When did Satan fall?
Satan did fall. Scripture gives eloquent testimony to this fateful event (Isa 14:12-16; Eze 28:12-17; Rev 12:7-9). These passages give powerful testimony to the destructiveness of pride, the cause of Satan’s fall. Formerly the preeminent creature of God, Satan is now God’s arch-enemy, unalterably destined for the lake of fire. Satan fell prior to the fall of our first parents. This is obvious, because in Genesis 3 he is already a creature opposed to the purposes of God. Thus he must already be fallen.
God has not told us when He created the angels. Gap theory believers also believe that God has not told us when He created “the heaven and the earth.” These believers view Genesis 1 as a refurbishment of a previously created and destroyed world. However, those who understand Genesis 1:2-31 as being the initial creation believe that the world was created about 6000 years ago. Either could be true. The human race, however, was created about 6000 years ago, as the two genealogies in Genesis do not allow for any other interpretation.
Regarding the creation, it seems evident that the angels were already in existence when this occurred. It is recorded that “ALL the sons of God [a title that is applied to angels – Job 1:6; 2:1] shouted for joy” at that auspicious event (Job 38:7). If we take that statement at face value, then it would seem that Satan (Lucifer) and the angels who rebelled with him (Rev 12) were unfallen at that time. Of course, we cannot rule out that the just-mentioned verse refers only to God’s faithful angels. However, this being a less straightforward reading of Job 38:7, we favor the former interpretation.
For those who hold to the gap theory, Satan could have fallen at any time during the gap. Many have posited that he did and, in doing so, filled the earth with awful things that eventually caused God’s judgment to fall, thus setting the stage for the refurbishment they feel exists in Genesis 1. However, if one is a young earth creationist, he or she would have to believe that Satan fell during the creation week or shortly thereafter. The writer leans strongly to the latter scenario.
The writer believes that Adam and Eve didn’t live long in innocence, most likely just days. The Bible does allow for a longer period. Adam was 130 years old when he fathered Seth (Gen 5:3), and even before this, Cain was already old enough to have a wife (Gen 4:17). Since our first parents had already been banished from the garden by the time of Cain’s birth, it is possible that they could have resided in the garden for 100 years or slightly longer. Consequently, the best answer we can offer is that Satan fell during the creation week or during the garden occupancy (which, as indicated, could have encompassed the first 100 years or so of human history). This conclusion seems reasonable and makes sense in another way. What could have been a greater enticement for Satan to rebel than the prospect of ruling over an intelligent creature (man) inferior to himself (an angel) and somehow achieving the goal of being worshipped by the human race?