Reading God's judgement on Adam & Eve and Satan would allow us to see and understand that Satan had done something in excess that merited not just a punishment but a "curse".

We can see from the Book of Job, God sets the limits on what Satan was allowed to do.

Job 1:8-12 New International Version (NIV)

8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

We can see from Book of Job, God sets limits to what Satan can do, otherwise as St.Augustine said if God had given Satan a freehand no man shall be alive.

So, back in the Garden of Eden, surely Satan under God's permissive Will had given access to tempt Adam & Eve but the judgment of God implied not just a punishment but a curse towward Satan action, which basing on the Book of Job should not be the case as Satan is clearly instructed on the limits.

God's judgment or the "cursed punishment" goes like this;

So the LORD God said to the serpent: “BECAUSE YOU HAVE DONE THIS, Cursed are you above all livestock, and every beast of the field! On your belly will you go, and dust you will eat, all the days of your life. (Genesis3:14)

My question is, what is the meaning or the so called overly done action does the serpent had committed for God to said the words "BECAUSE YOU HAVE DONE THIS"?

My impression is, if Satan just followed the limits of whatever God's instructions had given to him in tempting Adam & Eve, satan would have not merited a "curse".

I'm looking for a Catholic perspective although a biblical explanations from Christian faith would also be helpful.

  • What is your basis for believing that God gave Satan permission to tempt Adam and Eve ?
    – Kris
    Jul 26, 2018 at 12:19
  • 1
    There is no such thing as God's permissive will. christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/62991/…
    – Grasper
    Jul 26, 2018 at 13:11
  • @There is a "permissive Will" reflect on Psalm103:24, Psalm110:2.The Will of God made and governs all things. Only a Marian type soul who yearn for contemplation can see the mystery word in Genesis3.There is a mystery word there that does not comes from God command.God gave only a single command and so Adam & Eve had no excuse to forget it. The mystery Word was spoken by Eve but it originates from the mouth of the serpent. The mystery word had tricked Eve, satan devise a cunning word and subtle suggestions and show it to Eve first. Thats the excess action. Godbless Jul 26, 2018 at 20:46
  • @Kris I already show reference verse in Book of Job, Satan dared God to allow him to strike Job to test if he can still be faithful after the trials.So, God said " “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” It's very clear satan must not harm Job. Remember satan hates us 101% and without God setting limits as St.Augustine said we will all be dead, because satan still possessed a superb power that he can exercise over us. Jul 26, 2018 at 20:57
  • 1
    Perhaps at that point, Satan had not yet learned that his free will was a gift from God and not omnipotence. So he acted without asking God the way he asked in Job. Just speculating.
    – WGroleau
    Aug 6, 2018 at 13:30

4 Answers 4


No one can ever do anything God does not permit

That is what is meant by God's "permissive" will. God's permissive will exists in cosmologies wherein God's sustaining presence is such that without God's present sustaining action literally nothing would happen. Rocks would not fall, people would not be able to move their arms, the earth may or may not (depending on theologian) continue to possess any sort of physical extent or even exist at all, etc. Literally everything that happens, in this view, must be actively allowed by God because were it not the will of God, permissively, then it could not happen.

Therefore, it is not correct to say that Satan took (or could take) any action God did not or would not permit, but rather and only that Satan did something contrary to the active will of God (viz. the sort of thing God would say He willed/wanted if you asked Him), that is, something which offended God.

Given, then, that there is no sort of 'special' sin being committed here (nor could there be; sin may be greater or lesser in gravity but it is all the same sort of stuff), the apparent difficulty is removed: the 'curse' is no different than any other sort of God-imposed punishment for sin, special in the case of Adam and Eve only in that prior to it they had not yet sinned, and not notable in the case of Satan any more than any other of his multitudinous iniquities. To ask what the 'this' in 'because you have done this' is is merely to ask what Satan did prior to the statement which was morally wrong, which is pretty evident in the text.

  • @Dark Wanderer you mentioned "Satan did something contrary to the "active will of God". This is a good hint, as the way I see it Satan had done against what is not allowed, Satan goes beyong the limits of God's Permissive Will. I'm still looking for answer with regards to what kind of action did the serpent overly done.Thanks for your input. Jul 26, 2018 at 22:59

Let's consider a different analogy. When Judas set in his heart to betray the Son of God. Jesus said to Judas the following:

And after the sop Satan entered into him [Judas]. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. (John 13:27)

In this act, Jesus gave Judas His permissive will, so to speak. However, it does not absolve Judas of his actions. After betraying Jesus, Judas felt the weight of his guilt, he said "I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood." (Matt 27:4)

So to bring it back to Satan, what it is that he has done to warrant a curse? He has cause the whole human race to sin, and has trapped them under the curse of death.

And what was the purpose this curse? Within this curse is the promise of grace for man, and the plan of salvation, foretelling the ultimate defeat of Satan by Jesus.

