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The problem of evil has long puzzled both believers and non-believers alike. If God is all-powerful and all-good, why does evil and suffering exist in the world? And if God is capable of eliminating evil, why does He allow the Devil to continue to exist?
The existence of the Devil, also known as Satan or the adversary, is clearly taught in the Bible. The Devil is described as a fallen angel who rebelled against God and was cast out of heaven (Isaiah 14:12-15, Ezekiel 28:12-18, Revelation 12:7-9). He is depicted as a powerful and cunning foe who seeks to lead people away from God and into sin (1 Peter 5:8, John 8:44).
So why doesn’t God simply get rid of the Devil and eliminate evil from the world? There are several possible explanations.
Firstly, it is possible that God allows the Devil to exist as a test of faith for humanity that God has allowed. In other words, if evil and suffering did not exist in the world, there would be no opportunity for humans to choose between good and evil, and to demonstrate their faithfulness to God. Without the presence of evil, our faith and trust in God would be superficial and untested.
This is illustrated in the story of Job in the Old Testament. Job was a righteous man who was tested by God when Satan was allowed to afflict him with great suffering and loss. Job’s faith in God was tested and ultimately strengthened as a result of his trials, and he was rewarded for his faithfulness (Job 42:12-17).
The existence of the Devil may serve as a reminder of the consequences of sin that needs to take place for a certain time period for humans to understand and appreciate the sovereignty of God and that humans were not designed to walk on their own. If God were to simply eliminate the Devil and evil from the world too soon, humans would not have a tangible example of the consequences of turning away from God. The Devil serves as a warning of the dangers of sin and the need for repentance.
The Devil’s existence may be necessary as an object lesson so that we can fully appreciate and understand free will. If God were to eliminate the Devil and all sources of temptation, humans would be left with no choice but to obey God. While this may seem like a desirable outcome, it would also mean that humans would be deprived of their ability to choose between good and evil and to make moral decisions for themselves. This would essentially render humans as robots, with no agency or autonomy.
God may allow the Devil to exist as part of a larger plan for humanity’s redemption. The existence of evil and suffering in the world may be necessary for God to bring about a greater good. For example, the suffering of Jesus on the cross was a means of atoning for the sins of humanity and bringing about salvation (Romans 5:8). Similarly, the hardships we face in life may serve as opportunities for growth and spiritual maturity (James 1:2-4).
Many wonder why God does not get rid of the Devil, the one responsible for so much human suffering. However, a biblical perspective provides an answer. To understand this, one could consider a court case where both parties must be allowed sufficient time to present their side of the dispute to arrive at a judgment that will set a moral precedent. Similarly, the Devil, originally one of God’s angels, challenged God’s right to rule, accusing him of being undeserving of obedience and of only being served when people are bribed with blessings. Such accusations could not be answered simply by a show of force. God began legal proceedings to settle such issues in the minds of all observers. The time allowed has given Adam’s descendants a chance to add their testimony in God’s behalf by choosing to keep integrity to him out of love despite any hardships.
God is keenly aware that humans continue to suffer while those legal proceedings take place. He is determined to close the case at the earliest time possible. The Bible describes God as “the Father of tender mercies and the God of all comfort.” However, God will not eliminate the Devil prematurely without the universal court case being completely finished. God’s right to rule will have been thoroughly vindicated when the issues are finally settled, and the legal case against Satan will stand as a touchstone for all eternity.
In due time, God will direct his resurrected Son to get rid of the Devil and undo all of his works. The Bible tells of the time when Christ “delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”—1 Corinthians 15:24-26.
The Bible informs us.
18 For thus says Jehovah,
the Creator of the heavens
the true God,
the One who formed the earth
its Maker who firmly established it;
who did not create it to be empty,
but formed it to be inhabited!:
“I am Jehovah, and there is no one else.
In conclusion, the Bible provides an answer to the question of why God doesn’t get rid of the Devil. The legal case against Satan requires sufficient time for both parties to present their side of the dispute, and God will not eliminate the Devil prematurely without the universal court case being completely finished. However, in due time, God will direct his resurrected Son to get rid of the Devil and undo all of his works.