Scripture makes it clear that our enemy, the Devil, is not to be taken lightly. Although we should not fear, we should understand the real danger that he embodies. But like all evil, that leaves some with a deeper question about God’s goodness. Why would God allow such an evil and dangerous being to exist in the first place, knowing the problems he would cause? Why did God create Satan?
Freedom to Choose
Keep in mind that God did not create Satan as evil. According to scripture, the Devil was once an angelic being who wanted to be like God and chose to rebel. It’s a tale as old as time. Much like the problem of evil for humans, the power of free will applies here as well. The great good of choosing to follow God must have the possibility of choosing to reject and rebel from him. It seems that God saw fit to give the angels the same choices that he gave us. It just so happens that their capability for evil is much greater than ours.
Although God did not cause Satan to fall, he knew and allowed it to happen. As always, “Why did God…” questions often lack detailed or satisfactory answers. But clearly, God saw fit to let Satan prowl, just like he allows all evil. Perhaps he allows it because, through Satan, God demonstrates his glory even more. Consider how different the gospels would be without the temptations of Jesus. How much sweeter is the victory on Easter knowing that death and the Devil lost that day.
Of course, the book of Job provides a great example of this as well. By allowing Satan to exist and interfere, God creates opportunities to reveal himself, demonstrate his character, and help us grow. The book also reveals something else about Satan, that he is restrained. Although he obviously has power here on Earth, Satan is not some raging beast that God cannot control. As difficult as our trials and temptations may be, nothing takes God by surprise. Nothing the Devil does is beyond God’s ability to save us. That may not always seem like enough in the midst of our struggles, but it reminds us that we have help.
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