A Question I Was Asked:

Why Doesn't God Simply Destroy Satan?

If God wants to, surely He can decide to destroy or annihilate Satan, but He has decided not to do that. Why?

UK Apologetics Reply:

Okay, we are now into an area of speculation so let us recognise that. We now also enter the area of Christian philosophy.

To attempt to address this question you must look at the big picture in a philosophical manner. God wants to develop righteous character in those people whom He saves. Therefore there surely needs to be a presence of evil so He can see how people cope with, and develop from that (apparently a third of the angels could not cope with it). God wants to see how people cope with sin and temptation. He wants to see people having the resolve to really go for righteousness when it might have seemed easier for them to go for evil. In short, in a scenario in which people could choose evil, He wants to see them have the character to turn from evil, choosing righteousness, and then to persevere with that, even while sometimes maybe being under great temptation to do wrong. In an evil world a Christian has to continually swim against the tide; it is hard but it does, perhaps, develop character.

So just maybe God learned from those angels who left their first estate to follow Satan that it is better for people to be exposed to, and to learn all about evil and to then make the right decisions in a scenario in which there is a first, physical death (so a sinning body could be destroyed), but with a resurrection to follow for those who choose the way of righteousness, after which sin will be impossible and they will have learned (while human) the full truth about sin. It is possible that spirit beings have a more 'set' and less flexible character so it is hard for the angels who sinned (becoming demons) to turn away from that, yet some of them might eventually turn from that (since we know that the saints will eventually judge angels, so it is conceivably possible for them to change - see 1 Corinthians 6:3).

There is but one Satan. He wanted to usurp God, he failed. But God is now able to use him in turning many to righteousness. This might even extend beyond the present time and place to other creations. We don't know that for sure but that is certainly possible. Can we limit God? He has made us, His human creation here on earth like putty which can be easily 'worked' and molded while in a first, physical stage. The resurrection to Eternal Life is for those who become firmly 'set' in Godly character. A few might object that this sounds like justification by works, rather than by faith, but it is not; God still gives us all the tools we need, including election, faith and His all-important grace, but developing quality spiritual character needs more input from us..

Of course, God certainly saves where His election, faith, grace and favour are present but maybe He wants higher training for some, and He puts them on a harder road while on this earth. We know that some are saved 'by the skin of their teeth' but others 'go through the refining fire' for a higher final calling. This is how Paul the Apostle describes it:

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person's work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved - even though only as one escaping through the flames. (1 Corinthians 3:11-15).

It is helpful to occasionally review the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). This shows that though we are certainly saved by grace through faith - our works not involved in this - nevertheless, we are rewarded in God's Kingdom according to how we have used the gifts which God has given to us.

Robin A. Brace. June 7th, 2014.