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Why did God create Satan?

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Published: 26 September 2015 (GMT+10)

We’ve previously addressed many variations on the question, ‘why does a good God allow bad things?’ James C., from the U.S., asked for help answering another facet of the problem of evil—why God would make the devil.

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Dear CMI,

I was recently stumped when my son asked me why omniscient God would create Satan. Before that he asked me why God created men knowing all the troubles they would cause. That was easy to answer as I told him I would not trade my relationship I have with my son for anything even if I foreknew the troubles he would make. Then came his followup question. I couldn't use the same analogy and just told him it must have been God's big plan which we cannot fully understand until we get to Heaven. Obviously he wasn't satisfied and neither was I. Please help. :)

CMI’s  responds:

Hi James,

Thanks for your question.

The Bible doesn’t spell out all of God’s reasons for creating Satan, but it is important to remember that everything God created was initially “very good” (Gen. 1:31), and things only went wrong when the devil rebelled against his Creator (sometime shortly after the creation week, not before as many believe), and then human beings followed suit. This is important since God did not create anything that was morally evil, and so He is not morally blameworthy for the evil that exists. Satan has no one to blame but himself for the choices he’s made.

Still, God knew this would happen in advance, of course, so He must have had a good reason for allowing evil into His creation. In the end, it must be worth it in God’s eyes to create a world in which He knew the devil and others would rebel against Him. I believe God is ultimately accomplishing a greater good through all the evil that the devil brings about.

We see in Scripture that God often permits evil in order to bring about a greater blessing. Consider what Joseph said in Gen. 50:20 about how God accomplished a righteous end through the wicked actions of his brothers, or how God used Satan to test Job so that he and all those who read his story could gain wisdom and be blessed. God even turned the greatest evil into the greatest good, when Jesus was crucified (Acts 2:23; Rom. 5:18–19). So even though Satan schemed to put Jesus to death and thought he was achieving a victory, it was this very act that God foreordained to defeat Satan and bring about the glorious truth of the Gospel!

God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezek. 33:11) and does nothing unjust (Gen. 18:25), but, unlike us, God is sovereign and He knows all the good that will come out of permitting evil and suffering. God “works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Eph. 1:11), but that will is not arbitrary—it’s based in God’s essentially good nature (Luke 18:19). So we should see the existence of Satan as completely consistent with that.

I recommend you read the following for more insight into this question:

Why would a loving God allow death and suffering?

Hopefully, that’s a bit more satisfying to you and your son.