Here’s a question from one of my co-workers. I’ve done my best to answer his question on my own, but I’m needing a little more help because I think it’s a bit deeper than I have gone myself. “If God knew (or could have known) that Satan would fall and deceive Isha, why then did God create him?” Thank you in advance. I am always encouraged by your steady study and devotion to the truth.
Thanks for the great question! Hopefully I can help you figure out something to say that will make sense to your co-worker.
Ultimately, this goes back to one’s basic philosophy of God. Many people assume that God must know everything and must control everything. This seems to make sense to us humans, since to us, with only limited knowledge and partial control over our circumstances and surroundings, increasing in knowledge and in power/control is something we are always concerned with. Extrapolating from our perspective, we assume that since God could know everything and could control everything, then He must do so, for why would He not? Yet ultimately, I think there are things that, to God, are far more important than power and control and knowledge. God has access to all the power and control and knowledge that He needs to accomplish His purposes. He is not jealous of these things, or worried about losing them, as a human being might be. The things He is concerned with are far more important.
I believe that God desires loving relationship with His creatures. That is His goal. In order to accomplish that goal, He gave His creatures free will. This was necessary for a true, loving relationship with them, since a real, loving relationship must be voluntary. Along with free will, He also gave many important gifts, and control over many things. Such gifts were meant to show His love. In the case of humanity or Adam’s race, He gave us great control and authority over the earth. In the case of Satan, He gave him great power and authority in the heavens.
Now the free will God gave men was real. These gifts He gave were not revocable. He did not pretend to give us free will, only to make our choice predetermined. If we had a choice, then it had to be a real choice. He didn’t just act like it was a choice when really He had already decided what we were going to do. Satan really had a real decision to make, as did Adam’s race. Moreover, God couldn’t just take the choice back when He found we made the wrong one. If it was to really be free will, then we had to have freedom to choose wrongly. Unfortunately, both Adam and Satan made this choice.
I do not believe that Satan’s choice was predetermined. The moment God gave Satan a choice, He gave up His right to decide for Satan. Moreover, the moment He gave Satan a choice, He also gave up His right to know which choice Satan was going to make. I do not think He was necessarily surprised by Satan’s choice, or by Adam’s. Yet these choices were not predetermined. God didn’t know what they would be, and couldn’t know, as long as He made the kind of creatures He wanted us to be: creatures who are capable of truly loving Him.
With the high position and great abilities God gave Satan, he had the potential to be a really superlative servant of God, and to accomplish some really great things. If he had chosen correctly, he could have been amazing. Instead, when he chose wrongly, he used the abilities God gave him in order to accomplish great and terrible things in opposition to God and goodness. The powers God gave him were capable of doing either one. God gave them to him in the hope that Satan might become the amazing servant He wanted him to be. Sadly, the good being Satan might have been will never be, and instead we have the slanderous enemy we have today. Yet God took the risk that Satan might make the right choice. That risk was necessary, or God never could have created beings capable of loving Him at all. When Satan made the wrong choice, really Satan is the one who lost out. He will come to a horrible end, and never be again. Yet God will continue. Those who choose His loving ways will benefit for eternity. Those who reject Him will face destruction.
I hope this helps. Thanks again for the great question!