Why was the devil permitted to deceive humans?

Author: BibleAsk Team


The Freedom of Choice

Before we answer the question: Why was the devil permitted to deceive humans? We need to understand the dealings of God with men.

In the very beginning, the Lord had very hard decisions to make: Would He create beings with the freedom to choose their own end? The Lord’s decision was made much harder by His foreknowledge (Isaiah 46:10). He saw that to permit free will would lead to death. But He also knew that only creatures with total freedom of choice could have a true loving relationship with Him (2 Corinthians 3:17).

So, even though the Creator knew that His creatures would use the right of free choice to go against Him, freedom was so essential that He made the decision to create them anyway (Ephesians 3:12). Once this decision was taken, it would have been wrong to delete humans from His creative plans because if He did, freedom of choice would not be a reality. 

Without the freedom to reject the Lord, there could be no freedom to choose Him (Galatians 5:13-14). The Creator loves His creatures, and He desires love in return (Revelation 3:20). The very essence of freedom is to be free from compulsion and any decisions taken are the individual’s own decision (Joshua 24:14,15). Humans are not robots.

Angels

The creation of beings with freedom of choice means that they can choose between right and wrong. The angels were created that way, and they exercised their right of freedom. Some of them chose to follow God, and others chose to follow Satan.

“And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they [a]did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:7-9).  

God didn’t destroy the devil and his angels right away but allowed them to live to demonstrate the fruits of their rebellion and rule to the entire Universe. The sin phenomenon was new to God’s creatures and they needed to see its nature and consequences.

Humans

Humans were also created with the freedom of choice which means they can choose between right and wrong (Genesis 1:26-27). And their freedom of choice necessitated a test. The Creator warned Adam and Eve of the existence of evil and gave them a test to prove their loyalty to Him.

“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you[f] shall surely die” (Genesis 2:16,17). The test was an easy one. Adam and Eve were to eat off all the trees of the Garden of Eden except for the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16,17).

The devil was not permitted by God to deceive Adam and Eve through any other means. Eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was the only door he could ensnare them. When we compare this test to Abraham’s test, for example, we learn that it was an easy test that they could have avoided without any strain.

The Fall

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”

Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was [a]pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

Genesis 3:1-6

God’s Plan of Salvation

Because humans were deceived by the devil, God was moved with great compassion to save them. And He gave a promise of the coming Savior who will redeem the human race from the penalty of their sins by His sacrificial death. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

The Lord said to the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15). This pronouncement shows the record of the great controversy between Christ and the devil, a battle that began in heaven (Revelation 12:7–9), was continued on earth, where Christ again defeated him (Hebrews 2:14), and will end with the devil’s destruction at the end of the world (Revelation 20:10).

Christ did not come out of this battle unscathed. The nail marks in His hands and feet and the scar in His side will be eternal reminders of the great war in which the serpent bruised the woman’s seed, Christ, at the cross of Golgotha (John 20:25; Zechariah 13:6).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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