Is God's plan of redemption dependent upon Satan's continued existence? Is this why Satan is still allowed to exist?
ESV - 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.
Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.
I would say that God's seeming continued delay in ending Satan's activity, is actually indicative of His mercy, in order to allow the ungodly and the elect (all those whom He has known in His omniscience will be saved) additional time to repent, especially in response to the increasing evidence of Satan's evil (2 Peter 3:8-10; Romans 11:25-26).
This one is very easy to answer if you can set aside 2000 years of the false teachings of Churchianity and an additional 1000 years or more of apostasy that was seldom addressed in Israel and Judah. This one goes back a very long time. Since some parts of the question are addressed in the very first biblical book, written, Job, the problem must go back over 3500 years. This matter is addressed many times in scripture, nowhere more clearly than in Hebrews 2:10. Yes, I know Satan is not mentioned in this text, nor any of the many texts where God takes full responsibility for the evil we suffer in this life. Satan is merely the tool of God in these matters, and quite frankly, although few Christians will admit it, is much more obedient to God in them than we are. See the book of Job where God places specific boundaries against Satan's testing and afflicting of Job and Satan always very carefully observes those limits. Affliction, whether brought against us by Satan, by some other spirit, good or evil (note the good angel that was sent against Balaam in his time of obedience, which he did not see until his donkey spoke and told him it was there -- this angel was there to kill Balaam if he persisted, that is affliction and from Balaam's point of view would have been the most severe evil possible against him) is a necessary part of our sanctification. Isaiah 26:9, 10 tell us that God's judgments are a necessary part of our discipline (direct proof against those who claim God no longer judges us since the cross.) Verse 10 says, "But when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and do not regard the majesty of the Lord." When God gives grace to those who have not yet been perfected they will only continue in their sins and never be perfected. Those who are not perfected in all ways can never enter the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:8). Now let's take a look at the word satan, which is usually translated as the proper name Satan, even when it is not really appropriate to do so. This word is usually said to me the accuser or the adversary. This is accurate as far as those definitions take us, but there is more to it than that. This is a specific legal term of an officer of the court that today we call the prosecuting attorney. That is the specific job description of this spirit. It is his job to file charges against us in God's courtroom, then seek to prove those charges and obtain a conviction. Biblically these roles are not quite so clear as they usually are in man's courtrooms. The Holy Spirit is called the paraklete, the Greek term for the defense attorney in John 16:7, but John 16:8 tells us the Holy Spirit will convict us of sin. That is the job of a judge who weighs the evidence then pronounces guilt or innocence. All three roles are filled by the goel at various times during his duties. The goel is that person who acts on behalf of family members who are not able to take up their own cause in legal proceedings. The word is translated as the avenger of blood (both prosecuting attorney and executioner) or kinsman redeemer depending on which side of the courtroom he stands on in the case at hand. In internal family matters, he also acts as judge. So as you can see these things are neither as simple, nor as simplistic as the church chooses to state them. Whether it is this spirit, a different spirit, the goel acting as avenger/executioner of judgment or the victim himself acting as prosecutor/executioner on his own behalf, until sin is fully ended and all are fully perfected there will always be a need for a satan to afflict those who afflict the innocent; and as in the case of Job God may even raise one up against those who have not sinned because there is something else they need to learn in their sanctification process for which there is no specific sin to be judged.
This is another very difficult question to answer because the Bible has so little to say about why God has tolerated such opposition. So we can only guess as to a plausible reason. First, we should realize that it is not a matter of power. It appears that the Devil does not dare to go against a direct command of God. (Job 1:12; 2:6) Therefore, it would appear that the Devil is acting within a position of God given authority with limitations. However, he is still very powerful because even Michael, the warrior Archangel, did not dare to rebuke him. (Jude 1:9) Note: In my opinion, this in another testimony to the Deity of Christ because at Matthew 4:10, Jesus uses the term, “Get thee hence” with regard to Satan. At Mark 8:33, Jesus uses the same term “Get [thee hence], behind me” which is characterized as a “rebuke” given to Peter. So it appears that Jesus was not afraid to rebuke Satan even though Michael the Archangel was. It appears that for some reason, Satan’s assignment went to his head, so to speak. What can you think of that would cause Lucifer to rebel against his creator? To answer this question, I believe you have to try to put yourself in the Devil’s position and imagine a scenario that would cause him to want to be “like God.” (Isaiah 14:13) Have you ever been in a situation where you thought you were really doing a good job but someone else was getting all the credit? Apparently, because of his personal splendor and position, the Devil thought he was being cheated somehow. (Ezekiel 28:17) Again, it appears that the Devil may have taken such a complaint to God himself. He may have been especially critical of how humans were not showing him the proper respect he thought he deserved. In fact, apparently he thought they should actually view him as their “God.” (Isaiah 14:13) Based upon this speculation, it appears that God made a limited agreement with the Devil to give him an opportunity to do things his way. Again, it would appear that He gave Satan about 6,000 years of unchallenged authority over most of the human population, but not all. God reserved a small remnant for Himself as a buffer to prevent the Devil from completely destroying everything that had been created. (Matthew 24:21-22) The Scriptures indicate that time is running out for the Devil. As a result, in his desperation, his wickedness has been intensified as seen in today’s world situation. What is God waiting for? It appears to be a numbers game. According to one interpretation of Romans 11:25, when the “full number of the Gentiles has come in,” God will start to finalize His dealings with the Devil in this age of Satanic domination. God has reserved only 1,000 years of unopposed governance during which He will completely rectify all the harm Satan has caused. If this is true, than we can see why God still allows “Satan to continue to wreak havoc on this world” for a little while longer.
All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.
A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.