Did God use physical force to cast Lucifer out of Heaven?
Someone says: We know that Lucifer and his angels did not war with themselves and then kick themselves out of heaven.
Those who do not really believe that God's love is infinite and that He never changes by so much as a hair's breadth, will argue that there was a limit to His patience and when that was exhausted with Lucifer, He turned to active warfare to run him out of Heaven. Their proof text is Revelation 12:7-9:
"And there was war in Heaven: Michael and His angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in Heaven, and the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world."
To millions, these words have pictured an intense physical struggle between the forces loyal to Heaven and the rebels. It has been seen as a conflict involving the use of physical power versus physical power. Great artists have portrayed Christ at the head of hordes of shining angels standing with an unsheathed sword before which Lucifer is plunging downwards into the darkness of empty space.
But this is a superficial and inaccurate view of the nature of the stuggle. It is a view consequent with the practice of seeing God's behaviour as being identical to man's. There was war in Heaven, it is true, but not war as men fight. Satan was cast out, but it was God's way of doing it, not man's.
"God could have destroyed Satan and his sympathizers as easily as one can cast a pebble to the earth; but He did not do this. Rebellion was not to be overcome by force. Compelling power is found only under Satan's government. The Lord's principles are not of this order. His authority rests upon goodness, mercy and love; and the presentation of these principles are the means to be used. God's government is moral, and truth and love are to be the prevailing power." Desire of Ages, p.759.
In that struggle then, God did not use force. This weapon is never found in His Kingdom but only in that of Satan's. Therefore, it was by another way that Satan was cast out of Heaven, never to return. God fought with none other than the weapons consistent with His Kingdom. It is difficult for sinful man to understand the nature of those weapons for they are so foreign to his experience and nature.
The struggle in Heaven was a very real one nonetheless. It was war, a total effort on Satan's part to change the entire structure of Heaven's order and organization. In order to succeed, he needed to convert the angels' allegiance away from God to himself. At that time the only sword Satan could use was that of deception, against which God used only the weapon of truth. The battle raged on over a considerable time span until the point was reached where the devil had penetrated as far as he could. Each angel had made his choice with sufficient numbers standing for the truth to enable God to maintain His position as Protector of the heavenly hosts. With God's continued presence assured, there was no hope of the proposed new order being established. The old and proven order would remain. But Satan's deformation had brought him into such disharmony with those principles that he found it impossible to remain where they continued to operate. To him, Heaven had become a place that was foreign, unacceptable, and unendurable, and he could not leave it quickly enough.
It was the truth of God which drove him out, not the use of any kind of physical force. The same reason for Satan's leaving Heaven is the reason why the wicked would never be happy if they were to go there. They would not be able to tolerate the place and would want to leave it as soon as possible. They would be driven out by their sheer unfitness to remain:
"Could those whose lives have been spent in rebellion against God be suddenly transported to Heaven, and witness the high, the holy state of perfection that ever exists there, every soul filled with love, every countenance beaming with joy, enrapturing music in melodious strains rising in honor to God and the Lamb, and ceaseless streams of light flowing upon the redeemed from the face of Him who sits upon the throne,--could those whose hearts are filled with hatred of God, of truth and holiness, mingle with the heavenly throng and join their songs of praise? Could they endure the glory of God and the Lamb? No, no; years of probation were granted them, that they might form characters for Heaven; but they have never trained the mind to love purity; they have never learned the language of Heaven, and now it is too late. A life of rebellion has unfitted them for Heaven. Its purity, holiness, and peace would be torture to them; the glory of God would be a consuming fire. They would long to flee from that holy place. They would welcome destruction, that they might be hidden from the face of Him who died to redeem them. The destiny of the wicked is fixed by their own choice. Their exclusion from Heaven is voluntary with themselves, and just and merciful on the part of God." The Great Controversy, 542,543.
Confirmation of this is already available. The worldly and ungodly today find that the society of true Christians engaged in devoted worship of God is intolerable to them and they desire only to leave such society. They are happier elsewhere. Satan's rejection of the ways and principles of God in exchange for other pursuits so worked changes in him that he could no longer suffer its holy atmosphere. Being there was such torture to his deranged nature that he had to go and go he did.
As Pharaoh's heart was hardened by his continual resistance of God's efforts to save him, so Lucifer's whole being was warped by his fighting off God's loving efforts to draw him and his followers back from the abyss into which their steps were surely taking them. This is how Satan was driven from Heaven, not by God directly driving him out, but by His efforts to save him.
"My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8,9.