Does Islam cause terrorism? Click here: /Apologeticshtml/Moral Equivalency Applied Islamic History 0409.htm
Is the Bible Godís Word? Click here: /Apologeticshtml/Is the Bible the Word of God.htm
Why does God Allow Evil? Click here: /Apologeticshtml/Why Does God Allow Evil 0908.htm
Is Christian teaching from ancient paganism? /Bookhtml/Paganism influence issue article Journal 013003.htm
Should Godís existence be proven? /Apologeticshtml/Should the Bible and God Be Proven Fideism vs WCG.htm
Does the Bible teach blind faith? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Gospel of John Theory of Knowledge.htm
Here are three important questions about God and what He has done and is doing:† 1.† How do we know if God is real?† 2.† Why did God allow Satan to fall?† 3.† Why does God allow people to do evil things?† They are all ďbig questions,Ē but Iíve decided to answer each of them relatively briefly here
Letís answer the first question, which concerns Godís existence.† Notice carefully what Paul wrote in Romans 1:18-32. That is, people really aren't ignorant of the evidence favoring Godís existence. At least they arenít excusable enough from being punished for their sins, since they really do know better or could easily know better. Hence, Paul says atheists who deny God's existence are "without excuse" (v. 20) since nature witnesses to them of His existence and power. † Nature is much too complex to just happen by itself, since nature canít explain natureís own existence.† So when people, "professing to be wise," became fools (v. 22), they aren't really ignorant or nice but misled people since they also (at some level) wanted to be deceived in order to indulge in their lusts. Such people aren't as innocent as we may like to think . . . which is a disturbing thought when we realize we aren't terribly different from them in many areas of life.
Paul went up on Mars Hill in Athens, the capital of Greece, in order to explain the Christian faith to pagan skeptics and philosophers.† He mentioned one altar that pagans erected to the unknown God (Acts 17:23), which he said was the true God, the Creator. He couldn't have cited the pagan poet who said (Acts 17:28-29), "For we are indeed his offspring," and then draw the conclusion, "Being God's offspring, we ought not to think that the Deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, a representation by the art and imagination of man," without admitting implicitly that this pagan poet's religious reasoning was valid. Paul here was doing some natural theology, much like how he reasoned that the creation witnesses to God's eternal power (Romans 1:19-20).
Now, letís answer briefly the second question:† Why did God allow Satan to fall?† Jesus once told His disciples, after they rejoiced over casting out demons by God's power: "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven" (Luke 10:18).† The important texts for knowing about why Satan rebelled are Ezekiel 28:11+ and Isaiah 14:12-14. True, here he is addressed by other names (like "King of Tyre," an ancient trading city on the coast of what is now Lebanon). † After they rebelled, they couldnít be allowed to stay in or visit heaven to stay, although God could allow Satan to visit if he wasnít attacking Him, as per the first two chapters of Job.† God gave them free will for much the same reasons he gave people free will:† God wants our love as His creatures to be voluntarily freely given to Him, not automatically programmed like a robotís reactions or to be given to him only out of fear of punishment.
God gave Satan (when he was Lucifer) and all the angels free will.† Because these angels did revolt against God, and become demons, that shows that they have free will. Lucifer, who then became Satan, was an archangel who had free will, and chose to fight God despite knowing God directly and personally in a way that no human has. In Ezekiel 28, God describes Lucifer this way: "You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. By the abundance of your trading [this word might mean "gossip" instead--EVS] you became filled with violence within, and you sinned . . . Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor." So Satan is morally condemned to be punished by God (see verses 17-19) for his sins. Now, it wouldn't be fair of God to condemn him or the demons (notice II Peter 2:4) if they couldn't have made different moral decisions than they have made. For if you're told to do something, but you can't because you're programmed innately to disobey, you're hardly then morally responsible for your actions then.
Apparently after an angel chooses to become evil, they can't repent, and thus avoid ultimate punishment from God. That makes their situation worse than ours as sinners, since we can repent. But then again, they knew much more about God than we do by nature, since they could see God directly while in heaven, etc.
Now letís answer the third question, which seems to be partially related to the second:† Why did God create humanity if we humans were going to sin and do evil things?† Here is a basic, bare-bones explanation to whatís a huge subject: God is in the process of making beings like Himself (Matt. 5:48; John 17:20-24) who would have 100% free will but would choose to be 100% righteous. Now, the habits of obedience and righteousness can't be created by fiat or instantaneous order. Rather, the person who is separate from God has to choose to obey what is right and reject what is wrong on his or her own. But every time a person does what is wrong, that will hurt him, others, and/or God. But God has to allow us to have free will, because He wants His created beings to have free will like He does as part of His essence. As part of the process of impressing how seriously He takes violations of His law, He sent His Son to die in terrible pain on the cross for the sins of others. For if His forgiveness was easily granted and given without this terrible cost paid for it, then people often wouldnít not take violations of His law seriously.
So then, we have the great mystery of God dying for the sins of His creatures despite they were in the wrong, not Him. God allows suffering in His creation, and then chooses voluntarily to suffer greatly Himself as a result of His allowing it into His creation. Therefore, we know that God understands suffering (cf. Hebrews 4:14-15). So although we may not know fully why God allows suffering and pain in His creation, we should trust Him in faith on the matter. God's basic answer to Job was that he didn't know enough to judge Him. Also, many people wouldn't trust God to have our interests at heart when telling us to not do X, just like they didn't trust their parents when they told them (say) doing drugs or getting drunk was bad for them. Therefore, God chooses to prove it to humanity and the angels by hard, practical experience on this earth that shows His way is best, not Satan's. After all, when the evil angels revolted against God, they never had experienced any pain or death, but they still mistrusted God for some reason, that He didn't love them fully. So even though many awful things have happened historically in the world, we should trust God that He knows what He is doing.
So instead of spending a lot of time answering each of these questions in detail here, only brief answers are given here.† More detail is easily available on this Web site for issues related to questions one and three.
Eric V. Snow
Click here to access essays that defend Christianity: /apologetics.html
Click here to access essays that explain Christian teachings: /doctrinal.html
Click here to access notes for sermonettes: /sermonettes.html
Why does God Allow Evil? Click here: /Apologeticshtml/Why Does God Allow Evil 0908.htm
May Christians work on Saturdays? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Protestant Rhetoric vs Sabbath Refuted.htm
Should Christians obey the Old Testament law? /doctrinalhtml/Does the New Covenant Abolish the OT Law.htm
Do you have an immortal soul? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Here and Hereafter.htm
Does the ministry have authority? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Is There an Ordained Ministry vs Edwards.html
Is the United States the Beast? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Are We the Beast vs Collins.htm
Should you give 10% of your income to your church? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Does the Argument from Silence Abolish the Old Testament Law of Tithing 0205 Mokarow rebuttal.htm
Is Jesus God? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Is Jesus God.htm
Will there be a third resurrection? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Will There Be a Third Resurrection.htm