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According to Dante, in his Divine Comedy (Inferno), the fall of Satan caused a geological upheaval. The Devil fell on his head in the Southern Hemisphere, causing the lands to the south to rise to the north and to the south to form the Mountain of Purgatory. Dante also said that the fall of Satan formed Hell in the center of the Earth.

The Gap Theory is a vision that tries to interconnect the great eras of the geological column of evolution with the biblical timeline, inserting the 14 billion years and the long prehistoric periods. Furthermore, Gap theorists mostly believe that the fall of Satan and his fallen angels to Earth wiped out the dinosaurs (about 65 million years ago - Cretaceous Period). Only after that period did God "recreate" the Earth in 6 literal days (about 6,000 years ago).

My question is whether the Bible really teaches that Satan fell from Heaven in this catastrophic way to Earth, whether the "fall" just means that he fell from his position in Heaven, or is it both alternatives.

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    In addition to the material in Revelation, a good answer would also mention Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28, and Luke 10:18. Jul 6, 2023 at 2:57
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    – agarza
    Jul 6, 2023 at 3:36
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    Satan does not have a physical body. Dante is not a valid source of spiritual information. I am voting to close this question is being a matter of opinion.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 6, 2023 at 4:39
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    Felipe, welcome to the site. Please read the Tour of Christianity.SE and How do I format my posts using Markdown or HTML?. Jul 6, 2023 at 12:50
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    @NigelJ, Dante (fictional novel) and the Gap Theory (serious doctrine) are given as specific examples of where this event is interpreted as a literal physical fall. There is no implication as to their truth. The question is strictly about what the Bible says. ¶ This wasn't as clear as it could have been in the question, as the OP is a new contributor and used indentation to start paragraphs, which the mark-down formatter ignored. Other than the formatting, this seems like a reasonable question asking for scriptural support for interpreting this event. (Perhaps more appropriate for H.SE.) Jul 6, 2023 at 12:53

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First, let's clarify what the Bible means by "heaven" which has 2 senses:

Satan was "pushed" by God from the Heaven proper (not the sky) to earth, where now he is the prince of the world (2 Cor 4:4). So yes, the "fall" of Satan is literal, although the Bible is silent as to the physical effects described in Dante's Divine Comedy which should be interpreted and consumed by Christians as a great religious epic poetry, not as authoritative theology and history of Satan. We should be careful to interpret the symbolisms and the imaginations in that classic work.

What the Bible DOES teach about Satan's "fall" is well described in this GotQuestions article How, why, and when did Satan fall from heaven? citing Isa 14:12-15, Eze 28:12-18, Luke 10:18, Job 38:4-7, and Gen 3:1-14. The proper starting point is what Jesus says in Luke 10:18: "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven", and the time can be inferred to before Satan tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden. But:

Whether Satan’s fall occurred hours, days, or years before he tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden, Scripture does not say.

thus the Bible leaves to speculation about how we can fit Satan's fall in the Gap Theory which in itself may not be true.

Conclusion

Yes, the Bible teaches that it was a literal "fall" from Heaven (as the abode of God, not the sky), although the fall was not physical since Satan is an angel. As for the physical effects of this fall, Bible is silent on whether there was a catastrophic geological upheaval because the Bible focuses on spiritual truths for our salvation.

Yes, Hades / Sheol is imagined in Biblical cosmology to be located as physical "underworld" (and this imagery was extended by Dante as the center of the earth), but the proper theological interpretation is that Hades is a spiritual "place" of the dead for the OT people, to be distinguished from the future Hell (a.k.a Lake of Fire, Gehenna, the place for punishment after the Last Judgment), which will also be the future home of Satan and his minions.

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  • Thanks for the reply brother. God bless you! Jul 6, 2023 at 13:52
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Fall of Satan I did my college thesis on the Fall of Satan, because it is important in establishing the Lordship of Christ over the world in the Kingdom of God! You picked a good topic.

First, the alleged "Gap theory" underwritten by the Scofield Reference Bible, is an imaginary theory promoted by the Dispensational sect. It was not traditional orthodoxy, but promoted by a young 28 year old man in England in 1928. (See Tim LaHaye, No Fear of the Storm; Scofield Reference Bible, 1919.)

