How would you answer someone who argued that the devil cannot exist because an omniscient God would realise that when he was creating Lucifer he was creating the a being that would become the most evil thing in all of existence. Not only that, several billion years later he has failed to correct his original mistake, and chooses to watch from heaven, with arms folded, as the devil (his creation) corrupts humanity (his creation) and wreaks havoc on the universe (his creation), all the while doing sweet FA about it?
St. Augustine tells us that God permits evil so that good may come from it.
Who says the universe is billions of years old…oh yeah, scientists, the high priests of secularism ?
I believe that God wants us to love Him of our own free will, ergo, he gave us (and the angels) free will. Lucifer made the wrong choice with his “non serviam”.
If God stepped in to change things (and He may, at his own pleasure) then our free will is over, and it’s probably the day of wrath (judgement day).
MODS: probably better to put this question in the “ask an apologist” section ?
If God caused the wicked to not exist then there would be no free will.
Um…wrong. (Allegorically?) we are told in Genesis that God created Adam and Eve. He knew they would make a grave error. So He can then be said to have created the “wicked” (omniscient as He is) with free will. Had He determined beforehand that all of creation would be as He wanted it but it turned out differently, He would not be omnipotent. He might, instead, have created a “race” (if you will) of robots, for whatever reason. I have no idea why He created anything at all, for that matter, and I don’t think there’s a Human being who has, can, does or will (other than Jesus).
Original OP: your “FA” is masked profanity, inappropriate. Good question, though. I’d like to see an Apologist weigh in on this one. And I don’t mean by quoting a “Saint” who were, after all, people. I’d really rather see examples from OT and NT on how to answer this question. Many Saints said many things; because the Church canonizes them, does that mean they are infallible? I don’t think so.
What exactly is your objection to my statement?
I’m just repeating what was said to me. I don’t see much point in pretending that this wasn’t said. I included it because it gives the sense and feeling behind the opinion of the person who said this to me. We live in the real world, people swear. I live in the UK, people tend to swear a lot more than people in the US do (although not as much as people in Ireland do).
I think this person is merely clutching at straws so he can say God has no handle on evil, but I’ll address the question, anyway. God did not create Lucifer (angel of light) to be evil. Rather, God created a being of great ability and beauty with the free will to accept or reject his Creator. Did God know Lucifer would become Satan? Of course he did. Does that mean Lucifer should not have been given life? No it doesn’t, anymore than God should/would have deprived Hitler or Stalin of life knowing the evils they would do. Knowing what a person will do and making them do it are two different things. God in his infinite wisdom foresaw everything and planned accordingly. Would God have been a good God if he had deprived Lucifer of his life because Lucifer rebelled? This would mean annihilation, not mere death to some other kind of existence. No. God would not do this because he created Lucifer, as he did mankind, out of love–to share his love with him and with us. It is up to us, his created beings to decide to accept or reject that love as creatures with wills of our own that God will not violate, even if it means evil might come of it. He loves us that much.
Not only that, several billion years later he has failed to correct his original mistake, and chooses to watch from heaven, with arms folded, as the devil (his creation) corrupts humanity (his creation) and wreaks havoc on the universe (his creation), all the while doing sweet FA about it?
God made no original mistake nor did he do nothing. He gave us life and sustained us even when we rebelled against him. He gave us natural law, the Law of Moses and finally Christ himself to redeem and save us. What more was he supposed to do? Take away our freedom to choose? How would that demonstrate his love for us? It doesn’t make any sense.
But God did do something about it. But He had to do something He never wanted to do. Bearing in mind that God is all good and characterized by love, He had to create hell. The Bible says hell was created for Satan and his angels. Not for us. But we can still get there if we follow doctrines of devils. But we will never be there if we follow God’s rules and laws. I believe it grieves God so much to have to send any of His creatures to hell, that He did even more things. He created us as mortal beings and put us here to test us. He also sent Jesus to die for us and make atonement for us, so when we do slip up and sin, we can be forgiven. But we still must follow God’s rules, which really aren’t hard to follow when you understand what is going on. Jesus said it in such a simple way, anyone can understand it. First love God with all your soul, strength, and mind. Secondly, love all people as yourself. Don’t do to anyone else something you wouldn’t want anyone to do to you. Those 2 rules encompass all the 10 Commandments. And perhaps it takes a long time to learn to do this, but God then sent the Holy Spirit to help us. And in this way, it is possible to follow God’s laws.
