Why Did He Do That

Why Did God Do That?

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

I get a lot of questions about the relationship between God and Satan. Most of them are from people who want to know how God can tolerate Satan in His presence, and as far as I can tell the Bible offers no explanation for this. All we know is that Satan regularly comes before the Lord to accuse us and will continue to do so until he’s finally expelled from Heaven at the beginning of the Great Tribulation (Rev. 12:10-11).

Questions like this are motivated by simple curiosity and are understandable. It’s a mystery to us and we always want our mysteries solved. But lately I’ve also begun to receive some questions that are clearly born out of frustration and even anger. These questioners point out all the death and destruction Satan has been responsible for, adding that untold millions have been lost forever because of him. They ask, “Why couldn’t God have just destroyed him when he rebelled and saved humanity all that grief?”

Others ask why God even created Satan in the first place, knowing he’d become evil? It would have saved us a lot of pain and hardship had He not done so.

To me this type of question is an example of the pot questioning the potter, as if they’re angry with God for allowing such an adversary to remain in our lives when He could have easily gotten rid of him. This implies that God makes us suffer unnecessarily, which we know is contrary to His character. But before we get into a possible response to this (no one knows the answer for sure) let’s review the background we’ve been given on our age old enemy.

How You Have Fallen From Heaven, O Lucifer

Our first glimpse of Satan was when he turned up in the Garden in the form of a “serpent” (enchanter in Hebrew) to beguile our original parents. But from Isaiah 14:12-20 and Ezekiel 28:11-19 we can piece together a profile of his origin, fall and destiny.

The name Lucifer comes from Isaiah 14:12 (KJV). It’s a Latin word that means light bearer, translated from the phrase, heylel ben shakhar in the Hebrew version of the verse.  Heylel means shining one and comes from a root meaning boastful, and ben shakhar means son of the dawn. It’s sometimes incorrectly rendered as morning star, which is really a title reserved for Jesus (Rev. 22:16). He’s most commonly known as Satan, from a Hebrew word that means adversary.

Ezekiel 28:12-14 indicates he is a created being, “the model of perfection, full of wisdom and beauty” and anointed (chosen) as the guardian cherub on the holy mount of God. Combining the Ezekiel and Isaiah passages we can infer that he was the head of the congregation of angelic beings, charged with leading them in the worship of the Almighty, and chief guardian of His Throne.

The “boastful” part of his name came to bear when wickedness was found in him (Eze 28:15). Excessively proud of his beauty and wisdom, he rebelled against God and uttered his infamous five “I wills”.

“I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High” (Isa 14:13-14).

He convinced one third of the angelic host to join him (Rev. 12:4) and mounted an unsuccessful rebellion against God. In the ensuing judgment He lost his position at the top of the angelic hierarchy and his ultimate destiny was determined (Ezekiel 28:16) although for reasons not revealed to us, the execution of his sentence has been delayed until the end of the age. In the mean time although he’s clearly identified as God’s adversary, he’s still treated as a dignitary by the angelic host.

Even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 9)

Here’s How It All Began

Although no one knows for certain, I’ve always liked Hal Lindsey’s opinion.  In one of his books (I don’t remember which one) Hal speculated that at his judgment Satan hurled two accusations at God that started everything: “You’re not just and You have no love.” Of course God knew this would happen, and according to Hal He was prepared with a four part response to these accusations.

1. He created man, a being vastly inferior to the angels but sharing with them the properties of intellect, agency (power of choice) and eternal life, and gave him dominion over Planet Earth.

2. He gave man a set of rules to live by, and ordained that obedience to them was a requirement for life. Any violations (sins), even those committed only in the mind, would be punishable by death. There were no loop holes, and no one would escape judgment. Perfect justice.

3. Then He sent His Son to live a life in total obedience to these rules, the only man ever to do so, granting Him the right to govern the universe and receive all its worth as His inheritance.

4. Finally, He offered His Son’s life to purchase a pardon for all the sins of mankind, decreeing that by accepting His death as payment for our sins we could live in God’s presence forever and share in this inheritance as His adopted children. Perfect Love.

What Do You Say To That?

Satan’s reaction was to immediately steal control of Planet Earth by deceiving Adam & Eve into thinking they could “become like God” (Gen. 3:5). This deception caused them to disobey the only commandment God had given them and is how Satan has made himself the god of this age (2 Cor. 4:4), and the prince of this world (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11), bringing the whole world under his control (1 John 5:19).

This was confirmed in the wilderness temptation when, in an attempt to thwart God’s plan to save mankind, Satan offered Jesus all the Kingdoms of the Earth if Jesus would worship him instead of obeying God.

