Why Does God Allow the Devil to Live? (and a Couple Other Good Questions)

A friend of mine posted these questions, which her children had asked her, on Facebook today.  They were such good questions, and they struck me as the kind of questions people are asking at every age–certainly not just in childhood. I humbly submitted my response (which were written for kids, mind you), and I share that now with you.

The questions:

  • Why did God just not send Satan to death?
  • Why didn’t God just restart the world?
  • God knew that Satan was going to keep doing bad stuff so why didn’t He just put him in a cage or something?
  • Why did God create Satan if He knew he’d do bad things?

My response:

The Bible answers these questions, but not always exactly in the way we would like! There are three perspectives the Bible offers to the question.

First, God is God, and His ways are not our ways. We know He is good, but He is also WAY smarter than we are (obviously! He’s GOD!). Romans 9:20 says “But who are you, a mere man, to talk back to God?” In other words, at some point we just have to trust Him, that He knows what He’s doing!

Second, God is so GOOD, that He has a plan to make everything work out for good. He has already planned it out ahead of time. He has even planned it so that, when bad people or spirits (like the devil) choose to do evil things, God makes those bad things work out for good in the end. That’s pretty amazing, right? Romans 8:28 says that, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” In Genesis 50:20, Joseph tells his brothers (who had been super evil to him), “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good!” The worst thing that ever happened was when the Son of God, who had NEVER done ANYTHING wrong, was killed. Satan probably thought he had won–that he had beaten God! But God used that terrible sin to save all His people! The joke’s on the devil, because Jesus wins every time!

Third, we can have peace about these questions, the more we get to know Jesus. In Philippians 4:7, God tells us that “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” The more we live with God, trusting in Jesus, following the Holy Spirit who lives inside God’s children, the better we feel about life, and God’s control over the world. The Bible says (in Romans 1:17) that the righteousness of God is revealed in the Gospel (the good news about Jesus) “from faith for faith.” In other words, when we trust in Jesus, God gives us His Holy Spirit who helps us trust in Jesus more and more and more.

So to summarize it…

  1. God knows what He’s doing… even though we don’t!
  2. God’s plan is not just to make a good world, but to bring about a good world in which good completely wins the victory over evil. God will bring every bad thing that the evil devil does around for good. Take that, Devil!
  3. God will help you understand and trust Him more and more–even when you don’t totally get it, because He’s always with you!

#UAskIAnswer 11: Will Terrorism Ever Stop?

#UAskIAnswer is a series of answers to questions raised (mainly) by the students of the Pointe and Momentum, Grace Pointe Plainfield’s student ministries. For the rest of the series, check it out over at The Youth Room. I am continuing the series here on my pastoral blog. 

I was asked recently whether I think terrorism will ever stop, and whether I think it will come here to Illinois.

My answer is this: Jesus promised his followers that they would have “tribulation”–persecution, suffering and hardship–in this world (John 16:33). Terrorism, whether from radical Muslims, or atheists, or other so-called “Christians” will probably remain a part of this world until the Lord Jesus returns to judge the living and the dead.

Will terrorism come to Illinois? There is no way to know. However, terrorist attacks have recently happened in very unexpected places, all over the world. Illinois may certainly be a target, although we hope and pray for God’s protection.

What Jesus promised his people, however, is not physical protection. That verse, John 16:33, continues as Jesus says, “but take heart! I have overcome the world.” The hope of the Christian is not in physical security, but in everlasting, spiritual security. Jesus Christ really has overcome the world; He did that when He died on the cross and resurrected, to save His people from their sins.

When we are tempted to fear a terrorist attack, we need to remember that the terrorists are not our real enemy, and they are not to be feared. The Bible says in Ephesians 6:12 that,

…we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

And Jesus commands Christians not to, “fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” When it comes to real fearsomeness, terrorists have got nothing on the almighty God of the universe. And that same God, who is able to cast every sinner (terrorists, you and me included) into hell forever, is the same God who calls Himself Father. He is the One who sent His only-begotten Son into the world, taking on the likeness of sinful flesh, and dying a death at the hand of terrorists, on behalf of everyone who will every believe in Him.

See, the Bible says that all people are born as sinners into a sinful world. We suppress God’s truth–truth about God and truth about other people–and that leads to us hurting ourselves and our neighbors. Terrorists are a stark example of that being played out, but we all do it. It comes from suppression of God’s truth. Because of our sin, we all need a Savior.

It is my urgent hope (hence the name of this blog) that everyone who reads this will see their need for a Savior, and will repent of their own sin, and trust in Jesus Christ alone to save them from God’s wrath and give them everlasting life.

For an encouraging story of a former Muslim jihadist who repented and gave his life to Jesus the Messiah, watch the video below. It’s a really powerful reminder of the importance of loving those who would call us their enemies. In doing that, we are simply sharing the incredible love that the Father has given us. Check it out: