the original terrorist, and Adam and Eve were the first victims of terrorism. Using the dictionary definition, let’s break this down.
“A person…” Satan is real. He is a person. Not a human being, but a person in the most basic sense that he exists as a being with all the necessary characteristics to qualify him as a person. He is not a myth, a legend or a man in a red suit with a pitchfork and pointy tail. He was a beautiful creature made by God to lead angelic beings in praise and worship of God. Then he fell. Now he is a master deceiver, a terrible foe and the father of terrorism.
“…who uses unlawful violence…” This might be a bit of a stretch for some, but Satan committed the most violent act imaginable in the history of the world when he assaulted Adam and Eve with words; but, not just any words. Words that were intended to kill the very spirit of humans that God had placed within them. When we think of 9/11 and how many thousands of lives were ended, and tens of thousands more directly impacted, we are astounded and angry – and rightfully so! But, when Satan attacked Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the result was immediate spiritual death (as God had warned would happen) and a curse that brought death to every human who would ever live.
“…and intimidation…” Webster’s says intimidation means “to make timid or fearful: frighten; especially: to compel or deter by or as if by threats.” The Devil used subtle intimidation to gain his victory that day by causing Adam and Eve to fear that God was not good, that He was withholding something wonderful from them, and thus compelled them to eat of the forbidden fruit.
“…especially against civilians…” Satan’s war was with God. Satan wanted to be God, so he (and a third of the angels who followed him) were cast out of heaven. Rather than foist a counter-attack where he knew he would be easily repelled, he chose to target the first civilians who were completely vulnerable in Eden. Just like the terrorists of today, Satan went for the soft target where the risk to him was low, and the attack sure to succeed.
“…in the pursuit of political aims.” As stated above, Satan’s ultimate goal was and is to overthrow the government of God and rule in His place. Since he cannot achieve that goal, he has resorted to terrorism to kill, maim and instill fear all with the aim of doing as much damage to God’s creation – especially mankind – as he can. He knows his destruction is sure, and he is doing all he can to take as many souls with him as possible.
But, we know how this all ends for the original terrorist: “…and the Devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever … then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
What do we do in the meantime? How do we live with hope in a world full of suffering and evil? And, most importantly, how do we have our name written in the book of life and so avoid same fate as Satan? The word of God in Romans 5:1-11 answer those questions most succinctly:
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”