Q: Would we need God if the Devil didn't exist?


#1

This statement was made to me today that i did not reply to, I held my tongue because I wanted to give more thought to the statement. This is unlike me.

The gentleman said

“If the devil didn’t exist, we would not need God”

I wanted to refute it immediately, but decided to wait until I see him again while I pondered this statement a bit deeper.

I was thinking that if satan did not exist, then we would not need a Saviour, because we wouldn’t be sinful, we would be perfect as God created us. We would have no character defects. But this does not mean we would not need God, for our entire existence and goodness is given by God and we rely on Him for the breath of life which is in us. We would also be in perfect relation with Him and everyone about us, because we would not have a fallen nature. In other words, we could not exist if we had no need of God.

What are your thoughts on this statement, and how would you refute it? Has it been refuted in philosophy of Old, the Fathers/Doctors/theologians of the Church?

I would appreciate your input on this matter so I am armed with wisdom on the matter.

peace, Justin


#2

We still could have fallen without the help of Satan, so even on the grounds of needing a Savior we’re not out of the woods without the Devil.

Obviously we would still need God in all the ways you describe as well, up to and including direct Communion with Him in Grace and Glory; that’s what we were made for, after all, so to be without it would be to not be fully functioning as designed. We are “God-having things”. :slight_smile:

Peace and God bless!


#3

True, the angels themselves, including Lucifer, needed God before they fell, just as we did. Therefore we could have chosen to turn from God without the temptation of satan? Who/what would have caused the temptation? Who/what caused Lucifer to become selfish and turn from God?

I know we would have had free will, to choose to love God or not, but where does the possibility of evil come into place without satan and the things he tempts us with? Who then would tempt us?


#4

Seems to me he’s admitting that the Devil does exist; therefore, he needs God. Otherwise, I’m not clear what his point was meant to be.

– Mark L. Chance.


#5

I know we would have had free will, to choose to love God or not, but where does the possibility of evil come into place without satan and the things he tempts us with? Who then would tempt us?

We don’t need an external tempter in order to sin, all we need is to choose something less than God as our ultimate goal. Satan, according to tradition, chose himself; the only “temptation” was his own beauty and perfection, which his sinful will elevated to a place above God.

We could have done the same, whether by turning inward in pride, as Satan did, or by choosing something worldly above God (perhaps worshipping angels, or loving the Garden more than we loved God). It’s all a matter of will, of choosing something over God, and for that all we need is to have free will and exist, since we can always at least choose ourselves over God.

Peace and God bless!


#6

It would be silly to say that we wouldn’t need God if the devil didn’t exist. God created us and we are always dependent upon him for our own existence.


#7

I think the point he is driving at is that if the “Heavenly Revolt” had not had happened, then the fall of Adam and Eve would not have happened. Unless they were actually created with the propensity for sin. Then eventually they would have disobeyed God and some point on their own or at least their descendants would have eventually?


#8

**God is Alone Necessary - creatures are not. God has no need of us, or of the devil. To say we would not need God if there were no devil, is to give man or the devil the status of God. **

**God is not an excuse, explanation, or hypothesis to account for a difficulty - it is simply monstrous to give Him the status of an appendix to His own creation; such an outlook is completely back to front. God needs no explanation. The real difficulty is to see why there is any creation whatever - it cannot increase God in the slightest; God has no need of any of us, human or anger or other. You were clearly not talking to a Calvinist :slight_smile: - no Calvinist would be capable of thinking that God could be unnecessary. **

**Of course we would need God. Does the child need its mother ? Far more in every way do all creatures need God; sinful creatures (= the human race) most of all. **


#9

The real difficulty is to see why there is any creation whatever - it cannot increase God in the slightest; God has no need of any of us, human or anger or other.

"It pleased God, in his goodness and wisdom, to reveal himself and to make known the mystery of his will. His will was that men should have access to the Father, through Christ, the Word made flesh, in the Holy Spirit, and thus become sharers in the divine nature."2

God, who “dwells in unapproachable light”, wants to communicate his own divine life to the men he freely created, in order to adopt them as his sons in his only-begotten Son.3 By revealing himself God wishes to make them capable of responding to him, and of knowing him and of loving him far beyond their own natural capacity.

The divine plan of Revelation is realized simultaneously "by deeds and words which are intrinsically bound up with each other"4 and shed light on each another. It involves a specific divine pedagogy: God communicates himself to man gradually. He prepares him to welcome by stages the supernatural Revelation that is to culminate in the person and mission of the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ.

St. Irenaeus of Lyons repeatedly speaks of this divine pedagogy using the image of God and man becoming accustomed to one another: the Word of God dwelt in man and became the Son of man in order to accustom man to perceive God and to accustom God to dwell in man, according to the Father’s pleasure.

  • Catechism of the Catholic Church, 51-53

Source: vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__PF.HTM


#10

It would have been more correct for him to say, “If the devil didn’t exist, we would not need God to send his son for our salvation, since there would have been no sin in the world”

On this point, anthony022071’s answer is quite correct. :thumbsup:


#11

This statement presents the wrong hierarchy. It presents God as the devil’s foil, God as the good being who is sent to counteract the ultimate evil of the devil. Or possibly as equal and opposite beings, both all-powerful and all-necessary.
Rather, the devil is the one who is a minor inconvenience to the Almighty.