This guy is good though. His reply to me on the point of an omniscient God and free will was along the line of the following.
If God in omniscient and infallible, and knows the actions we will take, then the path we will take is pre-determined and therefore we do not have free will. Whereas if we do actually have the free will to determine our own path, then we need to be free to take make a choice that God has not already determined for us through our creation, and take actions that are not known by God in advance.
But he’s wrong and this has been answered a gazillion times over. Just because someone knows something will happen does not follow that he wills it to happen. For example, the police know that at some time some criminal will commit some crime. Does that mean the police want criminals to commit crimes or does it simply mean they are aware of the possibility? Again, a couple has a child. They do their best to be good parents but they can see their child is rebellious and will most likely end up in some kind of trouble. Do they want their child to get into trouble merely because they can see he’s tending that way? Of course not. Astronauts watching earth from space can see a huge hurricane coming straight for NYC. Does that mean they willed the hurricane to go there? No, it doesn’t. God did not will Lucifer into becoming Satan, Satan chose that destiny for himself.
The best answer that I have ever found to this question comes from the brilliant little video on you tube “If God, Why Evil Norman Geisler”
Its the most enjoyable 35 minutes that you can spent listening to apologetics
This is a question that has always fascinated me.
As many have already pointed out, the traditional answer is that God allows evil for the sake of good, e.g. free will. The question about Lucifer is a very tangible instance of the larger question of evil.
When I hear this explanation it always brings to mind Arthur Slugworth (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Slugworth) who, in the 1971 film is revealed, in the end, to be an Willy Wonka employee, Mr. Wilkinson. This impression is further reinforced by Job in which God and Satan are wagering on Job’s faith.
I’m not saying it’s so, just that it’s easy to imagine mysteries beyond our immmediate comprehension.
In short, the question is good and deserves more than a facile response.
I have an analogy to explain this (I’ve got a lot of analogies LOL). You are sitting in a hot air balloon and the landscape is beneath you. There is a fork in the road; you have placed a slight barrier at one choice (fork). A car comes along. You know these people will have to do one of three things: choose one of the forks in the road (even though there’s a slight barrier) or turn back. You aren’t making that choice for them. Some will turn back because the slight barrier is an annoyance and now they must find another way to get where that fork leads; others will choose the unobstructed fork in the road; still others will get out of their and remove the barrier and proceed anyway. Now: God knows which direction we will take because He is omniscient. But He also does not intervene, He does not make the choice, He allows us to do so. Pre-determination doesn’t work as an argument at all because it always ends up accusing God of atrocities: the deaths of billions in horrible ways, etc., which makes God a “monster”. And no monster incarnates, goes among those whom He has created, loves them and gives up His life for them in the most horrible manner.
Actually I have never heard this question before! I misread it initial and thought it was about the existence of evil.
Now if someone was arguing that evil does not exist then that would be Pantheism. To which you only have to pose the following questions:
If evil is not real then-
why does it seem so real?
where did the illusion come from?
why does everybody have it?
why can’t we make it go away?
But this question proposes that Satan does not exist? Which is an altogether different question.
Now the French poet Baudelaire put it beautifully by stating that “The Masterpiece of Satan in the Modern Time” is to have people believe he does not exist. If you examine this statement carefully I’m sure that you are intelligent enough to realize that if Satan does exist then by appearing to be extinct it allows him to sow the seed of his evil plans without any interference. Think about it in terms of the following analogy:
In 1991 the USSR collapsed. The West, it’s arch enemy, sang and danced for joy thinking that they had won the cold war. But 22 years on what do we find. Russia is now spreading its invisible tentacles all over the word freely because we have being fooled into believing that it has renounced its evil plan to take over the world.
Its like Pinky and the Brain. We stupidly believe that after 70 years of brainwashing the population of the USSR has now seen the light. But secretly they now despise us all the more because we have fallen for they masquerade when in fact all that they have done is said “If you can’t beat them then join them … and destroy them from within”.
Note that Russia is now a Financial powerhouse whereas it was bankrupt in 1991.
Take this wiki quote
*Despite the deep but brief recession, the economy has not been as seriously affected by the global financial crisis, largely because of the integration of short-term macroeconomic policies that helped the economy survive, as well as low sovereign debt levels which made austerity unnecessary. The Russian Government predicts stable growth rates for future years of around 3.4% of GDP. *
In chess this move is used before the end game. Namelly sacrifice your queen because you have a pawn advantage that will give you checkmate.
