“I want equality with God”

Jesus “did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,” Philippians 2:6. But Adam thought it was. Offered the chance, and the excuse, to “be like God” he grabbed it, Genesis 3:5.

But why? What did he hope to gain by it? He had no idea what being equal with God was like, except what the serpent told him, that he’d gain some sort of special knowledge from it. But why was it so important to have this special knowledge? Adam and Eve had no clue, but it didn’t matter. They were so excited by the chance to be equal with God that nothing else mattered, even the risk of dying.

Was this the serpent’s problem too, then? Scripture certainly hints at that, in Ezekiel 28:13. “You were in Eden, the garden of God,” a “guardian cherub” (verses 14, 16), “the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty” (verse 12). And that became his problem, verse 17: “Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendour.” And once his wisdom was corrupted by his pride, he got some really big (and stupid) ideas about himself, Isaiah 14:14. “I will ascend above the tops of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.” And he certainly didn’t mean “like God” in God’s good qualities. He meant like God in authority and power.

The last thing the serpent wanted for Adam and Eve, then, was for them to “see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). There is a being who truly IS “like God”, and that’s Christ, but instead of that making him want God’s power and authority, he “humbled himself” to his Father’s will, including “being obedient to death – even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8).

And Satan wants to blind people to that, that the one being who truly is like God DIDN’T seek to be equal with him (same verse). The devil even tried to get Christ to disobey his Father, but Jesus would have none of it: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only,” Jesus told him, Matthew 4:10.

Jesus, who WAS equal with God, gave up his position of equal power and authority to die, obey his Father’s will and worship God. Lucifer, meanwhile, wasn’t equal with God, but gave up all he had to be equal. He failed. He failed to tempt Jesus into wanting to be equal too. So who does he turn on next? Those other beings God created in his likeness. He wants us now saying, “I want equality with God.”

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