#12

It does not matter if there was a devil or not – we would still need to be created so we would still need God.


#13

Thank you for the replies, they are very helpful. Please, keep them coming.
peace, Justin


#14

There is a fallacy that comes from Eastern belief systems like buddhism and confusius philosophy. It is called Ying and Yang. It supposes that good and evil are the opposite sides of the same coin and the universe requires a constant balance between the two. In essence, ying and yang pits good and evil opposite each other as equals.

Judeo Christian belief maintains that the proto universe was comrised of God and it was good. Then He created everything and it was still good. Evil is an interloper that can and must be removed or at least confined to hell.

The problem with your question is that it assumes God was optional in the first place. Without God, we would not need anything because we, the devil, and everything else would not exist.

If Lucifer never rebelled and it was just man and beast in Eden, I am inclined to believe that someone would have still managed to rebel against God. Lets say though that human kind succeeded in avoiding orginal sin. I think the Word would still become Flesh as the only way the unite the human race to the Divine.

Paul tells us that it is in our weakness the Jesus’ strength is revealed. If not for orginal sin, the power of the Incarnation would never be known not to men anyway…


#15

The answer to the question in the OP is obviously yes. God is Love. He is the source of all virtues. Relying on him is relying on all that is good and being a part of all that’s good.

Adam and Eve needed God before the Devil showed up. If they hadn’t been united with God, they couldn’t have enjoyed any virtues. People aren’t pure on their own. They’re pure to the extent that they’re united with God, for in God is all that is good, and there is nothing good without him. The devil is simply a creator of separation from God.

Separation from God is death. Unity with God is life. The Devil is only a vehicle by which death can come, but it’s the free will that chooses death. Unity with God, the source and heart of all virtue, is the only way to live, so obviously we’d need God if the Devil didn’t exist.


#16

First of all, God and the devil are not co-equals (that’s Mannechism or Persian Dualism, not Catholicism.) The devil is simply a fallen creature – much like us, except that he is more obdurate.

We need God to create the Universe. We need God to create Man. We need God to give us His love and grace. And ultimately, we need God to take us back to Him in eternal life. And we need that, devil or no devil.


#17

The premise of the question is the erroneous assumption that man creates and manufactures his own reality according to his needs and wants. This kind of thinking elevates humanity to the supreme form of life and intellect. Eventually, if pressed through force of reason this person would have to admit that humanity is demonstrably weak and prone to error and is woefully inadequate at thinking itself out of its troubles. Such a person seeing too many uncontrollable external factors that shape our lives outside of our control would ultimately have to invent some other false God; perhaps some superior form of humanoid alien that spontaneously emerged out of the aether to ascend to a divine status. :rolleyes:

The person who asks this question is light years away from wanting to really know the truth and just looking for an excuse to be lazy and not confront the overwhelming natural evidence that God reveals himself through His works. Such a person is not sincere in their own beliefs but is searching for some other rationale reason why we are all here.

If there was no God then there would be no grace, no creation, nothing but a utterly dark, empty, silent and cold void that would be impenetrable to thought for us to even imagine. If life could exist, and it can’t it would be pure animal survival with no capacity for love at all - just co-dependency relationships to stay alive. But a Godless and empty universe would be so foreign a concept that if our minds could reflect accurately upon even a small dimension of “nothingness” we would be driven mad. Without God, there would be no opportunities even for “chance” events or any change. All that would exist is a void of hopelessness. And that sounds like an eternal hell to me. “Abandon Hope all ye who (imagine to) enter here.”

Without God, an infinitely worse and unbounded Hell than now exists to serve God’s Justice and His Mercy would spontaneously create itself from nothingness out of a universal necessity to despair, lament and curse itself. It would make itself god for no other reason than to hate and despise itself for not manifesting life and purpose.

It is Evil that needs something other than itself to loath to take its mind of of the fact it is eternally alone with its own company. Thus the godless soul needs God to blame and account for its hopeless and unchanging existence. There are no atheist in Hell - only true believers who hate that they found the only God they imagined existed - themselves.

God needs only God - everything else is an expression of God’s love for Himself. All we have to do is stay the course in God’s grace and be born as God’s children. Those wishing to exist without God are free to abort themselves at anytime and take care of themselves without any of God’s help in Hell.

James


#18

Humans were created with the capacity to choose obedience to God or disobedience,good or evil. Adam and Eve were in a state of grace,“created grace”,before they sinned. When they sinned,they fell out of that state of grace. When that happened,they and conseqently we,became prone to sin and subject to death. This loss of the state of grace,or perfect relationship with God,is the state of original sin into which we are born. Humanity is all of a piece. We are all related to Adam by way of the flesh. We were complicit with Adam when he fell,because were in his flesh,even though we did not exist as persons.


#19

I would disagree that before the fall, we were in a “perfect” relationship. It was not until the Word was made flesh that the Divine and human became one and that humans were sanctified. What a glorious and wonderful fault was original sin that it led Our God to be one with us!


#20

I would have to disagree.

We are not fully human now. Humans were fully human before the fall, as they were intended to be, perfect in all ways, yet having th choice to sin, and did, and now we are the results.

Sanctification is a process that does not end while on this earth, it is a life long process and is completed after we are done being purified in purgatory.

Being perfect and Holy once again. Unblemished, spotless before God. Nothing unclean shall enter.


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