I have to agree with the French poet Baudelaire here. I think most non religious, and even some nominally religious people believe Satan does not exist. I even heard the tail end of a conversation one day by nominally religious guys. They were talking about hell. One said, “not everyone from hell is evil, just look at Hellboy, he did lots of good stuff”. The man was referring to the 2 movies made about the fictional Hellboy. But this man of about 33 seemed to believe there is truth to that movie. I just stayed out of it. But I think it’s obvious that many people think Satan and hell don’t exist. I’m sure they exist and I won’t watch movies about neither one. I think if everyone knew hell and Satan are real there wouldn’t be movies and songs about them.
It terrifies me that anyone (such as he whom you quoted) gets his/her theology from the MOVIES. WHAT has happened to our nation! WHAT are the schools doing, what is being preached from the pulpit??? This reminds me: I have a framed, signed color photograph of Secretariat on a wall in my home, he is galloping in his pasture, it’s quite beautiful. Some young man who came here to do some work asked me if that was “my horse” and I told him no, it’s Secretariat. He then said, “You mean Secretariat was real? i thought it was a movie.” Ye gads murgatroid.
Nor does it follow to say that because somone knows that a thing is going to happen that he in fact caused it to happen just by this knowledge.
That God knew of Satan’s rejection and fall doesn’t mean that God caused it. He’s still an intelligent being with free will.
A lot of great answers have already been given to this question. But here is a general observation: Often questions about the faith take the form of “Why does…”. Think of the famous “Why do bad things happen to good people?”. The unspoken answer to these questions is often a denial of the faith, or some key element of the faith. The question of this thread is an example of such a thing. The unspoken answer is that there is no such thing as Lucifer, or God, or God is not omniscient, or God did not create Lucifer. These unspoken answers are unspoken because if they were spoken in the form of a logical response to the question, these “answers” would not stand up under logical scrutiny.
The false hypothesis that all these false answers rest on is the assumption that if there is an answer, we could know that answer. For example, if you can’t completely explain why God would create Lucifer, there is something wrong with our faith (supposedly). Our faith tells us many things. Our reason also tells us many things. But there are some things that neither our faith nor our reason tell us. The correct answer to many of these questions is “I don’t know”. There is nothing wrong with saying “I don’t know”, and in many cases it is the only right answer. It is our arrogance that leads us to believe that nothing is beyond our understanding. There is a lot of wisdom in Psalm 131 (“My eyes are not raised too high…”).
It is fun to speculate on what reason God may have in doing what he does. Most of these speculations are uplifting and consistent with faith. But we should not fall into the trap of making our faith rest on these speculations.
I have always loved this topic, and have pondered it much.
The posts about free will are on the mark. The fact that free will is truly a gift to humanity is no better demonstrated than by the fact that Angels themselves have free will. Which is in turn demonstrated by Lucifer’s sad choice.
There is a heresy I read once claiming that free will was not from God, but from the fruit of the tree in the garden. If it weren’t for satan having convinced Adam & Eve to eat, they would not have awoken from their status as “automatrons” that God created. The purpose of the heresy is to turn people away from God and empathize with satan. But the story falls flat, like a kid caught with crumbs on his face trying to explain what happened to the cookies without getting himself in trouble.
Although heresy, it did get me pondering what life would be like to have free will prior to the apple. Imagine, free will without temptation! Free will among a humanity that is not in a fallen state! This MUST be what Heaven is like, because clearly the Angels still have free will, yet there is no sin in Heaven! If there is no sin, there is no temptation.
***But if that is the case, then why did Lucifer fail? This is where I get stuck, every time. WHY did Lucifer fail? I was hoping that going to Heaven would free me from temptation! Yet Lucifer WAS an angel in Heaven, and he failed! He was cast out! Can anyone help me on this point? ***
If you’ve read Milton he writes that the angels were granted by God an image of the world that included Salvation history. That Satan balked not only at the notion of raising humans up to the dignity of the spirits, but that God would become a human to save them. Satan refused to bow to something of a lower nature and order than himself. Hence the line, “I will not serve!” Or as others have said, “I would rather reign in hell than serve in heaven.” God gave him his wish.
That is, if you want to believe that…