God had a Plan. God’s Plan was to create a perfect world. God’s Plan was to create a perfect world, and then set humanity at the center, in order to live in perfect communion with Him. Humanity had a special relationship with God and the world. Humanity was to the world as God was to humanity. Humans had a dominion over the earth, but not like we might think. Humans had dominion over the earth, not to rule over it, but to take care of it. God wanted humanity to love and care for the world as He did them.
God created us in His image, to be like Him in the world. Satan sought to destroy that by enticing humanity away from God. He did that by tempting Adam and Eve to separate from God, and become their own god’s. It was creative trick.
God made Adam and Eve to be like Him, to have a relationship with the world as He did with them. Adam and Eve were already like God in the world. But their God-likeness was not given to them in separation from God. It was given to them in connection and communion with God. God walked with them in the garden, in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8).
God created the world as a place of communion, between Him and Humanity. The whole purpose and Plan of God was communion with his creation, especially humans, the creatures most like Him. Satan’s Plan was to destroy that communion, so that he could have dominion over the world. Satan had already tried and failed to assert his dominion in heaven. He was still stinging from the defeat when he entered Eden with a new Plan. He still wanted to rule somewhere. If not heaven, why not earth.
But there was a problem. God created humanity to rule the earth. For Satan to rule the earth, he needed to have dominion over humanity. But there was another problem. Humanity exercised their dominion over the earth in communion with God. Satan had already lost to God. Satan knew he wouldn’t win another fight where God was involved. In order to gain dominion over humanity, so he could have dominion over the earth, Satan needed to separate humanity from God.
Satan’s first move was to entice Adam and Eve to disconnect from God. To do that, he offered Adam and Eve what he wanted for himself, to be God. Once Adam and Eve were disconnected from God, they were easy prey for Satan and his Plan. With God out of the way, Satan could use and usurp humanities dominion over the world for his own. Satan could rule through humanity on the earth, making it into his kingdom.
But there was still another problem. On the very cusp of Satan’s Plan succeeding, the seeds of its defeat were sown by God in His judgement of Satan. That judgement was;
“And I will make enemies of you and the woman, and of your offspring and her Descendant; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise Him on the heal” (Genesis 3:15).
In this judgement, God mentioned Satan’s “offspring.” Satan’s original Plan was to remake humanity in his own image, to trick them into trying to be their own gods, so he could be their god in the world. John stated that the whole world lies under the power of Satan, and Paul actually calls Satan “the god of this world” (1 John 5:19, 2 Corinthians 4:4). God also mentions that a “Descendant” of humanity will eventually come to defeat Satan’s Plan. God is telling Satan, “You won for now, but you won’t get away with it forever. You may have won this battle, but I’m going to win the war.”
Satan had a Plan. His Plan was to be the god of this world, by separating humanity from God so that he could rule the earth through them. Satan’s Plan succeeded. But in the moment of its success, God came up with a counter Plan. That counter Plan was Jesus.
Now, Satan needed a new Plan, to counter God’s new Plan. God’s new Plan was to reconnect humanity back to Him through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Satan’s new Plan was to counter that new connection. God’s new Plan was to be carried out by the Church. Satan’s new Plan was to create a counterfeit Church, that would look like the Church, but not have the true power of the Church. Satan had already successfully separated humanity from God once. He would have to do it again.
Satan had time to craft and fine-tune his new Plan. When the time was right for Jesus, the time would be right for Satan as well. But just like the first time, God would be ready to thwart Satan all over again.
Satan always has a Plan. God always has a counter Plan. Every move of Satan against God, God turns back into a counter move of His people. God uses Satan’s plans against him, to accomplish God’s great purpose. As bright as light is, it shines even more brightly in contrast to the darkness. The battle between darkness and light is ever on going. The light has shown out into the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5). It cannot. It never will.
Still, Satan has his Plan. Satan has his counter Plan. The Plan and the counter Plan are one in the same; to disconnect humanity from God. That Plan is;
One Leader, One Church, One Truth
God’s counter Plan through Jesus and the Holy Spirit is The Church. Satan’s counter Plan was to infiltrate the Church in order to attack it from within. Satan’s counter Plan was a counterfeit Church, nestled discreetly within the true Church, in order to gain dominion over the Church, in order to persecute it from within. To do that, Satan needed to separate the Church from its true Head, in order to establish a secondary head.
The true head of the Church is Christ. The true power of the Church is the Holy Spirit. The true Father of the Church is God. Satan wanted to control the Church through a false head. Satan wanted to control the Church through a false power. Satan wanted to place himself as a false father over the Church. The first step in that Plan was; One Leader.
It would have been impossible for Satan to effectively separate every single member of every local church from the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. He might work long and hard to infiltrate and separate some in the Church from the Holy Spirit, but as soon as he did, all the others still filled by the Spirit would be able to see that attack, and separate from it. We see the first Church doing this. We see the first Church recognizing the attacks of Satan from within, from errant members whom Satan had been able to win over to his side.
The function of the Church in the first few centuries was to disciple individuals into the Holy Spirit. Every mature member of every church (what Paul called Elders and Deacons) was well equipped to discern and develop the less mature members into the life of the Spirit. As a result, the process of discipleship created a constant vigilance towards the spiritual development of individuals, and against their possible derailment by the counter Plan of Satan. If a member of a church was being enticed away from God, there was a multiplicity of mature Elders and Deacons who could spot it and correct it. Even if Satan happened to entice a more mature member away from God, there was a multiplicity of other mature Elders and Deacons who could spot and correct it.
In the proper organization of the Church by Jesus and Paul, it was impossible for Satan to infiltrate and derail the counter Plan of God to reconnect all of humanity back to Himself through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. What Satan needed, in his counter Plan, was to attack, not just individual Christians, but the heart of the way the Church was organized. To do that, he needed to do one thing most of all. He needed to change the organization of the Church from a multiplicity of mature spiritual leaders to the singularity of One Leader. If he could do that, then he wouldn’t need to worry about wrangling for the control of a church with all its mature and maturing members. He would only need to contend with One.
It was clever Plan. Even if it would be hard for Satan to wrangle that One Leader away from the leading of the Holy Spirit, it would still be much more achievable than trying to wrangle with a multiplicity of mature leaders over a local church body.
The first step of Satan’s Plan was to improve his odds of infiltrating the Church. Instead of being a hundred to one, he wanted to make it one to one. Those were much better odds. The first step of Satan’s Plan was evening the odds. He needed to even the odds in his favor. That’s exactly what he did.