Why does Satan still exist?

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By BibleAsk Team


The existence of Satan, also known as the devil, remains a perplexing aspect for some. Despite the victory of Christ over sin and death, the persistence of evil and suffering in the world raises questions about the nature of Satan’s existence. In this study, we will delve into the biblical narrative to uncover the reasons for Satan’s continued existence.

The Nature of Satan

The Bible portrays Satan as a fallen angel who rebelled against God’s authority in a cosmic conflict preceding human history. Ezekiel 28:14-17 and Isaiah 14:12-15 depict the pride and rebellion of Lucifer, once a lofty angelic being, who sought to exalt himself above God and was cast down from heaven as a result of his rebellion.

The Bible describes the devil’s pride in this manner: “For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation… I will be like the Most High’ ” (Isaiah 14:13,14).

Throughout Scripture, the devil is depicted as the adversary or opponent of God and humanity. In Job 1:6-12, he appears before God as an accuser, challenging Job’s righteousness and seeking permission to test him. Jesus refers to the devil as “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31) and “the father of lies” (John 8:44), highlighting his role as a deceiver and instigator of evil.

Theological Perspectives on Satan’s Existence

Lucifer charged God with being unfair and he rebelled against his Creator. Lucifer’s lies were accepted by many angels, and one-third joined him (Revelation 12:3, 4). If God had destroyed Lucifer immediately, some angelic beings who did not fully comprehend God’s character may have begun to worship God out of fear. But God only accepts the cheerful worship and voluntary devotion that is moved by love and trust. Obedience for any other reason is not right.

The devil claimed that he had a better plan for the government of the universe. So, God is giving him time to demonstrate his plans before the universe. The Lord will abolish sin only after every soul in the universe is convinced that Satan’s government is hurtful, ruthless and deadly.

The Bible says, “We are made a spectacle [margin says “theater”] unto the world, and to angels, and to men” (1 Corinthians 4:9). The entire universe is watching as we play a part in the controversy between Christ and Satan.

And when the controversy ends, every soul will completely understand the principles of good and evil. Those who have chosen to join with sin and Satan will be finally destroyed with him (Matthew 25:41). But God’s people will be taken to the eternal safety of their heavenly home (John 14:3).

The devil’s continued existence (for a limited period of time) serves as a test of faith and free will for humanity. Just as Adam and Eve faced temptation in the Garden of Eden, believers are confronted with spiritual warfare and moral choices in their journey of faith. The devil’s presence allows for the exercise of free will and the opportunity for individuals to demonstrate their allegiance to God through obedience and resistance to evil.

Biblical Insights into Satan’s Activities

The devil is depicted as the tempter who seeks to lead humanity astray from God’s commands. In Matthew 4:1-11, he tempts Jesus in the wilderness, offering him worldly power and glory in exchange for worship. Likewise, 1 Peter 5:8 warns believers to be vigilant and sober-minded, for Satan prowls like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

Ephesians 6:10-18 provides insight into the spiritual battle believers face against the forces of darkness, including the devil and his demonic hosts. Believers are encouraged to put on the whole armor of God, including the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, to withstand the schemes of the devil.

Divine Permissive Will

While the devil operates as the prince of this world and the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4), his activities are ultimately subject to God’s sovereignty and divine purpose. Job 1:12 and 2:6 illustrate God’s control over the devil’s actions, as he can only afflict Job within the limits set by God. Even the devil’s rebellion and opposition to God serve to fulfill God’s overarching purposes for creation and redemption.

The existence of the devil allows for the manifestation of God’s justice and judgment upon evil. Revelation 20:10 describes his ultimate defeat and eternal punishment in the lake of fire, where he will come to a sure end. God’s righteous judgment upon Satan and his followers underscores the seriousness of sin and rebellion against God’s reign.

Theological Reflections and Application

Believers are called to be spiritually vigilant and discerning, recognizing the reality of spiritual warfare and the schemes of the devil. James 4:7 exhorts believers to submit to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from them. By cultivating a vibrant prayer life, studying Scripture, and remaining anchored in Christ, believers can stand firm against the enemy’s attacks.

Despite the ongoing presence of evil and suffering in the world (for a limited time), believers find hope and assurance in the victory of Christ over sin, death, and Satan. Romans 16:20 declares that the God of peace will soon crush Satan under believers’ feet. Through Christ’s sacrificial death and triumphant resurrection, believers are assured of ultimate victory and eternal life in God’s kingdom.

Conclusion

The continued existence of Satan poses theological challenges and philosophical questions regarding the nature of evil and God’s sovereignty. However, through a careful examination of Scripture and theological reflection, we gain insights into the reasons for Satan’s existence and activities within God’s divine plan.

As believers face the spiritual battles of life, they are called to remain steadfast in faith, trusting in the victory of Christ and the assurance of God’s ultimate triumph over evil. In the face of Satan’s schemes, believers find hope, strength, and courage in the power of Christ’s redemptive work and the promise of eternal life in God’s kingdom.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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