The Devil Himself: Him And God

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit.
Isaiah 14:12-15

Did God create Satan?

God has created everything that ever has been, is, or will be (John 1:3). This includes physical beings and matter as well as spiritual beings (Colossians 1:15–17). The only person who has the power of being in and of Himself—meaning He has no beginning or ending—and is self-existent is God (Exodus 3:14). All other beings were therefore created by God and belong to God (Psalm 24:1).

There are prophetic, biblical references to the King of Babylon and the King of Tyre. These personages are considered by most scholars as types of Satan (Isaiah 14:12–15; Ezekiel 28:13–17). These two passages give the reader a bit of history concerning Satan and his origins. Verse 12 of Isaiah 14 says Satan’s beginnings were in heaven. The Ezekiel 28 passage says Satan was created (verse 13) as one of the cherubim (verse 14) and was blameless until sin was found in him (verse 15).

The Bible describes the root of Satan’s sin as pride (Ezekiel 28:17). Before Satan was expelled from heaven, he must have been very beautiful both inside and out (Ezekiel 28:12). Ezekiel 28:15 is careful to say that Satan was created “blameless,” and his sin was of his own doing (Ezekiel 28:16–18). So it would be incorrect to believe that God created Satan with sin already present in him. God is holy and does not create anything that is contrary to His own nature (Psalm 86:8–10; 99:1–3; Isaiah 40:25; 57:15).

So, while it is correct to say God created Satan, it’s never correct to say that God created the sin within Satan. Satan chose his own course (Isaiah 14:13). God never causes sin (James 1:13), even though He has created a world where sin is possible. Some day God is going to put an end to Satan and all sin (Revelation 20:10) by confining him and his minions to everlasting punishment.

Does God love Satan?

No, God does not love Satan, and neither should we. God cannot love that which is evil and unholy, and Satan embodies all of that. He is the enemy (1 Peter 5:8); the evil one (Matthew 6:13); the father of lies and a murderer (John 8:44); the accuser of God’s people (Revelation 12:10); the tempter (1 Thessalonians 3:5); proud, wicked and violent (Isaiah 14:12-15); a deceiver (Acts 13:10); a schemer (Ephesians 6:11); a thief (Luke 8:12); and many more evil things. He is, in fact, everything that God hates. The heart of Satan is fixed and confirmed in his hatred of God, his judgment is final, and his destruction is sure. Revelation 20 describes God’s future plan for Satan, and love for Satan has no part in it.

Jesus’ command that we love our enemies (Matthew 5:44) is meant to govern interpersonal relationships in this world. We love God, and we love people (even our enemies), who are made in God’s image. Angels are not made in God’s image. We are never told to love the holy angels, and we are certainly never told to love the evil angels.

Since Satan is everything that is antithetical to the God we love, we cannot love Satan. If we loved Satan, we would be forced to hate God, because holiness is the opposite of sin.

God has already determined that there will be no forgiveness for Satan; we are the objects of God’s sacrificial love, shown on the cross. As God was lovingly redeeming mankind, He was putting Satan “to open shame” (Colossians 2:15). God’s judgment of Satan will be part of His great love for us.

Why does God allow Satan to attack us?

Satan’s attacks against us come in various forms. 1) He uses the ungodly world (which he controls, 1 John 5:19) to stir up fleshly lusts within us that tempt us to sin. 2) He uses the unbelieving world to attempt to deceive us with worldly “wisdom” opposed to God’s truth. 3) He uses false Christians to try to mislead us into a false gospel centered on a false Jesus. 4) He sometimes physically afflicts us or our loved ones with sickness, crime, tragedy, or persecution. Knowing that God is the sovereign Ruler of the universe, we naturally ask, why does God allow Satan to attack us in these ways?

The Bible teaches that God allows Satan a certain amount of freedom (see Job 1:12), but that freedom is always limited. Satan cannot do all that he wishes. Satan chooses to attack God’s children (see 1 Peter 5:8), and his design is always evil; Satan is a murderer (John 8:44). In contrast, God’s design in allowing certain satanic attacks is always good; God loves His children (1 John 4:16). Joseph faced many satanic attacks in his lifetime, but in the end he could speak with confidence of two opposing purposes behind the same events: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good” (Genesis 50:20).

We cannot blame God for what Satan does. Our vulnerability to satanic attack started with Adam’s choice to follow Satan’s lying suggestions in the garden of Eden. When Satan attacked Job through the loss of his family, wealth, and health, Job didn’t blame God. Notice Job 1:21–22, “And he (Job) said: Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.”

As believers experience the attacks of Satan, they can trust the truth of Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God…” Therefore, the assumption is that we will experience “good” things and “bad” things, but “all” of these things can be made to contribute toward “good” ends as God works them out. So even the attacks of Satan, although evil, can and will have a “good” result, ultimately, as God uses them to conform us to Christ, His Son (see Romans 8:29). Attacks from Satan, along with all other tribulations, can cause believers to love God more, resist Satan more, practice patience, and grow stronger in our faith in many other ways. Praise God for His sovereign protection. Thank Him for His plan to make everything—even Satan’s attacks—”work together for good” for you!

Does Satan have to get God’s permission before he can attack us?

There is no biblical proof that Satan always needs God’s specific permission in order to act against Christians every time he wishes to attack them. We know that Satan needs permission at least sometimes. Job 1 shows that Satan was not able to afflict Job without God’s permission. However, consider Satan’s argument before God: “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land” (Job 1:10). Satan is obviously familiar with who Job is and is aware of Job’s special protection and blessing by God. How could Satan have known of Job’s protection, unless he and/or his demonic minions had not already tried to work their will against Job? What Satan is really asking is for God to remove Job’s protection; of course, in asking that the protection be removed, Satan is essentially seeking permission to attack Job. Does Satan have to seek such permission every time he attacks us? The Bible does not say.

Another relevant passage is Luke 22:31–32. Jesus says, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Clearly in this case Satan had asked God’s permission to test Peter and the other disciples. Jesus tells Peter that He has prayed specifically for him so that Peter’s faith would not fail and so that Peter can strengthen the other disciples when the test was over. The implication is that Peter and the rest would be sifted in whatever way Satan intended. So God allowed the harassing of His disciples, within limits, but He had a higher purpose in mind—the strengthening of them all.

In Job 38:11 God says that He limits the waves of the sea: “This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt.” In the same way, it seems that there are boundaries and rules that Satan must abide by. He can go so far but no farther. As the devil “prowls around like a roaring lion” (1 Peter 5:8), must he stop and ask God’s permission for every step? Or does he only need to ask special permission when he runs into an obstacle to his hatred? There is no real biblical proof either way. Job and Peter were hedged about by the Lord—Satan couldn’t get to them without the Lord’s first removing a measure of His protection. We know that God cares for all of His children, so it is reasonable to assume that God has a measure of protection surrounding each of us. And we know that, ultimately, God controls everything in the universe, including Satan. “In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

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