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.” (Luke 4:5-7)

Jesus didn’t dispute Satan’s claim, as He would have had it been false, but refused to disobey God.

But the deceiver has deceived himself. Too proud to apologize to God, he thinks to defeat Him (another foolish boast), even though his own defeat was clearly determined at the cross (Colossians 2:15). While the Church currently restrains his authority over the earth (2 Thes, 2:5), after we’re gone he’ll be free to do his worst in a desperate effort to maintain control of it. But it won’t be enough, and having finally been expelled from Heaven (Rev 12:7) he will be defeated (Rev. 19:19-21), bound in the Abyss for 1000 years (Rev 20:1-3), and ultimately cast into the eternal fire (Rev 20:10).

What Was The Question Again?

Now let’s come back to the original question. Since God knows everything in advance, why did He create Satan and elevate him to such an exalted position? He knew Satan was going to become evil so why did God do that?

This is a good question, and I’ve never seen a good answer to it. The Bible doesn’t explain it either. So here’s my two cents worth. Since God knew every detail before any one of them came to be, it must all be part of His grand plan. Nothing has been a surprise to him, nothing has caused Him to re-think or adapt. Everything has served His purpose.

And what is that purpose? To reveal His character to the angelic host through His interaction with us. To show that He’s absolutely righteous, absolutely just and absolutely loving all at the same time.

His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Ephes. 3:10-11)

Remember, He created a set of laws that were wholly just, although after we had acquired our sin nature no one could keep them. Even though the penalty for even a single violation was death, He allowed no exceptions and no exemptions. Then He became a man Himself and bore the penalty for all the sins of mankind, dying in our place. Finally, He let everyone choose for themselves whether to accept His remedy or not, telling us in advance both the benefit for acceptance and the penalty for rejection.

He spoke this to us, He wrote it in the stars, He sent the prophets to teach us, and documented it all in His Word in such a way as to make it impossible to miss. He placed the desire to know Him in our hearts and said that everyone who asks will receive, everyone who seeks will find, and to everyone who knocks the door will be opened (Matt. 7:7-8).

In summary, we don’t know how God is able to tolerate Satan’s presence or why He let him remain among us. But we do know that He did everything consistent with His character to make it possible for us to overcome our adversary and find our way back to our Creator. Selah 04-14-12

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  • Austin Morris

    The only word to describe my feeling, when reading Jack’s work in presentation of
    our God is ‘Awesome’. And promptly followed with a: ‘Thank you Jesus !!’

    Beyond that it is not in my intellectual ability to discern the implications; nor
    would I wish to reach beyond the given Grace of the Holy Spirit to bless me
    with. Praise, Glory and Power be to our Lord & Savior, again Thank you Jesus !!

  • Elizabeth Salvatore

    I have read Ephesians 3 many times and never realized that it could explain so much about why, possibly, God has done what He has done with mankind and the Angels. I always find these studies so illuminating on how a single verse can stand out and show us so much.
    One day I will remember not to skim over a single word of the Bible. I miss so much when I do it.
    Jack’s explanation makes so much sense when taking in the whole counsel of God in His word.
    I agree, we do not know the whole picture. And unbelievers use that as an excuse to mock what we can’t clearly define from Scripture. But can glean so much on this subject.
    But one day we will. It is our trust in God now that shows us we can trust what is coming and what God does is perfectly Holy, Just and true.
    Another awesome study. Shared all over the place.

  • vilma

    Thankyou my Lord for loaning Jack to us, even though I wish it could have been for longer. But like Jack always said: God is in control. Thankyou

  • Tom

    God is love and love cannot be forced. But, as so many have concluded, the depth of this question may not be possible to fully grasp.
    I have always approached this question using the parent-child relationship. When we raise our children, we do our very best to prepare them for the difficulties they will face knowing we will not be able to face these difficulties for them. We love them so much we don’t want anything bad to happen to them. We teach them the stove is hot and if they put their hand on it, they will get burned. But, some / many won’t listen. “It’s different now” they might say while others will say… “Why didn’t you do more to tell me how hot it was”.
    When we consider this, I think we can understand why God doesn’t prevent bad things from happening to us. Too often, we need to learn the hard way. Thinking in these terms, how can any of us then turn to God and ask Him why He let this or that happen? I can just hear His response…. I told you it was hot and you wouldn’t listen. Will you listen to me now?

  • His Truth Revealed

    I am very grateful Jack is able to admit there are some questions we don’t have clear answer to. It’s true. We often look to the Bible to explain everything, but sometimes it doesn’t. At that point, all we can do is speculate.
    However, Jack had a great way of speculating. We miss you, Jack!
    Diane Watt