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The Fall: What was Satan After?

"The Fall of Man"

by Glenn Stanton

It is no secret that Satan hates God – hates Him with all of his being. It would be an understatement to say Satan is consumed with hatred. From the beginning of creation, he wanted to sabotage God’s plan for creation because of this jealous hatred. His devious scheme involved leading humanity astray through an act of rebellion against God.

Satan could have approached Adam directly after the man received basic direction about the tree and not eating its fruit. Easier to mislead one than two, right? However, misleading one human is not what Satan was really after. We know what he was after if we consider what we’ve learned about God and man thus far through our journey through The Family Project.

Satan is interested not just in getting a human to disobey God, but – more meaningfully and profoundly – in attacking the human couple because of what they represent. Note that “the eyes of both were opened” after they had eaten the fruit. They were created, blessed and commanded as a couple – and they were tempted and fell as a couple.

This is what Satan is attacking, as illustrated in a remarkable and curious painting William Blake created for a collection of illustrations in Milton’s Paradise Lost. Look closey at Satan Watching the Caresses of Adam and Eve and reflect on what you are seeing:


Satan is looking upon Adam and Eve, and as he gazes upon this married couple and the love they share, he knows precisely what he is looking at. Anyone who knows the Christian story knows what this union represents.

Satan cannot miss what this couple is a physical, fleshly picture of: Adam and Eve, in their loving union, are the only things in creation that remind Satan of God! He knows that if he can destroy this couple, he is attacking something very significant and meaningful to God. Actually, something divine. In fact, given what this couple – and all married couples – represents, Satan knows that in a very real sense, he is attacking God Himself.

The attack is planned, executed, and regrettably successful. The result?

Devastation. Utter devastation. And that is what we will study next.

Learn more about God’s irreplaceable design in The Family Project® – a 12-session DVD curriculum that explores why God’s plan for families matters today. Take your small group on a life-changing journey to strengthen and encourage families! Get The Family Project® curriculum today.

Glenn Stanton is the director of global family formation studies at Focus on the Family, and the co-author/co-creator of The Family Project, as well as the co-author (w/Leon Wirth) of The Family Project book.

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