Yesterday, we met the creator of evil. His name is Satan. That answers the atheist’s first and second questions: “Did God create evil? If not, where did evil come from?”
Satan is a super-powerful angelic being. God created him to be the highest of all the Heavenly host. However, Satan became proud of himself and his position and sinned against God. His sin opened the way for others to sin against God. First it was other angels (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Rev. 12:7-9). Next was mankind (Gen. 3ff).The outcome was brutal. God prepared a place of torment for Satan and the angels who followed him (Matt. 25:41; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). The human race was cast from the presence of God and has suffered every imaginable pain and suffering (Gen. 3:16-19).
The Bible clearly spells out Satan’s eternal future. “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Rev. 20:10) There is no reason for us ever to fear the final outcome of all things. God wins! Satan loses!
For reasons only God knows completely, Satan was not thrown into the lake of fire immediately. In fact, God allowed Satan to have freedom to wield his evil power on earth and in the heavens. God allowed Satan to tempt the first man and woman (Gen. 3), Israel’s King David (1 Chron. 21:1-8), and God’s Son, Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:1-11). Jesus was the only one able to resist Satan perfectly.
One note of interest to this discussion is found in Eph. 2:6-7:
“… and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
God demonstrates the exceeding (incomparable) riches of His Amazing Grace to Satan and the rest of the spirit world through what He has done for us.
God chose us before He created the world. After Satan sinned, God continued with His eternal plan for us. God allowed Satan to live and do evil. God allowed Satan to threaten and accuse and rule (so to speak) over the earth. But nothing Satan has done or will do can ever thwart God’s eternal plan. God sent His Precious Son to pay the penalty for man’s sins. God raises us up with Christ and seats us with Him in the heavenly realms. This is so that in the coming ages God can demonstrate the exceeding riches of His grace as expressed in His kindness to us in Christ. This does not mean we are pawns in some great battle between spirit beings, but instead means we are the beneficiaries of God’s everlasting Love and Grace. It’s something we could not have known or understood had it not been for what we lost and then found again.
” Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me; I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.”
How does Satan, this powerful member of the spirit world, interact with human beings today? We learn much about Satan’s ploys from the Book of Job. “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.” (Job. 1:6) From this we learn that Satan has access to the Lord. “And the LORD said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ So Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.’ (Job 1:7) Satan is free to move between heaven and earth. That’s important for us to understand as we search to grasp the process of evil in our world today. God asks Satan if he’s considered Job: “there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” (Job 1:8) That fact does not please Satan. He retorts that the reason Job is a good man is because God has blessed him. “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” (Job 1:11) Satan is aware of who people are and is opposed to those serve God. I’ve experienced Satan’s attacks in my life. Expect them in yours. He is the master accuser and liar.
“And the LORD said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.’ So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.” (Job 1:12) Notice that God will allow Satan to test people. Also notice that Satan can only do that testing with God’s prior permission. God controls how far Satan can take the test.
The following verses show that Satan has tremendous power. He sent fire from heaven to burn up Job’s sheep and servants. Satan sent raiding parties of the Chaldeans to steal Job’s camels and kill more servants. Satan sent a mighty wind to destroy the home of Job’s eldest son. It killed all of Job’s children. While this may sound cruel on God’s part, note carefully that God did not harm any of these people. It was the work of Satan. Satan is the only one to blame for misery and death.
Satan returned to Heaven and accused Job again before God.
“Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. And the LORD said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.’ Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.’ So Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!’ And the LORD said to Satan, ‘Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.'”
In another test of Job’s commitment to God, Satan inflicted Job with painful sores all over his body. Satan would probably have liked to kill Job, but God would not allow it. Satan cannot go beyond the boundaries God sets up.Satan holds the power of death. (Heb. 2:14) We must never treat Satan lightly. Satan is the fullness of evil. All wickedness and treachery flow from his sin-soaked mind. He is the enemy of all that is good and kind. He is a murderer and destroyer (John 8:44a; Rev. 9:11). Drawings of Satan often show him in monstrous fashion or as a little imp. However, Satan appears in the opposite way. He masquerades as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14). He is in charge of this world (1 John 5:19). He uses the beauty of his being to deceive and fool others in believing his lies (John 8:44b). He fooled millions of angels. He’s fooled billions of people for thousands of years. Be wary of him and his wiles!
How large is Satan? How strong? How quick? How smart? I’ve often wondered this since no one I know has ever seen him, or at least they didn’t know it was him when they saw him. The Bible gives us some clues, but nothing that gives an absolute description. We know that Satan is a created being. He has some limitations. He’s not as big, as quick, as strong, or as smart as God. He could never beat Jesus Christ in a fight (which will be proven beyond any doubt in the future conflict between Satan and Christ).
Satan is a powerful angel. He has all the abilities of other angels. He can be visible or invisible to humans. He can cross from the spirit world into the physical world and back to the spirit world with ease. Satan can, if God allows, control the weather, inflict illness and pain, and lead a major portion of the population of earth and a third of the heavenly host to sin against God. Satan can roam the earth, appear before God in Heaven, and be back on earth in a very short time.
Examples of Satan’s power and speed are found in Job 1:6-19 and 2:1-7 and Matthew 4:1-11. Much of the Book of Revelation is an example of Satan’s power and quickness. One example is Rev. 20:7-10. Satan has been in prison for one thousand years. He’s released from prison and quickly builds a massive army from across the world to do battle with God and His people. Amazing!
Angels usually appear in the physical world as being the size of human beings or slightly larger. The same might be true for Satan. His power is formidable, but not omnipotent. Only God is all-powerful. Satan is also not omniscient and omnipresent. Only God is all-knowing and everywhere present at the same time. Satan wants to be worshiped like God, but he is not God.
Tomorrow, we’ll learn more about Satan’s evil empire and what we have to do to stay in the fight.