God existed from all eternity. He was perfectly self-sufficient and lacked nothing. However, because He embodied infinite love, He desired to reach out and share that perfect love with other beings.
Accordingly, at some point in prehistory, God created angels. These beings were powerful spirits meant to live with Him and enjoy heaven forever.
One of the most splendid of these angels was Lucifer. His name means “Light-bearer”. Lucifer was very proud, beautiful and powerful. He decided to overthrow his Creator and rule heaven himself. He must have had a charismatic personality, because he persuaded many other angels to follow him. Lucifer started a fierce war in heaven.
In command of the army of good angels was the mighty archangel, Michael. The battle was won by Michael and the good angels. Lucifer was thrown out of the heavenly kingdom. He lost his angelic beauty, and became a devil. His name was changed to Satan, meaning “the accuser” or “the adversary”.
Jesus describes what happened in Luke 10:18. ” He (Jesus) said to them, “I watched Satan falling from heaven like lightning.”
God created a sea of fire and Satan and his followers were thrown into it. They were to suffer forever for their pride and disobedience.
Sometime after this, God created the earth and all it contains. As the crown of this creative effort, God created humans. He placed a man and a woman, whom He had made in His image and likeness, on the beautiful earth. They were given dominion over all they surveyed.
They had only one restriction. God ordered them not to eat the fruit of a certain tree that grew in the center of the exotic garden where they lived.
Meanwhile, down in the sea of fire, known as hell, Satan and his cohorts were consumed with rage and jealousy. These new creatures would be taking over their places in heaven, while they suffered agony on the fiery sea.
Satan asked God to be allowed to tempt these humans. If they disobeyed, they would join the bad angels in hell, but if they were loyal to God, they would gain heaven.
Using his charismatic personality, Satan, in the form of a snake, persuaded the woman to taste the forbidden fruit. She ate it and gave some to the man and he ate also. We know how the story ended.
The humans were expelled from the beautiful garden. From then on, they had to work to live, they were subject to sickness, death, natural disasters and other evils which they had brought on by their disobedience. However, God still loved them and promised to send a Savior.
Satan and his cohorts were allowed to continue to tempt humans to turn away from God and sin, until the end of time. Those who follow Satan’s promptings will join him in hell for eternity. Those who remain faithful to God will join Him in heaven.
God, who exists outside of time, knows what our ultimate destinations will be, but He is all-just. He respects our independence and free will. We are given the opportunity to choose. We can either follow His laws or choose to disobey.
God sends no one to hell. If we end up there, it will be because we have chosen to listen to Satan or one of the bad angels and knowingly and willingly commit serious sin.
As for Satan, he has only been granted a temporary reprieve. At the end of time, he, his cohorts and humans who have chosen to obey his promptings, will end up where they belong, in hell for all eternity.