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)

  • Great example, but what would satan name means if he will not be adversarial to Adam & Eve, I mean his actions to tempt is within his fallen nature, he was envious of men state, so his fury and hatred is really towards destroying man's relationship with God, but, it has limits set by God as in Book of Job,satan followed God set limits and we never heard God punished him for unleashing his evil acts on Job. Aug 9, 2018 at 20:49
  • Thank you. But no punishment? Satan's punishment will be all at the end. First he will be bound in "prison" for one thousand years for "deceiving the nations" Rev 20:2-3, 20:7. After, he will be cast into the lake of fire, Rev 20:10. Satan, the accuser of our people, will be judged for his murderous intentions. God even says in Ezekiel 28:16, "I will destroy you, O covering cherub".
    – Beestocks
    Aug 9, 2018 at 21:19
  • @Besstocks I mean God did not "cursed" Job who surely did more damages to Job compare to Eve who just being tempted to eat a fruit...although it's effect is universal. Aug 9, 2018 at 21:26

I think that Dark Wanderer answers the specifics about God's will nicely. But in response to your comments, it seems like you are more curious about what was Satan's "sin". Lets look closely at the text!

gen 3:1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

He asks Eve a question. In this question he purposely mis represents the command of God as being burdensome. As if it were unfair and restrictive. "You cant eat from ANY of these trees??!?"

The Woman responds doing her best to clarify the situation.

gen 3:2-3 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”

She does pretty well, sticking up for God and declaring his previous command, she makes a small mistake in adding that they shall not touch it, which God did not say.

Now the serpent reveals his TRUE NATURE.

Gen 3:4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die."

This is it. This is Satan's sin. He LIES to Eve, speaking contrary to the Word of God. Purposely deceiving the woman that she should sin agains God, and die.

The commandment says

Exodus 20:16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Satan bore false witness against GOD himself, saying "Has god really said?" causing doubt of his word, and then flat out telling the lie, "You shall not surely die".

Lying is an abomination to God, because he is Truth.

Jesus confirms that Satan is the father of lies in John 8

John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

He was a Murderer and a Liar from the beginning, hence his lying to Eve so that she should die from God's curse.

It is Characteristic of Satan to deceive people against God's word.In the hope that they should die from their sins. Even sometimes using the scriptures. You can look at Matt 4 Jesus temptation in the desert to see more.

I hope this helps!

  • L1R Satan was allowed to enter in the garden to tried & tempt Adam & Eve for the perfection of their virtue. Satan acting as adversary or lying to Eve is he's role as a cunning and devise sublte traps. Are you saying that God "cursed satan" for doing he's role as adversarial to Eve? Is that what you called 'sin of satan" that God describes in his sentenced in Genesis3:14 "because you have done this"...Do you think satan tempting Eve merit a curse? by just doing his role?And second, satan saying "you will not surely die on touching it ".Did satan showed it first for Eve to believe his words? Aug 6, 2018 at 18:09
  • L1R I think the Genesis3:14 if we follow your answer that "Satan bore false witness against GOD himself, saying "Has god really said?" causing doubt of his word, and then flat out telling the lie, "You shall not surely die". This is it. This is Satan's sin. He LIES to Eve, speaking contrary to the Word of God. Purposely deceiving the woman that she should sin agains God, and die.The Genesis sentenced will be like this "because you have SPOKEN this" and not "because you have DONE this". Aug 6, 2018 at 18:40

The Quick Answer: Satan was allowed to tempt, but he would have been previously warned that if his temptation succeeded he would be cursed. Because his sin was almost as vicious as the resurrection of Christ was virtuous.

The Exhaustive Answer:

God allows us to choose, he sets before us evil and good, and allows us to choose. But if we choose foolishly, he will punish us, and the punishment fits the crime.

Gospel of St. Matthew 26:21-25

21 And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” 22 They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?” 23 Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” 25 Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?” Jesus answered, “You have said so.”

According to Catholic exorcists, and I'll specifically mention Fr. Ripperger who is the founder of the Order of Traditional Exorcists, demons are allowed to tempt but if they succeed in the temptation they will increase their misery on the last day. The satisfaction is immediate but pain is on schedual.

Regarding as to why Satan was punished immediatly, and a curse is a kind of punishment, instead of being punished later we can find an answer in the gravity of the sin. Satan, by sinning in such a manner, usurped the kingship over this natural world. Because of him, "death entered into the world."(Wisdom 2:24) In other words, the dominion given to Adam and Eve over this world was in part forfeited by Adam and Eve themselves and given to Satan, he became a partaker of this natural world and thus himself was in a sense chained by this contract and punished before the hour just as our first parents were punished immediatly and also later. We of course know that Jesus Christ is also subjected to this natural world, but willingly so, as he can break the chaines if he so desires but does not do so, because God is not a liar nor a cheater.

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Gospel of St. John 12:31

31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.

Gospel of St. Matthew 16:18-19

18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Gospel of St. Matthew 28:18-20

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Acts of the Apostles 17:29-31

29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

We can thus see that this war behaves like a turf war, Satan has been dethroned legally, and now God according to his wisdom is taking back the Earth with Jesus Christ as new Adam and with the Blessed Virgin as new Eve. When in the past the positions were shared between Satan and Adam, and according to tradition Lilith and Eve.

  • @Destination Y "Satan was allowed to tempt, but he would have been previously warned that if his temptation succeeded he would be cursed".your initial statement do you have a source who said this?If that is the case with satan, God would be restricting the "freewill" of satan and the temptation that satan would do is a weak trap for him to avoid a severe punishment.I'm confused with your answer.,would you kindly explain a bit.thanks. Aug 9, 2018 at 20:56
  • I do not have a direct source for what you asked, but I am working from the principle that God doesn't hide consequences from angels since their testing is not contingent on knowledge like ours. The angels choosing with full knowledge, as St. Thomas Aquinas explained, they aren't subject to severely faulty information like us. So naturally God would have explained the ground rules or infused the knowledge in the angels. There is also the testimony of exorcismes where demons will admit this fact. Satan did not trap us to avoid punishment, he trapped us to defy God and he reaped the fruits. Aug 9, 2018 at 21:40

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