Old Testament Then notice that in the Old Testament, Satan is pictured as having entrance into the Presence of God on several occasions: He is maligning Job, he is opposing the High Priest during the exile, etc. And in the New Testament, he even dares to tempt the Incarnated God, Jesus!

But with the spiritual ministry of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit, there is a change:

The seventy-two (disciples) returned with joy and said, "Lord, even the demons submit to us in your Name!" Jesus replied, "I was seeing Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy... (Luke 10:17-19)

The tense of the verb here showed that Jesus was having a spiritual vision of a real occurence. Satan was being cast out of his privileged position, such that now even disciples of Christ had authority over him! This power was reiterated in Mark 16:15-18. (Even if this passage was not part of the original manuscript, it showed the intent, practice, and interpretation of the Early Church leaders.)

Jesus in Control The Bible clearly describes Jesus as having all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18) and raised from the dead and seated at the right hand of the heavenly realm, far above all rule and authority, power, and dominion (Ephesians 1:20-21). There is room for only one power in heaven...and it isn't Satanic!

Misinterpretations Many are misled by modern interpreters concerning some O.T. passages. For example, Isaiah 14:12-16. Some say this fall of Lucifer referred to Satan. But the Bible itself interpreted this fall as that of a "man", the king of Babylon! Anyone who has studied ancient Eastern cultural languages concerning royalty realized their use of lofty, divine, exalted imagery. This passage is expected for a description of that king...and his downfall and conquering. It is not a reference to Satan. Modern Western readers mistake the verbage. Reading books on ancient culture, and archaeology, and ancient religions, would clear this up.

Ezekiel 28:1-10 is another passage of scripture that is misunderstood. The description of someone "who sits on the throne of god" and who "thinks he is as wise as a god," misleads modern readers into thinking this is Satan.

But here again, the scriptures interpret this for us. You are a man, and not a god and Son of man, say to the ruler of Tyre. Also, I am going to bring foreigners against you, the most ruthless of nations. There is no way these verses can be construed as referring to Satan. Much of this was propagated by the Scofield Bible, but it misleads bible students.

Satan Now So where is Satan now? Paul wrote: The god of this age has blinded the minds of those who believe not... (2 Corinthians 4:4) The Apostle also stated that we are to put on the full armor of God so we can withstand the wiles of the Devil, so this shows he is active on earth (Ephesians 6:11). He still has power to tempt, deceive, oppress (possess?) people on earth. But he does not have power to control any saint of God. And ministry in Jesus's Name brings deliverance to those bound or oppressed by him.

Conclusion Satan did not fall before Creation. There is no verse stating that. The Bible showed him having access to the throneroom of God throughout history. But the appearance of Jesus as Savior and Deliverer changed all that. Jesus said He saw Satan fall when the Gospel of the Kingdom was proclaimed by the disciples! This was a new era with a new absolute Ruler in the Heavens! Christ enthroned, Satan demoted!

Jesus Christ, who has gone into Heaven and is at God's right hand, with angels, authorities, and powers in submission to Him (1 Peter 3:22)

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    This is a great answer. Yes, the old interpretation, which you identified as Scofield's, may give way to an ANE and Second Temple informed interpretation. In light of that, you may want to review Dr. Michael Heiser's short article about When Did Satan Fall like Lightning. Jul 6, 2023 at 23:24
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    Targum Onkelos, 2nd century Aramaic has "and the earth was devastated and empty". In De Principiis, Origen in the 3rd century: "there were ages before our own". In De Sacramentis Christianae Fidei, twelfth century Hugo St. Victor: "Perhaps enough has already been debated about these matters thus far, if we add only this, 'how long did the world remain in this disorder before the regular re-ordering?'". Jul 7, 2023 at 2:38
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    These texts do not prove a gap in the first verses of Genesis, just an interpretation, right Ray? Or am I mistaken? Jul 7, 2023 at 15:43
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    @FelipeLigeiro-Correct! There is no gap stated by the Bible. It is an opinion by some sects to come up with long geological ages to match modern science beliefs. The Scofield Reference Bible was a main proponent of this opinion. (Neither he nor his followers were scientists.) And they try to thrown in a 'fall of Satan' there.
    – ray grant
    Jul 7, 2023 at 22:50
  • Thanks brother for the reply. God bless you! Jul 8, 2023 at 2:06

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