Why does God let Satan exist?

Question:  “Why does God permit Satan to continue to exist when Satan’s main purpose is to pull me from God or keep me from ever finding God’s salvation?”

Bible Answers

We know that God has the right and the power to remove Satan and that in the end-times Satan will be sent to the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41, Revelation 20:10). We also know that removing Satan from the world would certainly make life easier for Christians and the multitudes who are held in Satan’s bondage.

We must then ask, since God has the power to remove the devil, why doesn’t he just cast Satan out of the world and end much of mankind’s heartache and pain?

God loves us

Some may say that God must not love us if He lets us suffer, but clearly God does love us more than we can imagining.

Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever (Psalm 136:26).

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

Since God so loves us, why does Satan still exist

Since God has not removed Satan, we must conclude that He permits Satan to exist because his presence is more important to God than removing all the hurt and pain Satan causes His beloved children. What could be so important for God to permit the devil to remain? What compelling benefit could the devil possibly provide?

The devil provides humanity with the opportunity to choose an alternative kingdom from that of God’s kingdom, thus allowing mankind a chance to exercise free-will to follow God or Satan. Without free-will, it isn't impossible to fully love God as we would have no choice, no alternative.  We would be with God if we wanted or not, since, so to speak, God would be the only game in town.

Why is having a choice important

Without a choice, all aspects of our life would be preprogrammed.  Robots have no character or personality. They aren’t creative, spontaneous or inquisitive. They don’t plan for the future or have any joy of accomplishment. Without free-will, we would be like robots, without the ability to have relationships, the one thing God is looking for.  He wants to have a loving relationship with His children and that is only possible by God giving His children a choice to love Him or love the world, Satan’s kingdom.

God created His children with the ability to think, reason, and make choices.  And in His love for His children, He gave us an operating manual, the Bible, that provides commands and instructions that show us how to live, how to protect ourselves, how to obey, and how to operate within the gifts of the Holy Spirit and Jesus.  He created us with free-will to fulfill His purpose to create an eternal family that has chosen to want to love, obey, and be with Him.

So why didn’t God create us as robots?  Because God’ purpose for mankind is to have eternal fellowship with those who truly love Him. The key to true love is voluntary choice. But without the opposite to God, evil, there cannot be free-will and true love.  

Additional choice considerations

1.  God gave the angels in heaven the right to make a free-will choice and He has given us the same free-will choice.

2.  Recall that God’s greatest concern is a loving relationship with His children and such a loving relationship can only exist if both parties have the right and ability to choose to love the other party.

3.  Who would want to spend eternity with someone who didn’t want to spend eternity with them. God only wants those in heaven with Him who have made a choice to spend eternity with Him. Those who want to be with God and love Him for eternity.  

4.  While a free-will choice gives people the option to sin and sin causes pain and suffering for others, the period of suffering is very short in comparison to the period of eternal joy.

5.  God’s greatest concern is that there is love in heaven among those who choose and want to be with God in heaven, and that true love can only exist if people are given a choice.

we are children of God, if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Romans 8:16-18).

The opportunity to make a free-will choice in face of the temporary pleasures of the world appear more important to God than the pain, hurt, and possible death that Jesus warned us would occur.  Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12).

God can use evil as a test

While not the primary reason for Satan’s presence, sometimes, God allows temptation from Satan as a test.

The purpose of a test isn't to tell God something about us, because He knows everything. Rather, it's to tell us something about ourselves, that we may learn and grow in Him.

Jesus was tested four times by Satan’s temptations (Matthew 4:1-10). However, unlike Adam, Jesus said “no”and responded with the Word of God, saying, “it is written ...”, responding righteously.

Another reason God might allow Satan to attack us is to build our maturity in the Word and in faith (Ephesians 6:10-18). Testing may be used so that we may later comfort others who are experiencing a similar situation (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).

When Satan attacks us, God is always near. God says, Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you (Heb 13:5). But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound (Romans 5:20).

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7), for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).

God can use evil to bring about good. How many people have turned to God for salvation and help after they've realized how fragile life is through the death of someone they know, or because sin has delivered them to the lowest possible point in life. A calamity can be a wake-up call for people to realize their need for a loving and powerful God.

We know that all things work together for good to those who love God (Romans 8:28). This verse tells us, we will be attacked, but that God will turn the devil’s evil into good.  Praise the Lord, He can uses these attacks to mold us into images like Jesus.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13).  

The more we experience satanic attacks, the clearer the difference between God and Satan and the more we love God.

God is not the cause of the world’s evil

When someone accuses God of all the hurt and pain in the world, remember that The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19) As Satan is hateful, deceptive, and cruel, we can clearly understand why the world is full of hatred, deception, and cruelty. Mankind is imperfect and sinful and sinful humans tend to struggle for dominance, resulting in wars, oppression, and suffering (Ecclesiastes 4:1).

In our suffering we share in the suffering of Christ (Col. 1:24), so in heaven we may share in His glory (1 Peter 4:19).

Our sinful world is the unfortunate result of human choice. Not even Satan can force us to sin. Evil in this world is not proof that God does not care or is powerless, but a reminder of our great need for a loving God (2 Cor. 1:8-9).


God could have eliminated evil from the world by removing Satan or by eliminating our ability to choose, making us puppets.  By taking away our ability to choose evil, evil would have vanished. But God doesn't want us to be puppets. He wants us to freely be able to love Him.  Love is not genuine without an option.  We can only freely love God if we have an alternative free-will choice and Satan provides that alternative choice.

God gave man free-will knowing that it would cause problems through man's wrong use of it, but He also knows the solution - Jesus. While the pain and hurt of this world can be most unpleasant, it quickly fades in comparison to eternity with God and those who truly love God.

For you who are living in sin, use your free-will to repent of your sins and make Jesus your Lord and savior. Click for more info on Salvation.

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