C. M. writes,
While spreading the gospel of grace to people on social media and talking about eternal security, I have observed that one objection thrown at eternal security adherents has to do with the fall of Lucifer. The question is either, “Why did Lucifer get cast out of heaven if once saved, always saved is true?” which doesn’t make sense because Lucifer didn’t get saved from anything in the beginning. The other question that’s related to the topic of Lucifer and eternal security is “Why did Lucifer get cast out of heaven if he was the most beautiful angel and was the worship leader?” Also, thanks for all that you do, as it’s helped me see and understand the gospel a lot better.
First, the expulsion of Lucifer and one-third of the angels who rebelled with him is radically different from sinful humans. I’ll keep the conversation about Lucifer, but it applies to all the fallen angels.
The fall of Lucifer was different from the fall of Adam.
Lucifer never had and never could have everlasting life. What he had before he fell was a relationship with God that was potentially eternal. God never promised angels that they would be with Him forever.
Lucifer had no opportunity to regain what he lost. Once he fell, he was doomed.
Adam likewise had a relationship with God that was potentially eternal. He too had no promise that they would be with God forever. Unlike Lucifer, after he fell, the Lord promised him everlasting life if he simply believed in the coming Messiah (Gen 3:15).
Adam did not regain what he lost. He was put out of the garden. He lost his innocence. He was now a sinner, and all his descendants would be sinners too. But he gained something different, everlasting life. While he indeed died physically, one day he will be raised, and he will live forever with God on the new earth.
If Adam had never sinned, he probably never would have had everlasting life. In the Bible, everlasting life is for sinful humans. Prior to the fall, Adam and Eve were not sinful humans.
There is no indication in Scripture that unfallen angels could fall after the initial rebellion.i It seems that all unfallen angels were sealed so that they could not fall. If Adam and Eve had not sinned after a certain length of time, God surely would have sealed them in a state of innocence so that they could never fall.
The fall of Lucifer in no way disproves eternal security. He is not a human, and he was never given the promise of John 3:16.
Second, Lucifer was expelled because he rebelled. The heart of his rebellion was pride. He wanted to take God’s place. How could such a beautiful, intelligent, gifted, and powerful creature rebel? On the one hand, he could rebel because God created him with free will. On the other hand, he could rebel because beauty, intelligence, giftedness, and power are not guarantees that one will not fall. Indeed, Paul suggests the beautiful, intelligent, gifted, and powerful among us are least likely to believe in Jesus for everlasting life (1 Cor 1:20-31).
Lucifer’s fall and eventual banishment to the lake of fire (Rev 20:10) does not disprove eternal security.
i Fallen angels, however, could and did fall again as reported in Gen 6:1-8. Those angels are now being tormented (2 Pet 2:4; compare Matt 8:29) before the time appointed for their judgment, that is, after the Millennium (see Rev 20).