Monday, October 28, 2013

Why did God create Satan?

This is the final post in a series of five questions a skeptic might (and does) ask. I hope it has been a help to some of you. Please feel free to leave comments below!

Why was Satan created? Why would God create some personage that he infallibly knew would not only rebel against him, but also successfully influence mankind to fall as well? That doesn’t seem like a great plan to us.

Interestingly, Christian theology has it that Satan was created as an angel, and, as all things God creates, he was created good. The angels, though not image-bearers of God, were nonetheless afforded the opportunity to be moral agents, and hence were given free will. Lucifer (the angel who becomes Satan) was full of pride, and led a rebellion of some sorts against God. For this sin he was cast out, and he became the devil.

"If God had not created Satan, it would be the case that man would not have sinned," someone might claim. Maybe, maybe not. That claim will have to be proven by the objector (since it's their objection in the first place), and I don't know of any way short of guessing or sheer speculation to show that is true. In fact, we have some reason to affirm it is false. Any moral agent who is not the standard of good is not morally perfect (for moral perfection is not the same as mere moral goodness or moral innocence). Whatever is not morally perfect is imperfect (even if it is morally innocent). Whatever is morally imperfect will eventually sin. So, even if no moral agents prior to man had been created, plausibly man would have sinned. And, for all we know, only in a world with a devil could such drastic distinctions be drawn between good and evil. That last line, we have no way to verify. But then, neither do we need to do so. All we need is for it to be possible, and for that, the objector will need to show that it is impossible!

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