In the previous blogs (What about evil, Part 1 and What about evil, Part 2) we discussed how evil came into the world with the evil angel, the devil. After the peaceful scene in Genesis 2, Genesis 4 testifies about the first murder, as well as Lamech’s belligerence. He said, ‘I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me. If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.’ 1 Violence became part of life, as history testifies.
The results of the tree of knowledge of evil on society.
- God’s verdict about the acquired knowledge of evil by humans, was short and clear, ’The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of his heart was only evil all the time.… So God said to Noah, ’I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them.’’’ 2
- God later reiterated that evil has become part of man’s ‘constitution,’ ‘Never again will I curse the ground because of men, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood’ 3
- Since Genesis 3 man’s cruelty towards man knows no bounds. History testifies to rivers of blood, cruelty, inhuman treatment, et cetera.
To answer why God did not stop the devil, or at least evil (which He as omnipotent God can do), we have to look carefully at the following:
1. God gave man a free will.
- When God created in six days, 4 He sent a powerful message to humans: He is the omnipotent King, the Creator of heaven and earth, the Leader who can accomplish what He intends to do. He is God Most High, the Owner of His creation. 5 He is the Lord who deserves loyalty, love and obedience. In the Psalms nature worships God and acknowledges Him as the King who is worthy to be worshipped.
- God’s plan with His creation was an eternal Kingdom where He is the King (obviously it includes Jesus and the Holy Spirit). The country He would rule is the renewed heaven and earth. The citizens will be the people who chose to love Him and accept Him as King.
- For that reason God created man to follow, love and be loyal to a leader. That is why He also gave us a free will to choose the leader we want. Without free will it is not possible to love and be loyal. God did not make us robots that cannot choose and love, because those are the essentials for a successful eternal Kingdom.
- If we have only one choice it is no choice at all. So God allowed an alternative into the earth to make a choice possible. On the one hand is the good God who desires a disciplined, obedient lifestyle. On the other hand is Satan with whom anything goes. It is because he knows where it leads. His own life is an example. If a person wants to be immoral, an alcoholic, a murderer, rebellious, or whatever, it is fine with him.
- On the surface it looks as if the odds are stacked against God. Who wants to live a moral life with principles when one misses all the fun? However:
The choice shows in this life, but the real divide comes in the next life.
- God promises unbelievable benefits of eternal joy and happiness to His followers, ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him – but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.’ 6 God’s benefits are so great, because He wants to reward those willing to accept His leadership and obey Him.
- Those who decided it is not worth to give attention to the Creator of the universe, will follow the devil to his dark destination, eternal suffering and torture. At least they have one consolation, they don’t have to spend time with the supposedly ‘wicked’ God. Matthew 25:41 shows their end, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’
- The ultimate end of our choice on earth is the reason the devil desperately fights to keep people away from the Bible. He wants to keep them ignorant of the two eternal destinations. Then they won’t realize that it is crucial to follow and love the Lord Jesus if they want eternal happiness.
2. Why God did not stop the devil.
- God made a decree, ‘the wages of sin [disobedience to God] is death.’ 7 It is because an eternal Kingdom of love and peace is not possible without obedience to the Ruler.
- So when the devil disobeyed God in heaven, he lost his chance to live eternally in God’s presence. His sentence was final, since he saw and served God. He knew all about God. His sin was, ‘I will ascend to heaven…. I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly…. I will make myself like the Most High.’ 8
- He and his demons have no second chance, which is one of the reasons Jesus came as a man. He died for humans and the devil and his demons are excluded. Since we do not see God, God is very patient with us. He continually gives us chances to repent and love Him.
- If God stopped the devil when Adam disobeyed, the devil could demand that God revoke his sentence. He [the devil] disobeyed God, and was judged. Adam disobeyed God, and should also be judged. Yet God’s plan of mercy and love, from the beginning, was that Jesus would be the sacrificial Lamb. That is why, as a type, He clothed Adam and Eve in the skins of slaughtered animals.
- Untested love is not worth much. The angels were given the opportunity to follow God or Satan. Some chose God and some Satan. Humans also have the opportunity to choose. God will only remove Satan when all people who live, have lived or will live on earth, have had the opportunity decide whom to love and follow.
- The devil’s work is to identify the rebels among humans, those who have no desire to obey God or to love Him. God cannot have a successful eternal Kingdom with people who hate Him want to get rid of Him and refuse to obey Him.
- Many people believe that they could have had a wonderful life if evil didn’t exist. We agree, but it leads nowhere. It does not lead to greater love for the Lord, greater obedience and a more moral lifestyle. Look at the wealthiest countries in the world. Are they more moral (morality is to live according to God’s standards)? To only live according to moral standards means absolutely nothing to God.
- Take the example of Adam and Eve. If Adam and Eve chose to obey God and not the devil in Genesis 3, would they have lived with God in eternal happiness? Who says their descendants would continue to love and obey God? One of them might decide 500,000 years down the line to rebel, like the devil did. Untested love was, is and will remain useless.
3. Many people blame God for all the evil.
Let us look at what Scripture teaches.
- In Revelation 20:1-3 we read, ‘And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized… the devil… and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended.’ During that time Jesus will reign in peace.
- After the thousand years the devil is loosened. He immediately begins to deceive the people. In numbers like the sand on the seashore they march, with the devil as chief, to destroy God’s city, and logically, God’s people.
- Those people lived under the rulership of Jesus for a thousand years, but when the devil appeared on the scene, they immediately rejected Jesus and followed the devil. While he is chained and confined in the Abyss during the Millennium, there are no problems with sin and evil. The moment he is released, the people rebel. It is obvious that Satan is the author of sin, evil, violence, hatred, et cetera.
God does not stop the devil and his evil designs, because it will derail God’s plan for His eternal Kingdom of peace and happiness. The devil is the rebel sifter for the citizens of the Kingdom.
A few more questions we want to answer:
If God created only good, where does the devil’s evil nature come from?
Why do we have natural disasters?
How did the devil became the ruler of the world?
- Genesis 4:23-24
- Genesis 6:5, 13
- Genesis 8: 21
- Genesis 1
- Genesis 14:19-20
- 1 Corinthians 2:9
- Genesis 2:17; Romans 6:23
- Isaiah 14: 12-14