And he [Satan] led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the Devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours”
And Jesus answered and said to him,
It is written, You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.
A kingdom includes every living thing and every non-living thing in a certain geographic area above and below ground. Satan was offering Jesus possession of the entire earth. Satan was able to do this because everything had been handed over to him and who could be the giver except the original owner, God Himself.
But was it only the earth that was given to Satan? Scripture says:
For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
Athanasius interpreted the meaning of this passage:
“He has been manifested in a human body for this reason only, out of the love and goodness of His Father, for the salvation of us men. We will begin then, with the creation of the world and with God its Maker, for the first fact that you must grasp is this: the renewal of creation has been wrought by the Self-same Word Who made it in the beginning. There is thus no inconsistency between creation and salvation; for the One Father has employed the same Agent for both works, effecting the salvation of the world through the same Word Who made it in the beginning.”
It would appear that, at some point in time, Satan was given stewardship over all creation which he proceeded to corrupt. The substitutionary atonement was necessary and sufficient, not only to offer the great gift of salvation to mankind, but also to redeem all creation from the bondage of Satan. If so, here is a directionally correct scenario.
God created the universe with such precision that the slightest change in any one of its properties would preclude our existence and God designed the earth as a home for man. God placed certain powerful angels in charge of his creation and instructed them to be good stewards. Some angels began to oppose God under the leadership of Satan, the most powerful and intelligent of all rebellious angels. Satan exercises a pervasive, structural and diabolical influence, on whatever he touches, which caused all creation to be captured by the bondage of evil. That which God created as good began to exhibit a pain-ridden, bloodthirsty, sinister and hostile demeanor. “Mother Nature,” became an inherently violent and terrifying system dominated by disease, suffering and death – a system red in tooth and claw. Man had not yet been created.
God set aside some real estate for the Garden of Eden and restored it to its condition prior to Satan’s diabolical influence. He then created Adam and Eve to live in this Garden. In full view of all the angels in Heaven, Satan demanded unrestricted access to Adam and Eve and, although they were created sinless, Satan won them over. Evil had taken up residence in the soul of man, that particular evil called sin. The will, intellect and heart of Adam and Eve had been possessed and permeated by sin. But what about us, the descendants of Adam and Eve?
God is just. God does not impute to us the individual sins of Adam and Eve. But He knew it would be pointless to allow the offspring of Adam and Eve to be born sinless. He knew they would follow exactly the same path as their created ancestors. So He allowed the generations of Adam and Eve’s offspring to be born with a sin nature. We are all born corrupt, averse to God and inclined to evil. However, for this depraved nature we are not responsible and no guilt or demerit attaches to it. We become responsible for this sin nature only after attaining the age accountability and ratifying it as our own. The age of accountability is not the same for all persons and, for many, it may be very young indeed.
God knew, before the creation of the universe, that all this was going to happen. On one hand, God knew sin would prevent Him from fellowship with man; on the other hand, God knew He would love each individual unconditionally and would not want eternal separation to be the inevitable consequence of sin. But sin could not simply be overlooked; a price had to be paid for every crime. Unfortunately, if you and I paid the price for our own crimes, our souls would spend eternity in Hell. Before the universe began, God chose an incredible, astounding and magnificent solution to this dilemma. That solution was the incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. By this event, all creation would be redeemed from the bondage of evil and all mankind would be offered redemption from the bondage of sin.