As human beings, we are all prone to ask, “Does God exist? If so, what is He like?” This book is not so concerned with answering the first question as with exploring the second. If you have picked up this book, we will take for granted that you have already decided God exists, and we will focus mostly on the nature of God.

We cannot find out what God is like without delving into a theme that runs throughout the entire Bible—the theme of the war between God and the Devil. This is an extremely complex and fascinating story unfolding in the universe behind the scenes of our everyday lives. Whether we are aware or not, this ongoing drama is affecting each human being personally, and has direct relevance to our lives, regardless of our religious orientation.

We are about to take you on a quest. We invite you to come with us to unearth a story of cosmic proportions. This is not fiction; it is real. It is a story of a Father, a Son, a mighty angel—the Father and Son’s consummate creation—and the human race. This is a tale of rebellion, betrayal, defamation, propaganda and even tragedy. But it is also a narrative of redemption, hope and the ultimate eradication of evil and death. This is the story of God, His Son Jesus Christ, the fallen angel Lucifer—and of you and me.

The fundamental purpose of this book is to examine the behind-the- scene workings of this story in light of the two Trees that stood in the midst of the Garden of Eden: the Tree of Life, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Our hope is that through the study of these two trees the reader will gain a deeper understanding of the issues involved in the great controversy between God and Satan. As we do that, we will uncover a series of lies which have kept all of us unnecessarily estranged from God.

We will learn what Lucifer used to be, what caused him to turn away from God, and the fundamental reason for his rebellion. We will reveal his cunning and deception and how he has managed to separate us from God through a death principle that is so deceiving that even the angels of heaven were taken captive by its sophism. We will see the role God’s Son has in bringing us back into a fearless relationship with God. We will also show how we ourselves have been unwittingly involved in this drama, and what we must do in order to end the war.

As one sets out to find answers about God, one inevitably stumbles upon the theme of a war. Take this verse from the Book of Revelation for instance:

And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him (Revelation 12:7-9, emphasis added).

There is a wealth of information here. A war broke out in heaven; the protagonists, Michael and His angels, were at war with the antagonists, the dragon and his angels. What was this war about?

A dragon is a powerful symbol and an emblem of power. In Greek, the word “dragon” is drakon, “a fabulous kind of serpent (perhaps as supposed to fascinate)” (Strong’s Concordance). The Greek word for “serpent” is ophis, “through the idea of sharpness of vision); a snake, figuratively, (as a type of sly cunning) an artful malicious person, especially Satan)” (Strong’s Concordance). The Greek word for “Devil” is diabolos, “a traducer, specifically Satan, false accuser, slanderer” (Strong’s Concordance), and the word Satan is satanas, “the accuser” (Strong’s Concordance).

All of these words apply to Lucifer, and help us understand him better. He is indeed fascinating and remarkable, but also sly, cunning and malicious. He is a false accuser and a slanderer.

Our world is permeated with images of the serpent and dragon. From logos (e.g. The American Medical Association) to video games, movies, tattoos, etc. The “serpent” and the “dragon” symbols abound in our world. This is not unrelated—“that serpent of old” mentioned in the Book of Revelation “deceives the whole world.”

The serpent was “cast out” of heaven “to the earth” with “his angels.” In the Book of Genesis we pick up another thread—the war that had begun in heaven moved to a specific place on earth, the Garden of Eden, where the serpent resurfaced. The Garden is the first earthly crime scene; thus, it is an extremely valuable piece of evidence. It gives us more information regarding the war that originated in heaven and the real issues behind it. There were two trees in Eden: the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. These were symbols; representations of two kingdoms. Through them we learn the foundational issues involved in the war between God and the Devil.

God is the Creator and giver of life—His is the Tree of Life principle.

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was associated with the serpent. God said this Tree would bring death into being. Adam and Eve ate of it—the result is, the earth has become a battleground, the theatre of this war. As God had predicted, death has become an everyday occurrence here. But who is responsible for death: God, or Satan and his Tree of Knowledge?

This war is not yet over. It has progressed through the ages down to our day, and you and I are in the middle of it. This story, so intimately connected with human history, unfolds in the Bible through a series of symbols; these, the Bible itself explains. In fact, it is essential that we do not interpret them in our own conventional wisdom. By doing so we may reach an entirely wrong conclusion.

The apostle Paul instructed his young charge, Timothy, to rightly divide the word of truth:

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15, emphasis added).

Paul’s admonition is for all of us. As we delve into this study, it will become obvious that God’s enemy has given us a false picture of God’s character. And he has done this in such a clever way that he deceives all— “the whole world.” We must “rightly” divide “the word of truth” in order to come to a correct understanding of these things.

