Why Doesn’t God Just Destroy Satan Right Now?

(c) enduringword

A few Sundays ago, after preaching at church, one of the children in our church accompanied by his mother approached me to ask a question that had been bothering him for some time. “Pastor Confex,” he began, “we know that God is good and all powerful but Satan is a bad and mean guy. Why doesn’t God just destroy him right now? Then all things would be fine in this world.”

My mind raced as I tried to figure out an answer. I should admit that although I have never seriously considered this question it is not uncommon one.  Atheists or those who don’t believe in the existence of God tend to rephrase it condescendingly: If God is good and all powerful why doesn’t he destroy evil and Satan in the world?

To begin with, no single passage of Scripture answers this question explicitly.  However, gathering from various passages of Scripture we can deduce what the biblical answer is. First let’s remember that Satan is a defeated foe. Christ defeated him on the cross. Apostle Paul tells us that God in Christ triumphed over rulers and authorities (Satan and his demons) by disarming them on the cross (Col. 2:15). Also, the prophecy of Genesis 3:15 in which God declared that Christ will crush the head of Satan was fulfilled on the cross and in the resurrection of Christ. Furthermore, Satan’s work in the world is limited by God’s power. If God had not been restraining Satan, the devil would have done more harm than we currently see and experience (Job. 1:12; 2:6; Luke 22:31-32).

But still, that doesn’t entirely answer the question, does it? If Satan is defeated, why is he still causing havoc in the world?  Why is he still tempting believers into sin, deceiving, stealing, killing, and destroying? Theologians describe Christ’s victory on the cross as “already but not yet.” Satan is certainly defeated and disarmed but the full effects of this defeat are yet to be experienced by God’s people. However, at the second coming of Christ, we will experience them fully when Christ will ultimately judge and throw Satan into a lake of fire where he will never be able to harm God’s people again (Rev. 20:10).

I think that it is when we reflect on the already but not yet victory of Christ over Satan that we might see why God is not completely destroying Satan right now namely to glorify himself more through the ultimate defeat of Satan. I believe that when Satan is ultimately thrown into hell, we will be able to glorify God more because for first time in our lives we will experience a world without temptation, sin, and death and we will appreciate these blessings more having lived without them here on earth. This I believe is one of the reasons why God is allowing Satan to live until his final judgement comes.