A couple weeks ago I posted my answer to question #1 that I was asked to answer during the "Grill Bill" series at Neighborhood Church in Redding. Today I'm posting my answer to question #2. It's a good, tough question, and most impressively, it was asked by a 6th grader! Respect.
Q: I had a 6th grade Awana student ask me, "If God knows all things why did he create Satan in Heaven in the first place? He must have known all the repercussions.”
Wow, that’s one deep thinking 6th grader! What a great question. First of all, you’re right, God does ‘know all things’ (1 John 3:20), and the repercussions for every single choice He made or could make, as well as the repercussions for every single choice we make or could make—the technical term for this kind of knowing is omniscience. God fully knows all things ‘actual’— that means, all things that exist and that happen (whether in the past, present or future)—and God fully knows all things ‘possible’— all events that might happen but do not actually come to pass (see, for example, 1 Samuel 23:11-13) (Grudem Systematic Theology, 190-193).
So, since God clearly knew what would happen, that leaves your more difficult question—knowing all that, “why did He create Satan in Heaven in the first place?”
It’s important to remember that Satan was not created evil. Lucifer, along with all the rest of God’s created universe, was originally deemed “good” by God (Gen. 1:31). But, like us, he was created to be a “‘self-determining being;’ he was created to think, choose and act, and… these thoughts, choices, and actions [were] real and actually had eternal significance” (Grudem, 193). At some point between Genesis 1:31(“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good”) and the temptation of Eve in Genesis 3:1, it’s clear that Satan exercised his ability to choose and chose to rebel against God, and in that instant became the source of all sin and evil and pain in the world, and earned his title as the ‘Father of lies’ (John 8:44). This is important, because it shows that God is never directly responsible for evil, although the way He created the universe and our world allowed for its existence.
For this reason, your question is actually a much broader, bigger question: Knowing the repercussions, why did God allow a doorway for evil to enter our world in the first place? Couldn’t God have just created a universe where it wasn’t possible for evil things to happen?
The answer to this is, of course, ‘yes.’ God could have created a world free from the possibility of evil. So why didn’t He? There are no quick, easy answers to that question, no magic bullets. But it seems to me that a world without the possibility of evil would also have been a world without the possibility of beings created in the image of God, beings with the ability to think, to choose, and to act in ways that made any eternal difference.
As it is, God allowed for this possibility of evil, and whatever the undisclosed reason, it seems God created Satan for the same bottom-line purpose He created you and I, who are also ‘self-determining’ beings capable of thoughts, choices and actions with real and eternal consequences—He created us to show His glory. God showed His glory through the very act of creating us—we, both Satan and humans—showed off the glory of God while we were still ‘good,’ before we ever turned away from God. And, after Satan chose rebellion and we chose to join him, God continued to show his glory through Satan and through us in ways that would have remained forever hidden in a perfect world—through His mercy, through His forgiveness, through His judgment and through His GRACE.
In the end, there will always remain mysteries, things we cannot explain or completely understand, because God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). And if we could grasp everything God was doing, as well as all the reasons why—then we would not need faith, because… we would then be God.
God has a purpose for everything that happens in your life and in our world, and He wants you and I to trust Him, and that He has our best interests at heart. “God uses all things to fulfill His purposes and even uses evil for His glory and for our good” (Grudem, 327), (Romans 8:28).
Finally, be sure that Satan will one day “face the music.” He’ll have to answer for all he has done. 10”And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 20:10).