No one likes to think that they are being deceived, especially those who believe they have the truth. And yet if the Bible says that the dragon deceives the whole world, each one of us ought to take heed and not exclude ourselves from that number. If we are being misled, wouldn’t we like to know how?

In this book we will rely mostly on the Bible. But we will also quote from an author who has more insight into the war between God and Satan than any other we have come across.

Ellen Gould White (EGW), a woman with merely an elementary education, went on to become, according to Roger Coon’s research (as of 1983) at the Library of Congress, the fourth most-translated modern author, preceded only by Lenin (222 languages), Georges Simenon (a Franco-Belgian mystery writer—143) and Leo Tolstoy, (122 languages). Ellen G. White’s writings were translated into 117 languages in 1983 and by 1996 she had already increased to 140, possibly making her the second most translated author of all time. Following her, in Coon’s top ten list, were Karl Marx, William Shakespeare, Agatha Christie, Jakob and

Wilhelm Grimm, Ian Fleming (James Bond), and Ernest Hemingway. Consider one of her statements regarding Satan’s deceptions:

The principles of Satan’s working in heaven are the same principles by which he works through human agents in this world. It is through these corrupting principles that every earthly empire and the churches have been increasingly corrupted. It is by the working out of these principles that Satan deceives and corrupts the whole world from the beginning to the ending. He is continuing this same policy-working, originally begun in the heavenly universe. He is energizing the whole world with his violence with which he corrupted the world in the days of Noah {4BC 1163.8, emphasis added}.

What does this text reveal about Satan’s deception? First, it tells us that he has “corrupting principles.” Second, it tells us that his “corrupting principles” are the “same policy-working” he began in heaven. This indicates that Satan’s “corrupting principles” are at the centre of his rebellion against God, which started in heaven. It also reveals that he brought these principles to earth, and it is with them that he is deceiving us, the whole world, “from the beginning to the ending.”

What is the meaning of the word “corrupt?” Essentially, “corrupt” means to change something from a pure, unaltered form into an impure, altered state. To corrupt something is to change it from its correct or original form, thereby making it less valuable. In this case, whatever “principles” Satan corrupted, rendered them not only less valuable, but lethal—they brought death into existence.

So then what are the “corrupting principles,” the “policy-working” Satan began in heaven with which he has been corrupting “every earthly empire” and even the “churches”? What is he deceiving us about “from the beginning to the ending” and how is he doing it? What does “violence” have to do with it? The answers can be found in the Garden of Eden. Have we ever considered that per- haps the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil has something to do with it?

Ultimately, the focus of Satan’s attack is God. Satan has painted God as a harsh, stern, vindictive, retributive, tyrannical, punishing, arbitrary and murderous tyrant. That picture of God is as far from the truth as possible. What Satan has done is project his own character attributes and “corrupting principles” onto God—and we must not be fooled by this ruse. The Devil knows that if we come to know the truth about God, he is likely to lose this battle for our hearts and minds, and we just might fall in love with the Creator.

Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” When we look to Jesus we can see the true God, and then we can be His true witnesses.

‘You are My witnesses,’ says the Lord, ‘And My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me’ (Isaiah 43:10).

‘I have declared and saved, I have proclaimed, and there was no foreign god among you; Therefore you are my witnesses,’ says the Lord, ‘that I am God’ (Isaiah 43:12).

‘Do not fear, nor be afraid; Have I not told you from that time, and declared it? You are my witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one’ (Isaiah 44:8).

Satan is the enemy of God and man. He has lied to us about God. But not all is lost—we can still know God as He truly is. And this knowledge will deliver us from the enemy’s power. So what do you think—is this worth investigating?

As we embark on this exploration we ask that you keep your mind open. Perhaps you have never heard this war told from this point of view. Or perhaps you yourself have studied this extensively and have already formed strong opinions on this topic. We are not asking that you take everything we say as the final word. Like you, we are struggling to find answers. All we ask is that you simply weigh this evidence.

This is the ultimate “who done it” case because it is God Himself who is on trial in this trial that is taking place in the courtroom of each of our hearts. It is our hope that a comprehensive analysis of the crime scenes and evidence will provide the reader with an overall picture of the issues in this trial, while at the same time answering some very specific questions. What emerges will shed great light on the characters of both God and Satan, and on the nature of Satan’s rebellion. Our aim is to exonerate God of all false accusations and lies His enemy has brought against Him, because the question is, have we been lied to? Is God a killer?