The “Problem” of the Devil

Why did God create Satan, since God knew Satan would be evil?

Many skeptics bring up the “problem” of Satan’s existence when grappling with God’s existence. The disbelieving seem to think the one (Satan) negates the rationality of the other (God). Either that, or the skeptic holds that if God exists, then he is not as good as the Bible claims.

So, what’s the answer to these accusations? The answer is the exact opposite postulate. God’s revealed nature and behavior can provide reasonable solutions to this “problem.”

For continuity, let’s back up. God never violates a free will, once he has created it. A free will is a precious thing; the thing that makes up part of the image of God in man. It makes mankind relational instead of merely operational. In actuality, the Bible also indicates that Satan was not created as the “totally bent” being we now know him (Isaiah 14). Rather, Satan (or, Lucifer) was once one of the very chiefest of angels who apparently used the free will that God provided him; but, instead of using it for good, Lucifer used the gift of free will in selfishness and pride. He wanted God’s place. Thus, he started a rebellion and used his position of greatness to influence 1/3 of the angels to follow him in a rebellion (Rev. 12:14). From then on, Satan’s war is with God, and mankind is the battlefront in the ages-old question of: “is God worthy of worship and allegiance?”

Satan tempted mankind with the same selfish and prideful use of free will, instead of trust in and obedience to an all-good God. The result was mankind taking Satan’s advice and inadvertently crowing him as the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Also, man experiences estrangement from God in soul and circumstance and condemnation to eternal judgment after death (Genesis 3). By the free will of man, Satan and sin began a pretended rule of this world. If Satan and sin will be removed, it must be by the will of man (Romans 5:19; 1 Corinthians 15:21).

Yet, God is good. That is certain, and that is the opposite postulate to prove that God’s revealed nature and behavior can provide reasonable solutions to the “problem” of Satan’s having been created. The creation of Satan does not negate God’s goodness for the same reasons that you and I exist. Yes, God could have destroyed Satan as soon as he went bad, or better yet, not even created him. Just the same, God could have destroyed the entire human race at the moment we displayed rebellion against his will. Withstanding, in goodness, God both allowed us and Satan to go on existing. How is allowance of evil’s existence good? In short, God thought mankind was worth redeeming by His own self-sacrifice… exemplifying His goodness to a greater degree than it could have otherwise been known, had He chosen not to create us or Satan at all.

More than patience, God shows goodness by his offer to restore all things. Though Satan cannot be turned from evil, you and I can change our minds. God’s patience is the display of his willingness for none to perish. By being patient, God gives every individual at least one thing that is necessary to changing one’s mind — time (2 Peter 3:9). The disbelieving are correct to point out there is suffering and damage in the world. However, they are not correct in assuming that God does nothing about it. He has actually solved the root problem by sacrificially providing redemption through Jesus Christ. Furthermore, the extent to which God holds back evil in the world is unknowable. We have already established that God grants the gift of time, but what he does in that time is of more import. Time rolls on, and to every generation God has made an offer. To those who change their minds about the evil within them, and so, desire deliverance through Christ; God offers redemption and restoration. The theme of the entire Bible is essentially, “return to me.” It is God’s record of what he has done in the past, is doing presently, and will do in the future in order to right all wrongs.

For those who hate the wrongs of this life and the evil within; for those who can see that God really is good and Satan really is bad; for all those who are sick and tired of their “own way,” God says, “Look unto me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:22).

Since Jesus Christ died for all the sins of all mankind and now lives again, those who trust in him as the saving Son of God experience restoration of relationship with God – which is eternal life (John 10:28; John 17:3). The only requirement is that you place your trust in Him. As both God and man, Jesus can remove sin and Satan. You must use your free will to choose Christ.

The restoration of all things is fully extensive. To those who wonder how everything that is wrong in the world can be made right, God makes a promise, “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5). In other words, God is the God of second chances. And, even the whole of creation will experience a deliverance from the tyranny of evil when it is remade. Everything will one day be as it always should have been. He only asks for what should have been given him in the beginning: patience and trust. Only those who trust Christ, and so, change their mind about their part in the rebellion of humanity against God will know this new world. That is not exclusivism. The offer is opened to everyone, and no one can say he did not have enough time, for all of us have been given more time than we deserve.

Is God guilty? Yes, he is guilty of goodness. He is good in his patience. He is good to offer to restore the rebellious and make a self-sacrificial provision for that offer. He is good to give second chances and return all to how it should have been. Is God worthy of worship and allegiance? Most certainly. Is he evil for allowing Satan to exist? …only if God is evil in allowing you to have your time and place in this world. If Satan was “let in” to this world by the free will of mankind; God knows that the only valid way to “kick out” Satan is by the free will of mankind. Therefore, God provides for you to choose Jesus Christ as the Savior from both the evil within you and the evil that is in the world!

Satan is not God’s problem. Satan is our problem. Jesus is the answer.

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